Be Afraid (Then Make It Work For You) Part IV

be afraid

Final- Part IV- The Scariest Monster of them All

The following scenario frequently happens in our line of work, especially when we engage in conversations about Branding. At least for a while, the conversation is congenial and lively around the boardroom table. Part of the process of Branding includes several exercises designed to unearth the gold in the various activities of the company, and to find the work that is most important. We discuss all things demographic, psychographic, and geographic. We group their customers together and find the main problems and needs of each group. Then we work hard on the Golden Triangle–that sweet spot where: a) the company’s gifts are best suited to solve, b) the specific problem of the customer, c) and solve them in a way not easily duplicated by the competitor. Easy? Not on your life. Our goal through these exercises is to compile information that will yield an identity design that will serve the company and express its vision and mission for years to come. 

But with the exercises completed, the moment of truth arrives. They have to choose. Choose what? They have to choose the ideal customer–that group that will become the focus of all marketing efforts.

This is where Branding can get scary. Even harrowing. It can get so frightening that seasoned executives can become angry with one another. Disagreements will erupt where they have never experienced disagreements before. It happens and it is good. It is good because it clarifies. The discussions are all a part of the process of Branding. Branding is deciding, and deciding is scary.

Everyone in the room wants this ideal customer. But they are afraid to commit. They are afraid they may choose the wrong group. (They can change the focus later if they want to do so.) They are afraid that if they focus on that one group they will alienate all the others. (False Expectations Appearing Real–or F.E.A.R.). They are afraid that it will be hard to find enough of this kind of person. (In fact, it is easier to find them when you have identified them so clearly.) Often, they will stall. They will double-back and cast doubt on their mission. They get all wishy-washy and decide to water down the message to capture more market share. “You know, our product can be used by just about everyone. I know Market A is the one we most want. But we sell to market B and C as well. We just don’t want to scare anyone away.”

What was once Brand is now Bland. They choose not to choose.

It is the fear of Branding that threatens the very existence of your business. This fear is more perilous to the life of your business than any external pressure.

The fear of Branding is the scariest monster of them all. Here are three reasons why not choosing your target should make you very very afraid: 

1. Not deciding is to decide.

In not clarifying your target market, you have decided to water down your message. You have weakened your marketing magnet. In trying to reach everyone? Your message will reach no one. Your magnet will be spread so thin it will lose its strength, and will not be able to pick up anything of real weight. You will never hold the big customer and will be resigned to the little ones. Narrowing your focus makes your magnet stronger and more focused. Your messages will sound like personal conversations, instead of the ever-present blah blah blah marketing message. 

2. No one ever created a strong brand by trying to appeal to everyone.

No one wants a product that is designed for everyone. When was the last time you bought a one-size-fits-all T-shirt? It seems so counter-intuitive to make your customer base smaller instead of larger. But realistically, your product cannot help everyone–even if you sell milk. Knowing your customer–your specific customer–is the only way to find them, connect with them, and help them.

3. By watering down your message, you will never be top of mind.

Let’s imagine you are choosing medicine for that bad headache that feels like you just fell out of bed on your right eye. You pick up a bottle from Company A. It reads ‘cold medicine’, and you quickly put it back to search for another choice. You wonder what else is available. You pick up the bottle from Company B. The label states very specifically that it “works quickly to relieve pain that feels like you just fell out of bed on your right eye.” We do not even have to imagine what you would do. And if the product proves to cure that stabbing pain behind your right eye, you will gain confidence in this particular brand. They will be top of mind when you have other ailments. Every brand wants to be top of mind. Remember, if you are astounding at one thing, people will assume you are astounding at other things as well. All you need to do is focus on astounding them all the time.

The main reason for small business demise is failure to Brand.

Calm your fears, and choose your target market. Prepare your marketing strategies for that group.  Sell more by appealing to fewer people.The more you understand your customer, the more you can connect, and the more your messages will resonate. Narrowing your focus expands your market because it improves your aim. Your marketing will take less effort, less money, and less time. It will be ten times more effective.

Effective marketing and advertising will never be scary. Banish the monsters from your kingdom by improving your Brand. 


Why do we at etc!graphics inc, a graphic design company, care about your business strategies?  Because no matter how beautiful we make your visuals, your graphics will never make more sense than the clarity of your own vision. The clearer your target, the more lucid your marketing will be, and the better connection you will create with your visual graphics. We want to help you become the best you can be. Join us all this month as we share ways to help your small business sustain and grow in a crowded marketplace. Etc!Graphics is devoted to helping you, the small business owner, think like a marketer.

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