Let’s not kid ourselves: creating a brand can be complicated. (If you’re reading this, you likely know firsthand how complicated.) Not only do you need to decide what your brand stands for, what you want to provide consumers and how to convey your brand promise, you must identify who you want to use your product.
This is one of the most important decisions you can make. After all, brands are relationships, and like romantic relationships you need to make sure there are two mutually interested parties. You don't want to get into an unrequited love situation where no one is interested in what you are offering. This can be a very cold, lonely, and ultimately very unprofitable situation to be in. Healthy relationships involve two interested and equally committed parties. Unhealthy ones don’t – and rarely last long.
Every business has four basic questions they need to answer before effectively building their brand, not dissimilar to the questions that every journalist has to use:
- WHO are the most important targets for your brand?
- WHAT is going to compel them to choose yours and stay loyal?
- WHY should these high-priority targets believe in the ability of your brand to deliver?
- HOW is the brand felt in every touch point/transaction?
So the most important step of true brand-building, is attackig the important question of choosing the right target audience. WHO is your priority WHO? A brand really only exists if there is someone out there who wants it. Someone who buys into the promise. And is willing to return their love - with their pocket books, energy and word of mouth.
Many brands find it empowering to realize that they do have the ability to directly affect who uses – and even more importantly, who doesn’t choose – their products. Don't be afraid of alientating some consumers, if it means you can connect more strongly with others.
How important is an audience, really?
Raise your hand if you own at least one Apple product. I’m sure at least half of you are reading this post on an iPad, MacBook Pro or even your iPhone. If you look at Apple ads, you’ll see a 20-something hipster (think the "I am a Mac" actor Justin Long) using the newest version of a product. That’s what we call a bull’s-eye target. Because, perhaps no matter how old we are, or what our income level is, or whether we’re tech-savvy or, well, not, we aspire to be Apple users.
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