Knowing your audience is critical to your brand

What do Apple, Chanel, and Nike all have in common? They know their audience. Identifying your audience is the first step in building a strong brand. As these successful companies have proven. Each of them target different customers, with differing needs and desires. By uncovering these drives, each company has built a brand that resonates with its customers.

Know their desires

Your customers will make or break your business. In order to create a company image and marketing that connects with your customers, you need to understand who they are. You need to uncover how they think, what they want, and their lingo. Figure this out, and you’ll be able to match their expectations and desires. 

No people = no brand

According to brand master Marty Neumeier, a brand is defined by a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organisation. People should be at the heart of your brand. Without them, you don’t have a brand. You simply have a shell of an idea. 

At its most basic level, your target audience is comprised of:

  • People or businesses who directly need or want your product.

  • Those who influence the people who need or want your product.

  • Your supporters and/or brand ambassadors.

In other words, the people who pay you directly, the people who convince others to pay you, and your support system.

Identify your audience

There’s several ways to identify your different audiences. In really simple terms, you have to look at their needs and wants. First, find the audience who really want your product. 

Now, the reasons why they might want your product are varied. Price is one of those factors. Depending on your price, your product or service might be considered a commodity, a need, or a luxury. If you get your messaging right, then you can charge a premium for your product and it’ll become something your customers really desire. If that’s the strategy you want to go for, of course. Chanel follows this tactic by pricing its goods high and using luxury materials like lambskin that are designed to last a long time. On the other end of the market, retailer Primark capitalises on fast fashion and rock-bottom prices. 

This says something about the type of audience you should be targeting. If you want to set a high price point for your goods, then you should check that it’s within your audience’s budget. If it will take them a while to save up to purchase, you need to give them a good reason why they should do that. That could be in terms of superior quality, exclusivity, longevity, or as a status symbol.

Don’t overlook customers

It’s also important to identify your target audience, as you might be overlooking a group of customers who are perfect for your business. Knowing the different groups of people who use your business, allows you to determine their fit and value. This lets you prioritise certain groups in your marketing. This prevents you from wasting resources on people that won’t purchase, or marketing to an audience that’s too broad.

Communicate company-wide

Once you’ve identified your target audience, you should communicate this across your business. Everyone in your company needs to know who your audience is. Your employees are the main ambassadors for your brand. They need to feel empowered and able to speak to your audience.

Be accurate

Having the right audience identified, but with the wrong analysis about their needs, is worse than having no target audience. Your information about their needs and wants must be accurate. Otherwise your communication and offering won’t match up to what they want. There’ll be a gap between what they want, and what you believe they want. 

Get specific

You can’t sell to everyone. Nike doesn’t try to sell to people who don’t like sportswear. Your products and services won’t be for everyone. Therefore, try to get as specific as you can when defining your audience. A retailer that specialises in running shoes might define their target audience as ‘fashion-conscious people aged 21-35 who run at least once a week’. 

Create emotion

Remember, when creating a brand you want to evoke emotion in your customers. To succeed with this, you need to really drill down into the specific desires and needs of your customers. Ideally you’d do this one-on-one with target audience members. At the very least you should be considering:

Their demographics: the age, gender, race, education, and occupation of your customer.

Their geographical location: including whether they usually shop in-store or online. Looking at the type of area (city vs countryside) that they live and work in might also prove insightful.

Their psychographics: this includes the thought processes someone goes through when deciding on a purchase or interacting with a brand. Their desires and needs fall under this as well.

There’s several ways to obtain this information. Interviewing people who fit your ideal customer profile is best. However, if pushed for time and resources, you can also consider focus groups, secondary market research, software like Google Analytics, and social media listening.

Employees must commit

Your brand is more than just your logo and imagery. Everything, from your messaging to your customer service needs to remain consistent. People need to know exactly what to expect when they interact with your brand. Apple isn’t just known for cutting-edge technology. The Apple Geniuses in every store also add to the brand experience.

Don’t forget that a good brand will connect with people on an emotional level. You’ve likely seen the emotion invoked in people who queue for days to buy new Apple iPhones. People want to feel good when they purchase a brand. Most products aren’t physically worth their selling price. Apple iPhones cost around $200-240 to make. However, at launch they retail for around $500-700 depending on the model and specs. The value of an iPhone far exceeds its physical worth. That’s largely down to branding. Apple has found the perfect formula for its brand: understanding its audience, creating a brand that resonates with them, and having employees commit to the brand. 

Consistency is key

People like to do business with companies that they recognise. By developing a brand that they know and that aligns with their values, you make it more likely that they will choose your business over competitors. Make sure your branding is consistent and easy to recognise so you can capitalise on this opportunity.

Be unforgettable

Making your brand well-known and memorable also increases the likelihood that people will tell others about you. We all recommend brands to our friends and family. If someone cannot remember a brand, then they’re probably not going to mention it to others.

People come first

Get your brand right and people will continue to use your business for years to come. Get it wrong and you’ll waste countless resources on the wrong marketing and audience. When developing your brand, you must uncover your audience’s mindset. Everything leads from there. 

Your brand is the reason why someone will choose you over a competitor, why a customer will return, and why people will pay much more for your products. To build a strong brand, you need to put people first. 

Arnt Eriksen