Strong Brand Identity Part 1: The Customer

On today’s episode, Strong Brand Identity P1: The Customer, we are talking about customer personas and why they are one of the most important things in branding your business which will not only visually identify your business (Hello, logos), but also how you’ll talk to your customer.

Links Mentioned In This Episode:

Episode 2 What is Branding

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Listen to Episode 2 Here

Strong Brand Identity Part 1: The Customer Transcript

What comes to mind when I say what’s your brand? The first answer I usually get is, “Oh my logo,” or, “Oh, my colors,” or our company values. What should come to mind is your perfect client and how you talk to them and how you make them feel. In this episode, I’m going to take a deep dive into customer personas, which help you develop the language of your brand. And this is really what drives your brand identity, your visual identity in the long run. Put the intro in here. So before I get into the content, I just want to let you know that in this episode and in all of my episodes, I have a lot of links in the show notes on the website. So if I refer to a document or I refer to an episode number, please go to the website and go to the show notes and you’ll see the links for all of that there.

The website is inkyma.com, I-N-K-Y-M-A.com, and then just click on the menu item for the podcast. Okay. So now let’s get into the content that you’re here for. So what is a brand? I did a deep dive into the different parts of what makes up a brand in episode two. So if you haven’t checked that out yet, go listen to that episode to get a really nice overview of all the different components and piece parts to a brand. But here’s a quick recap. So how you are perceived by your target audience is part of your brand. Those are your values, your dreams, your philosophy about your why. This one is usually the easiest because it’s about you. And frankly, why you decided to open a business. The second one is the language you use when you’re speaking to a customer or the voice of the customer, and then knowing exactly who they are and who you’re talking to is really important.

Then the last piece is the visual identity, your logo, your colors, your images, your fonts. So these are actually in order of how they need to be created in order to create your brand. Meaning, you need to figure out the first and the second part, how you [inaudible 00:02:24] your values, your language, your customer, persona, the voice of your customer before you decide what your visual identity looks like. And what I find is when I talk to many business owners, one is easy. They do that to create the business and say, “Yeah, I want to do this.” And then they jump right to number three. And they skip over all the detailed work about the customer.

And they don’t really think a lot about what their customer needs from them. So we’re going to talk about your brand from the customer’s perspective first, so that then you can set tone and imagery and color and really make it cohesive. And then frankly, it makes it easier for you to market too. So how do you figure out who your customer is or the voice of the customer? So I’m going to ask you a question, who is your customer? If you just drew a blank, don’t worry. Let’s figure this out. I’m going to ask you the question in a couple of different ways.

One of these will hit and make it easier for you to identify that. Who is your best customer? The one that if you had 5 or 15 of them, you would meet your goal for the year, you would feel successful, you would feel like you’ve achieved? Or this is the type of person that you like to work with a lot. And then from a sales perspective. If you’re a sales and a numbers person, who is the one person that you get the most sales from with the least amount of effort on your company’s part? You have that lucrative customer and they may be the one you want a lot of. Now, when I ask these questions, I get pushback. I get people saying to me, “Anybody can be my client. My services are for anyone.”

You can’t sell to an “anyone” type of category, because then you’re not going to talk to anyone. So I’m going to ask you the question this way, who are you willing to spend money on to get more of them? That changes the dynamic. Right? If you have to put out ad expenditure if you have to hire a marketing agency to target people in social media and all these other great places, who do you want that to be? Anybody? You’re spending millions of dollars. If you target it down, your budget gets smaller. So if you’ve been in business for a while, as I’m saying these things, I think a name or a face just popped into your head. Right? You might need to go back to your reports and say, “Okay, this is my most lucrative customer.”

Or this is the type of person as you’re looking at that file, “This is who I want to spend money me on.” But my guess is you go with your gut, with who actually popped into your head. If you’re new or newest type of company, then you kind of have a clean slate. You can create this from the ground up. So once you have that type of person in your head, you need to do some research and create a customer persona. More on that in a minute. I want to talk to you about business lines or product lines.

So if you have a company that you have more than one product line or service, you may need to do this exercise for each individual one, especially if the customer persona, the person you’re selling to doesn’t overlap. So let me give you an example to make this clear. You own a cleaning service company and you have residential customers, you have commercial customers, and you do a white glove residential service, almost like a butler service. It’s beyond cleaning, but it’s for like a higher-end type of client who needs a lot, maid service, maybe daily and they’re around for a long time.

These are three different types of people that you’re actually marketing to. So you need three different customer personas and you need three different voices of the customer for this. So yeah, you could argue that one person would do residential and commercial. This is true, but their mindsets are going to be different and what they’re looking for is going to be different when they’re looking at residential versus commercial. My guess is you will get them in one category and then you can cross-sell them in another category. So now that I’ve explained that and you’re looking at your business and you’re going, “Okay, I have these lines.” Now let’s take a deeper dive into a customer persona, what it is, and actually how you create it.

