Beyond demographics is intellectual positioning: Dave Charles

“Intellectual positioning” is an important component in  creative/marketing  strategy. It’s important to understand where you are positioned on the intellectual scale.

Lowest common denominator obviously works commercially and media is being choked by it, as if it’s the only way,  but the new opportunity is in a different less travelled position.

The “intellectual scale” is a  method of content positioning.  For example, in TV terms, reality programming is a 2 and CSPAN is a 10. In radio,  a vanilla pop station might be a 2 and NPR a 10.  Musically, Psy was a 2,  and Miles Davis was a 9.

All  are fine, but you can choose to pick another opportunistic position along the span of that scale and dominate it.

I see a big opportunity  around a 7-8.  Intelligent but not elite.  Mass appeal but not dumb. Mass Appeal Intelligence.

Regardless of the scale number, this position is always:

– Intoxicatingly cool.  Timeless rock n roll cool,  but that spirit can be about information, visuals, audio and attitude more than just songs and stories.  A complete focus on the intellectual qualities that define you.  Eye-Ear-Brain. 360 degree application to where you reside on the scale. 

— Devoid of TV,  radio, news, old media cliches,  uptightness, stiffness, self importance, PC fear and dated media thinking and POV. A pure uncluttered attack on the intellectual scale position you target to.

– Able to transmit that in sync vibe to everything the brand touches.  Many artists do this exceedingly well.

– Walking the walk of the streets not the conference room. Living it, not faking it. (not easy) , if you pick 8 on the scale LIVE IT.

– Creating blueprints to enhance rather than restrict your level of mass appeal intelligence.  Not allowing intellectual compromise.

– Honesty.  I recall some newspapers that wanted to be the New York Times.  They weren’t and never will be. They would be better suited to be an excellent 6. Be honest about the availability of people in the target you choose and the internal mind set and resources to make it happen .  In this newspapers case,  they were in a beer and basketball kind of town and targeting high on the scale would target an audience that hardly existed

The point is that the “mass appeal intellect” in everything you do is not only a differentiator, but a driver of success.

Few content companies think like this, though many low-on-the-scale properties do an exceptional job of satisfying their target.

You can define your intellectual characteristics in the look, sound and smell. You can ooze cool because you hire cool, train cool and live cool. A clearly positioned cool that is on point with your intellectual target— not everyone will “get” —-but there are enough who will to make things extraordinarily successful as long as you have the guts to identify where you are…and execute.

So,  we know demographic and psychographic targeting—- now its time to consider targeting by intellect.


Dave Charles,


Media RESULTS Inc.

Mobile: 289 242 8313.

Email: [email protected]


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