Marketing with Clarity & Confidence: Understanding Your Brand & Audience


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In today’s lesson we’re going to go beyond the typical demographics and personas most people think of when we talk about brand and audience. We’re going to take you to the deeper connection you can make with your leads and customers by understanding the true problems they face and how your products and services are the right solution to those problems.

Read the transcript

Welcome to Marketing with Clarity and Confidence. Every Saturday morning for the next 6 weeks you’ll get an email from us with a lesson designed to help you move beyond a place of confusion and frustration and improve your marketing strategy.

You’ll be most successful in this course if you work in the same document or notebook every week. SO, get yourself setup and ready to take some notes and do a little work.

Today I want to spend some time talking about the ideal customers or the audience you are trying to reach with your marketing and then we’ll spend some time talking about the purpose behind your brand.

Let’s kick things off with your audience, the ideal prospects and customers you want your marketing to appeal to.

What we want to do is really tune into who the ideal people are that your marketing should be reaching. Now, there are tons and tons of resources out there that will help you craft great demographic information about your audience, so I’m not going to focus on that today. That is all very important for you to understand… the geographic location, age and income and all those statistics about your ideal audience, but what I want to focus on today is the problems that your ideal audience has and how you help them solve that problem.

So, take a minute and I want you to picture one or two of your best clients, your favorite customers, people who you do business with and it’s been a great relationship. You’ve been profitable in the relationship, maybe they’ve pushed you a little bit to grow who you are as a professional and as a person, but not in a way too inappropriate or uncomfortable. But really have just stretched you to the limits of who you can be your best at and who you’ve had a great working relationship with.

I want you to think back to how you first interacted with them. They probably came to you or you met them and you realized that they had a problem that you could help solve. They were struggling with something in their business or in their life or with a family member that you add to their problem.

Think for a minute about those one or two people that you can really visualize about what that problem was and I want you to write that down.

Now what you’ve written down is probably a surface-level problem. These people needed some sort of product or service in their life, right, they needed a new roof, they needed a new website, they needed help with setting up retirement plan. Whatever it is that you helped them with.

Now I want you to take this a step further I want you to try and think behind the motivation for that tangible thing or service or product that you were able to provide to them and what was the emotional driver for them needing that? What was really the true underlying need or problem that your customer has? Were they feeling very scared and concerned we’re going to outlive their retirement and they need someone who could together a plan it would actually give them peace of mind?

were they feeling like there was no way that they could succeed in their business because they have absolutely no idea how to market themselves online and the only straw they can grasp or was a website for what they really needed was some confidence and assurance that they can run a business in a digital age?

Or let’s say that you help people with planning a healthy diet right maybe their real underlying need is that they hate never had a positive experience kitchen and it’s a place where they feel really uncomfortable and they don’t feel like they have a whole lot of confidence in being able to produce a quality meal for themselves or for their family and what they really need is someone who can give them support, makes them feel confident and helps them to produce that meal without feeling scared or unsure of themselves.

Spend some time today really thinking beyond what sells these people and think about how you help them solve the problem and what I think you’ll notice is that the people that you’ve really enjoyed working with, who you’ve created a connection with, they really are the type of person that you want to be working with long term. You will find that the needs that they came to with, the problem that they came to you with, it is something that you intrinsically feel called to solve.

If you think about the bad fits; the people who you’ve worked with of people to where it’s just not worked out, they’ve been a terrible client, you’ve had an awful working relationship, you’ve lost money working with them… if you think back to the problem that they came to the table with, I guarantee you’ll find that it does not connect with you it just cannot connect with your purpose, it does not connect with your why, and because it doesn’t have that proper connection they just won’t be a good fit for your business.

