Brand Perception: Nature or Nurture?

by Dana Detrick-Clark

Brand Perception: Nature or Nurture

A family member of mine was in need of a plumber. They’d sprung a drippy leak under their sink, and finding the right professional to get the job done quickly was suddenly a very high priority.

In trying to be helpful, I came up with what the obvious hot buttons were: capable, reliable, available. Saw a commercial for a city-wide outfit that hit all of them: were extremely experienced, recommended, and had enough trucks on the road that certainly, someone could help in a flash. I immediately let my relative know that the perfect plumber was just a phone call away.

But no! He had absolutely no clue why I thought that company would be a good choice. In his mind, lots of locations and plumbers meant big overhead (which would be charged back to him); no BBB or Angie’s List rating could top having a listing in the trusty Yellow Pages; and the proper measure of capability would come in finding the oldest plumber in the list.

Why so different?

Where we have this shared familial background that should really, in theory, have delivered the same list of demographic-driven requirements, we’ve instead been influenced by our individual experiences and attitudes. I find comfort in a solid brand with a large crew and a predictable sales process, while those things put his hackles up about added costs and impersonal service.

Demographics versus Psychographics

This is why when I am collecting data about my clients and prospects, I rely more on psychographic information than demographic information. Psychographics are those things that make us individuals; the ideas, interests, attitudes, and lifestyle choices that are our essence. In another way, demographics are what we are, but psychographics are who we are.

Many of my clients and prospects share common demographic information. It’s in really digging deep (through surveys, one-on-one contact, and networking through social media), that I find out a lot more about how they tick. This helps me gauge more about their personal choices, what drives them, and ultimately, what motivates them to work with me.

What does this have to do with your brand?

Keep this in mind when you are presenting your brand to the world. You may think you’ve got your demographic figured out, but like me at times, learn that what you think someone in their position would choose isn’t in line with their decision making process at all. Ask questions, really hone in on them personally, not just their vital statistics. Only then will you be able to fix those “leaks” that will help your brand be their number one go-to.

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Dana Detrick-Clark has made it her mission to help creatives and small businesses like you broaden their reach in less time and with less effort. How does she do that? By providing premium content, creative consulting, and marketing confidence. Contact her today at

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  1. […] because what you’re already posting is appealing to them. And if you know your audience on a psychographic level, you’ve created those posts for that purpose! Don’t second guess your […]

  2. […] our ideal client’s psychographic aspects specifically match up with our personal crusades, we’re likely speaking to an […]

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