How well do you really know your customers? Could you describe what matters to them? What keeps them awake at night? What problems they need to solve within the context of your products or services?
Do you understand what might stop them from buying from you? Are they worried about money? Is status important? Have they had bad purchasing experiences in the past?
These are just a few of the questions that you need to be able to answer about your customers if you want your brand communications to reach the right audience.
What is brand communication?
First things first, what do we mean by brand communication?
Your brand communication covers how your business communicates and delivers meaningful and focused messages about your brand to its stakeholders. This includes potential, existing and past customers, shareholders, suppliers, employees, investors and sponsors.
Brand communications can include advertising, social media posts, blogs, press releases, digital marketing, direct marketing, and more.
Talking to everyone but resonating with no one?
One reason that we see brand communication strategies fall flat for businesses before they start working with us is that they’re not targeted enough.
Businesses often want to serve as many people as possible, which is understandable, but it can spell disaster for sales and building brand loyalty.
Why? Well, it comes back to the famous saying, “You can’t please all of the people all of the time”.
Trying to reach and appeal to everyone means watering down what you’re saying so that you don’t exclude anyone. You can spot untargeted brand communications a mile away! They tend to use bland and generic marketing messages that sound similar to what other brands are already saying. People read them and then forget about them, or if able to recall them, can’t place who they belong to.
The last thing you want is for your business voice to sound like everyone else in the marketplace. How will potential customers find you if there’s nothing to identify you or tell them where to go?
When it comes to brilliant brand communication, it’s vital to identify who you want to reach and then go ‘all in’, talking exclusively to those people. That way, when people in your target audience come into contact with your brand, they’ll say, “Wow! They see and understand me. This is what I’ve been looking for”.
The ‘ideal’ customer
This is where the ‘ideal customer’ comes in (other names for this include ‘target audience’, ‘marketing avatar’ or ‘buyer persona’). Essentially, these terms all refer to the type of customer who is perfect for your business.
And by perfect, we mean that they value your products or services, are happy to pay your prices for them (without haggling), come back as a repeat customer, and feel so positive about your brand that they recommend it to other people.
If you offer a wide range of products and/or services, you may have several ideal customers.
Why does knowing your ideal customer help your brand communications?
Once you know who your ideal customers are, you can figure out how to talk to them and where they will see your marketing messages.
You’ll understand what’s going on in your customers’ lives and how it relates to your business, then you can reach out and meet them at any and every stage of the customer journey – from hearing about your brand for the first time to making repeat purchases.
In particular, knowing your ideal customers can take your marketing messages to the next level. Here are a few examples to show how:
If you know what challenges your customers are facing, you can talk about their problems (pain) in your copy, remind them what might happen if they leave things to get worse (agitation), and then highlight how your business offers the solution (this is known as the Pain-Agitation-Solution copywriting formula).
· Try the PPPP formula
If you’re looking for an alternative to the Pain-Agitation-Solution formula, then Promise, Picture, Proof and Push (PPPP) is a great option.
With this approach, you promise your readers that a product or service is going to change their life in some way. Then you describe what their life will look like and how it will change, and back up your promises with facts. The push comes when you ask customers to commit.
Again, using this formula in your brand communications relies on knowing your customers, how they want their life to change, and why.
· Features and benefits
People don’t really buy the features of a product or service; they buy the outcomes or benefits those features offer.
By getting to know your audience, you can home in on the outcomes they want, and then show how your brand provides those outcomes.
For example, imagine your company sells meal kits that include the exact amount of ingredients needed for four different recipes for a family of four. These are the features, but what are the benefits?
With the meal kit, customers won’t need to think about what to cook at the end of a busy day. Because the ingredients have been weighed out, there’s no food waste, which is better for the environment and more cost-effective than going to the supermarket.
And there are benefits of these benefits. The customer has more free time to enjoy at the end of the day. They’re helping the planet by reducing food waste and using local produce, which makes them feel like they’re doing something proactive to make the world a better place. The recipes are nutritious and easy to follow, taking the stress out of cooking for a family.
These benefits will all resonate with a busy parent who is environmentally conscious and wants to feed their children nutritious food that supports local producers.
We humans have been telling stories since the dawn of language. Indeed, the sharing of stories is how we make sense of the world and our own experiences, as well as being a way to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. For this reason, using storytelling in your brand communications is a powerful way to capture the attention of your ideal customers and bring them on a journey that ends with them buying from you.
Have a look at this campaign from Barclaycard. In two short videos (Festival and Wrestling), it tells the story of a couple who each support their partner’s hobbies because they love them, while fantasising about doing something they would enjoy more. The message being that they can afford to do both thanks to Barclaycard.
There are loads of other examples of storytelling in brand communication. Knowing your customers will help you to land on the right story to grab their interest.
· Conversations and engagement
It’s far easier to get people talking to you if you have some common ground to spark a conversation. Once you know your target audience, you can talk about things that matter to them, and ask questions that they’ll find meaningful.
This is great for building your brand on social media where every like, comment or share increases reach.
Go to your customers
Your brand communications aren’t just about what to say to your audience. They’re also about where and how you tell stakeholders about your brand.
This is another reason why knowing your audience is so important – it helps you answer questions such as:
- Are you likely to find them on Facebook or TikTok?
- Do they read specific magazines or newspapers?
- Which YouTube channels do they subscribe to?
- Are they people who love uploading their own content?
- Which famous people do they follow on social media?
- Are they comfortable with new tech?
- Do they read blogs? If so, what do they read blogs about?
- Do they listen to podcasts?
- What sort of lead magnet would they want to download?
These are just some of the questions that will help you to decide what to include in your brand communications strategy.
One of the many benefits of this is that it will save your business money by ruling out some marketing avenues and zeroing in on others.
Without this customer knowledge, all you can do is throw out brand communications anywhere and everywhere and hope that something lands in the right place! Yes, you might hit a few targets, but it will be more luck than judgement (and expensive luck at that).
Getting to know your customers from the outset will make your brand communications brilliant – and maximise your marketing budget.
Need help with your brand communications? We’d love to have a chat.< Back to Blog