So by thinking about and really listing out these problems that you helped solve on a surface level and then the emotional impact behind those and understanding that as we move forward and start talking about some other parts of your marketing, you’re going to be able to really target and connect with the right people not just from a demographic standpoint

(yes they need to be in the right geographical area to work you or yes they need to have the right income or they need to fit a certain profile)

but beyond that, it is so important that you are able to help solve the emotional problems that they come to the table with and that you want to solve those problems, that you connect with those problems. Otherwise you’re going to be marketing to the wrong people, you’re going to be putting the wrong message out, and you’re going to have a really hard time creating marketing and messaging that brings the right people to your business.

Once you’ve finished your notes on audience, we’re ready to start talking about your brand.

I really believe that you first need to know who it is that you’re trying to reach before you can decide how you want your brand to be received by the world. Finish the audience exercise before moving on to brand! That very specific audience is going to influence how you’re presenting your brand

The key thing about creating a brand that I really want you to take away is not not really the the look and feel the style (we’ll get to that later, those things are important they definitely are), but what I really want you to think about when you when you’re considering your brand and creating a definition of who your business is is to really be thinking about the motivation behind why you show up every day, why your business exists, why are you doing this in the first place… in relationship to that ideal audience that we talked about.

If you are a business owner or you’re working for small business then this is going to be the the reason that you or the founder of your business really decided to go out of the limb you drop everything leave the safety of the typical nine-to-five job and start a new business.

Now there may be some underlying motivators like “I needed to make more money”, “I needed to be more in control of my financial future”, “I needed to have more flexibility and the time to be able to do my family or take care of my children” that’s not the why that I’m looking for right now. Those things are important but what I’m really wanting to know and wanting you to think about here is what did you see happening in the world that you were set up with that you thought could be done better but you wanted to see improved in some way what was the thing that you saw that there was a need for and decided you were going to be the one to fulfill that need?

Once you have that why I want you to write it down with your notes and I want you to keep referring back to this. Everything that we do from here on out,  everything we talked about, we’re going to reference back to this “why”. We want to make sure that every strategy every tactic everything that you decide to do really fulfills this why.

Now let me give you some examples of our why and some people that we’ve worked with over the years

So for me personally when I started this business a little over eight years ago I had already been doing some freelancing for for a few years, but I had my second child and decided while I was on maternity leave that I wasn’t going back. I was in a not-so-great work situation and I wasn’t motivated to go back and try to make things work there. I had a very long commute at, least an hour each way, to go work in a pretty hostile environment where I didn’t really feel appreciated by everyone that I worked with and I didn’t feel like the people that we supported were getting what they needed from us.

I worked in a financial services firm supporting independent broker dealers all over the US and helping them to grow their individual businesses. If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about here your typical financial adviser hired on through like Merrill Lynch or Charles Schwab or somewhere like that typically there are what we call a captive environment. They work directly for the firm, they make a commission but they’re also getting typically some sort of base salary plus a portion of the income that they’re generating.

So we were an independent brokerage, meaning that the people that we supported… they’re their own business owners. They’re really on their own to make money, they don’t have any kind of base salary that they’re making, they’re not getting paid anything if they don’t produce and so when you see people come from the captive environment where they’ve got a nice steady flow of leads and marketing materials and they’re making a base salary they don’t have to really support themselves completely  into this world of being an independent there’s some really scary things that happen. First of all that there’s a shock to them. Marketing actually cost money and they need to have something carved out to invest in that or else their business is going to cease to grow. And then there’s also all these companies that sell them websites and marketing materials and social media content and presentation content that just is not effective and it’s incredibly overpriced

and so I saw these guys that were coming in starting up their own business and immediately feeling completely overwhelmed getting taken advantage of. What little marketing budgets they did have to spend they’re getting sucked up and used on things that are just completely useless to them, not going to help them generate leads and help them grow their business and I thought “you know this is a really terrible thing that’s happening, it wouldn’t be that hard for these guys to invest a little bit of money and really put together some great marketing programs”

So instead of getting good information and great resources but they’re getting swindled and I just thought that that was really wrong. So, yeah I was motivated to work for myself because I’ve always been very entrepreneurial always loved the idea of starting my own business.

