Market Segments, Consumer Groups, "Voice of the consumer ", Users
The first design factor under the heading of The Brand brings us a step closer to the consumer. It's all about the similarities that connect customers, consumers and users. These similarities make them so called target groups, groups of people, to which the brand aligns its product and communications.
At least one, but usually several target groups can be distinguished in order to draw closer to the fundamental question of: Who actually buys my products? The segmentation breaks down according to the difference of purchase motives and nature of the interaction with that consumer group. It is not about making tiny and precise subdivisions, but a clear number of a few main groups. If the size of the target group becomes too narrow the approach often runs the risk of becoming unmanageable.
An effective means to better visualize the target group, is through so called Personas. Developing personas helps to give the target group a personality. A personality defined by real human characteristics, habits, environmental data, and even a name and picture. This changes the target group from an Excel spreadsheet to an almost tangible person with feelings and predictable behaviours.
Speaking of behaviour: Who is it that really buys the product? Is it as expected the user or are there others who participate in or even dictate the purchase decision. Many products are used as gifts or are purchased for a B2B sector by designated buyers. Not only who but why do the buyers buy what they buy? What plays a role in the final decision, is it based on recommendation and if so who is making these recommendations?
In the era of open communication between customer and brand it also plays a massive role whether the customer is heard, or is feeling heard. The voice of the consumer is not only a great inspiration and source of innovation for new developments and improvements. The consumer is also a vehicle for communicating the product and brand to others. In social media, what used to take a long time to dissipate now spreads like wild fire. Positive or negative feedback to a product or brand are shared at an astronomical rate. A careful dialogue must be undertaken to maximise this communication tool or on the flip side to manage this risk.
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