By Ellie Richards

Do you know your customers and what drives them to purchase?

Whether shopping in store or online, its less likely that you as a customer have gone shopping for a specific piece with a brand in mind. Many of us find pleasure in stumbling across a great find, going from desire to purchase, but once found researching can be a large part of the purchase. Based on customer profiling, we can see that there is a big difference in the way individuals go about their purchase, being either considered, looking elsewhere for a cheaper price, sale or second hand option, or being impulsive, and snapping a quick buy to indulge in the excitement of a new garment or object. Many retailers as part of their marketing strategy, will use consumer profiling and a grading system based off of their target market to promote their product as either an impulse buy or something more considered. This also means looking at the intent behind the purchase, is it a practical item or something to show off the consumer’s esteem and image of themselves. The “cult of instagram” relies heavily on expensive impulse buys to create an online persona that many others aspire to. So how exactly are companies using profiling to position their brands and make the most profit from their consumers?

Consumer profiling is something any brand must consider when opening up into a particular market. There is no point advertising luxury store openings next to inexpensive throw-away retail stores, that’s not where your target market will be. Multi retailers will use a national grading system, which analyses the average income of locals within a postcode to see if that fits with their price tags. Luxury brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada for example have stores within Harrods, a designer retailer positioned in Knightsbridge. They also have stand along shops on Bond Street. These areas in London are known for their “upper class” residents/customers, who would normally shop for brands that are expensive. The National Readership Survey has gathered statistics on media audiences to categorise the socio-economic status of individuals depending on their age, gender, religious views and income. While demonisation of “lower classes” and the “class system” in general is a political topic, this is something that marketers need to consider when locating, for the best profit area. The ABC grading system classes employment job roles, with A being Upper Class high earners, and E being the Lowest level of income earners, students, pensioners. Creating consumer profiles for your brand is essential so you can understand who your target market is, what they like and don’t, how much expendable income they have, where they’d like to shop, how they feel and what they would find interesting. It creates a ‘persona’ that you can effectively communicate with to your target demographic and get the most sales. Doing this is easier than you think, there are many templates online to follow.

Firstly, you need to determine exactly what your end goal is, are you promoting a new product, launching a website or branching out to a new audience? Identifying exactly what you’re after is the best way to figure out who you need to target to accomplish this. Next, research. Analyse what type of person you need to communicate with, to find how you can communicate with them. This means creating a “profile”, start with a name, and give examples of age, demographic, gender, nationality, religion, income, psychographics. This needs to be in-depth enough that you can name certain brands that they would already be consumers of, think their attitudes, inspirations, habits, behaviour, values and even geographical location. The idea is to create a realistic image and personality that fits your branding, and how this person would be receptive to your marketing (design this around their attributes). You may have such a broad target market that multiple personas and profiles must be made, then referenced in your marketing strategy, e.g “how would Hannah feel about personalised mailing lists?”, “would Dan be more likely to see online advertisement than on a billboard?”.  Imagine you are talking directly to these people and the final personas are representative of your target audience.

Depending on your objectives, you may find that you have to create a large spectrum of profiles, or just one niche audience that fits. On one side, many brands are dismissing national class surveys and focusing on ageless, limitless marketing for everyone. Through a generational flip of liberalism, ages of 18-80 can become irrelevant, and is now more focused on attitude, where they spend their free time and what they find interesting. One prime example of ageless authenticity and style can be seen by @baddiewinkle ’s instagram profile. She’s 90 years old, living her best life. From sporting the new Fenty lingerie set, riding helicopters and a Stash App promo codes, her 3.8 million followers prove that your attitude, style and passion disrupts any age boundaries brands may have tried to force on her. Many Baby Boomers have become the biggest appreciates for luxury fashion, with high incomes making them a powerful consumer group. Try searching “advanced styles” for more info.

For other brands, there may be a singular personality type that will attract customers. The biggest example of this in the younger generation is In recent years, with the athleisure trend booming in business, skateboarding “indie brands” have seen massive profits. These brands are seen as comfy athleisure, however edgy “streetwear”. These styles are often mixed in with designer pieces, the most notable brands being, Supreme (who has a recent collaboration with Louis Vuitton) and Palace (as seen on many celebs including Kylie Jenner).  Consumers of streetwear style will generally be young, 16-25, that listen to a particular type of music, have a creative lifestyle and skillset, living in an urban environment, and are well versed on social media. This massive trend of streetwear style has created the “hypebeast/hypebae” cult, heavily based on a website/forum/community called, The Basement. On here, streetwear enthusiasts can connect, talk about new releases, discuss what’s going on in the community and find unique opportunities to locate and purchase “rare” items. Often resellers will use these forums to find buyers for items they resell, where there lies a huge profit margin. As selected pieces become so hard to purchase with sell out records in seconds, individuals can resell an £120 pair of trainers for over a grand, for example every Off-White Virgil Abloh x Adidas trainer release to date. This community has a powerful consumer base.

The Hypebeast/Hypebae example brings us back to consumer types. Many people will buy products for the specific aesthetic and connotations that come along with that particular item. Many “hypebeasts/hypebaes” have incurred mass followings on social media by posting one or two items in the newest release every other week, and have since moved onto brand deals, paid advertisement and collaborations with some of the biggest names in design and music. Never underestimate a “wear once” shopper. If you can promote yourself and your products as something that one of these individuals deems desirable then their large audiences will in turn, find it desirable. In the other direction, your target market may not be as active on social media, perhaps more closed, private. These are all personality traits that you must consider when formulating your consumer profile and marketing to your customers.


  • Consumer profiles are the best way to figure out who your target customer is, how they act and what they would find interesting. Multiple personas may help you create a more general marketing campaign if that fits your brand goals.
  • Once you have this, you can determine the best way to communicate with these personas, how they would engage as consumers and what peaks their interests.
  • Take time to research your target group, see what brands they are already consumers of and how those brands have effectively marketed to your audience.
  • Many people will start their business spending all their time, energy and resources on producing their collections and products, without a second thought to who they will sell to, brand foundations and marketing. Make sure you always consider the customer, have a budget for marketing, this is as important as the product!

If you liked this blog, you might be interested to read about Brand Building in the Digital Era?