You’re listening to Marketing Strategies and I’m Audrey Kerchner. And we’re taking one of the more important and less focused on parts of branding, your customer persona and how you talk to your customers.

So that’s the mid-show break. Feel free to move that around a little bit. So what is a customer persona? So you hear it a lot, well, I hear it a lot in marketing. Most business owners have no idea what it is. But really, it’s a fictitious profile of that perfect customer. That’s why I asked you all those questions to get you kind of thinking of who that person is. So like I said, you start out with thinking of who that perfect customer is, give them a name, and then you need to do research to figure out the rest of the information you need from them.

And we’re going to go through are a couple of examples in a moment of the type of information you need and how detailed you want to get. As you need as much as possible in order to really kind of create that voice to make them real. And the reason behind this is is the more real they are as a person to you, the easier it’s going to be to make decisions on how you market to them and on how you create your brand. So that when they see it, it feels like, “Yeah, this is a company for me.” Because that’s ultimately what we want is we want them to get that split second decision of, “Yeah, this company is for me.”

So one of the things that you can do is you can look at the person you’re thinking of on Facebook or go to a competitor’s Facebook page and start looking at a few of the profiles. The reason I say Facebook is that a person’s Facebook page is 9 times out of 10 available to look at. You don’t have to be their friends. And they do share a lot of this type of information we’re going to be going over. You’ll see pictures of family. A lot of times they will tell you what industry they’re in, what they do.

So that’s why it does feel a little stalkerish, but it’s not like you’re looking for a date. What you’re doing is you’re trying to get a profile of a person. So you might need to look at four or five people’s different profile and extrapolate information to pull it together into your persona. So what type of information do you need? So in the show notes, I’m providing a template. It’s far easier to work from a template and just fill information out than it is for you to start with a blank page. So I have a template for you, go there and I’m going to start walking you through a couple of examples of fictitious personas for fictitious companies I have put together so that you can see the type of information and hopefully that will inspire and get your creative juices going.

Those examples are also in the show notes. All right, so let’s take a look at our first example. I’m excited. I love doing personas. Okay. So the product, it’s a product company. I’m calling it Natural Jerky company. If there is a Natural Jerky company out there, there is no correlation or association. They are an established, they’ve been in business five years, brick and mortar store in a specific location. So if you can follow along and look at the persona with me, otherwise, listen in now, go back and take a look at it later, because I’m going to verbally walk you through the document. So I’m starting off with the name.

Cute little circle at the top. And this is Bill. Bill is a male and I wanted to put in there that Bill is the persona and the persona is for the Natural Jerky company, their beef jerky. This particular company, let’s say they have turkey jerky and bison jerky, or maybe they sell other types of products. So one product for the company and I like putting that in there because then it reminds me of who we’re talking about and what it’s for. So let’s start with his demographics. We’re going to need age, income, education, location, family.

Bill’s age is 25 and his income level is $68,000 per year. His education level is he’s completed college. So he is got some type of a bachelor’s degree and he is located in Dallas, Texas. And in parentheses, I put the Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Texas metropolitan statistical area. That’s a lot, but that’s what they call themselves. And I pull that from one of the Dallas, Texas government sites.

Because knowing exactly what they call themselves and where you are helps down the road. If you’re trying to get statistical data on all males in the area, females, families, zip codes, all that other good stuff. So Bill is single and he’s got a girlfriend. So next we’re going to go down and look at his professional profile. So this would be his title, the company size he works for, who he reports to if applicable, tools and software he uses. So he works at a non-for-profit company. Didn’t have the size, not sure if that really matters, because we’re not B2B. And tools and software. He’s always on his mobile phone. He doesn’t do anything on a desktop, the type of business environment that they’re in.

So he’s ordering and doing things both personally and professionally on a mobile phone. So why is this important? This means that he is a mobile-first browser user. So when you’re putting together your visual identity, you got to think mobile-first for this type of customer. Your logo when it’s small has to look crisp, clean and clear. It can’t look like a blob when it’s on one of those small screens. So when you’re working with a designer, you’ve got to make sure you keep that in mind, colors can’t run together, all that good stuff. Versus a desktop version of a logo, it’s always bigger, much easier to push things together. So that’s just one example of why this information is important. Let’s move on to personality traits. So personality traits are interests and hobbies, favorite brands and values. Values are super important. You know what your values are, but you got to make sure you know what the values are of your customers.

