This post is part of an ongoing series that explores the fundamental principles of branding. Please feel free to join the conversation.
What types of people buy a particular product or service? This is one of the most fundamental questions to ask when it comes to establishing a brand. The more narrowly and accurately a brand’s target market is defined, the more likely its marketing and advertising efforts will be successful.
Target markets can be defined in several different ways. The most common ones are geographic (where they are located), demographic (age, income, etc), psychographic (attitudes, values and lifestyles) and behavioral (occasions, hobbies).
While geographic and demographic categorizations may seem more obvious, psychographic and behavioral considerations are often more relevant. And it’s never a good idea to make assumptions about who a brand’s users are. For example, many people would picture the average Harley-Davidson customer to be a rough, rugged, and wildly adventurous man. Yet in reality many c-suite executives and a rapidly increasing number of women have also bought into the Harley values of freedom, self-reliance, and individualism.
It’s important to put a name and a face to the target audience. Will the brand resonate with Trendsetting Tom or Andrew the Accountant? How about Lazy Lucy? Where do these people work? What do they do for fun? What do they eat? Where do they shop? Do they take risks and experiment or play it safe?
A good target market description might read:
“Lower middle class males between the ages of 20-28 who are socially active but not in a serious relationship. They are working and have an expendable income for the first time. Some of their frequent recreational activities include going clubbing and to the movies. They smoke a pack a day and drink Starbucks quadruple shots. More often than not, their refrigerators are stocked with a six pack of beer and a slice of pizza.”
A specific, clearly defined target market description makes it easy to envision the people within and the brands and values that are important to them.