Perfecting Your Startups Brand Strategy - Pt. 2: Understand Your Audience

March 18, 2024
9 min read
Tom Mackay
Written by
Tom Mackay
Perfecting Your Startups Brand Strategy - Pt. 2: Understand Your Audience

In part two of our three part blog series into startup brand strategy, we delve deeper into the extensive and captivating world of branding, recognising the paramount significance of building a successful brand strategy for startups, their constituents, and methods to attain it.

Strategy is the engine that propels your enterprise smoothly or hinders its progress. It forms the core. A meticulously planned, thoughtfully crafted, and expertly executed strategy has the potential to catapult your venture to unforeseen heights.

Strategy truly can make you immortal, and there’s no exaggeration here. Look at history: Alexander the Great, Salahuddin, Sun Tzu, and Napoleon, among other brilliant strategists, occupy entire pages in history books because of their adeptness in foresight, planning, and timely action, leading to remarkable conquests and achievements.

However, such leaders shared something in common. They possessed an intimate understanding of their people, territory, culture, and adversaries, enabling them to protect and expand their empires. From an early age, they were trained by some of the most brilliant teachers, philosophers, and warriors who promoted their worldly comprehension.

In other words, a brilliant strategy demands extensive research and preparation. Returning to modern business, any effective brand strategy begins by knowing your audience as much as your company.

Imagine what your brand could become when it can harness such a power.

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Perfecting Your Startups Brand Strategy - Pt. 2: Understand Your Audience

Perfecting Your Startups Brand Strategy - Pt. 2: Understand Your Audience

March 18, 2024
Perfecting Your Startups Brand Strategy - Pt. 2: Understand Your Audience

Why audience analysis is crucial for branding strategy?

As you navigate the intricate journey of scaling your brand, a profound understanding of your target market and group becomes the cornerstone of strategic, gradual and continuous growth for your business.

In reality, there exists no alternative. Sooner or later, you realise that to achieve growth as a company, people need to know you and connect with you on a deeper level to choose your product or service over others again and again.

You also need to know your people well, beyond flat data such as their age range, location or gender, and comprehend what makes them human, including their deepest aspirations, pain points, and motivations in life.

It is almost as if you need to get out of your role as a founder and become a psychologist whose work is to understand your audience mentally and emotionally to offer them what they need.

Audience-centric branding strategies are the means to achieve outstanding business results, and here we touch upon subjects that will help you implement yours.

1. Audience Segmentation Branding Strategic Approaches

Audience segmentation transcends simple categorisation. It's an art that demands a thorough understanding of your customer base. Employing various segmentation approaches, such as demographic, geographic, psychographic, and behavioural segmentation, allows you to dissect your audience into meaningful clusters based on shared attributes, values, and preferences.

This multifaceted approach serves as a compass that guides your comprehensive brand strategy, communication and initiatives, ensuring that each segment receives tailored and relevant messaging.

2. Tailoring Communication and Experiences for Each Segment

Once you've delineated your audience into distinct segments, the next crucial step is crafting tailored communication and experiences that resonate with the unique needs and preferences of each group. By customising your marketing campaigns, product offerings, and customer interactions, you create a sense of exclusivity and personalisation that fosters a deeper connection with each segment.

Netflix is an excellent example of brand services based on effective segmentation. By analysing users' viewing patterns, preferences, and interactions, Netflix curates a tailored content library and personalised recommendations that enhance user experience and foster engagement.

Such a personalised approach not only keeps users actively involved with the platform but also positions Netflix as a leading provider of entertainment solutions, catering to diverse tastes and preferences across a global audience.

Source: Dumpaday

Simply put, Netflix truly understands what its audience desires, even if they all have different tastes. Tailored audience approaches not only cultivate loyalty but also position your brand as a trusted ally that intimately understands and caters to the specific aspirations and challenges of your diverse audience.

3. Leveraging Data for Continuous Refinement and PersonaliSation

Audience segmentation is not a one-time endeavour; it's an ongoing process that demands continuous refinement and adaptation. People change all the time, and brand strategies must also change. By harnessing the power of data analytics and customer insights, you can continually reassess and refine your segmentation strategies to align with the evolving dynamics of your customer base.

This data-driven approach enables you to anticipate what could happen regarding preferences and trends, allowing you to be one step ahead and adapt your communication and experiences to maintain a competitive edge and relevance in the market.

