• Hilary Young

Why You Need to Know Yourself & Your Audience for Marketing Success



Branding is often solely thought of as how a business describes or presents themselves to the world. While that's not an inaccurate statement, it is, however, only looking at one piece of a bigger branding puzzle. To really nail branding, you also have to define and intimately get to know your target audience.


Once you know who you are and what you want to say, you also have to be sure that you are saying it to the right people in order to see the greatest return on your marketing efforts. After all, in business, just as in life, sending the right message to the right people at the right time will yield the most successful results.


So, how do you do that exactly?


Brand, Know Thyself


The first piece is creating clarity about who your brand is and what it stands for. Many brands just exude chaos in this department because they are unable to concisely and consistently talk about what they do and what type of value they add for customers. If it's confusing for you and your employees, it's even more confusing for customers. In order to cut down on this chaos, you have to thoughtfully and strategically define the following:

  • Mission Statement: This is a formal summary of what you stand for as a business and how your values as an organization support that stance.

  • Value Proposition: This is your key messaging for your audience because it lays out for them what makes you special in comparison to your competitors. This is what you have to leverage in the marketplace to build your business.

  • Brand Story: This is not a place to showcase the bio of your founder or CEO; the brand story is an intimate reflection of what you are trying to achieve and how you aim to achieve it. It's aspirational and relatable at the same time.

  • Brand Voice: This is the tone you want to take on for your brand. Just like people, brands have personalities, and you have to be clear in the way in which you define this for your brand.

Most importantly, don't just talk about these things and assume that the rest of your team is on the same page. Put a shared document together that keeps all of these components of your brand written down and in one place. Doing this will also help you keep agencies, freelancers, consultants, and other outside parties on brand as they work with you.


Brand, Know Others


The branding elements listed above will serve as the foundation of your brand moving forward, especially when it comes to marketing, advertising, and sales. But every solid foundation serves as something to build upon. And you can't properly build out a brand strategy or content strategy if you have no idea who your target audience is. In every Brand Foundation document I put together for clients, I always include target demographics and do a deep-dive into who they are by creating personas or demographic profiles.


Whether you create personas or profiles, the main objective is to take a seemingly flat and two-dimensional concept and turn them into living, breathing people with complicated lives and very specific problems. In order to do this, you must:

  • Understand their pain points. When you can identify how your target audience is struggling in different or overlapping ways, you can better adjust your content strategy in order to serve them up more personalized ads that they'll engage with.

  • Have empathy for their lives. Empathy is my secret to success. I am very adept at emotionally putting myself into other people's shoes, in part because I spent so much time doing theatre growing up. When you understand what motivates people and/or what is holding them back, you can tweak the messaging to address this need within them in order to make a deeper connection.

  • Demonstrate how your business will help them. Once you know what your audience is struggling with, you can get to work on creating content that demonstrates your value in helping them with their problem. But you have to go above and beyond here, leveraging your value proposition against their struggles, connecting your mission statement to their internal value system, and speaking to them in a tone that feels relatable to them.

Connecting The Dots


Putting all the pieces of this puzzle together can be a challenging process, and not one that brands can navigate without a guide. In fact, sometimes bringing in an outside consultant can help you see things in a new way (both positive and negative) because they're not as close to the material as you are. It's the same concept as not being able to see the forest for the trees; when you're standing in the middle of the woods, you have no perspective on anything other than your own coordinates.


If you need someone to help you connect the dots for your brand, you know where to find me.

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