Know Thy Patron—Strategy Series Part Two

Marketing to a consumer group

This article is the second of a 5-part series about Vigor’s strategic framework. Read part one here.

Imagine you’ve been dating someone special for a few months. Things are going great. The two of you are on an idyllic date at the county fair when your significant other drops a bomb: their parents have invited you to dinner. You’ve never met before.

No problem, you think. You’ll just bring a thoughtful gift to make a great first impression. Hoping to get some intel, you casually ask your date other to tell you a bit about their parents. Then this happens:

“My mom is female, caucasian, between the ages of 45 and 65. Some college education. My dad is male, latino, between the ages of 45 and 65. Bachelor’s degree or higher. Together, they have three kids and a household income between $75,000 and $150,000.”

“Am I dating a robot?” You ask yourself. Intent on not spoiling your date, you play it cool and pretend that wasn’t weird.


Fortunately, you make famously good chocolate peanut-butter cookies, and basically everybody loves cookies. No problem.

Except there’s a problem. You don’t discover the problem until later, when your date’s mom, after her first bite of your famous cookies, asks, “do these have peanuts in them?”

“Jif extra creamy!” You grin. But she isn’t grinning. She’s making oddest expression you’ve ever seen. Sort of pouty. No, puffy. Swollen!

Rather than impressing your date’s mom, you get to watch your date stab her with an epipen. Everything blows over, including your relationship.


The problem wasn’t with the cookies. They really were delicious. It was that you didn’t know anything useful about who you were making them for.

That’s exactly the predicament of brand owners who know some things about their patron, but don’t actually know their patron.

Let’s rewind the tape. This time, when you ask your date to tell you about their parents, they reply:

“My mom’s name is Barbara. She’s a little shy but the quintessential adventurer—that’s how she met my dad, backpacking in Costa Rica. He was her guide. They travelled a lot before having me and my sisters. My dad, Martin, is really creative. He’s a studio photographer. Oh yeah, and my mom is super allergic to peanuts.”

Now you know something useful. You show up with tamales and flan. It reminds your date’s parents of their travels together. Nobody gets stabbed. Your love flourishes.

Whether your own a restaurant, franchise brand, beverage brand, or hotel, knowing your patron means knowing a real human being, not just some stats. Having this knowledge can mean the difference between major brand blunders and winning undying loyalty. That’s why, once we’ve established a brand’s position, we create a named, living, breathing Patron with goals, challenges, and interests. Know they position. Know they patron.

Step three is coming soon, and it’s all about knowing thy Personality.

Suggested Reading

Subject Matter Expertise

Leading the restaurant industry with branding and marketing expertise

Sign up for monthly insights