Your brand identity is more than just your visuals or naming. It’s how your business is perceived by your audiences, competitors and customer base. When it comes to building a brand to reflect your audience and its needs, as with any type of project, research will be the foundation of this process.
Below, we're sharing 4 key ways that research work can support the process of building a brand that reflects and resonates with your audience.
Defining Your Audience and Knowing Who to Target
It may sound like common sense, but knowing who (and not) to target your brand towards is a good place to start. According to Giles Thomas of Mimo Brands, ‘the clear benefits of targeting include finding the 20-40% of customers who will drive 80% of your profits.’
‘By doing this, you will minimise budget wastage on people who frankly you are unlikely to convert, and find it easier to make brand decisions including positioning, messaging, communication and promotions.’
To get started on this stage, take aa look at the underlying demographics to identify who needs your product or service and who are most likely to buy it. Consider the following factors:
- Marital Status
This kind of data paints a basic image of your buyer persona’s day-to-day tasks, activities, and buying decisions—allowing you to be familiar with your core customers. Again, this is done to concentrate your message on the people who will make the most impact.
When it comes to putting targeting into practice, begin by chunking up segments of the market. This way, you will be able to understand the different groups of customers, their attitudes and behaviours, and their potential value in the market.
The most common challenge when it comes to audience targeting research is that accessing this kind of mass demographic information isn't easy - and running this sort of research by yourself can be extremely time consuming. This is where specialist agency support can often help to ease the problem.
Download: The (Re)brand Workbook
Creating your Customer Persona through market research
Following from this, you can start applying the key challenges your brand is looking to solve, and voila! You've got a buyer persona. Choose the segments that you think best suit your product/service and ambitions, ensuring they are big enough and that there is enough headroom for your brand to exploit profitably. Begin to build out profiles of these customers, including what they think about and how they behave.
Without detailed customer profiles, you begin to run the risk of marketing to a nondescript audience, leading to wasted time and closed-lost deals - this is known as ‘boiling the ocean.’ This is when your customer profile is broad. If you do this, you could risk spreading your product/service offering too thin and dilute your value across a large number of customers.
There are two key ways to understand the core challenges faced by the people within your audience:
- Qualitative research - speaking to your audience and existing customers directly
- Quantitative research - running mass surveys designed to understand broader trends - again, this is easier said than done, and where specialist agency support can be a great help.
As well as helping to better build and position your brand, other benefits of customer profiling include finding better prospects, increasing close rates, lowering customer acquisition cost and reduces customer churn.
Following this guidance should inevitably improve chances of building a meaningful brand to reflect your audience, and not just one that simply looks nice.
Undertake Competitor Research
Just as important as knowing who to target, is knowing who your competitors are. Identify businesses who offer a similar product/service to your own.
The core elements that should make up your competitor research are known as primary and secondary:
- Secondary research: Start your market research with an overview of secondary sources. For example, if you’re launching a family budgeting app – check out industry publications like Fintech Magazine, personal finance blogs like MoneyCrashers, and competitor websites. Get a general feel for the market landscape and existing tools.
- Primary research: The next stage is to carry out your own primary research, through channels such as focus groups, interviews, and online surveys. This will allow you to dig deeper into the minds of your potential customers and determine whether they would be open to trying your product.
Because competitor research is an umbrella that includes product, service, customer experience and everything in between, when thinking about brand building, it’s best to focus on the following three key areas…
Take a look at the different channels that your competitors are using to engage with their audience, and the type of content they are putting out, then think about how you could do it better.
What language is your competitor using when they talk about their products, service and organisation. Is it conversational or professional?
How are your competitor’s offerings perceived and differentiated in the minds of the marketplace?
Using Market Research to Create Engaging and Relevant Content
Now that you’ve identified your audience and competitors, it’s time for you to stand out with the help of quality content. It needs to be engaging and relevant to the segments you identified back in the targeting stage.
Pull content from your competitors and take a look at the challenges they're trying to solve. Follow key persons within your target demographics and monitor how they're engaging.
Still, most importantly? Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What would you like to see? Avoid using unnatural language and industry jargon that your audience are unlikely to understand. Be conversational and don’t make it all about yourself. Constant self-promotion can run the danger of appearing spammy or inauthentic. Content should be human-driven, emotive and make people want to share it.
As people begin to interact and engage with your content, you can use this data to further build your audience profile, understanding what resonates and what doesn’t quite hit the mark.
Growing a brand is a bit like growing a plant – it takes time and patience. Think of the above steps as the roots. The research is everything that’s below the ground, unseen but always there.
Through calculated targeting, knowing your customer and competitors, and creating engaging and relevant content, you’ll be giving all the “nutrients” your brand needs to grow and reflect the audience it was designed to be used by.
GO! help to find agency support across the industry spectrum, including research and data projects for brand building and customer insights. Get in touch here, and one of our team will be happy to help.