Establishing your market is of utmost importance when building a brand. Your market is the source of 80% of the indicators you are tracking: loyalty, repeat business, satisfaction, returns, and customer web analytics. In case you are curious, the other 20% is new business and untapped markets tracking abandoned purchases, browsers, mentions, and interest web analytics.
The question of market development can be puzzling. You can either find a market or build a market. Those distinctions and practices are important as well. I’ll talk about those options in a later post. In this lesson, I will focus on the discipline when branding a market.
Where They Are
This is not just searching the market out. Here, I’m referring to your need to be integrated in the space where your market engages. It can be online, but be careful to notice the engagement nuances.
The primary contact may be online or not. You may observe the interaction online that began at a concert or at a conference. The discussion may have been spurred by a book or a news event. You want to know the primary impetus so that you can gauge the longevity of the interest. You want to engage with group cohesion timing that fits with your brand. Most brands want long-term cohesion. Some are happy to profit from a single event, then move on.
What They Want
Chances are, your market is not in the space looking for your product. They are typically engaging in the space. You will want to allow for discovery, not intrude with branding. If brands and sales are out of the question, consider sponsoring some aspect of the interaction within the space in exchange for visible billing as a sponsor.
If it is a shopping space, offer an experience with your product. Communicate beyond sales and tell the story of your product. If you have a social good element, start there. Engage people to care about the things the brand was created to care about. Offer the brand as a way for people to demonstrate their care collectively. State clearly that collective action will make a difference.
If it is not a shopping space, people are not primed for a sales pitch. Engage however is germane to the site. Most likely, it’s social. Build shareable content that’s witty, visually stunning, quotable, or intellectually stimulating. Stay within the style guide and tastes of your brand.
Invite Them To Share
Asking the customer to do something is termed a Call to Action. Craft your call to action in the context of your sales funnel. You are not asking the contact to “buy now.” You are wanting them to take the next step in relationship. Typically, the request is to like a page or signup for a mailing list. Both these are invitations for the contact to engage with and share your content.
Your call to action can also ask them to share. Make sure all your marketing is ready for sharing. Social media buttons on your web page, public posts on social media, and teaser videos linking to full content work well.
Prime the Continuing Discussion
Ask questions and engage in even contentious discussions. Never fear, you can always block unruly guests. But use this power sparingly. Seek to resolve conflicts and demonstrate the responsiveness and caring of your brand.
Lead discussions that balance pop culture events with the goals, ethos, and experience of your brand. Consider each discussion as a commercial for your brand. Construct the conversation with “emotion placement” as opposed to product placement. Make the brand a living, feeling entity.