Updated: Nov 23
Creating a brand strategy without first pinning down specific details about your target audience can be akin to putting the cart before the horse. As much as it is important to invest in ad space and perfect your brand’s story - it can all go to waste if you don’t first identify who your brand is trying to reach. After all, your messages should be directed to someone right?
Beginning The Search For The Target Audience
The first step in identifying your brand’s target audience is to carve out your target market. (Yes! Both are different) To put it simply, the target market is a group of consumers interested in your business, whereas, the target audience is a subset within the target market, which includes the intended audience for a specific campaign. Think about how computer brands target their campaigns specifically toward school and college students during the beginning of the academic year.
Companies determine their target audience through different market research. From going over Google and social media analytics such as Facebook Insight to carrying out client interviews to doing SWOT analyses - brands spend a considerable amount trying to understand the following about their consumers:
Location - Are they local, national, or international?
Demographics - What are they like in terms of age, gender, occupation, income level, and marital status?
Psychographics - What personal qualities such as values, hobbies, lifestyle, and beliefs do they share?
Market trends - What is popular among the target audience?
Competition - What other brands is your audience going to?
Leveraging This Knowledge For Brand Success
Once you have spent time understanding general details about your target users, you move on to the next step of creating a consumer persona. Using the vast data gained through market research, you know invent a fictional, yet well-defined persona that specifies everything that your target audience is and isn't. Continuing the above example, for a laptop brand the consumer persona of a 12-year-old school student will be distinct from that of a 19 year old college fresher.
The reason why brands should spend time on creating brand personas is that they can offer a wealth of information about the purchase path and pain points of their valued customers. It can highlight the different considerations they keep in mind when purchasing and also reveal their pain points. As a marketer your focus should be on answering two questions:
How can I solve my target users’ problems?
What goal does my target audience want to achieve?
The answers will be different each time since your target audience is divided into the decision maker and the supporter. Decision-makers are those consumers who ultimately make the purchase decision. Whereas supporters don’t usually have the power to make a decision but they can influence one. In our previous example, the school student is a supporter who will convince the decision-makers, his/her parents. Whereas the older college student may be a decision-maker for himself/herself. Hence, having brand personas can help you answer these two questions correctly and even help you enter the world of personalized brand marketing.
Armed with sufficient information about your target audience, you can proceed to place your brand and products in relevant ways across platforms by adopting different angles. Not only can branding initiatives take the shape of blogs, social media posts, and email marketing but they can also be written from different perspectives so as to capture the targeted segment from all sides. Furthering the example, a laptop brand may cover angles such as being necessary for online learning, resembling a portable library, offering access to engaging content, and enabling staying connected with family and friends as part of its brand initiatives.
Finally, keep in mind that your brand personas need to be revised from time to time, therefore staying connected with your audience through surveys, interviews, and analyzing their online behaviors can help you stay relevant.