Your brand needs to do more than look beautiful. It must speak to your target audience, and find a profitable niche in the market.
As you walk into any store or visit any e-commerce website, you’re faced with a deluge of brands. The days of brands consisting of a family name and a quaint logo are long gone. The best modern brands tell sophisticated stories, which connect with their target audience on deeper levels. Today’s consumer wants a brand they can align with on a visceral level. A cause to believe in. A “cool club” to be a part of.
This branding arms race has created savvier consumers, who expect more from their brands than just excellent service, or high-quality products. This densely populated, ultra-competitive marketplace means that carving out your own profitable and relevant target audience takes more care than ever. Today, let’s take a look at the kind of systematic approach you need to take in order to achieve modern-day branding success and translate it into a thriving bottom line.
The Goldilocks Approach
Developing a brand that is both profitable and relevant means taking what can be called ‘the Goldilocks approach’. This involves inspecting the various directions that your brand can take, in order to find one that aligns with a substantial target audience. To help get you in the right headspace to solve this problem, we’ve put together a breakdown of some of the most common ways that brands miss their sweet spot. By reviewing these, and understanding why there are issues with them, you can ensure that your brand finds a spot in the market that’s just right.
One of the main problems that affect a brand is that it’s ill-defined. The primary reasons behind this are a) companies don’t know their value proposition, and b) companies don’t understand who makes up their customer base. In the first case, not understanding your value proposition means that, for all intents and purposes, you can’t build a brand. Your brand distills your value proposition into succinct visual and messaging components. If you don’t understand your value proposition, whatever ‘brand’ you do create will just be sweet, empty words and images that don’t appeal to a customer base.
Not knowing your customer base is an extension of not knowing your value proposition. Obviously, if you don’t know why you provide value, you won’t know who might benefit from the value your business is supposed to provide. This problem leads to the creation of brands that are too vague because when you don’t know the characteristics of the people you’re appealing to, it’s tough to say anything that people will connect with. When you’re in this predicament, the vagaries begin, and this leads to a brand that doesn’t build the type of lasting relationships you need to form to remain successful in the long term.
Brands that become too broad are those that basically take the opposite response to the above problems of not knowing your value proposition, and not knowing your customer base. Instead of creating the kind of empty and vague pleasantries we outlined above, this branding error involves trying to please everyone, but ultimately striking out, and missing the specific target audience who you should be aiming at. Some brands try to encompass too many disparate concepts, messages, and elements, by connecting them in incorrect ways, which only creates a Frankenstein that doesn’t serve anyone.
To prevent this from happening, it’s important to remember that, in almost all cases, ‘less is more’ when it comes to branding. People have a ton of brand interactions every day, which can make getting your point across quickly and effectively difficult. This requires doing a lot of heavy lifting on the planning and strategy side of things, to craft a brand that is acutely targeted to only those who are most likely to buy your product or service. Any additions you make outside of this target audience will dilute your message, and decrease the likelihood of conversions.
This instance goes to show that, even when you know your value proposition exactly, you can still miss the mark on a profitable and relevant target audience. Going too niche is a problem that occurs when you specify your brand too much for your ideal customer, and miss out on plenty of other potential customers, who are eager to interact with your brand, but you aren’t speaking to them. This is when the consideration of a ‘profitable’ target audience comes into play. Sure, your product or service might be the perfect solution for a small and precisely defined audience, but your brand can’t restrict itself to this small group, because perfectly acceptable customers who fall outside this demographic will slip through the cracks.
Now that we’ve seen some of the most common mistakes made that prevent a brand from finding its sweet spot, let’s examine an example of a company that has a brand that’s just right. Whole Foods has done an excellent job fitting themselves into a competitive industry, with a highly refined value proposition, which accommodates a large target audience that isn’t exclusive.
People know exactly what they’re getting when they go to Whole Foods: the best quality produce, food brands, and other ethical and innovative products, at a slightly higher price, but with the satisfaction of not having to compromise. Whether you’re looking for an exotic nutritional supplement, everything on your shopping list for a new diet, or just a good hot meal in the middle of the day, you can trust that Whole Foods has you covered. Their multi-billion-dollar acquisition by Amazon shows the value behind their brand, and the in-depth understanding they have of their value proposition.
If you’re having trouble finding your brand’s sweet spot, Vrrb is here to help. From UX/UI design to brand strategy, to website design and development, we’ll work with you to build something awesome.