So you have committed to developing your brand strategy, Great (if not read this article on why you should invest in your strategy). What next?
Before you get started take some time to properly plan out what your want your brand to achieve. Think big picture when doing this. Ask yourself where you would like your brand to be in 1-3 years and what you would consider a success. Defining some key metrics for success (sales revenue or growth in audience for example) will help to keep you focused but also consider the people who will be involved in your brands journey. These will be the people who are not only buying your products but championing your brand. Connecting to the right people is a good long term strategy that will not only help you achieve your goals but will help to do it in a sustainable and manageable way, giving you more freedom and flexibility.
So you have your goals written down, what’s the next step?
The first step is to define your audience. If you don’t know who your audience is, there's no way for you to find them. Think about what value your brand offers, or what problem it solves and who is the person that needs your brand. Don't be restricted to just one customer type here as there's a good chance that you can find new opportunities in untapped markets. Try to picture the different types of people that most commonly use your brand and look for patterns and similarities in how they engage the brand. This is where we start to develop customer personas.
So what are customer personas?
Customer personas are a tool which represents your archetypal customer. They are fictional characters which reflects who is using your brand giving you a point of reference when you are developing your strategy and brand identity.
To develop a customer persona we need to take a deep dive into the types of people you identified earlier to understand who they are, how your brand fits into their lives and their motivation for choosing your brand. We need to go into detail here to build a complete picture. Ask the questions below and get as much detail as you can.
- The person - How old are they? Are they male or female? What is their job and salary? Do they have a family? Where do they live? Where do they shop? With this exercise you should aim to be able to picture the person. In fact, it's a good idea to use imagery in these exercises to bring the character to life.
- How does your brand fit into their lives? - Think about the scenarios where they use your brand. Do you offer a product that solves a problem? Is it a product that people that brings status? Is there a culture or community around what your brand offers (Think of coffee fanatics or sneaker heads)?
- What motivates them? - Is there something unique to your brand that they value? - Try to understand their reasons for choosing one brand over another
As a brand owner you should be pretty familiar with this but try to validate as many of your assumption as possible against your current audience or market. Check in on your followers and see if the demographics are accurately represented or run some surveys and polls to get some feedback.
Let’s take a coffee brand as an example to build up a customer persona.
Your customer persona will help you unlock opportunities for your brand as you can now start to understand the entire customer journey. You should use your newly created customer profile to refer back to when creating your brand. Ask yourself how they think, feel or act in a situation so you can get into their shoes to make a more informed decision.