Photo by Cory Schadt on Unsplash
Without a focus on who your audience is any marketing or branding is destined to fail. Customers create brands, they own them. The aim of the game is to set things up so that they can get behind the brand and carry it forwards.
Think about it. What could get a customer of yours so passionate they would feel compelled to share their experience with their friends? If you can crack that nut then people will talk about you and recommend you to people like them. That has to be the best way to grow. But it is also one of the hardest.
Brands must be customer centric
It used to be the case that businesses would invent a product, then go out and look for customers to buy it. This was business centric and this way of things is changing. In this post-modern world we are not looking for more stuff. We are seeking meaning. As time goes on consumers are becoming less interested in the ‘what’ because they could get the same type of product from any number of stores or websites. What they are becoming more and more interested in is the ‘why’. Meaning is everything in market places which have become saturated - and it is in this consumers place value.
Therefore if we are going to build a truly successful brand which has longevity in the hearts and minds of our audience we need to shift focus from what we are producing and turn our attention on why its helpful to the people it is designed for and why we are inventing and bringing products to market. We need to then look for the next helpful thing we could produce for the same audience so they keep winning. This is how great brands are built. Brands are movements which have a focused appeal to audiences and promise something clearly to them.
The amazing example of Harely Davidson
As an example of this you might consider the Harely Davidson motorcycles brand. This brand knows its customers inside and out. It understands their motivation to rebel from the norm and get out and explore the open roads at the weekends. It is this need it appeals to. It designs its products and whole customer experience around fulfilling these desires of its customers.
The Harley Davidson brand identity. Source: Wikipedia
When a customer buys a Harely Davidson it says something about the customer. Just owning a Harley Davidson has meaning. If a customer wanted to add further meaning and express themselves even more than they could seek to join the “Hells Angels” in their local area and go for communal rides and meet-ups with other people who believe what they believe. This could all become so powerful that a customer might even consider tattooing the Harley Davidson brand identity into their flesh permanently. Not because Harely Davidson sells a machine but because Harely Davidson means so much to the consumer.
You see, its not about the business. Its about the customer. Aligning the brand with their beliefs, desires and needs. Being customer centric is the key to building a brilliant brand which is passionately followed and loved. Solving the customers problems and adding meaning to the lives of the customer is the key.
Design your audience
Who is the brands audience? What is the goal or challenge of that audience? What is their story and how do we, as a character in the story, add value and help them achieve that goal or overcome that challenge? In the case of Harely Davidson, the customer is a ‘rebel-explorer’. The Harley Davidson brand and customer experience masterfully mirrors this in the way it communicates and in how it behaves - which is why it is so successful.
What is your brands audience? How do you help them keep winning and achieving their goals and overcoming their challenges? How are you making them feel?