What Your Audience Wants and How to Deliver
Up until now, we’ve been talking about branding in a vacuum. We’ve focused on the business side of the equation, but that’s not a full picture. Brands are built by a company, but they’re created FOR an audience. However, it’s not enough to make a brand and assume the market will immediately embrace it. Instead, branding must begin with a two-sided approach.
Branding should consider both your company’s goals and mission alongside what your audience demands. In the end, what you do as a brand is defined by the market’s needs. Before you start planning campaigns and strategies, you need to truly know your customers. What do they want? What are they missing? How can you convert them into paying customers?
These questions form the basis for a much larger piece of the puzzle: market research. However, by starting to think about your audience, and considering things such as pain points and personas, you can start crafting a brand that communicates your values and speaks to the people you are targeting with your products and services.
“While any smart company targets as many demographics as possible,
trying to appease every single consumer is a quick way
to empty your pockets and reach as few of them as possible.”
Pain Points and Understanding Consumer Needs
To know what your customers want, you first must understand their problems. This doesn’t mean you should understand their personal issues, but rather the aspects of their current products or services aren’t fulfilling. Pain points are problems which customers are aware of, but can’t solve with any existing solution. Some common problems could be as mundane as deliveries taking too long to get to their destination, a lack of alternatives for purchasing a specialty item online, or simply a lack of high-quality versions of a specific product.
The first step in addressing what your customers want is understanding what they need and what they are lacking. You should be careful to strike a balance between a hyper-specific problem and one that is too broad. Going back to the previous example, a bad pain point to start from is “there are no delivery options for X product.” This may be too broad and could ignore the fact that there are already some solutions though they may not fully solve the problem to the desired extent. On the other hand, “there are no deliveries for X product between 1st and 2nd streets at 3PM on Fridays” puts you in too small of a slot and limits exposure to your potential audience.
Finding pain points is a matter of asking your target demographic what their existing problems are, what they would like to see, and then finding a way for your product and brand to match those needs. Start simple: ask friends and connections on social media. You can then expand with more official and broad surveys and questionnaires. The important thing is making sure your brand is effectively targeting and resolving these pain points.
Finding the Right Audience
One major thing pain points do for your business is find the people that want and need your product the most. While any smart company targets as many demographics as possible, trying to appease every single consumer is a quick way to empty your pockets and reach as few of them as possible.
Your brand needs an identity and focus. Think of Apple and how they have created a unique identity. The company, which is immensely popular with a variety of markets, nonetheless knows exactly what it’s about: luxury and innovation. They focus their efforts exclusively on this image, aiming for customers looking for high-end products that set them apart from other competing alternatives.
It’s true that not everyone can afford to be as picky as Apple when it comes to new customers. Your products aren’t necessarily designed for everyone to use. If you sell high-quality Halloween costumes and visual props, you may not be interested in selling to people uninterested in disguises, or more religious markets. By understanding your customers’ pain points, you can begin to discern who fits into your target audience.
Once you know the demographics contained within your target market, you can determine how your brand should reach out to these potential users.
Tailoring Your Message
With a keen understanding of what your market needs, you can shape your brand to better speak an accessible language. Careful market research designed to uncover pain points is a key aspect of building a better message to reach your audience while maintaining a broad appeal. Here is where your brand comes in.
Brands are a powerful medium to convey your company’s values, mission, and benefits. Your branding should communicate to customers how you can solve their problems. Are they looking for an easier way to connect with fellow mountain climbers? Your brand should emphasize it by using imagery of building bridges, ropes, and connections.
It’s vital to keep in mind that your message is not just verbal or textual. There are marketing tools that help you express your mission in an explicit way. You can write articles, blog posts, and more to tell people how great your company is. However, your brand is going to do the heavy lifting. The color palette you choose, your logo, and all your visual choices should reflect your company’s values.
In the end, if you understand your audience, you’ll be able to craft a brand image that connects with them on a deeper level and deliver it to them more efficiently.
Now that you understand pain points, read on to Chapter 5 to dive deeper into market research and how it can answer most of your audience-related questions.
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