5 Ways to Shape Your Brand Around Your Market

All the branding in the world isn’t going to help if you don’t understand what drives your target customer – and who she is. Your target customer needs to be really hungry for your solutions and offerings (and willing to open her pocketbook to get them).

 Understand that there is really only one reason people seek solutions: To deal with pain:

– Physical
– Emotional
– Spiritual
– Financial

And that pain can range from the merely aggravating “not fun” sort to overwhelming, life-altering pain.

Customer buy products to:

– Learn something to progress towards a goal
– Learn exactly how to fix a problem
– Increase skill level in a niche or field
– Escape

Wherever you go online, pain motivates and drives everyone. So what is your target customer’s pain?  What products or services can you create that will directly help solve her current biggest problem?

And how will you let her know you have the solution?

Branding will help you achieve that. But most people go at it the wrong way: They try to shape a market round a brand, when in truth you should be shaping your brand around your market.

Step 1.  Branding for the Right Customer

You’ve been told, quite accurately that you should identify the customer before creating the products.  However, it’s first and foremost vital to put yourself out there in the online community so you can see who is drawn to you – and why.

– Create a website. 
– Create a blog. 
– Join at least four of the top social networks.

Then see who you attract (especially through social networking).

Who you attract is going to be your current target market. And if it’s not the market you want, change your branding to attract those you do plan to serve.

1. Monitor Your Voice

One common reason people attract the wrong market: Using the wrong “voice”.

Your voice is the impression of personality your company conveys.

It can’t be like all the other similar companies. It must be personal, unique and stand out – even while reassuring potential customers it’s the same as competitors in fundamentally important ways.

To check your voice, analyze not only your conversational writing style, but also colors and images you use. Do they fit your target audience’s preferences?

For example, say you want to attract seniors seeking arthritis solutions: If your social posts or shares regularly deal with youthful subjects such as manga, you’re going to actively turn them away in droves:

2. Make Your Branding and Voice Consistent Across All Online Media

What you promise (especially without knowing it) can attract the wrong audience – and repel the right one. 

What you want to do is instantly attract the people who will buy your product.

If you sell cranberries, feature cranberries.

Make sure your branding is consistent across all your sites and networks. Example: If your site shows a big juicy hamburger logo and your Facebook page background show shows raw veggies, that’s an example of voice confusion, where one online presence seems totally different from your other online presences. 

That’s why establishing consistent branding practices and elements across all your online sites and networks is so important. Your branding is what makes the other kids in the park see you and instantly want to be friends. Lack of it makes you invisible. 

Poor branding has them throwing stones.

And taking your branding a step further by paying attention to every detail and really nailing it means they not only want to play with you – they want to be you.

Step 2.  Attract with your Logo

A logo can tell your market what you’re all about quicker than words. Even if you are a sole proprietor and one-woman show, offering services rather than products, chances are that you’ll want to create passive income (and increase your status and credibility) by producing information products one day – and that’s where your logo will be invaluable.

A logo needs to be relevant to what you provide. It needs to “speak” to your audience, as well as reminding them instantly of who you are.

A logo should be professionally designed by a graphic designer (a) experienced in logo design (b) who has also designed logos for your specific field or target market. 

If your market consists of 18-35 year olds who buy your graphic novels, use a design company such as Blambot Comic Fonts & Lettering, with comic art, culture and font experience. Designers from companies such as this one will completely understand their mindset.

You can, of course, use free online logo generator apps and services such as Logomaker – but you need to know the basic principles of design as well as your target market, in order to create the best logo you can make.

Creating a logo that speaks to and reassures your niche gives every piece of content you stamp it on instant credibility – and that goes a long way towards attracting the right market.

Step 3.  Pay Attention to Background Graphics

Again, across all your media – websites, blogs, social media pages and more.

The right background can tell your market instantly if they’re going to be attracted to you and your products even if you don’t use a logo. 

A great example is author Joel Goldman:  He writes gritty detective novels usually set within the dense jungle of U.S. cities – and his website and social site background cover art reflects that.

The book tells you he’s an author. Keywords like “Kill” in the title tell you it’s not a raw foods cookbook; it’s a mystery. 

The night-time city background graphic instantly screams “seamy city jungle”. Even the color – an angry, reddish brown reminiscent of blood and smog – supports the feeling visitors get when they open the site or check out his Facebook Page. You immediately know you’re not going to read anything from the “cozy mystery” genre, where sex and violence is downplayed while the quirky (usually elderly) heroine solves mysteries with or without a cat or garden trowel.

Mystery lovers know instantly what type of ride they’re in for when they visit Goldman’s site and Pages.  They either leave – or try-and-buy.

That’s great branding.

Step 4.  Test, Test, Test  Again…

As you adjust your branding to the target audience you want to attract, tweak one element at a time. And while you’re doing this, actively seek out more of your target audience. 

– See what they talk about, complain about, want, need – and love.
– Find out who their niche heroes are and visit their sites.  Make notes.  Analyze.
– Join in conversations. 
– Post polls in your social media. 
– Ask questions in your social posts that deliberately give you clues about your market’s preferences  on your niche product type.

Step 5.  Pay Attention to the Hottest Trends

Create a Facebook Group for your product or membership site and brand it with your new logo, Profile photo and background graphics. Get conversations going based on what your market is most concerned with.

One reason for doing this: It’s the latest hot social networking trend. It’s also one of the few feed types in Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms that virtually guarantees the right people will see every post.

The activity level of the group will tell you how on target you are. You’ll also pick up clues for products, learn what your group members love and hate, learn how they cope with problems and what they yearn for and need.

 

You’ll also pick up their tone and get a good idea of the demographics involved. Are you seeing Profile photos of teenagers? Women in their thirties or forties? Do they talk about children? What are their biggest challenges?

These are the topics you’ll hear about:

– What they care about most
– What they need the most

A dead group will tell you you’ve missed the mark. Better go back to the drawing board.

But don’t just stop there… 

Create a Google+ Circle… then invite your members to exclusive Hangouts. (Yes, this is another hot trend right now.)

Create a channel on YouTube, linked with your Google+ account – and brand it with your colors, background and logo.

Then choose the “live stream” option when creating your next Hangout – and it will be recorded and posted automatically to YouTube, where you can set privacy levels to “Public” if you like (and your fellow members don’t object).

This way, you instantly get the best of not one, but two social networks (Google+ and YouTube).

And you’re now well into the habit of shaping your brand around your market.

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