By Frances Collins
30/06/2017
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Audience: Define, prioritise, profile, target

Nearly every company will have more than one audience group. Investors are looking for something different than ‘front line’ employees; and users of a product or service can vary greatly. The most successful brands will tailor their communication to suit their differing audiences depending on what it is and who it is primarily intended for. However, identifying and then focusing  on a ‘main audience’ is still key to developing a consistent and clear brand identity.

a dozen eggs ran a workshop in the summer for a company who work in child services. They have a wide range of audience groups — and all their users are important to the business. However, giving equal priority to all users would have resulted in a messy visual identity and confused brand.

Charnwood Brewery

Branding a micro-brewery and standing out from the crowd

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Instead, we needed to distill the company’s audience groups and then prioritise them. The exercise guided the team to discuss and then pinpoint their main and intended audience .  A tricky debate when ranging from the company’s end clients (children between 8–12) to the middle men; police, solicitors, social workers, etc.

So how do you work out which audience is the priority?

First of all, write them all down — include internal audiences and, if appropriate, suppliers. An audience could be described as ‘a group of people who have a commonality’. Then, be brutal! Which audiences would be easiest to lose? Cross out as many as you can until you are left with a couple. Involve your team at this point — it’s great to get a number of different viewpoints. If you have access to data — use it.

There are a number of different tools /actions that are useful at this point:

  • If you track sales via a CRM, then run a quick graph to test your theory about who your largest client base is / most profitable and see if it remains true.
  • Do you have a few favourite clients / customer types? Ask your employees about who they prefer to work with (a specific client, or type of client)
  • Your social media followers . Searching through people who are interested enough to follow you may be a good indication of who your most loyal fans are.
  • Once you have an understanding of who your audience is, you need to profile them. You will have to resort to good old fashioned stereotypes at this stage! Where do they shop? What car do they drive? What are their interests? How are they most likely to vote?

YouGov Profiles lite is a handy tool to look at quick data driven profiles .  Choose a company that holds brand values similar to your own, and look at their customer profile.

A screenshot from Yougov profiles of Waitrose

The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing

 

John Russell, President, Harley Davidson

The ideal at this stage is to find your audience, and ask them questions! The success of Airbnb rested on how much research they did into really understanding their community. Then remember to keep up to date with them . Perhaps buy a subscription to their favourite magazine, or occasionally shop where they do?

Successful brands are ones in which the projected view of the business matches the customer’s view. As a result, the customer can relate to and engage with the brand. An understanding of audience is therefore key to the success.

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