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  • Writer's pictureHilary Young

Expert Brand Help: Tips from the Trenches

Although I have 20 years of professional work experience under my belt, I’ve only been fully immersed in the brand marketing world for the past 10. And in that time, I’ve had the pleasure of helping countless brands improve their relationship with customers, boost their profile in the marketplace, and generate greater profits.

I really love branding (nerd alert!) and I’m hoping to use the knowledge that I’ve picked up along the way to help you better understand your own brand. No matter what you may be struggling with as a business, focusing on how to better your brand strategy and improve your messaging will always yield results.

Define Your Audience

Understanding your audience is one of the most valuable things you can do in your business. You want to know their wants, needs and motivations on a deep level so that you can understand exactly what their problem is and how you can help them solve it. I know I’m not the first person to say this: when you try to market to everyone, you end up marketing to no one. Getting clear on who your audience is creates a ripple effect throughout your entire business and transforms everything you say, do and create in your business. When you know who you’re talking to you’re able to meet people where they are at, instead of expecting them to adjust for you. I encourage my clients to shy away from defining their audience segments using the Pew Research Center labels. Instead, I work with them to create psychographic profiles for each audience.

Psychographics are a qualitative methodology used to describe traits of humans based on psychological attributes and you can use them to help you better understand who your customers are and what they need. These profiles will give you insight into wants, needs, challenges and values of your audience so you know exactly who you’re talking to and how to talk to them

Focus on Creating Connections

Once you know who your audience is and what they need, it’s time to craft messaging that fosters connection. Lead with empathy and you can create authentic connections. This also means doing more listening than talking in order to be responsive to the needs of your market.

People want to feel heard and understood. They want to know they’re not alone. Stop trying so hard to sell, sell, sell and instead focus on the value that you can bring to the table for your customers and potential customers. You can do this in a variety of ways, but the goal is to demonstrate your ability to understand the consumer’s needs, not your sales goals. When you focus on providing value for your customers and potential customers the sales start to come naturally.

Refine Your Messaging

Customers need clarity. Without clarity, you send mixed messages and just sow confusion for your potential customers. They either misunderstand what you do, don’t know what action to take, or get so overwhelmed by your bad messaging, they bounce. You can prevent this from happening by making sure that your brand messaging is buttoned up.

This means narrowing your focus and getting very clear on your elevator pitch, your mission statement, and your brand values (among other things) in order to keep your messaging on brand across all channels and marketing efforts. Having consistency in your messaging is what helps ensure that consumers and customers are talking about your brand exactly how you want them to; consistency gives you the ability to control the message.

No matter which stage of growth your business is currently in, keeping these helpful brand tips in mind will serve you well as you work towards specific goals. Remember, branding is an ever-evolving endeavor. Just as people grow and change, brands require tweaks and adjustments along the way. Remaining nimble in your approach and being willing to examine what’s not working will go a long way with customers when all is said and done.


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