Why your target audience is the key to a memorable brand message
Updated: Jun 2
Imagine you want to go to a yoga class, but you’re not sure where to go. You head to your Google search bar to find local options.
Do you type “fitness studio”?
Or do you type “yoga class in Vancouver”?
When you have a specific need (finding a yoga class) you’re looking for a specific answer or solution to your problem (local yoga studios). The same is true for your target audience. They’re looking for products and services that will meet their specific needs.
If your brand message is generic, intended to speak to as wide an audience as possible, it becomes very difficult for people to see themselves in your messages and connect with your business. They will not be able to resonate on a deeper level with what you are saying and they will not feel that you are speaking directly to them.
“When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.” — Meredith Hill
Too generic and you run the risk of not connecting with people. This can spell disaster for a brand. If no one is listening, no one is buying. If no one is buying, you will have trouble growing your business and increasing your positive impact on the planet.
Memorable brand messaging connects to a specific person with a specific need. It’s the opposite of generic.
So how do you create a memorable brand message? By defining and understanding your target audience. Getting specific on your target audience will help you clarify what your business is doing, connect with the right people, and inspire like-minded people to get on board with your cause.
How do you create your target audience?
Let’s say you’re an outdoor business selling recycled plastic attire, such as sweatshirts and raincoats. You may be tempted to say, “I know my target audience—they’re outdoor enthusiasts.” And that may be true; your ideal customers love the outdoors and being in nature.
But we need to go deeper than this.
Being an outdoor enthusiast isn’t as niche as you may think. In fact, 2020 brought the highest outdoor participation rates on record. Luckily for sustainable businesses working to have a positive impact on the planet, outdoor enthusiasm is becoming the norm.
An important part of the brand journey is understanding who your target client is on a deeper level. Here’s how to start:
1. Uncover what makes your target audience different
Think hard about your ideal client or customer. What’s different about them? Get specific and dig deep:
They may be outdoor enthusiasts but are they most into hiking? Camping? Water sports?
Are they weekend warriors or all the time adventurers?
Would they prefer that a percentage of their purchase is donated to a tree planting organization or to a local kids camp?
Hint: the best way to find out is by doing some competitive research. Check out the clients of your direct competitors and see if you can gather some insights about who they are and what they are into. Chances are their audience is the same, or close, to yours.
2. Create your target audience persona
Create a fictional character —or an audience persona—that is the embodiment of your ideal target audience. Most businesses skip this step, but it’s crucial for laying the foundation for your brand messaging later.
What is their gender identity or expression?
What age are they?
Where do they live?
What do they do?
What are their fears and desires?
How does your product/service help them overcome their fears and achieve their desires?
If you’re not sure how to answer these questions, check out the reviews of your competitors. What are other people saying about what the company does well? What do they wish the company would do better?
Looking at reviews can help you determine what your target audience cares about and what they’re looking for in your products and services.
3. Keep one person in mind
When you start to develop your brand messaging, imagine you’re speaking directly to one person (preferably the audience persona that you created!). It’s tempting to appeal to the masses, but remember a generic message means you’ll have a harder time standing out and connecting with your target clients.