Mirror Image

One of the most persistent and enduring myths when it comes to marketing and business is that our customers look, act, and think just like us.


“People will definitely buy this because I like this and would buy it too”

“You are not my type of client; my clients don’t drive that kind of car”

“I can’t visit you at your office, it’s not safe for me, I don’t think we can do business”

“I just don’t have a good vibe from that guy, I don’t think we can do business with them”


One of the most persistent and enduring myths when it comes to marketing and business is that our customers look, act, and think just like us. This is what we at RedBrick Research call the ‘Mirror Fallacy’. It causes us to see the world from a lens that applies only to us or people like us, shutting out anything else that is to the contrary. This thinking leads us to develop solutions that serve people we think are just like us, ignoring the other thousands of potential customers who are nothing like us, but yet want (nay, need) what we provide. It’s foolishness to think that all your clients are exactly like you, chances are, the vast majority are nothing like you, they just like what you sell/represent.


A story is told (it might be true) of an elderly gentleman who walked into a car sales showroom. The sales manager looked at his disheveled look, dusty shoes, and worn clothing and despised him, thinking he was just a time-wasting drifter. Despite several attempts to get information from the sales manager, the ‘mzee’ kept being brushed off and ignored. Finally, frustrated, the old man went to the next showroom where, having received a much better reception, wrote a cheque to purchase a brand new vehicle worth millions. Turns out he was a wealthy farmer! Our first salesman was deluded by the mirror fallacy, dismissing the potential client because he looked nothing like him.


The Mirror Fallacy is dangerous. It can cause you to miss out on and overlook wonderful opportunities, – and even lose good, loyal clients as you pursue non-existent ones. Ask yourself, are you suffering from this ailment? Are you looking down on people who can make your business grow? Are you walking away from opportunity, leaving money on the table because the guy across the table is not your ‘cup of tea’? Stop today. Stop expecting all your customers to be mirror images of you. Instead, take time to understand them better. The best way to overcome the mirror fallacy is to do an unbiased, critical client profile. Don’t assume you know who your clients are, do the work to profile and understand them. Take the initiative to speak to them and understand what draws them to you and your company. Get rid of the mirror, get in front of your customers instead.


RedBrick Africa is a Research and Strategy firm that can help you grow your business by helping you identify and eliminate the Mirror Fallacy in your marketing and strategy efforts. Speak to us today:



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