07 Mar How to Uncover Your Brand and Identify Your Audience
The key to successful marketing is identifying and understanding your audience. But, how can you accomplish that without first knowing your brand? The answer is simple: you cannot.
Effective marketing requires a lot of time and effort, all of which requires a financial investment. Whether or not you can afford to waste time marketing to an unfocused target market, why would you want to? In this piece, we’ll help you discover your brand, find your target market and learn how to align it with your brand voice. What goes into a brand?
Developing your brand identity entails a lot more than designing a logo. It’s the personality under which your brand operates and what your customers take away from working with you. It includes:
- The benefits associated with your product or service. This is how your products or services benefit your customers. Do they bring customers more time, money, security, happiness, etc.?
- The promises you make to your customers. This includes any unique features associated with your product and service, and delivery. Do you always deliver on time? Does your service/product include any extras? Basically, what sets your product and company apart from the competition? This also builds value.
- The way you build and maintain relationships. Does your involvement with a customer end after the sale? Hopefully not. This includes how you follow up, maintain contact, handle problems and build relationships.
- Brand voice. This is the verbal aspect of your brand. It includes the way you speak to customers, the language you use, the style of writing you employ, how you answer the phone, etc.
- Visuals. This is the icing on the cake for your brand. The way you visually present your brand should combine all of these other factors into a single package reflecting voice, benefits, features and customer service. It can include the colors and fonts you use, your logo and general graphic style.
How do you define your brand?
Jennifer Aaker published the Five Dimensions of Brand Personality in the Journal of Marketing Research in 1997. Her method is still widely used today.
Aaker identified five pillars of a brand and their facets. They are rated on a five-point scale with 1 being not at all descriptive and 5 being extremely descriptive. The five traits are:
- Sincerity – How down-to-earth, honest, and wholesome is your company?
- Excitement – How daring, spirited, modern and innovative is your company?
- Competence – How reliable, intelligent and successful is your company?
- Sophistication – Is your company upscale, refined and charming?
- Ruggedness – Would you define your company as outdoorsy or tough?
Grab your team of thinkers and ask yourselves each of these questions. Rate your company on a scale of 1 to 5 for each category. Think about the future as you answer each question. It’s ok to answer them based on where you envision your company going, even if it’s not there, yet.
Embrace your brand and find your audience
There is no “right” answer when it comes to uncovering your brand. Once you understand your company’s brand, or your goals for brand development, you can translate that information into effective marketing, including identifying your audience and learning how to target it.
Discovering your audience is important because it allows you to finely tune your marketing approach, achieve better results and boost your return on investment. It’s not uncommon for a company to change their target market as they change and grow. So, don’t be discouraged if what your previously identified as your target market isn’t working out. Since uncovering your brand includes your goals for your company, it’s okay to rethink your target market in terms of where you want to take your brand in the future.
How to define your target market and align it with your brand
At a basic level, your target audience is the comprised of three groups of people or businesses: those who directly need or want your product, those who influence the people who need your product and your supporters or “brand ambassadors.” In other words, the people who pay you directly, the people who get others to pay you and your support system.
Unearthing your target audience should be a very detailed and thorough process. First, you’ll want to consider their demographic profile. Who are these people? How old are they, where do they live, how much money do they make, what is their level of education and so on. Take some time and really think about demographics. This will form the basis of your target market.
Once you understand the basic profile of your target market, the real work begins. Now you have to understand and really get to know them. Here you delve deeper into their lives. What are their deepest desires, challenges and needs? There are two ways to look at this (and you should consider both):
- Why did your previous customers pick you? There is a reason that your best customers chose you over the competition. Figure out why and recognize the pattern. Is there something your company offers that others don’t? Is there a facet of your company’s benefits or features that people want or need?
- What makes people choose products like yours? Understanding why people want products or services like the ones you have to offer gives us a lot of insight into their motives and, more importantly, how to adjust your marketing to speak to those needs.
As you identify and get to know your target market, you can translate that knowledge into effective marketing campaigns. We know it’s tempting to market to a broad segment, but you’ll have more success and a greater ROI if your narrow your audience and take the time to thoroughly understand that group.
Think about it like shooting at a bullseye. If you shoot randomly, you may or may not hit the target. If you’re lucky, you’ll hit somewhere in the concentric circles surrounding the bullseye. However, if you shoot carefully and skillfully, you may win big and hit the center of the target. The same concept applies to target marketing. If you finely hone your marketing approach based on your target audience, you’re more likely to build long-lasting and rewarding relationships with people and businesses that will support your brand and help you grow.
We think that finding and retaining loyal customers should be a top priority for your company. Click here to find out why.