Building a Brand: Audience

As I pen lesson three of this series. I am well aware of the marketing journey I have traveled. My friend Camara often reminds me that if you are in business, you are in marketing. I have been resistant to the title at times, but that time was wasted time.
BTW: Check out Camara at @crosschannelmkt or

With this installment, I want to discuss 3 points about your audience as you develop your marketing strategy toward solidifying your brand. You have to answer the question, “Who is your brand meant to represent?”

It is more useful to ask the question this way rather than asking, “What does your brand represent?” Your brand will be more successful and result in more sales, if people identify with the brand as their own—as an expression of themselves.

Quote_hashtag.fwTwo Types
Two types of branding tags or sign-offs exist. The first and oldest is the tagline. This is a phrase that exemplifies the brand. The second, more recently popularized by social media, is the hashtag. The hashtag is a no-spaced-phrase with a pound (tic-tac-toe) symbol in front of it.

Some argument has raged in marketing circles about the continued usefulness of taglines. I counsel that both should be constructed. They should both be integrated together. At best, they would be the same—the hashtag is just the tagline without the spaces.

They should be used in different contexts. Both tagline and hashtag are to be used in advertising video. The tagline is stated and printed on screen. The hashtag is printed on screen. In explanatory print advertising, the tagline is featured. The hashtag is noted along with social media icons. In quick-impression print advertising and in social media, the hashtag is featured. The tagline is not used at all in quick-impression print ads.

The Challenge
Indeed, I wrestle with the challenge of finding the market that will identify themselves with my company. The challenge is to think about what you want people to BE as a result of purchasing and implementing your product. Not just what they do with the product. Not just what they say about it. Determine the personified, T-shirt message, or hashtag sported by your customers.

A few examples:

  • If you are a writer: #ReadTSWright
  • If you are a jewelry maker: #BossesWearTK
  • If you are an advocacy group: #BringTrustBack
  • If you are a health coach: #getCOACHMethod

Make sure you attend to the following:

  1. Make it creative in the sense that it is unique to you. I am a fan of utilizing actual words, or at least the way the word sounds phonetically. Either way, you want it memorable. This ensures that people can spell it when they need it.
  2. Differentiate your brand from other brands in the market. I like the idea of Twitter hashtags as you can tell from my examples above. It is easy to search your propose hashtag on Twitter to see if it is widely used. If not, you have a winner.
  3. Think IDENTITY. People are happy to brag about driving a BMW or owning a MK bag. These items say something about the person, if only in their own minds. “I am a BMW person.” “I’m the type that is MK-quality.” As you are thinking through the identity your brand projects, consider that the name you choose will be what people name about themselves.
  4. Include ACTION. If at all possible, especially with consumables, make the hashtag or tag line a statement of action. Make it something that your customers are happy to brag that they do. Many people are comfortable saying that they, “Buy Nissan” or that they are “Lovin’ It” or they “Buy More, Pay Less.”