Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Audience perceptions are the foundation of a memorable brand: 2

Brand Responsibly Manifesto: 2

When building a brand, our goal is to create a memorable brand program. We want to stand out, be recognized and generate response. Yet we can’t be all things to all people, so the first step is to understand the people we’re trying to reach.

Audience perceptions will guide us. Who are they? What are they interested in? What matters to them? Why should they care about what we have to offer? It’s important for your brand to appeal to your audiences’ perceptions. And … perception is reality!

Shape your brand from your audience’s point of view… Not your own.

Branding responsibly means branding from the point of view of your target audiences. Your design style should connect with their design affinity. Your message must resonate with their expectations, in their language. Your benefits must be presented so they’re easily understood … in a channel they’re familiar with.

Your audiences are overwhelmed

These days communications in all forms have defaulted to “glance and scan.” Ideas are absorbed in sound bites. You can no longer rely on target audiences to read the detail, only the headlines … unless they are truly in the buying research process.

Help them choose you

When there are too many choices, people resist choosing. Or they spend more and more time researching and gathering information before choosing. The latest statistics show in 2010 people on average used 5.6 sources of information before making a buying decision. But in 2011, they used 10.4 information sources–websites, social media, chat boards, online publications, etc. before moving forward.

A brand provides context, shape and character. It helps people separate your organization, product or service from the chaos. It helps them choose. By carefully planning your brand program from their point of view, to discuss their issues, you’ll be more effective in leading them from interest to decision. Audience perceptions matter.

memorable brand to choose youHow do your audiences define your brand? 4 steps to begin

1. First, who are you trying to reach?

Who is most likely to buy, refer, recommend your offering? Spend some time understanding who is involved in the decision process. Look beyond their role to who they are as a person–demographics, lifestyle, knowledge of your category, expectations. For example:

  • Higher education admissions marketing must reach potential students, age 15 to 18. Yet communications must also connect with parents and high school counselors. Generational perspectives, attitudes and communication styles have a big impact here.
  • In a B2B program, there are often multiple roles in the decision process, especially for a larger purchase. A specifier who defines specifications, a purchasing manager who obtains prices, a product manager or vice president who has made the decision to explore this category. They each have different roles and different expectations. Then there’s an end-user, what do they need?

2. Now you know who they are, identify what each audience needs or expects.

  • Think from “what’s in it for me?” WIIFM. Put yourself in that person’s shoes to find the primary reason they will choose you over another option. Incorporate audience perceptions into your primary message.

3. Determine what information they need to make a decision.

  • What can you provide that will answer frequently asked questions? (from their perspective)
  • The latest statistics show B2B buyers are 60% of the way to a decision before they contact a supplier. How do they recommend or promote one choice over a competitors? Help them evaluate and choose what you offer. In other words, everyone is doing more homework now before they actually make a call.

4. Draw up buyer personas.

These profiles will help you focus your design, message, content, and communication channel. Give each persona a name and a personality–it will help you be more targeted in your communications. And it will help you create a memorable brand program. One that will be recognized and remembered by the audiences you need to reach.

  • Include age group, preferred communication channel, perceptions and mis-perceptions about your organization and what you offer. Identify points of pain. What problem are you solving for this person?

This is just a start. Just keep in mind perception is reality. What your audiences perceive about you and what you offer is going to influence and drive how they interact. Focus your attention on what will resonate with them–not what you prefer or respond to. (unless your persona matches your audiences!).

Here are a few more resources to help you Brand Responsibly!

Defining audiences is an essential element of strategic definition, the foundation of an optimized brand. Learn more about our brand optimization methodology on our website.

When you’re ready to refresh or reinvent your marketing, let’s work together to create a memorable brand. Give us a call toll-free to 866.363.4433, or drop us an Email. We’re happy to talk branding!

About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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