Brand managers love to develop a persona for their product audiences. It’s helpful to marketers, in general, to have some idea of who uses your product or service. If you know what drives them, what they like, what they don’t like and what kinds of messages are meaningful and relevant to them, you stand a better chance of reaching them with a relevant message, at the right time, to get them to act.
While visiting one of my clients last week, I ventured into their restroom to find a guy standing at the right-most of the three urinals. He was just standing there, presumably prepared to go, with his smartphone in his right hand and working it (the phone) with his left.
I’m not sure he was actually going (you know… going) when I walked in because I couldn’t hear anything at first. As I started to go, I could hear that he began, as well. We both finished up at the same time, but he continued to stand there working his phone – which he never actually stopped doing.
As I finished washing my hands and was on my way out, he finally concluded his phone work and moved toward the sink.
So my question: what kind of a person uses his smartphone while at a urinal?
I can maybe, possibly see it if you’re in a stall and sitting down. Maybe. But have we gotten to the point where you need your phone out while you’re peeing?
So, what kind of a person is this? Who are they? Are there common traits between all those who use their smartphones while standing at a urinal? And are they a desirable target audience for brand marketers?
And while many would focus on the smartphone usage while at a urinal (which suggests there was something so important going on that required his phone that he had to address it in the 30 seconds it took to use the urinal), I was actually more perturbed at him standing there on the phone not going and then standing there some more after he was finished.
There’s a urinal etiquette at play that he was totally defying. When there are an odd number of urinals, you always take the one on the side first and then move every other until you are forced to actually go right next to someone.
By taking his time with his phone, he was forcing others to fill in the gaps and stand next to each other – breaking the time-honored rule.
But I believe thoughtless is probably one of the descriptors that pairs well with the persona of the public-urinal-using-smartphone-user.