Recently, while doing research I came across this article from the Harvard Business Review titled, “Why Your Customers’ Social Identities Matter”. This article caught my interest because it talks about how our different social identities have a major influence on the decisions we make as consumers. Since these identities shape our decisions, businesses should adjust their marketing strategy to be more understanding of their customers various social identities. Here are a few ways your business can get in sync with its customers’ identities.
Get to know them. Of course this is a necessary part of any marketing strategy, but it’s important to know who your target market really is. Often times we look to demographics for this information, but psychographics can reveal even more about your customers! Demographics tell us about our customers’ age, gender, ethnicity and income level, but psychographics tell us about our customers’ lifestyles, attitudes, values and opinions. Psychographic characteristics are extremely insightful since they examine customer purchasing habits based on psychological and cultural factors. A fun way you can check out the demographics and lifestyle characteristics of the people in your neighborhood is by searching for your zip code on Nielsen’s PRIZM website.
Observe their behavior. According to the article, it is important to focus on an audience’s behaviors instead of their attitudes. To recap, social identities are a person’s sense of who they are based on their group memberships. For example, a person shopping at an athletic store may have the social identities of an athlete, a sports fan, and someone who makes healthy life choices. In order to appeal to specific customers, a brand’s identity and message needs to reflect the social identities of those customers. In other words, for your brand to be successful in reaching a particular social identity (or new customer) your message needs to reinforce the way these customers view themselves.
Start asking them questions. Want to know what customers think about you? Ask them! Customer feedback is the best way to find out what you’re doing right, and what you’re doing wrong. Businesses can ask customers about their experience with surveys, follow-up emails or causal conversation. However, some of the best feedback can be found on social media. Customers love to communicate with brands on social platforms, so pay attention to what they are saying about you. Be sure to always respond to their questions, comments and complaints. Not only does this show you care, but also it could inspire more people to chime in and provide their feedback!
Have you changed your brand strategy because of your customers’ social identities? I’d love to hear how this has worked for your business in the comments below!