My favorite show on TV is Criminal Minds, which is far from just another show on law enforcement. FBI agents in the Behavioral Analysis Unit (B.A.U.) profile suspected serial killers and hardened criminals in order to solve difficult cases. By reading clues at the crime scene and studying an unsub’s (perpetrator’s) life, the team can learn to think like the criminal to catch him (or her). You’re probably thinking, ‘What’s this have to do with me?’
When you bring on a new client, you probably ask them lots of questions. Some of these questions may not have answers, which could be why you’re there. But your goal is to understand your client as much as possible — his target audience(s), the essence of what he provides, why he does what he does and how he stands out from his competitors. In essence, you’re profiling him to capture who he is and how you can best help him.
I realize that profiling has received a bad rap in some circles lately. However, it’s important to realize what it is — and isn’t. Profiling isn’t about perpetuating stereotypes. Behavioral profiling can help us better understand people, and why they do what they do. Could it possibly be dangerous if put in the wrong person’s hands? Sure, but most things are. That’s why it’s important to learn to use it correctly.
One of my favorite classes in college was Consumer Behavior, which dissects consumers’ purchasing decisions and how they come to those decisions. There’s more science involved than you may think. From people’s personality types to how grocery stores stock their shelves, we’re constantly adding to our knowledge base on people’s behavior and how it affects the world we live in.
“Don’t forget that I cannot see myself — that my role is limited to being the one who looks in the mirror.” -Jacques Rigaut // quoted by Jason Gideon on Criminal Minds
Join the Discussion
Is behavioral profiling helpful in any environment?
Do you use it with your clients or customers?
Who’s your favorite profiler on Criminal Minds?
Picture credit: CBS, home of Criminal Minds