You can have the most interesting, creative, intuitive, cost-effective product in the world. But if your customer isn’t at the center of your branding efforts, you’re ignoring your biggest opportunity to convert, scale, and grow.
When you think about “target audience”, what comes to mind? Gender, age, marital status. Maybe income or education level. While those attributes will always be relevant, they’re much too broad as identifiers for your ideal customer. Getting inside his/her/their head(s) is essential to establishing a clear picture of the personality they embody, the actions they’re prone to take, the things they want, and, ultimately, why they’ll buy what you’re selling.
Draw it out.
During our Understand Your Brand (UYB) workshops, we dedicate time to literally drawing an ideal customer. Not an artist? No problem (my faces are consistently frightening). The point is to articulate, visually and in writing, the traits belonging to your perception of the perfect persona. You’re visualizing action. You’re diving deeper into ideals, passions, and beliefs that motivate behavior. And behavior is the sweet spot that will lead to the results you seek and the goals you’re chasing.
Ask the right questions.
Let’s say you typically sell to college-educated, middle-aged females. Great. But those factors probably aren’t the primary motivations behind whether or not they’ll buy your products. Get specific. Get downright nosy.
We encourage questions like:
- How often does she shop online?
- Does she dine out often or prefer to stay in?
- Are traditions important? What does she value and care about?
- Is she more likely to attend a festival or go for a hike on a Saturday?
- Is social justice or philanthropy a priority?
After our sketches are done, we share them with one another and establish common characteristics. From there, we establish a “perfect” customer and even go so far as to give them a name. For the sake of this explanation, let’s call her Jill.
Make it real.
Why give her a name? Because she’s a real person. Because Jill should be on clients’ minds at all times — from day-to-day decisions to product development to approving logos. And she should be on our minds, too, as we think about aesthetic, copy, functionality, and calls to action. What colors does Jill like? What content style would most likely resonate with Jill? Would Jill be more likely to scroll through descriptions or leave if the call to action wasn’t immediate?
While it’s a fun exercise (and we treasure the artistic masterpieces that come out of it), it is critically important to ROI. These personas are real, living, breathing personalities. They’re representations of the customers, clients, fans, and supporters the brand is focused on reaching. They are the tipping point between a brand that converts and a brand that looks nice, but sits idly amongst the competition.
As a branding agency, the latter can never be an option. It’s our job to help clients form a strong connection with their customers that will take their business to the next level.
A brand that’s proactive, relevant, and desirable. That’s a win for everyone.