Identify Your Target Market (Build A User Profile)
Having a successful brand is nearly impossible without knowing who you are trying to engage with.
Knowing your audience is the key driver of your brand. They determine what your visual identity looks like and how you market your products or services. They should always be your focus no matter how new or established you are.
If no one in particular feels especially engaged with your brand, they won't ultimately care and will not remember who you are or what you do. To sum it up, your brand cannot survive without a target market.
Whether your goal is to gain new cult followers or to keep your current clients tuned in, having an exact picture of the ideal person your brand is for, is one top priority for your business. You will find that knowing your target audience through and through will bring an unparalleled advantage to growing an effective brand.
WHAT IS A TARGET AUDIENCE?
Your target audience or market is your brand’s model client—the one that represents the majority of the types of clients you want more of or (if you haven’t started) want to attract. This is the person that:
Has an urgent need for the problem you are solving.
Positively responds to your products, services, promotions, etc.
Who you can best serve and want to work with the most.
Would be quick to refer you to others.
First Things First!
Whenever we take on a brand new client, we have them go through our Discovery series, where one of the main things we dive into is who their brand is for. We discover who is already attracted to the brand (current clients/customers), who the brand is talking to and who it wants to reach next. Together, we brainstorm who would benefit the most from your products/services and the particulars about that person’s character and lifestyle. Gathering this information will inform us of who your most important customer is and the best way to reach them.
By knowing who your brand is speaking to, it becomes easier to direct branding and marketing efforts such as visuals, campaigns, content, imagery, copywriting and more towards your ideal person.
BENEFITS OF KNOWING YOUR TARGET MARKET:
You know exactly where to go to find them.
Understanding their needs on a deeper level — keeping your products/services the best option for them.
Powerful targeting opportunities for paid advertising through Facebook ads and Google Keywords, along with various SEO tactics.
Speaking in their language by communicating in a tone of voice that they recognize and use.
Comprehending how your audience chooses products or services, so you can ensure your marketing is fitting and persuasive.
Solidifying your audience is the most important step in the branding process because it allows you to develop a substantial game plan for brand positioning. It gathers the information you need to make your brand most effective and stay relevant to who you want it to attract, which is fundamentally every brand’s goal. The data you gather about your target audience will inform you as to how you can best reach and engage with them!
Who are they?
CREATING A USER PROFILE will help your brand find its ideal target customer and lead you to a powerful niche audience. This is important because when you become recognizable to specific groups of people, it increases the trust and relevance of your brand allowing you to grow through a strong customer base. Your brand’s user profile should include demographics, their mindset and some of the main challenges they face, as well as the ultimate goal your client hopes to achieve. The objective is to not only create a persona that you realistically see engaging with your brand but to eventually design a brand personality from this information that harmonizes with your target audience.
TO GET STARTED think of one real person or a combination of people you’ve encountered (in your personal life or even on Instagram) who would love to use your brand’s products or services. They fit the lifestyle your brand is exuding and your products/services make sense for their needs. Your persona should be specific, with enough information to fully understand who you are serving and their lifestyle.
Men don’t need feminine hygiene products (unless you’re speaking to a man who’s been in a long-term relationship), older demographics may not care how fashionable their phone case is, and eco-friendly laundry detergent is probably the last thing a young teenager may care about. Additionally, while it may be tempting to try to capture as many people as possible when you do that, your message tends to be vague, general, and less meaningful. Finding your specific people allows your marketing strategies to be more tailored. Having a defined audience allows you to reach the right person with messages designed to make them feel special and seen, allowing them to build an emotional connection with your brand as we discussed in Creating a Powerful Brand Story (Guide).
Build Your Persona
A Step-by-Step Guide
IDENTIFY THE GENERAL GROUP (MARKET)
Before you build out your brand's persona (user profile), understand the general market you’re trying to reach. This can be a more general group you want to engage with that your brand can serve. Examples of some groups can be anywhere from the skate and surf culture in Venice Beach, California if you sell surfboards to marketing directors for large brands if you sell a service. Once you understand the general group, you are ready to dive into what a specific person in that group (market) looks like on a detailed level.
BUILD YOUR USER PROFILE
WHAT IS THEIR NAME? — This may seem silly, but identifying this can really help you tailor the personality and who they are. This can be a real person you’re modeling your ideal user after or a name that feels specific to the brand. For example, if your clothing line sells unisex styles, their name may be Taylor or Shaun (names that can work for any gender).
IDENTIFY THEIR —
Age — This should not be a range, but a specific age to understand what generation they’re from and give you hints to what they’re currently experiencing. Are they currently in college, new to the workforce, or entering retirement?
Occupation — What is the specific role they play and for what type of company.
Level of Education — Did they begin working for themselves right out of high school or did they go on to earn their doctorate.
Income — How much money do they make and have to spend? How do they approach purchases or products at your price point? A great hint to their lifestyle.
Marital/Family Status? — Are they married, single, or in a serious relationship? If so, how long have they been in this relationship and do they have any kids? This is a clue into their priorities and daily life.
Location — Where are they from & where are they currently living? Is it urban, suburban, rural?
Character — What are their traits, values, passions, and motivations?
WHAT IS THEIR LIFESTYLE LIKE?—
What do they do for entertainment?
The magazines they read, TV & movies they watch, favorite websites they visit, social media apps/sites they frequent (pay attention to their engagement- follows, comments, likes), restaurants & bars they love, etc.
What brands do they subscribe to? (e.g. Goop, Nike vs Adidas, Ralphs vs Whole Foods)
WHAT ARE THEIR NEEDS, ASPIRATIONS, AND PAIN AREAS?
What can they expect from you and how do you fix it? What solutions does your brand offer her/him? How will it impact their lives and help them go where they want to go?
* If you are having trouble forming your target audience, a great way to get on track is to look at your current, loyal customers or monitor your social media user activity. Jot down some notes on what they have in common, answer the above questions, and build from there.
Once you've developed your user profile (brand persona), stop to consider these questions as a checkpoint before you create any brand or marketing materials:
Is there a sufficient amount of people who fit that identity/persona?
Will my target audience truly benefit from my brand?
Do I understand well enough what motivates my audience?
Focus on one profile
As you go through the process of building out your persona, you may realize that your product or service can work great for more than one type of person and market. While that can be true, we urge you to focus on the top ideal customer and understand them first, then move on to others as you continue to grow and market your brand. Need help with your target market and/or how to engage with them? Check out our Discovery series.