For Successful Branding, Know Your Audience

By Chris Wadsworth

Does your business try to please all of the people all of the time? Although admirable this isn’t necessarily the best business strategy. Successful brands know their target audience and develop their brand specifically for what they need.

Know your offer

It is important to avoid delivering a bad brand experience to your customers and the best way to do this is to only offer what you can deliver. If your brand makes promises you can’t keep then you’ll attract an audience that is not right for your business and disappoint them. Disappointed customers will share their lack of trust in your brand with others and erode your reputation with everyone, including your genuine audience. With this in mind it makes sense that to identify your audience you should look to those who want what you have and only target them. If you accept that not everyone is the right customer for you then you can concentrate on building a brand for those that are right for your products and services. Your messages can focus on the advantages your business has and attract customers that you know you can please. This approach is a successful way to build brand loyalty amongst your customer base and brand loyalty is the holy grail of branding.

You can have a broad audience and be successful too if you know your offer and it has mass appeal. Take The Warehouse, for example. I’m not a fan of slogans, mainly because the majority of them have little relevance to the brand they represent. But The Warehouse has a slogan that communicates its audience and its offer perfectly – where everyone gets a bargain. Their audience is literally everyone – what New Zealander hasn’t been their customer at some time or other? But even with such a large audience they only try to please them some of the time, in this case when customers want something cheap, a bargain. This message is at the core of all their advertising and their brand position is well understood.

Tailor your offer to the market

Sometimes an opportunity or change in the marketplace means a business needs to change their offer. At these times the key is to let the business lead the brand. If the business makes changes to supply a need in the marketplace then branding can develop to communicate and embrace the changes. However, if branding is used to promote an offer but the ability to supply is lagging, a bad brand experience is waiting to happen. Business strategy and brand strategy go hand in hand and both need to move in the same direction together to be effective.

Who is your audience?

Companies that operate in a niche market know the answer to this better than most. By specialising in something they have a smaller market and can recognise who their customers are based on what they offer. This is why marketing to niche markets is so much easier – the audience’s wants and needs are easier to understand and strategy can be developed with these in mind.

Ask yourself what your customers want and then ask your customers why they buy from you. These two questions will help you identify your ideal audience and then you can focus on building your brand to succeed with people who want what you have. You often need to explain to your audience the benefits you offer and the advantages you have over the competition. But if you target the right audience those messages will be clear for them to understand.

To have a brand that is authentic it needs to connect with customers who want what it is that you deliver. If you can deliver on your brand promises you have the basis of a strong and successful brand.

Posted 2 August 2013

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