Your Brand Should be Tailored to Your Dream Customer
Can you describe your ideal customer? Where do they go on vacation? What books do they read? Are they a dog or cat person?
These questions might seem out of the left-field when building your business brand, especially if your business has nothing to do with vacations, books or pets.
However, it’s so important when you are working on your brand development that these details of your customers’ lives are at the forefront of your mind. Have you ever really sat down to think about who your ideal customer is?
Branding with Your Ideal Customer in Mind
When we do our Discovery Session at Paper Lime Creative, we spend the majority of the time focusing on who is buying your product or service and what they like, because we want your potential customers to be drawn to your business. This is the key to an effective brand development strategy.
The tiny details of your favourite customer’s life may seem insignificant, but when doing our brand research and creation they can lead us down an amazing creative path to solutions we never would have thought of without those details.
Going through an analysis of who your target market is can help you in all areas of your branding and business, not just the visuals. Knowing your customer inside and out can help you tailor messaging, photography, the music you play in your store, the way your employees dress and more!
How to Define Your Target Audience
So where do you begin? If you’ve been in business for a while, an easy place to start is to think of your favourite existing client! If you’ve worked with them for a few years, you probably already have a pretty good idea of the details of their life.
If you have any gaps and you have a comfortable relationship with them, just ask! How flattered would they be if you said “You’re my favourite customer and I want to tailor my branding to get more people like you!”. If you’re not comfortable doing that then make educated guesses.
What if you’re brand new to business? It’s definitely a little bit harder, depending on what type of work you’re doing. It took me a couple of years to figure out who I really liked to work with. However, I wish I had done this exercise when I started.
Create your dream client! Use your imagination, then fill gaps with research. Would I like my dream client to have billions of dollars? Yes, yes I would. But is that reasonable? Not particularly for Edmonton and my business model.
Have some fun and figure out that dream person and then verify that they’re actually buying what you’re selling with research.
Why Do These Details Matter?
Knowing the minute details of your customers’ life helps paint better pictures for all areas of branding. It helps your logo design, copywriting and website development. Let’s say your ideal customer has a dog, drives a Jeep and pops down to the mountains every long weekend. It’s pretty safe to say they are an outdoorsy person.
What other brands could this person be interested in The North Face, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Planet Organic, Atmosphere, and Cabelas? Are there any similarities in these companies (looks, feel, brand message) that you can bring into your own business? You don’t need to be in the same industry to take inspiration from other brands — it’s better not to! But I bet all of these brands have common denominators that target the same person you’re looking for.
Honesty & Imagination
My best advice if you’re starting to analyze your ideal customer: Honesty and Imagination. It’s important that you step away from your business when you are figuring out who your dream client is.
More often than not, you are not your dream customer. An example I like to give is wedding photographers. I know a couple of FABULOUS wedding photographers here in Edmonton. They happen to be middle-aged men — no big deal until it comes to branding.
They need to step back and remember who is purchasing wedding photos: 25-35-year-old women, typically. Even if these women are not footing the bill, they definitely have the final say.
Wedding photographer brands (regardless of who the photographer is) need to target those women. It’s important to stay honest with yourself about who your client is, and that maybe you won’t actually like your branding, and you need to use a bit of imagination to think about who they are, what their life looks like and how your brand will attract them.
The Nitty Gritty
At the start of a Discovery Session, we always tell clients that the room is a safe space and that they need to be really honest about who their ideal customer is. We ask some questions that can be uncomfortable to answer. Yes, we discuss what they do for work, how much they make, where they live, and what their family looks like, but we also talk about race, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion. Taboo much?
There’s never a wrong answer! The great thing about asking these questions is that if you think of a specific group, they all have strong histories and identities, challenges and victories, that you can use to tailor your branding.
It’s more about including historically marginalized groups rather than excluding anyone. BIPOC and LGBTQ+ are frequently underserviced and marketing strategies are vastly different if you want to serve these communities.
Need help figuring out who your ideal customer is?