In the last post we talked about how your brand mission + vision is the foundation for what your brand profile should look like. While another layer to the formula of your brand is your audience. Duh? While this is so easy to understand, the purpose of how they unlock the longevity of your brand is where some brands go wrong. Not understanding how your audience grows with trends, mindsets and just life is how Blackberry is in the lagging purgatory is in. You think it, I write/say it. If you don’t grow with your brand, your audience will go. It is an ongoing relationship or engagement, if you don’t take the time to see it as a marathon – you will get left in last lap by a competitor.
So with all of that being said, how do you understand your audience. One of the core things that major corporations (well the ones who get it) is that your audience does not consist of one group. Segmentation is the trend that brands need to get with. To sum that term up – it is just the categories that your audience fits in. Your brand can be niche (narrow group), but you still have segments with that niche. There is no escaping it!
While each company will have different formulas of determining their audience segments (I can help you with that), there are some core things you should look for while dating your audience. Ah, the dating stage – where you get to know each other, their likes, their dislikes, their family, their goals, the list goes on. Creepy right? How do you think Facebook came up with the predictive analytics model that allows the right ads to find themselves within your timeline?
First up, you need to at least carve out 4 segments that those who come to love your brand will all in (you can come up with more, but this is just a start):
Early Adopters – Those who have been around from the beginning. They saw your growth and love what your brand stands for. You can take this group and break it up again to a group of those who love your brand, but hasn’t brought in to what you bring; the other group who loves you and buys your stuff. Simple.
Ghost Followers – As the title states, they just follow along. Just watch and might like a post here or there. This group can be possibly converted over as your brand grows.
Influencers – These are people who can be seen as ambassadors for your brand. They will scream all the amazing things that you do from the mountain top and not care how loud they are. Every hashtag or chance they have to tell someone – they will. Keep these folks around!
Late Bloomers – This group of people are an interesting bunch. They either found out about your brand from either the Early Adopters or the Influencers. Either way they are on board – the goal with this group is to nurture them to the culture of your brand.
While each of these groups are important within their own right, the purpose for breaking them up to understand how to communicate to them through your messaging channels – Social Media Platforms, Traditional, E-mail, Holistic, etc. When you understand the DNA of each of those segments or groups, you will be better able to understand how they find information, retain information and utilize it within their decision making. Understanding how to do that would have to be a blog series within itself. But, because I value your brand I will give you a snapshot of what that might look like. Let’s go back to the analogy of dating – this makes it easier to describe. In the beginning stages you have to take the time to learn your audience or partner. Research them without them know, use Google. No catfishing needed, just genuinely want to get to know them.
Some questions you need to ask yourself during the vetting stage:
- Who are they? (Do they live in a specific area; single or married; have kids/how many/ age)
- What do they like? (Sports, Hobbies, etc)
- How do they think? (Detail oriented, free thinking, etc. Oh, move beyond the political aspect brands, ok?)
- What are some other products they buy and why?
- Where do they get their information? (Google, Word of Mouth, Pop Culture, etc)
The questions can go on and on like the song that doesn’t end, but they give you a foundation. My charge to you is to not think of so many questions – 10 tops. From there when you answer said questions, through research or just knowing, you then see similarities. From those similarities you create the groups/segments.
This is a process that brands should do every few months or years to make sure that their brand is on key with their audience. To take it a step deeper, before you scale your brand up – take stock of where your audience is. This will help you with the rebrand process.
Your audience is the core of your brand – you can put pretty pictures or impeccable quotes, the way that it sticks is if your audience sticks with you. Understanding who they are and their DNA is one of the ways to gauge your brand growth.