So sports, he likes football, baseball and cycling. Hobbies, he plays video games, he’s into comic books and his favorite brands, Ford trucks. And we found out doing some digging that he likes Acre Distillery and Coffee House. So when I look at this, what this tells me is he is not a Starbucks guy. He is a local guy. He likes to support local brands. So we put into the values, he supports local brands. He volunteers locally and giving back is important to him. So when you see that value of giving back, part of your brand identity needs to be, are we going to have some type of giving back campaign that we can create a community with our customers to share? Yes or no? If that’s important to you and it’s important to them, then you need to create something. So information sources. Where does he go to consume information, knowledge, all that other good stuff?

So books, magazines, blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels, events, or associations or memberships he’s part of. And who are his gurus or experts that he listens to for self-help, or development, or people that he just thinks are really, really cool? So because he’s a football fan, he likes the FantasyPros Football podcast. He listens to that. He’s a big fan of MrBeast on YouTube. That’s a gamer guy. And then he uses Spotify as his music player.

And his guru and expert that he likes the most is Simon Sinek. We found this when we looked at his Facebook page, he had put a couple quotes up there about Simon Sinek. So maybe Simon’s not his favorite, but it’s definitely enough for him to post. So he’s up there. And membership, BURN Dallas gym. Notice, it is not a big chain name. It is a local gym.

And that kind of goes back and supports the value system of supporting local brands. So what are Bill’s challenges and fears? This is the next section top right corner. He wants to support sustainable products that are local to where he lives. He’s not a big fan of chains or national brands. And then he’s concerned about preservatives and non-natural ingredients that can harm his health. So he is health-conscious, but he doesn’t want to sacrifice things. He still wants things like beef jerky and honey and coffee, but he wants to eat those responsibly and it needs to fit in with his value system. So let’s talk about his goals. I did allude to that. The goals are next. Lead a healthy lifestyle and to know where products are made and how they’re produced. He wants to feel proud of the products and brands that he supports and he wants to have the ability to share them with his family and friends.

So he wants to tell people like, “Hey, guess what product I just got? And I think it’s great like this,” because he wants everybody in his life to also be happy and healthy and push them towards local. So that is the persona one. So when you thought of beef jerky when we started, maybe you thought of a brand that came into your head. I would think that after looking at this in detail, the way that that brand is structured in your brain would be different. Color palettes would be different. The font would be different. Doing something more artisany, or local, or craftmanship based, versus corporate or professional, totally different. So this is where a persona can help you with creating the visual identity. So now let’s look at our second example, which is a serviced-based B2B company.

And I am calling them, Take a Bow. It’s a speechwriter. This person is a new business. They’re a single writer and they’re looking to build the company and hopefully someday add more writers to the business. They do all different kinds of speeches. They do wedding speeches, they do bridesmaids, dads, grooms, things for funerals, and they do speech writing for corporates. So that’s why in this persona, if you pull up that sheet, Sarah is the person and the product is for corporate speech writing because we’re going to need something completely different for the father of the bride speech or the anniversary speech. Totally two different people.

Now let’s dive into Sarah’s background and information and her persona. Demographics, she’s 46, her income is $90,000 a year, she’s got a master’s degree. And location-wise, we don’t care because for the speechwriter, she can work with anybody. They do remote telephone calls and video conferencing. So it doesn’t really matter where this customer is. So we just put national, continental US. And then family, she’s married. She has two children. And those kids are approximately somewhere in between the ages of 5 and 15. Maybe you saw family photos or Halloween photos or something on their Facebook profile. So now let’s dig into her professional background. She is the director of communications at a company that has about 70+ employees. She reports to the vice president of communications. So she’s kind of up there in the company. And the software they use is the Microsoft Office suite, all of it, Mail, Word, all that other stuff.

So in her professional life, she spends the majority of her time on desktop. Now let’s dig into her personality traits. Her interest and hobbies. She’s in a book club, she loves to do yoga. Her favorite brands are Dunkin’ Donuts. Notice in this one, it’s with a corporate chain. She works with a bigger company, she’s okay with consuming from larger companies. She drives a Lincoln and she is an advocate and loves using Stitch Fix because it helps her with balancing her work life. She doesn’t have to spend time going shopping yet, she needs to look sharp at work because she is talking to executives, she works for a VP.

So her values we’re deriving these from what we see is she strives for work-life balance because she really cares about both. She loves being a mom, she loves being a corporate executive, but she always wants to be able to capitalize on career opportunities so she can keep her career moving forward. Now let’s talk about her information sources, what she likes. So books, she likes the Outlander series, A Discovery of Witches. And the podcast she listens to are Radiolab and This American Life. TV shows that she’s fond of, Madam Secretary and The Great British Baking Show. And her guru, expert that seems to filter through for her, Tony Robbins. So you can see from this, very female-dominated type of books and stories and shows and interesting knowledge level type of stuff. And Tony Robbins isn’t quite as soft as Simon Sinek, but man, he is powerful and engaging.

