To help ensure that you are targeting and communicating to the right audience, most valuable to your company and brand, it is important to create a remarkable brand experience journey through the eyes of your T.E.A.M. players.

There are 4 different types of T.E.A.M. players that can make up your brand community. T.E.A.M stands for: Thrift, Emotional, Adventure, and Mission, all of which denote different categories of consumers that must be understood properly when communicating and developing your brand.

T.E.A.M stands for: Thrift, Emotional, Adventure, and Mission, all of which denote different categories of consumers that must be understood properly when communicating and developing your brand.

  1. Thrift T.E.A.M. players are customers who have a transactional outlook when doing business and do not seek any ‘extras’; they are looking for a good financial deal. Companies in this segment are working with low margins and regard the product/service in question as of low strategic importance. This target audience is most often driven by tight budgets.
  2. Emotional T.E.A.M. players are much more experiential customers and seek to become highly involved in the culture of your business. They are inspired to purchase sometimes solely by the experience your business or product offers them and the relationships they build with your internal team and your brand. These customers want to feel special.
  3. Adventure T.E.A.M. players may know their needs, but they don’t mind relying on the experts as guides for purchases and are often open to new products and services recommended to them. It is critical that the marketer demonstrates a high level of expertise in all interactions with this target audience. Even though they can be risk takers, they seek trust, reliability and regard the supplier as a strategic partner.
  4. Mission T.E.A.M. players are your low value, low risk customers. There is little financial or personal risk involved in getting the decision wrong, meaning that relatively little thought goes into the decision. They are focused on you removing any frustration or anxiety associated with their transaction. Time is also a factor for this target audience, leaving them unable to rationally decide between different options.

All customers, including those within complex decision-making units, will eventually arrive at the decision point. It is about improving the transaction experience and engaging each customer at the right level. Making the process simple and unique while offering the right experiences, for lead brand community ’T.E.A.M. players’, deemed most important to your business, is of the upmost importance. Think about which target best aligns with why your company exists and with the benefits that your products or services offer.

Think about which target best aligns with why your company exists and with the benefits that your products or services offer.

For all businesses, the goal of communicating with your audience is to create conversations about your product or service that build remarkable brand experiences and engagement. This is done by solving a rational problem and/or connecting with their emotional needs. Don’t forget, depending on the need or want they are looking to satisfy on their journey, the T.E.A.M. player or approach to completing their transaction can change.

T.E.A.M Players in Action: Examples

Here are some examples of four common business models based on targeting these types of T.E.A.M. players:

Winning through cost: Thrift player focus

Focus on operational excellence to offer a combination of fair quality, price and ease of purchase that no one else in your market can match. Don’t worry about innovation, just execute extraordinarily well, guarantee low prices, standardize and simplify.

Examples of companies:

Wal-Mart, Costco

Winning through customer intimacy: Emotional player focus  

Cultivate close and long term customer relationships, be sure to gather an intimate knowledge of customer requirements. Create dependency through customized service and support while focusing on customer retention and satisfaction.

Examples of companies:

Starbucks, Virgin Airlines, Lululemon

Winning through performance products and service: Adventure player focus

Innovate and develop products and/or services that push performance boundaries. Often, it is the little things that count when offering a remarkable brand experience that no one else can rival. Develop the capability of speed to market and be relentless in making your own products and/or services evolve a step ahead of your customers’ wants and needs. Invent, develop and market – fast!

Example of companies:

Apple, Amazon

Winning through convenience: Mission player focus

Cater to a low value, low risk brand community. There is little financial or business risk involved, meaning that relatively little thought goes into the decision to buy your product or service.  Customers make quick decisions and they just need you to quickly solve their problem.

Examples of companies:

AM/PM, Shell, 7/11, Staples

Communicating the “Why” to You Audience

No matter which model you best match up with, it is just as important that you communicate the “why” behind your business as the “what and how” you do it.

No matter which model you best match up with, it is just as important that you communicate the “why” behind your business as the “what and how” you do it.

Wal-Mart is a great example of incorporating the “why” in their approach to the winning through cost model. In 2007, when they changed their slogan and four-word mission statement to “Save money. Live better.” they went beyond the rational side of saving money and connected with the emotional side. The reason ‘why’ they do what they do is answered by “Live Better.”  In some of their early ads they show what people can do with the $2,500 a year, they save by shopping at Wal-Mart, backed up by a rational study done by Global Insight.

Dropping their old slogan of “Always Low Prices.” Wal-Mart was able to change their story with their customers and connect on a more emotional level, at a time when Wal-Mart was getting a lot of flack for whether they were good or bad for the economy. It doesn’t mean that just by changing a slogan that now everyone will magically like Wal-Mart but what it does help showcase, is that by tapping into the emotional side of even the most transactional type of customer, you can have great results.

Targeting and communicating well with the right T.E.A.M. of brand advocates is the start of building a cult following. “Cult” here refers to a group of brand advocates that have developed an irrational loyalty to your brand and actually want to help you grow and spread the word. Doesn’t every business want that?

Targeting and communicating well with the right T.E.A.M. of brand advocates is the start of building a cult following. “Cult” here refers to a group of brand advocates that have developed an irrational loyalty to your brand and actually want to help you grow and spread the word. Doesn’t every business want that?

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