One of the worst habits I see across all businesses is targeting every possible customer. Here's the problem with this bad habit: When you target everyone, you end up connecting with no one and you can stunt your business growth.
The good news is, I have three healthy branding habits you can start developing today that can help turn this bad habit into a habit that's good for growth.
To grow and make real, effective progress toward your business goals, you need to find your B.A.E. (which stands for your ideal customer, or the client you care and think about "before all else") and develop these three good habits.
Winning Habit #1: Find your B.A.E. and make a habit of thinking about them every day.
Understanding the true nature of your brand begins with the critical question, “Who do you want to be in relationship with?" To put it another way, who is the most important target for your brand?
If you're targeting, say, women 25 to 54, you may be looking too broadly. There may not be a connection between your brand and their unique needs. At Brand Twist, we create bullseye target personas and get to know potential customers intimately. Armed with this intel, we create marketing that goes directly to their hearts (not just their heads) and turns them into loyal brand ambassadors.
Start to make a habit of thinking about your B.A.E., your ideal customer. What is their name, age and occupation? Where do they live? Who else lives in their household? Where did they attend school? What are their passions and hobbies outside of work?
Then make a habit of going deeper. By thinking about it every day, you'll start to really understand their struggles, and what will make them receptive to your brand. What are they looking for but can't find? What brands are they passionate about and why?
This leads us to…
Winning Habit #2: Make a habit of going for the emotions.
Ever feel so passionate about a brand that you can't wait to tell your friends? When your customers feel and act this way, they've become your brand ambassador—and your relationship has gone way beyond the “client zone" to something deeper.
Great brands touch consumers' hearts, not just their heads. They go beyond rational proof points and connect on an emotional level. To continue attracting new customers, you need to understand your target's emotional triggers—what they worry about and love.
Make a habit of asking yourself this question every day: What will compel my target customer to become a loyal brand ambassador?
Many marketers fall into the trap of thinking that branding always has to be a huge gesture, like a giant billboard or a knockout commercial. While such gestures can be effective, often it's the little moments that cause your customers to fall in love with you and truly reinforce your brand promise. It could be a small line of copy on an invoice, or a greeting that loads as your website boots up. Take just five minutes out of your daily routine to stop and think about a moment that will surprise and delight your customer, helping them fall further in love with your business and connect emotionally, creating a stronger brand connection in the process.
Winning Habit #3: Make a habit of studying the brands your B.A.E. loves, and discover new ways to give them that experience.
If you want to keep your relationship alive and fresh, you think about what the other person loves most and find ways to give it to them. If you've begun practicing the first two winning habits, you know a lot more about your B.A.E. Knowing their favorite brands will inspire fresh ideas. But don't stop at knowing—experience the brands they love to the fullest.
Take off your brand blinders and look to the brands your B.A.E. loves outside your category for fresh perspectives. Get out from behind your desk and visit brands “in the field." At Brand Twist, we organize Brand Safaris, exploring neighborhoods and shopping meccas to engage with brands both as customers and observers. The experience offers powerful lessons that we can apply to our own brand.
No matter where you go, the trick to getting the most out of your Brand Safari is to observe and record what is going on around you. Bring a notebook, take photos or record thoughts on your phone. And be sure to buy something while on safari! Notice everything about the purchase experience, from the packaging to how staff behave when they think you're not looking. It's the best way to gain a wealth of knowledge that you can apply to your own brand to keep your B.A.E. coming back for more.
With a little effort, and a commitment to add these steps to your daily routine, you'll soon be thinking of them not as habits, but as best practices.