Your Brand – Through the Looking Glass
Communicating the essence of your brand to your target market is not easy and requires some understanding of the target market’s perception of your brand. Seeing your brand from the perception of your target market is a bit like Alice peering through the looking glass.
The first step in the process of having a brand that resonates with prospective buyers is a clear identification of your target market. Early identification of your prospective clients makes it easier to ensure your brand is tailored to resonate with them. Large brands identify their target market through a series of stages.
1. Existing Customer Base
Looking at the existing customer base helps businesses to identify who they’re currently selling to and why they buy the products or services on offer.
2. Identifying the Competition
The second step is to examine who their competition might be targeting and find an identifiable niche. This enables them to find, and offer something different to their competitors.
3. Analysing Products and Services
The next step is to look at their product or service and identify unique selling proposition, something they can use as a focal point when marketing. It is then common practice to analyse the market in the following ways:
• Demographically – where they come from
• By gender
• Age and ethnic group
• Social and residential groups
• Purchasing behaviour – what they buy and when
So how do you identify your target market?
The best way is to focus on your customers at a personal level, who they are and what their wants & needs are. Concentrate on the customer first, and this will then allow you to outline your product and brand strengths whilst discovering an appropriate niche for your products or services.
Once you’ve identified you target market, its time to put yourself in their shoes. Take a look at your brand from the outside and deconstruct each aspect to see if your brand is communicating the message you want potential customers to receive.
At each stage of the process remember to place yourself as closely as possible in your customers shoes, and ask yourself a series of questions.
- Do they like what they see?
- Does the brand represent them effectively?
- Do they easily associate themselves with the brand?
These are just some of the questions you should when trying to ensure that your brand/product meets your customers’ needs and encourages brand loyalty.
Hopefully, now you’ve looked at your brand in more detail, you’ve gained a new perspective on what you are offering, and whom you are offering it to.
So what’s next?
What you want to do now is reflect on what you have learnt and ask yourself another series of questions.
- What changes do you think you could make?
- Do you need to tweak your brand slightly or completely rebrand your business?
If you feel like you need to adjust or revamp your brand you have two options, either do the work yourself, or outsource it.
It can be very tempting when you’re operating within budget restraints to do the branding design yourself. However, bear in mind that you will have to put more of your precious time into working on the brand than your business can afford. This can be like a game of roulette, as there is no guarantee that your customers will respond as desired.
The other option outsourcing, while this involves costs, it means you get a fresh perspective on your brand and ultimately increase your chances of success. Not only that, outsourcing reduces the time you personally spend on the project, which could best be utilised elsewhere.
Whichever method you choose, make sure you’re happy that your brand is effectively communicating your values, ethos and beliefs to your target market. Branding is as simple or as complicated as you make it. If you maintain a clear focus on your target market, and ensure your brand is tailored to that, it will be a far smoother process.