Customer personas and their impact on branding

As a way to go beyond generalisations, customer personas offer a powerful lens through which you can view your audience as real individuals with unique aspirations and challenges.

By crafting detailed customer personas that embody the essence of your target audience, you can effectively humanise your brand's interactions and offerings, fostering a deeper and more meaningful connection.

These personas serve as guiding beacons when building a good brand strategy, ensuring that every decision and initiative is intricately woven into the fabric of your audience's desires and expectations.

Patagonia's "Environmentally Conscious Outdoor Enthusiast" Persona

Patagonia has successfully embraced the "Environmentally Conscious Outdoor Enthusiast" persona, catering to individuals passionate about outdoor activities and sustainability.

By offering eco-friendly and durable outdoor apparel and gear, Patagonia resonates with the values and preferences of this persona, demonstrating a solid commitment to environmental conservation and responsible manufacturing practices.

Patagonia “Don’t Buy This Jacket” Ad. Source: Beloved Brands

Positioning your startup for success in the market

In our modern market competitive landscape, there are around 150 million startups worldwide, where 50 million new startups are launching their operations yearly and about 137 thousand are created daily. The numbers are mad, and competition is fierce. To stand out in such a scenario, a powerful brand positioning is paramount. It can catapult your brand to new heights and connect you with the right people who will love your brand and its offerings and eventually become part of your community.

However, it’s difficult to achieve, as it demands a comprehensive understanding of your competitors, a compelling Unique Selling Proposition (USP), and unwavering commitment to your brand promise.

Here's how you can strategically position your startup to stand out and thrive amidst the competition:

Competitive Analysis: Unveiling Your Brand's Position in the Market

In the Godfather trilogy directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) teaches his son and future heir, Michael (Al Pacino), to “keep his friends close but his enemies closer”.

Of course, the world of modern business stands far from that of the Italian mafia in the 20th century in NYC, but such advice is still valid and applies when building successful business endeavours.

Keeping your competitors closer means knowing them thoroughly. Infrastructure, target group, strengths, weaknesses, successful and poor products, and every aspect of their business could become an advantage when you aim to be different and stand out from the crowded market you’re part of.

By meticulously studying every element of their business, including market positionings and customer engagement tactics, you can identify gaps in the market that your startup can leverage. This critical analysis provides a roadmap for positioning your brand uniquely, highlighting your distinctive value proposition and key differentiators that resonate with your target audience.

So, you'd better keep Vito’s advice closely.

Source. Tenor

Crafting a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for Your Startup

Crafting a Unique Value Proposition (UVP) is essential in distinguishing your business in the market. It's not just about catchy slogans or positioning statements; it's about truly understanding the core needs of your target audience and how your company uniquely addresses them.

Read more: Startup brand strategy: How to perfect your strategy

Consistency in Branding: Why It Matters and How to Achieve It

The age-old advice of "If you say something, do it. Keep your word no matter what" might seem like a relic from the past, often overlooked in our modern era of self-doubt, uncertainty, and overwhelming choices.

Yet, resurrecting this timeless wisdom and applying it to the contemporary business landscape remains a crucial component of any successful entrepreneurial journey. After all, consistency serves as the bedrock of brand integrity and trust.

In reality, nothing bothers a customer more than a brand failing to deliver on its promises. Disappointment, a powerful emotion, can swiftly unravel the hard-earned relationship between your brand and destroy your connection to your customer in the blink of an eye.

Here is an example:

Quibi: A $1 Billion Startup That Crashed Within a Year.

Quibi ventured into the streaming market with a distinctive concept, promising captivating short-form content tailored for mobile viewing. Co-founded by industry veteran Jeffrey Katzenberg and former HP CEO Meg Whitman, the platform failed to secure a foothold despite substantial investment and star-studded content due to various factors.

A steep subscription cost of nearly $8 per month without advertisements, coupled with internal challenges, a misunderstanding of user preferences, poor marketing campaigns, and notably uninspired (in fact, awful) content, collectively led to the platform's collapse in 2020.

Source: Quibi 2020 App

Harnessing the visual elements for compelling brand identity

First impressions often dictate consumer perceptions, especially in this modern digital age, so leveraging the power of visual elements is essential for creating a memorable and impactful brand identity.

