• Emily Malone

Trend for the New Year: Post-Demographic Imperatives

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

The new norm: H&M-owned womenswear brand & Other Stories cast transgender models in a campaign for its August 2015 collection. Members of the campaign’s creative team are also transgender.

Post-Demographic Imperatives.

People of all markets and ages are creating their own identities more freely than ever. Assumptions of demographics have been shattered. Hell, it’s the end of 2015, are you even surprised?

Today, you need to acknowledge and embrace the growing number of new technologies, the widespread global urbanisation, and the expectation that everyone should be empowered to live in any way they’d like.

This basically means you shouldn’t make assumptions based on age, sex, gender, sexuality or ethnicity in your marketing. Nope, not even a little bit.

It’s time to think outside the box. In fact, it’s imperative.

The fact is, people celebrate brands that empower them to realise their aspirations. So, if your business does something as simple as paying attention to a section of society that’s often overlooked, it can make a huge impact.

Now you need to use the power of new technologies, handle the rising expectations of urbanites, and empower those who haven’t yet been able to pursue their identity as freely as others.

“Everyone’s instinct was, ‘Yeah, if you find out their age and gender data, that’s fantastic’. But what we learned is: it’s almost useless…”“…it’s not who they are in a superficial sense – like gender, age, even geography. It’s not even what they tell you. It’s what they do.” Todd Yellin VP of Product Innovation, Netflix

Leading examples:

Taste-led targeting

Taste-led targeting draws on people’s habits and interests rather than their external appearances. For example, what they follow socially, or their music, film and book tastes. Digital music service, Spotify, do this quite well.


Spotify deliver weekly custom-made playlists for each individual user. They use Spotify users’ previous song choices to find tracks that may have been played by others with similar taste. For example, that’s a snippet of my recommended this week!

Post-demographic empowerment


For Amsterdam’s Gay Pride Canal Parade, Dutch telecom provider KPN created a canal boat carrying 360-degree cameras that live streamed the event to the Pridestream site. This was so that the 67,984 gay individuals from 128 repressive countries could participate and “experience the freedom of being your true self”. People who were remotely participating in the parade were able to share their own videos displayed on the side of the canal boat.

Post-demographic ‘Citysumers’

‘CITYSUMERS | The hundreds of millions (and growing!) of experienced and sophisticated urbanites*, from San Francisco to Shanghai to São Paulo, who are ever more demanding and more open-minded, but also more proud, more connected, more spontaneous and more try-out-prone, eagerly snapping up a whole host of new urban goods, services, experiences, campaigns and conversations.’ – TrendWatching

In June 2015, Public Transport Victoria installed interactive billboards in train stations around Melbourne, Australia. Commuters were given the opportunity to donate to the homeless youth charity, Ladder, by using their public transport card. By tapping the digital screen with their card, the value of an individual ticket was sent directly to the charity.

Persona-liaison of web content 

Thanks to HubSpot’s personalisation tool, we can create pages that are unique to our users and personas. If a visitor has submitted a form with their name and how they identify in their job role, they can get a thank you page that’s tailored to their specific role. This also helps us understand each individual visitor better, and build our content around what’s helpful to their career.

Embrace the post-demographic reality of today, treat your customers like the extraordinary, complex, multi-faceted people that they are. Not only do they increasingly demand it, but they deserve it too.