Make Your Consumer Real, Not Ideal

Make Your Consumer Real, Not Ideal

Lindsay Connors

Meet Audrey.

She’s a 33-year-old marketing director making $120,000 per year in a coastal city. She’s recently married and a proud dog mom (and hopefully human mom soon)! Audrey loves yoga, caring for her mental health, and spending time with friends. She is a smart consumer, looking to balance her everyday healthy diet with occasional treats. She loves the way great food makes her feel and will invest when she believes in the benefit.

If Audrey seems too good to be true, it's because she is.

At Moxie Sozo, we build a lot of personas. In fact, we co-create a consumer persona with every single client. It’s an exercise that we love to do, because it gets us to imagine our true consumer. Even when clients come to us with a segmentation performed, we still build a persona together. Why? Because we learn so much more by pushing our consumer out of the ideal and into the real. 

Our love for our products, and genuine love for our customers, sometimes obfuscates the real reasons people buy. And survey and focus group respondents often don’t answer accurately, for both intentional and subconscious reasons. What we’re left with is an overly-optimistic idea of our consumer that doesn’t help us develop brands that serve them.


At the end of the day, there are only a few emotions that drive people to buy, and they are not pretty: 




We see a lot of products, and I hate to break it to our clients, but not all of them are purchased out of altruism. 

At the psychological level, most people are buying to relieve emotional tension with a little hit of dopamine. When we assume that our consumer is buying from a place of self-actualization, we miss the whole consumer and we fail to connect with them.  

That’s why I always joke that you don’t really know your persona until they annoy you just a little bit. 


Here’s a more honest assessment of Audrey: 

Meet Audrey, a 33-year-old marketing manager. After three years of doing her job at home with her husband, she’s not sure she likes either. In her daily hours of social media scrolling, she follows self care content that has influenced her to adopt new habits. Audrey loves sharing this new-found peace: her occasional hot yoga, green smoothies, and journaling dominate her feed, giving the impression of a woman much more content than she totally is. But, creating and sharing this personal brand gives her a sense of identity, purpose, and pride.

Rather than serving the mythical Audrey, let’s meet her here, comforting her with a brand that she can post about, talk about, and project. Like all of us, Audrey lives in confusing times. See her for who she is. Let her have something beautiful.