The driving force behind every branding campaign is the audience persona, and effectively targeting it is key. Your audience persona is essentially the characteristics and behaviors of your ideal audience. More specifically, it is who you want to sell to. Your target audience, on the other hand, is the umbrella term used to describe a group of different audience personas that your brand markets to. Multiple companies can have the same target audience, but your audience personas could be different based on preferences, behaviors and attitudes. Let’s talk about how brands create target audiences:

How Target Audiences Form

Your target audience is the market segment you want to attract and sell to. Target audiences typically vary from industry to industry, and within those niche audience groups are even more narrow audiences that favor specific products or services.

The best way to determine your target audience is by conducting thorough research into the market and understanding the needs and identities of your potential and current buyers. This research is conducted via surveys and following up with customers to gain insight into their experience with your company.

When forming your target audience, you should ask yourself some of these questions:

  • What consumer need does my brand meet?
  • Who is likely to desire my products or services?
  • What does my brand offer consumers that the competition does not?

Although you may have a general understanding of the answers to these questions, diving deeper into your brand’s core identity is the best way to formulate your ideal audience persona. Your target market is more general, and could consist of groupings such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Sexuality
  • Education status
  • Physical location
  • Religious affiliation
  • Relationship status

Because these groupings are so broad, you and your competition’s target audiences will likely overlap to some degree. This is why it is crucial to conduct thorough market research when establishing exactly who your target audience is and the personas that exist. Your brand’s target audience may not have a direct classification for every single one of the above categories or groupings. Still, the more you know about your target audience, the more successful you will be at engaging them in a way that grows your brand.

How Audience Personas Dive Deeper

They Humanize Your Customers

Unlike your target audience, which is broader and can be shared among industry competitors, your audience persona is unique to your brand. Your audience persona essentially humanizes your customers in order to help you successfully meet their needs. Being able to provide and understand market data to maintain your audience persona allows you to understand how and why certain aspects of your brand do or do not do well. By humanizing your audience, you can better understand and meet their needs, and use these insights to increase your brand awareness.

They Take Advantage of Market Research

When forming your audience persona, focus on the concrete, collected market data. Avoid generalizing or making assumptions about your audience. You want to specifically look closely at who they are and what their needs are. For example, if you know that your brand aims to be preferred by “women in their mid- to late twenties who work in the retail industry and have an interest in fashion,” you are going to be able to market your brand and its offerings with more success than if you were to aim for “adult women” in general. Companies can aim to sell to various demographics for any number of reasons. However, market research informs your brand about your ideal audience and allows you to pinpoint and reach your brand’s unique audience persona more effectively.

They Help You Better Understand Your Audience

A major component of your audience persona is also your targeted audience’s habits. Being able to pinpoint which members of the overall audience are going to be specifically interested in your brand’s offerings presents you with a leg up in the market. You want to imagine the person behind the choices and try to understand the thought process that goes into their selection process when they are selecting where and who to do business with. The audience persona is so much more than the general makeup of your consumers, it is the core identity which drives their decision-making processes.

Benefits of a Distinct Audience Persona

Saves Time and Money

Establish a distinct audience persona for your brand to maximize your efforts. Being able to present your brand to the right audience in an efficient, streamlined way saves you big when it comes to time, and the overall return on your investment into branding efforts. Understanding your audience persona from the start of your brand also prevents the need to return to the drawing board. Instead of hitting the market and adjusting your brand as you go, anticipate and understand those needs ahead of time. This positions your brand as “in touch” with its audience and the current state of the market. The resulting market perception for your brand makes it clear what your brand does and who it is for.

Increases Customer Loyalty

An audience persona can also prove helpful to brands when it comes to generating and maintaining customer loyalty. Demonstrating that you understand and aim to solve your consumers’ problems goes such a long way.  The right audience persona can also inspire trust among your consumers. Present your audience persona clearly and reflect it throughout your brand to allow potential and current customers to fully grasp what you can do for them.

Helps Grow Referral Marketing

In addition to consumer trust, having a distinct audience persona helps your brand grow in multiple ways. When consumers have a clear picture of who your brand is for, not only are they able to consider whether your brand is right for themselves, but they are more likely to refer it to others. Your audience persona should be clear enough that when consumers see it, they can tell right away “this brand is for ___.” From there, it should resonate enough that if the initial audience is not interested, your brand will remain in their mental library when it comes to referring others. Referrals are one of the best kept marketing secrets that require little investment beyond the setup, but have the potential to bring in measurable success, in fact a successful referral program within B2B marketing has a 78% chance of generating positive leads for your brand. Being able to establish your unique audience persona from the start of your brand means that all your marketing and branding efforts will be as efficient and productive as possible, reducing the margin of error for failing to meet the correct target audience.

Potential Audience Persona Challenges

Although the benefits of a strong audience persona can result in brand success, there are several ways in which neglecting it can do more harm to your brand than good.

Becoming Irrelevant

As you know the purpose and role of your audience persona is to effectively guide all branding and company decisions. Just as your brand evolves to offer new services and products, your audience persona will also need to evolve. You want to avoid the common mistake of trying to keep your audience persona too broad. Your target audience can remain broad, but tailor and adjust your audience persona as your brand moves forward. Your brand’s audience persona is not going to be what it was five years ago – not updating it as your brand grows can result in your brand becoming irrelevant.

Negative Market Perception

It is one thing for your brand to not have ENOUGH market perception surrounding it, especially at the beginning. But a NEGATIVE market perception means that the market is aware of your brand – it is just not doing well. An unmaintained audience persona can result in a negative market perception for being outdated, inaccurate, too broad, too specific, and too generic, to name a few. Use market research and consumer breakdowns when crafting your audience persona. Otherwise, your brand is sure to fall short of the mark. You are not going to appeal to the correct audience or reach those who have a need or desire for your brand if you cannot create a positive perception for your brand.

Decreased Leads and Loyalty

An unpolished audience persona can cause your brand to see a decrease in leads and customer loyalty. Why? Simply because your target audience does not identify with your brand. When there is no driving force to make people excited about connecting with your brand, there is nothing that indicates your brand is worth considering. Remember: a refined audience persona draws potential customers in and retains their loyalty. An unclear and unpolished audience persona can generate uncertainty and unenthusiastic client reviews. Make sure your audience persona is refined. This will help draw in business and showcase what you can do, rather than generate brand confusion and sabotage sales growth.

Putting Words into Action

Every single brand has a target audience, and those target audiences tend to be more generic and industry specific. In contrast, your audience persona is custom crafted for your brand and its services or products.

A polished audience persona will drive your brand towards considerable growth, but it won’t happen on its own. You need to constantly update and refine your audience perception. Communicating who your brand aims to engage makes it easier for your clients to find and interact with you. This promotes confidence for potential and future clients – confidence that you are the right brand for them.

Develop a well-crafted audience persona and keep it updated. This will help you reach and engage the right audiences for your brand and highlight what you have to offer. If you are unsure of where to begin when it comes to understanding your audience persona, consult a professional branding firm. Working with professionals that have the audience persona process down to a science is the best place to begin. An experienced agency can help you understand your target audience and pinpoint your brand’s precise audience persona to build growth.

About Millennium Agency       

Millennium Agency is a national, award-winning boutique branding, messaging and strategy marketing firm for the software technology and manufacturing sectors. A top-led women-owned business, we take your brand and vision seriously and build a strategy that drives brand success. Our expert team unites creative branding, storytelling and data analytics to accelerate your business growth. With offices in Boston and New Hampshire, and a worldwide presence, the professionals at Millennium Agency would like to learn more about your business.