I didn’t want to go back and work in the environment that I was in but I also was really sick and tired of seeing people get taken advantage of, to see people feel like they were failures and really they just didn’t have the right people guiding the way. And so my intention for starting Blue Steele was to be able to provide services and knowledge and strategies.

These small business owners who were stuck in the weeds feeling like failures because they just didn’t have the know-how and they didn’t have the big budget to compete and to stand out in the crowd.

Another example of a strong why for starting a business; we have a group of clients who are medical providers. The partners who started the business were previously working for a company who is now their competitor and they were seeing their patients come in and really just be treated like a number. This company was trying to quickly bring in as many people as possible, to book as many appointments but as they could and just churn and burn really every patient had a dollar sign on them and they were being brought in and sent out the door as quickly as possible and not always getting the care that my clients thought they needed and deserved because of this. And so our clients finally got to a point where they came together and said you know this just isn’t right we think there’s a better way to do this we think that we can take better care of our patients, give them a much better experiences help them be healthier people by spending more time really understanding them and their individual needs. And so they decided to start their own practice.

Then another great example from one of our recent workshops; I met a woman who has recently gone back to school to become a dietitian and initially she was telling me that she really wants to help people who have specific medical conditions that require them to completely change their diet and eat in a way that they’ve never eaten before.

I thought well that’s interesting, you know, but that’s really not it’s really not a very specific audience, you know, there’s a lot of people who have to change their diet and how they eat, there’s really not an emotional connection there. So I started digging a little bit deeper with her to understand really what motivated her to want to start this business and as we talked her story came out. She grew up as sort of a latchkey kid like a lot of people did in the 80s and nineties did and she would come home every day and she would prepare herself some sort of dinner. She just threw together something, whatever a kid could you know successfully put together without burning down the kitchen… there’s a lot of macaroni and cheese and opening cans for food and heating it up in the microwave and she really yearned for the experience of being in the kitchen with someone with her mom dad or a family member and having that experience of learning how to really prepare a meal not just heat something up and eat it alone in front of the TV but to prepare and present a meal and enjoy it with someone.

and so we we realized after digging in and really thinking about her story that her real motivation beyond just wanting to see people be healthier and be successful with a new diet plan, her motivation was really to fulfill other people’s desire to have someone there with them in the kitchen creating a bond over food and creating positive connections with the whole process of cooking and making it more of a communal activity than something that they’re just now forced to do because of their health condition

So think about you or your business if you’re the marketing person inside of your business and you’re not that connected to the story, sit down and talk to the founder or someone who understands the real motivation behind your business or where your business is today and take some time to document this why.

Then if you want to take this a step further we have a great workbook that goes along with this exercise that you can get a link below download it fill it out we’re going to talk about that why in a lot more detail and hope you create what we call a battlecry statement just something that’s going to again keep anchoring you back throughout everything what you do in your business – what is that true emotional motivator that drove you to start what you’re doing. The book is also going to help you really explore some other areas of your brand the brand personality – how you want to be presented in the world, how you want people to understand you what you’re doing, it’s going to help you to define the values and traits of your brand that are really driving forces behind who you are and how you want to be presented to the world, it’s also going to help you define some really important things about your brand like the voice and how you present your brand in writing and will include some of those style elements as well go ahead and give you a place to document those brand colors typography and some of the more visual elements of your brand.

Get Deeper Clarity

Ready to take things up a level? Get deeper clarity and confidence with  our step-by-step Brand and Audience templates. These ebooks will walk you through the exact process we use with our own clients.

Save 30% on all Marketing Forge purchases with the code newyear2019

Define Your Brand Persona V2

$19.99 – Branding eBook

2018 Ebook Covers V4_8 V4

$19.99 – Audience eBook

Heather Steele

After almost a decade of marketing in a corporate setting, she tired of being a corporate cog and decided to go it alone, bootstrapping a business based on one simple principle:   Partnership.   Follow her on Twitter @heathersteele03, LinkedIn, or our blog to learn how to turn your business into a beast.

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