On Compartments

In her blog What's Your Brand Mantra?, Jennifer Rice comments on the Ad:Tech presentation given by Samsung Electronics' Peter Weedvald. She criticizes the company's approach to targeting its customers based on where they are — home, work, mobile — versus who they are.

Samsung can't forget that John is still John, regardless of where he may be. John doesn't become an unfeeling robot when he walks through the door of his office every morning and make decisions on facts alone. Think about who your customers are, regardless of what product they use during what hours of the day. Get out of the weeds of features/benefits and talk to them like the real people they are. Earn their trust. Be likable. If you sell 'business-world' and 'home-world' products or services, stop compartmentalizing: it's quite likely that the very same customers purchase both.

Rice's entry reminds me of Margaret Heffernan's recent Online Insights column, which addresses the same issue from a slightly different angle.

Of all the issues I've discussed with managers and employees around the world, the most painful and persistent is the acute conflict they sense between who they feel themselves to be on the inside and who they present on the outside. Steve does what many people do: compartmentalizes his life. He has a work self and what he thinks of as his true self, carefully locked away from each other.

They three pieces make interesting parallel reads. How can companies best target potential customers regardless of where they are? Do you bring your true self to work? Do you make work decisions differently than you do home decisions — regardless of whether they're purchase decisions? How compartmentalized is your approach to business — with yourself, as well as with others?

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