What you will learn
Brand or Branding is an often misunderstood factor of business and you might be wondering what I’m doing talking about branding for executives. Branding is certainly a cornerstone to success in building a business, it is equally important for building a successful department as well as career. Personal branding, department branding, and corporate branding are all essentially done the same way just at various scales based on the audience and potential reach. By the end of this podcast, you will have a clear understanding of what a personal brand is, how to discover your brand, understanding your target audience, how to segment your audience, and how to communicate your brand value to your respective segments.
What is a personal brand?
Developing a brand starts with understanding what a brand is. In the most simple of terms – a brand is a promise. Your brand is your promise. It’s what people expect, anticipate, and look forward to every time they interact with you. Further, it is what people expect from having a relationship on some level with you. So a question for you is, what do you want people to think about when they think about you? What do you want people to feel when they think about you? The last one there is the highest priority. People think about what they feel. But to get there, you need to get people to think and feel when they consume information about you and spend time with you.
Discover what people want and value
You need to get to a point where you understand what people want so you can get them to think and feel when they are around you or your online presence. Online presence here is the idea that anywhere you have content online, you’re present there as well. That leads us to understanding the people you want to connect with and why you want to connect with them. This is called knowing your target customer or target “market”. Forget about understanding demographics, those just cause confusion and discrimination based on unreliable information. Instead, understand psychographics and what groups of people value.
The larger group of people you want to communicate and connect with is classified as your target market. This will be a broad selection of people that could want and/or need your product or service. With the selection being so broad, it’s nearly impossible to communicate effectively with everyone because people are all different, have many wants and, possess a variety of needs. To understand and communicate well with people in your target market, you must dig deeper. If you were to put people into smaller groups somehow it might help. What ways do you think you could group people in your market? The process of smaller groupings of people in your target market is called segmenting.
One of the most common ways of grouping people or segmentation is based on demographics such as: age, gender, ethnicity, location, and income level. These can be valuable in many situations but could also lead to incorrect assumptions depending on how it’s applied. While there is value in grouping people demographically, there’s little gained for you in terms of communicating with your market. There is a way, however, to segment people for your purposes. Think about this for a second, if you wanted to talk to a group of people about your company, product, or service there are a few ways you could group them for the highest likelihood of getting a positive response from them about your topic. Would it be a group of people from a single ethnic group? Income level? Age?
Some of those might happen naturally based on which part of town, city, and country you are talking to people in – that’s a natural segmentation. This might return some good results but what if you approached it a little differently. What if you brought together a group of people that all value similar things? For instance, what will one person, other than yourself, find most interesting about your company, product, or service? Let’s say we think about coffee, in this case, to understand how different people might be segmented around drip coffee. I am choosing drip coffee here to filter out people that drink cold coffee drinks, sweet coffee drinks, and other more complex coffee drinks. See there, we’ve already navigated our target market to better communicate with people by understanding their values.
So our drip coffee drinkers can be further segmented for even more effective communication. Let’s say there’s a person that drinks drip coffee only in the morning when they wake up to get the day started, another person who drinks a drip coffee during every meal, and a third person who drinks coffee all day long… There are three groupings of people in our segmentation and we now want to understand what they value about the coffee.
The first, our morning only coffee drinker, we might be able to assume that they drink coffee to wake up, maybe they enjoy the smell, the comfort, the idea around warm coffee in the morning to ease them into the day.
We are already coming up with some story around our coffee drinkers to communicate with them and relate with them on. This is great! It can lead us to conduct some great market research around this group of people. Be careful to not run away with your own ideas about why they do what they do. Follow through with your due diligence and market test to understand really what they value and why they value that.
I’m going to leave the last two segments to you to consider and come up with your own proposed story around their interactions with coffee.
Once you’ve come to a point where you’re clear on the people you are interested in communicating with and what they value, it’s time to decide on how you plan to share your brand with your target segments.
How do you communicate your brand?
Choose one segment and focus on them. Now that you know what they want, forget about yourself and your company. Instead, position your language to be all about them and the things they value. An example might be the best way to explore this. Looking at the first drip coffee segment, we know they value waking up to coffee, the warmth, comfort, memories, and nutty smell whenever they wake up. So in your communication; whether it’s video, audio, text, images, you should be putting your segment’s values into every part. Using the image as an example, you might want to show a warm dark colored background, with coffee at some point during its preparation or brewing process. The place in the brewing process might be defined by which product you are selling. Let’s say you are selling coffee beans. You might have a shot that builds anticipation where the bag of beans is in the shot and the beans are mid-pour into a grinder. The warmth, nutty smell, and memories might all come flooding in for your audience with just that but you likely want to have some text there to make your value proposition extremely obvious. Don’t keep people guessing. “A premium bean for a premium you”. This could work if you’re targeting a premium coffee drinker but if you’re going for something bent toward the memories of the coffee, you could use “warm and nutty just like yesterday” or “warm and nutty every morning”.
Where do you communicate your brand?
Knowing the people you want to talk to will help you maintain focus in areas that will be ideal for them to hang out and even better where they might be in the buying mood. Premium buyers would certainly be in the buying mood on your store, in the coffee aisle of the grocery store, on the store of premium complimentary products such as kettles, grinders, chemex, and french press sets. Maybe during your due diligence, you discover a favourite online place that your ideal customers visit every morning during their coffee drinking. Could be listening to music, checking the weather, visiting social media, checking out the latest of their favourite podcasts. You should assemble targeting communication for your target segment on these platforms as well during the time you expect them to be on there in the morning and if you can get to this point when you believe they might be on the way to the grocery store. Positioning while they are drinking coffee is great but you may not see as much return as you expect. This is because they have already started fulfilling their need by drinking the coffee and no longer need your beans. But if you can get time in front of them when coffee is on their mind like when they are drinking or making it as well as communicating with them while they are heading to the store – that kind of well-timed reminder might help them consider you, as they walk into the store, as a new contender for their perfect morning experience.
Branding yourself, your team, your department?
You now know what a brand is, how to develop your brand, how communicate with the right people in the right place, and how to communicate with them in a way that will resonate deeply with their values. It’s time to put it into practice. What is your brand? What segments of people is your target market made up of? How are you going to communicate with them? If you have questions, let me know and if they’re really good – I’ll share them and answer them for you on this show.
If you’re ready – start with my free training.