The Specific Methodology

Working with Adam – marketing, branding and strategy consulting

The Specific methodology

People take in information differently than ever. With so much coming at us, our minds are full of information and brands that want in. We need solutions to problems, on demand. We don’t need more brand attributes to memorize. And with so many sources of media, we couldn’t if we were even interested. The path to growth for global brands has changed, yet they cling to 100-year-old brands as examples of how to reach us today. Branding today takes today’s mindset.

The Specific Methodology is based on 25 years of marketing and strategy success and the theory presented in Adam’s second book, Specific.


The world has changed. Media has changed. Brands can learn more from observing pop culture. But not just keeping up with the latest trending topics. Understanding why memes travel, why we love hit songs. How we choose movies to watch. To do this, brands need to speak to their very best customer. Even a message sent en masse has to appeal to a small number of people, even under optimal conditions. A brand talking in the right way to their specific customer can improve their odds for growth. The Specific Methodology applies lessons from pop culture strategically to inform brand, design, product, mythology, emotion, price, service and media.

If we can’t identify the specific people we’re serving, how can we make choices that will please them? Mature companies create and market their offering to an audience they identified in the past. Trends change, markets change, people change. Companies with both new and established benefit from confirming the audience they seek and their customers are one in the same.

Every great story has an audience. Who is yours?

Most companies start with an overly wide funnel, trying to build for a broad, general audience. A company becomes a brand when it makes a promise. A promise is intimate. The companies that believe they can shout a tagline to millions and call it a promise don’t win true specific customers. If you can’t define what makes your audience distinctive, how do you expect they describe your brand? The customers you know and are able to communicate with–with specificity–are your best customers. The future of your brand. 


Loyalty has limits.

Knowing who you are reaching, and who is converting helps in two major ways. First, better understanding of the best customer means refining elements of your promise to build loyalty, accelerating the purchase cycle and increasing customer lifetime value. You will continue to make and keep promises that matter. Second, knowing what jobs today’s best customer chooses you for helps create variations of your offering for other prospects. Create a model for adding other specific audiences who share similar, but divergent, interests and use cases. 


The Specific Methodology is grounded in three beliefs: 


When we understand your best customers and what motivates them, we can identify new problems you can solve for them. In the same way we’re able to finish our partner’s sentences, the brand should complete thoughts for the customer.

Track the numbers to know your audience
Comb the context to create personas


Understand exactly what our best customers choose and how they interact with us, and gain insight into improving their experience and recruiting more like them. We use past patterns and trends to plan for everything from traffic to weather. Why not apply the same thinking to growth and user experience? 


Only when you understand the nuanced spaces between these people and your offerings can you compel them to choose your brand. By understanding the lay of the land, we can chart the best course to your best customers.

Know the terrain to map your plan for growth

Positioning your brand, and your offerings in the marketplace are made up of three factors. Who is your target customer; what do they seek to replace in their lives; what is the benefit they find most meaningful? The information to reveal all of this and plan for it has never been more available. The Specific Methodology takes into account the modern media environment to deliver behavior and preferences that separate your best customers from the “prospects” that will never choose you.

Track the numbers

First we examine any internal data you collect. Sales data, web analytics, platform information, retailer insights, primary research. We analyze all of the information to find patterns about discovery and salience of your offering that may not have been visible in real time. From fresh eyes, come new insights. Our team researches partners, competitors and indirect threats and opportunities. In some cases, the assumed customer is confirmed. Often a new segment is revealed either as a better customer or with potential worth investigating.

Context combing

Next we explore everything there is to know about the customer segment that makes up your best group. We match them against a collection of data bases, tools and potentially conduct new research with your team to learn about the context of their lives. By learning the choices they make in media, hobbies and other, adjacent and non-adjacent categories, we learn how they think. What about them besides their most recent purchase tells us how they choose, and why they chose your product? 

Environmental trend scan

Finally, we search the spaces between your best customer and your category to make the vague specific. We use a combination of cutting edge tools and secret shopper approaches to understand how someone moves from passive consumer to prospect. How is the category reaching them? How do they learn about the category antes and differences? What resources do they use to investigate and make a selection? The environmental trend scan follows the prospect from awareness to interest and desire through action across media, physical spaces, decision influencers and the web.

Once we’ve quickly completed this work, we triangulate all the data. We provide guidance to employ the detailed understanding of your customer, leveraging the gaps left by your competitors to achieve the goals of your organization. 

Sound like the Specific Methodology could be the help you’ve been looking for? Reach out using the form, or email Adam directly to learn more.

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Learn more about Adam Pierno’s experience creating strategy for brands.

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