Understanding the psychology of colours, adhering to design principles, and maintaining visual consistency across branding touchpoints is critical to building a solid and compelling brand presence.

Here's how you can effectively harness the visual elements to craft a strong brand identity for your startup:

The Psychology of ColoUrs: How They Influence Brand Perception

Colours are more than just visual elements; they are powerful tools that can evoke profound emotional responses and significantly impact consumer behaviour.

As a savvy entrepreneur, comprehending the intricate psychology of colours and their intricate relationship with consumer perceptions is vital to crafting a great brand strategy. Let's delve deeper into the profound influence of colours on human psychology and how you can harness this knowledge to build a robust and captivating brand image.

The Subtle Language of Colours

Every colour possesses a unique language, speaking directly to our subconscious and triggering specific emotional responses. For instance, warm colours like red, orange, and yellow tend to exude energy, passion, and optimism, instigating a sense of excitement and enthusiasm. These hues are often employed by brands aiming to create a vibrant and dynamic image that resonates with a youthful and adventurous audience. Coca-Cola, The North Face, Kellogs, you name them.

In contrast, cool colours such as blue, green, and purple evoke calmness, trust, and harmony, fostering a sense of serenity and reliability. Brands seeking to establish a sense of professionalism and credibility frequently opt for these shades to instil a sense of security and dependability in their consumer base.

Source: Google

The Cultural Context of Colours

Beyond their inherent psychological impact, colours are also profoundly influenced by cultural context and societal connotations. What might evoke a particular emotion in one culture could evoke an entirely different response in another.

For instance, while white is associated with purity and peace in Western cultures, it symbolises mourning and loss in some Eastern cultures.

Therefore, when expanding your brand globally, it is vital to consider the cultural implications of your chosen colour palette to ensure that your brand message remains consistent and resonates across diverse audiences.

Creating a Unified Brand Identity

Integrating this understanding of colour psychology into your brand's visual identity is essential for cultivating a cohesive and compelling brand image.

By carefully selecting a colour palette that aligns with your brand's personality, values, and target audience preferences and incorporating it into your logo, marketing materials, product packaging, and overall brand aesthetic, you can create a harmonious and engaging brand story and experience that fosters a deep and enduring connection with your customers.

Design principles for startup branding success

Whether conceptualising your logo, refining your website layout, or developing your marketing materials, adhering to fundamental design principles can significantly elevate your brand's visual appeal, brand voice and narrative coherence.

Here is what you need to look for:

Harmony: A harmonious balance between various design elements is crucial for creating a visually appealing brand identity. Balancing the placement of text, images, and white space helps develop a sense of equilibrium, guiding the viewer's eye and ensuring a seamless and engaging visual experience.

Contrast: Utilising contrast in design can draw attention to critical elements and messages within your branding. By juxtaposing different elements through variations in colour, size, or typography, you can create a visual hierarchy and emphasise essential aspects of your brand's identity, ensuring that your key messages and values are effectively communicated to your audience.

Simplicity: Evoking clarity through your design not only enhances visual aesthetics but also promotes a sense of ease and empathy. Minimising unnecessary complexities helps create a clean and intuitive brand identity that clicks with your audience, facilitating a seamless brand experience.

Inclusiveness: No man is an island, but we’re also particularly unique in our own ways. Nowadays, brands that take this fact thoughtfully are crafting design experiences that include all perspectives, races, genders, physical disabilities and belief systems.

The world of branding and design contributes to a more equal society by putting some extra work into their solutions so all people can feel part of meaningful brand communities that value them for who they are.  

And that’s not all, folks

In this second blog piece, we thoroughly analysed crucial factors of a brand strategy process that can elevate your startup strategy to exceptional heights. From audience segmentation and competition analysis to the intricate nuances of design elements and the psychology of colour, these aspects serve as invaluable assets for brands aspiring to make significant strides in the business arena.

Founders who grasp these nuances can effectively collaborate with their hired help to ensure everyone's on the same page, working together towards their shared vision.

Stay tuned for part three, where we will explore the power of storytelling, social media, SEO, and seamless brand integration into daily operations.

Tom Mackay

Tom Mackay

Tom is the founder at Lento Agency, mad about branding, a good feed and everything to do with sports. Connect with him on Linkedin.

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