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Visualising Consumer Segmentations

[Monthly Dose of Design] How to use interpretive visualisation to enhance consumer segmentation and audience understanding.

In last month’s Monthly Dose of Design, we discussed how to create visually impactful infographics. This month, we look at how you can creatively enhance your consumer segmentations.

It’s crucial for brands to hav­e a thorough understanding of their target consumer segments. The better brands understand them, the more effective marketing and communications can be.

At Northstar, we believe that to truly understand the character, nuances and demographics of your client’s target consumer segment, the key is to bring them to life via interpretive visualisation. If your client can look at their target consumer every day in their office, then they have a better chance of understanding their needs and being able to meet them.

To help bring target consumer segments to life, there are three components to consider:

Visualise Laterally

Caption: ‘Generation Z’ consumer avatar, housing and environment example.

To really dig deep and understand target consumer segments, you need to portray more than their physical appearance. Instead of just thinking about their physical nature, think about the world around them. Where do they live or travel to? What do they enjoy doing? What do they eat? Illustrate the type of home they would live in, their pets and possessions. This gives your client a 360 view – and greater understanding – of the consumer segment they are looking at creating an in-depth personality for.

Providing your client with a visually immersive environment, where they can better emphasise with the personality of the segment, allows them to understand the target segment much better and even help them connect the segments with themselves or people they know.

Brand The Consumer

Most businesses usually have more than one target consumer segment. To visually distinguish between the different segments and elevate them within a business, you can individually brand each one by allocating different logos, colour palettes and typefaces.

This is useful in long-term consumer listening projects, as you are using the design aesthetics of each segment as a shorthand in project collateral. By creating a distinct image, clients can use the consumer branding as visual signposting.

Consumer Logos

Start by creating a logo for each segment, using distinct typography, imagery and colour. You can choose to have your consumer logos either entirely different or have them in a consistent style under an umbrella project brand.

Caption (left): ‘Generation Z’ consumer logo example.

Colour Palettes

Colour is a great visual device to differentiate each segment. It can be applied to all collaterals, from the logo to secondary graphics like consumer environment illustrations. When applying the segment colours, make sure to use them sparingly as accent colours to highlight key areas. While accent colours help differentiate between segments, it is also important to have characters having one consistent colour amongst themselves. This allows consistency between themselves and to tie it back to the branding of the entire project.

Caption: Example colour palette for the ‘Generation Z’ consumer segmentation.

Typefaces

Typefaces are great at bringing to life the personality of each segment. There are multiple typefaces from script to condensed to handwritten. Again, if you’re using a different typeface for each segment, remember that less is more. Try to only use bespoke typefaces for the segment branding as it will be illegible as body text.

Caption: Example type testing for the ‘Generation Z’ consumer segmentation branding.

Consider Your Format

Different mediums are appropriate for different projects. Therefore, to communicate your target consumer segment in an effective and engaging manner, you should pick the right format.

Consumer Avatars

These should be the minimum for bringing your segmentations to life. Think about target consumer segment’s physical features as well as their body language. As previously mentioned, to enhance your visualisation, illustrate other aspects of the segments lives.

Infographics

To communicate quantitative data in an exciting and engaging manner, infographics are effective. The benefit is that they can easily be shared within a business, both physically and digitally. When visualising your segmentation data, think creatively and see if the data lends itself to be visualised in a more illustrative manner and can communicate more about target consumers.

Animation

Target consumer animations are perfect for communicating consumer nuances, personalities and behavioural trends. They allow you to communicate subtle traits which isn’t possible in a still image.

Video

A video is the ideal format for qualitatively visualising segmentations. Even more so if you’d like to highlight key consumer mindsets and have video footage to support your insights. They are great at communicating lots of information quickly, especially to busy senior stakeholders. Try to keep your videos between 2-4 minutes long, depending on how much you are communicating.

3D Segment Visualisation

The ultimate way to bring your target consumer segment to life is to physically re-create objects and personal items. Gather physical possessions that a consumer in the segment would typically own and try to recreate elements of their lives. This could be the type of wardrobe they would own with their style of clothing inside or recreate their living room and have your clients walk around and engage with the setup.  Life size portraits can also be introduced and setup in a style of an exhibition.

In next Month’s Monthly Dose of Design, we will talk about how to brand your projects.

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