What is most important to your target audience? What influences their choices? How can you increase your preference over your competitors? These are the basic questions brands that are designed to steal market share must answer. But you might be surprised to learn that on those three rudimentary questions…most brands fail.
The reason for failed brands is because they confuse themselves with their target audience. They just assume that the internal brand culture that is infused in their business has the same values that affect the very people they need to influence to grow and prosper.
For example, many brands like to talk about their local roots or family-owned values. They are justifiably proud of these attributes but they have no idea as to the importance of these values to the target audience. Maybe they speak about the manufacturing origin of their product (think Made in America) but that is a dangerous assumption. It may be important but what is the danger of getting it wrong? The danger is REAL.
How to think of your brand.
Think about your brand as a billboard. You have limited space and need to have great focus on a specific message. Note that I did not say specific messages. Singularity of purpose separates great brands from failed brands. As Picasso once said, “Omission is a creative art.”
Your persuasive skills as a business starts in your brand. Your marketing messages find their authenticity in the brand promise your proffer. When your marketing is evaluated in the context of your brand meaning, the target audience is looking for permission to believe it. If the marketing is not in sync with your brand meaning, it is less persuasive and runs the risk of being dismissed as unbelievable.
Brand meaning is a lot like human personality. We recognize a friend’s personality and we make assumptions of their behavior on that level of familiarity. Sometimes you might learn of an accused action from someone you know. Have you ever found yourself dismissing the news by saying, “That just does not seem like him.”
What you are demonstrating is a key value in branding. By fostering a personality upon your brand, you make it easier for adherents to remain loyal because they project a level of understanding to the things you sell.
Likewise, you make it easier for prospects to buy your goods because they feel a comfort level in choosing you. They feel as thought they know you because the personality allows them to feel as though they can predict the outcome of that purchase. They assign a VALUE to their choice BEFORE they make the purchase.
Finding the single-minded brand proposition is not an easy task. We believe that they best way to create this brand magnetism is to conduct research. Not a simple attitudinal usage and attitude study, but an anthropological study that seeks to understand the belief systems that your target market adheres to in their lives.
Once you understand these personality building blocks, you can complete the jigsaw puzzle that is your brand essence. Knowing these important clues is how you can answer the questions posed in the beginning of this blog. Without this anthropological dive, you are just guessing. You don’t want to be the smartest guy in the room. Strive to be the most informed guy in the room. Knowledge is best.