So kind of gives you some insight into what she likes. So before we go into goals, let’s talk about her challenges and fears. So one of the things she’s worried about is that she can’t set the right tone for her C-suite when she’s giving speeches or presentations internally and externally, like if they ask her to go and speak somewhere on behalf of the company. She’s not confident in her writing abilities, which is totally normal for someone in communications, believe it or not.

They’re about presenting and putting forward and writers are a different breed. And she doesn’t want to sound stiff. And she wants to sound a little spontaneous when she’s speaking and doing things. So her goals behind all of this is that she wants to impress her boss to keep her career on track, which is moving up for her. She wants to hire a writer who can quickly understand what she needs and then they get it completed with two to three drafts. She doesn’t have time to keep going around and around and around. And then she wants to be confident in her speech writing. And she wants the speechwriter to make her look good in the eyes of her boss.

So that statement right there, wow, that’s like hero, copy, email, subject, fodder in my mind. You see something like that coming to your inbox that says, “Let me help you make you look good in front of your bosses.” And if I’m minded like her, yeah, I’m going to absolutely click on that. So hopefully going through those two helps solidify in your head how to create personas for your business and where to find everything. So once you’ve created that, hopefully, you can start to see where, like I had said before, this kind of helps you figure out colors and images. And then we talked a little bit about the language for your brand and how you can catch people’s attention just by understanding who they are. So hopefully, I’ve inspired you to dig deep and go forth and create customer personas. So now let’s take some action to get you to do that.

All right. So first thing I want you to do, back to the top, decide who your perfect client is. If there is more than one based on your product or service, like we talked about with the cleaning company and like what we talked about with Sarah and the speech writing company, realize that you’re going to have to create all of them, start with your most lucrative product or service. The one that you sell the most can sell the most and fill the others in. Because I know it’s a lot of we, a lot of work next, do your research on the web. We talked about Facebook and I know the way that I spoke and everything you got to dig and you got to look. And that could be a little do launching here’s a down and dirty, easy way to do it.

If you have that favorite customer in mind, or you have a friend who fits that favorite customer persona type thing, interview them, sit down with the persona in front of them and say, “Okay, what’s your age? Give me a range for income. Who do you report to? What software do you work?” You’ll be done in like 10 or 15 minutes if you can find a person and just interview them. So that’s your quick bonus for listening all the way to here. And then third, create the persona, again, for each product and service line that is different.

So here’s some final thoughts for you as I wrap up the episode. You can do this retroactively. And if you’re thinking, should I? Shouldn’t I? I already got a brand. I think you should. I think if you go through this process and then look at your brand, you may see that, “Wow, I really need to change this,” because this goes a long way of figuring out if you’re on point with your visuals and your writing style, probably more so your writing style. So if you feel like after you’ve done this exercise and your brand isn’t really the most appealing it could be to your core audience, I want you to think of this as a success because now you know more than what you did when you started and this is actually a relatively easy fix. Don’t do it yourself. This is where you hire a branding expert like us.

We do branding. As you can see from this, I get some joy out of creating these customer personas. This is kind of like one of my favorite parts. But a company like ours, we can go through and create those customer personas for you if you want us to. That’s the other easy thing to do. We’ll interview your clients for you too. And then we’ll create the new brand and then we’ll create a rollout plan for that brand too. One, so that it gets put everywhere it needs to and have a really strong brand. And we don’t let people think that you closed your company and a new one popped up.

All right. So I know I brushed over language and colors a lot. So I’ve already decided that I’m going to be doing another two episodes to support this one. One where I’m going to talk about language and the other one where I’m going to talk about colors and layouts and all that other good stuff, maybe even the psychology of color, because I think that’s a fascinating topic. So if you haven’t subscribed to the podcast so that when those come out, you get notified of those as well.

And I got to pull in my giving back language. Here at Inkyma, we like to give back to the business community. I provide a free 45-minute consultation to any business owner, regardless if you’re looking for a marketing company right now, or maybe you just want to talk more about personas, you got to question, you want to get it straightened in your head, that’s what we can spend that 45 minutes on.

It is yours to talk about whatever you want. You just go to my website, inkyma.com, that’s I-N-K-Y-M-A.com and in the upper right-hand corner, there is a button to schedule a marketing evaluation. If you just have a question, you don’t want to have a full conversation, go down to the bottom of any page, there’s a contact form. Fill it out, put your question there and I will email you back. So I hope you found this episode’s information helpful, inspiring. If so, share it with other business owners. I’m guessing if you need this, there are other business owners out there that need it too. And I want you to help them like I’m trying to help you because our goal is to help all businesses grow and thrive. Thanks so much for listening and have an amazing day.

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