I have been meaning to write on this subject for a while now – defining the who in branding. I did post some general lines about it on Instagram and Facebook but I wanted to share a bit more specifically about it on here.
Finding your ideal client or target audience is probably one of the most exhausted subject for branding. The reason being the importance of knowing who you are trying to sell to is a no brainer to properly brand your business and successfully position yourself on the market. That being said, there is way too much ‘good advice’ out there that either is completely confusing or forces you to do the same as others without layout out some basic rules – which in the end could lead you to miss brand your business. I have been thinking of clear and efficient tips to share with you to help shed some light and hopefully guide you when branding or rebranding. I see too many business owners tied up and struggle with the ‘ideal client talk’, and the ‘finding your tribe talk’, etc… There should be freedom in branding and that is why I wanted to share these tips with you.
ANYBODY EQUALS NOBODY
I want to start by saying this, unfortunately in branding everyone is no one. We cannot be all inclusive, the-anybody-who wants-to-spend-money kind of business doesn’t work, you’ve got to throw down some chips on the table to stand out and be unique. Your story and your individuality don’t allow you to speak to everybody anyways. As you put yourself out there some people will begin to listen – those are your people. That’s a good starting point. Your job is to be aware of who they are and define your ideal client from there.
IDEAL VS PERFECT
I get a bit uncomfortable by that term ‘ideal’ to be honest. It is often substituted for the concept of ‘perfect’ and leads to disappointment and failure ultimately. We need to quit feeling down because not every single one of our projects or our inquiries aren’t the project that will take us to fame – so to speak. I think we need to make the distinction between ideal and perfect. Perfect is a little utopic while ideal is a win-win dynamic.
Ideal means just that, ideally a client who wants your expertise and sees value in it, who is willing to spend money to get it. A client who you want to work with and who will creatively and financially profit your business. However, it doesn’t mean you should ignore and reject all the other potential clients orbiting around that ideal client, if you’re in that place where you need it (article coming up about peripheral audiences).
For example if your business is about creating furniture for small urban spaces for single people or small families who are willing to invest in quality over quantity, you shouldn’t be ignoring the entrepreneur who is building a new hotel concept in the mountains with individual capsule rooms and need high end furnishing. They absolutely aren’t your ‘perfect’ client but what an opportunity, right?! And they’re allowing your business to do what it is ideally meant to do – to create small spaces high end furniture for people who value quality over quantity. Sounds pretty ideal to me!
BE SPECIFIC NOT RESTRAINING
Once you’ve figure out who that ideal client is, you want to have a niche and not a clique. A brand that is specific but not restraining. It’s one of the pilar to longevity for a business and a brand. Think of it as calling out categories of people, segments of population from a crowd and then refine and narrow down as you go.
Moms of toddlers who value a healthy lifestyle please stand up, metrosexual males who travel for business would you raise your hand, people interested in colorful commisioned art print you may step forward. A clique call out would be, moms of toddlers who drive a white car and only drink soy milk on the weekends. That would be very limiting and even if you do find those moms in a decent number you will then create a closed group and seriously cripple your chances of future growth.
Of course some products imply being very specific by nature. For instance a baby wearing wrap has to be branded for new moms and they would be the ideal and perfect client. But there are ways to brand uniquely instead of going the obvious route of the “crunchy” moms. You could use a special rare cloth woven by women in underdeveloped countries with new collections every year, or create fashion forward designs that will entice stylish moms to buy your product and fit in their world while wearing their babies.
From the points above we now know that ideal is a loose concept and offers more freedom than common thinking. We also know that although we should be laser sharp with our call outs (sorry can’t call out everyone), it’s alright to have other beams pointed at different angles ready to shoot if necessary. Finding your ‘who’ is a tricky balance of avoiding being too neutral and being too extreme. Create a solid and clear base and build options upon it, that is the number one thing I want you to take away from this article. Absolutely know your ideals, even your perfects for that matter, but be available to different scenarios that might not fit in that ready to go elevator speech but still respect your core values and your vision statement as a business.
REVERIE MINGLES: Do you know your ‘ideal’? Have you created a niche or a clique for your brand?