What RuPaul taught me about avatars

RuPaul is wise. RuPaul is an oracle in glitter and heals, serving you looks and insight. 

Avatars are popular for a reason. The theory goes that when you understand your target customer and create an avatar for them, you can speak directly to this prospect. You define their personality and their pain points. You fill in the details of their life from demographics to where they shop, what car they drive, and what they dream about.

Most copywriting advice tells you to write to one person because if you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.

Enter RuPaul to disrupt the longheld tradition of customer avatars with a poignant statement on identity:

“You know, the matrix says, ‘Pick an identity and stick with it. Because I want to sell you some beer and shampoo, and I need you to stick with what you are so I’ll know how to market it to you.’ Drag is the opposite. Drag says, ‘Identity is a joke.’”

Identity is an ever-changing thing. As people grow, evolve, get new hobbies, and drop old patterns, their needs, desires, and problems change — and so do their buying habits. 

It’s convenient to put people in boxes and pin them down based on who they are.

But how do you manage this when people are multi-passionate and don’t fall into one category? 

The maximalist of yesterday may suddenly take up minimalism. The bacon-loving carnivore may become a vegetarian and then switch back again.  

Identity is fluid, and your content should be able to keep up with that. 
While it can be useful to imagine your ideal customer is a 35-year-old woman who shops at Target, enjoys Starbucks, drives an Audi, and watches YouTube makeup tutorials, it might be more important to identify what problem you’re solving

Problems are universal regardless of identity. Your makeup-obsessed avatar and the Drag Queen are both looking for a long-lasting foundation. 

On paper, they belong to separate boxes, yet their problem is the same.

Your messaging will land if you focus on the problem they have and how they feel about it while keeping the identity part flexible and open.