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Finding your ideal client, the Hollywood way

A few days ago, I came across a headline in the Huffington Post about Extreme Method Actors. (You can see that article here.) A few of its eery images grabbed my eye and so I could not resist to read the whole blog post.

When I scrolled through the list of the 15 described, I thought to myself, “Wow, these are actually some amazing actors.”  Marlon Brando, Dustin Hoffman, Christian Bale, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix… it’s a pretty phenomenal list.

There must be something to this method acting, right?

A few days later, I was working over Skype with a brand client of mine. I always give brand clients homework to help them identify their ideal client. When she returned her homework to me, it occurred to me that while she might know WHO her ideal client is, she really has no idea WHAT her real client is, or HOW they live. She was basically creating a script that anyone could fill, aka “B List Actors,” NOT her ideal client.

Remembering this Huffington Post article, I now had a context to help her wrap her head around it.

“Method Act the client,” I told her.

“Say wha?” she said.

I explained the Huffington Post article. I described  how some of the greatest Oscar-winning talents that we know do so, because they have a full understanding of what they need to serve us as an audience. Then, I helped her get more in detail about this ideal client. Let’s call this fictitious character client, “Diane.”

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Our hypothetical beautiful Ms. “Diane”

I asked some very key questions about Diane to push it further. Then I told her to create a Pinterest board of Diane to visually understand her too.

  • What does she look like?
  • What kind of car does she drive?
  • Is she married?
  • Does she have kids?
  • What does she look like?
  • What kind of home does she live in?
  • What does her décor look like?
  • What’s Diane’s favorite color? Favorite Music? Does she like to read?
  • What does her life look like (immaculate house; disorganized mess; carpooling the kids; traveling the globe;)
  • What does she do in her spare time? (goes to the spa/massage; works out; shops; lunches with friends)
  • What worries Diane?
  • What is she very confident about?
  • What are Diane’s shopping habits? What stores does she shop in?
  • Does Diane exercise? Where does she work out?

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Armed with these answers (and a lovely Pinterest board), an ideal client description should look something like this: 

Diane is 40+ a very successful career woman and a Mom.

Diane works at a large Fortune 500 Company as a Senior Account Executive. She is accomplished in her own right and her career has been on a fast track for many years. She takes amazing care of herself…she is beautiful in a natural sort of way. She is very fit, well groomed. Diane attends the gym daily when she’s not traveling or being a Mom to her son, and she attends yoga or pilates. She runs the occasional 5K road race.

She seems practical in nature, but also owns expensive items like designer shoes, handbags and designer label clothes. She is subtle in taste, not at all flashy or brand conscious, but she wears designer labels because she appreciates the quality and fit. She is considered very elegant at work. Her husband Tim also has a career, but he adores her….she’s his queen and he’s extremely proud of her accomplishments. It may be her first or second marriage. She works in NYC or locally here in NJ and is a highly accomplished professional. She shops in large stores… Nordstroms, Bergdorff Goodman, Lord & Taylor, Saks, and stores like G (locally). She has a hard time balancing her commitment to her job and her family… she struggles with this often. On the weekends, Diane really veggies out and relaxes to unwind from the week. This is her time for family. She takes days off occasionally to go to the spa and stylist. Or, just a mental health day. She is quiet and refined, and sometimes considered an introvert. She has many close friends, but because she enjoys her downtime she sees them on special occasions or dinner dates they set up. Her friends are lifelong friends from college, high school, childhood… she is loyal and true. Her friends come from all walks of life… some are very wealthy, some are modest and none of this makes a difference. They are who they are. This is not a woman who brags or talks about her accomplishments or money. She is just content with who she is and where she is at this point in her life. She is comfortable celebrating her accomplishments but maybe is a little wary of showing off her sexy side.

OK, it does seem extreme, I’ll admit. Why would we possibly need to know all this about Diane?  Let’s take it a step further. I am loving Diane now, so will hereby refer to this as my “Hollywood Method” and break down our method acting here:

Diane works at a large Fortune 500 Company as a Senior Account Executive > DIANE WILL BE SAVVY AND NEEDS SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD NO HASSLE SERVICE.

She takes amazing care of herself…she is beautiful in a natural sort of way. She is very fit, well groomed. Diane attends the gym daily when she’s not traveling or being a Mom to her son, and she attends yoga or pilates. She runs the occasional 5K road race. > I CAN FIND LOTS OF DIANE’S AT THE LOCAL PILATES CENTER. I CAN APPEAL TO HER HARD WORK OF HER PHYSIQUE.

She seems practical in nature, but also owns expensive items like designer shoes, handbags and designer label clothes. She is subtle in taste, not at all flashy or brand conscious, but she wears designer labels because she appreciates the quality and fit. > DIANE WILL APPRECIATE QUALITY AND I CAN MARKET MY FINE ART LINE.

Her husband Tim also has a career, but he adores her….she’s his queen and he’s extremely proud of her accomplishments. > I CAN INVITE TIM TO JOIN HER AT THE VIEWING SESSION, HE MIGHT WANT TO BUY MORE FOR HER.

She has a hard time balancing her commitment to her job and her family… she struggles with this often. On the weekends, Diane really veggies out and relaxes to unwind from the week. This is her time for family. > TO APPEAL TO DIANE’S, I NEED TO HAVE WEEKDAY SESSIONS AND REALLY NEED TO ACCOMMODATE HER ON A “MENTAL HEALTH DAY” FROM HER OFFICE.

She has many close friends, but because she enjoys her downtime she sees them on special occasions or dinner dates they set up. Her friends are lifelong friends from college, high school, childhood… she is loyal and true. > DIANE HAS CLOSE FRIENDS THAT SHE CONFIDES IN AND WOULD BE LIKELY TO SHARE THESE PICTURES, I SHOULD OFFER HER REFERRAL CARDS, STICKY ALBUMS AND MORE INCENTIVES TO DO SO TO GET REFFERALS.

She is just content with who she is and where she is at this point in her life. > SHE WILL NOT BE FURTHR IMPRESSED WITH BELLS & WHISTLES. SHE CAN SMELL BULLSHIT. I NEED TO APPEAL TO HER INTELLIGENCE AND EXPECTATIONS OF SERVICE.

She is comfortable celebrating her accomplishments but maybe is a little wary of showing off her sexy side. > I WILL NEED TO CRAFT LANGUAGE THAT ASSURES WOMEN LIKE DIANE THAT THIS WILL BE A PRIVATE, COMFORTABLE EXPERIENCE.

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See how method acting can be beneficial? NOW, go make yourself an ideal client, and Meryl Streep it. Boom! Golden statue.

 

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