DAY TWO

Defining Your Target Audience With Purpose and Intent

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This is perhaps one of the most important aspects of positioning your brand to dominate, but it gets drastically overlooked and underplayed.

You can’t just define this really broad category of people based off either or both genders and call it your target audience. And you certainly can’t target everyone. You have to actually define who you’re serving and why you’re serving them specifically.

You’re carving out a niche of people your brand is meant for.

I promise you, there will be no growth for your business serving a basic, broad general market. When you target everyone, you target not one, and today I’m explaining the criteria necessary to do this the right way.

You have to define who you’re serving and why you’re serving them. Anything less than that, you haven’t defined your target audience with intent and purpose.
 

Highlights, Quick Wins, and Takeaways:

  • When you talk to everyone, you talk to no one. You have to get clear and concise with your target audience.
  • A broad age bracket + a gender doesn’t make a target audience.
  • It isn’t so much about the product these days. It’s what you represent, what you stand for, and what you believe.
  • Your job is to play matchmaker between your brand and your ideal audience so that they fall in love with you.
  • Your brand’s DNA is going to become the essence of the entire operation. That is where your mission, vision and core values statements come in.
 

SECTION ONE

Your Audience Has to Believe What You Believe. That’s the Golden Rule.

 
 

People aren’t camping out in front of Apple stores and taking group trips to Starbucks during Pumpkin season because it’s just the thing to do.

They’re doing it because they share a common belief.

They’re forming tribes and communities around these brands and getting around people who believe what they believe because at the center of this belief lies the brand responsible for pulling all of this people together.

It’s your job to identify what your audience’s core beliefs and values are so you too can tap in and align your brand’s beliefs with their own. That’s how you start positioning yourself to dominate with a target audience.

Anything less than that you can stop reading the course. I’m serious. If that isn’t something you feel like you need to do, close the tab. You’ve got to get serious about your target audience if you’re going to build that empire of yours.

Represent something bigger than yourself.

If your brand believes in saving and healing the world to make it a better place, you identify with an audience that stops at nothing to save and heal the world to make it a better place.

If your brand believes in bucking against the system and the status quo, and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks, you articulate that to an audience that’s going to identify with the core truth and heart of that belief and message.

Whatever your brand believes in, you have to align it. You have to take it and turn it into crystal clear marketing and communications and get those narratives in front of those people. They want to feel at home. They want to feel like they’ve befriended someone who completely gets them.

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Nike.

The brand for next-level athletes. It’s their desire to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. Nike co-founder, Bill Bowerman said, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”

How powerful is that?

These are statements fueled by both why Nike is doing what they’re doing and what their belief system is. It isn’t about the apparel or products for their target audience. That’s a small reason why people get behind Nike.

It’s about aligning themselves with that Why statement and buying into it. It’s a badge of honor. It’s letting others know that they share the same belief in those statements and in athletic excellence with some of the greatest athletes of our time.

Nike has built a narrative around eating, breathing and living the game. It’s about showing up and just doing it. It’s about giving it your all no matter what and conquering the odds that are stacked against you.

Take note here: There’s a larger-than-life, spiritual component to this.

Yes.

Having a great product is important, but if you don’t start tapping into and understanding this component to branding, building an empire is going to take you much longer to achieve.

But at the same time, Nike isn’t speaking to everyone. They definitely aren’t speaking to me.

I’m the type that plays a sport once every 20 years. Believe me. Nike flies right over my head in terms of belief systems even though I still consider them among the most powerful brands of our time. But Nike isn’t for me. I’m not in the number after, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.” That’s just not my belief.

That isn’t to say it isn’t a good one, but it holds no meaning to me. I don’t feel at home. A love connection hasn’t been made. And that’s why age brackets and genders don’t work as a target audience.

It’s more than age and gender. It’s getting down to the core truth and message, and the heart of what you represent and stand for to be able to spark this connection. Without it you’re winging it. And dominators don’t wing anything.

You’re going after your audience’s heart. You’re in the business of matchmaking your brand to them.
 
 

SECTION TWO

Your Brand Has To Be Your Audience’s Perfect Match.

 
 

Get into the business of matchmaking.

You can’t speak to everyone. You can’t target everyone.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve come across people who give me that line every designer hates, “We want to target everyone. Everyone needs this thing.” And I sit back in my chair shaking my head, because they’re really convinced everyone—all 7.125 billion people in the world—need their thing.

Don’t be that person. Don’t target:

  • Women between the ages of 12 and 35
  • Men between the ages of 35 and 50
  • Girls between the ages of 11 and 17.

You’re speaking to too many people.

If you talk to everyone, you talk to no one.

Focus on one audience.
That’s it.

There are a lot of different people in those age brackets who are going to be different. What if who your message is for only makes up 10% of that pie and the other 90% is marching to the beat of a different drum while you’re dumping time, resources and money into trying to reach people who’ve already tuned themselves out.

Just imagine if Nike targeted men and women between the ages of 12 and 25 who play sports. Let’s break down everything that’s wrong with this:

  • A lot of people in that age bracket play sports.
  • There are different reasons people play sports. Some are because people love the game and sport. Some are doing it to just pass the time. Others may be doing it because it’s what their parents wanted them to do or a dietician instructed them to participate in to get in shape.
  • Some are playing sports for a limited period of time. Once high school or college is up, that’s a wrap. Some are wanting to turn it into a lifestyle.

Look at all these different factors and variables!

How do you speak to everyone within that bracket and get to be Nike? You don’t.

You speak to the hardcore, next-level athletes whose sport has become a lifestyle they cannot live without. Everyone else can go to the next brand. That’s how you build an empire. That’s how you dominate!

You have to:

  • Niche down. Pick a lane. Not two. Not three. Pick a single lane to travel in and own it.
  • Focus. If Nike started going after the markets that didn’t want to turn their sport into a lifestyle, we’d see a different kind of Nike. What would be the tagline then? Just kinda do it? When you split focus from who you’re targeting, you start watering down your core truth and beliefs. We don’t like confusion. If you confuse your audience, they will leave. See: JC Penny’s, Blackberry, and Abercrombie & Fitch.
  • Know who you are. This is important. You have to be authentic, you have to be honest, and you have to stay true to your values.
 
 

SECTION THREE

Building Your Brand’s DNA.

 
 

You aren’t going to be a perfect match with your target audience if you don’t understand or have a clue of who you are first.

As my friends would say, “Now that’s Bible!”

If you don’t know who you are, you can’t build and nurture a relationship with your audience. You can’t fake it til you make it because the truth eventually comes out. And when that truth is exposed you better make sure it doesn’t send everyone who fell in love with the lie is running for the hills.

Remember Enron?

The company that got exposed for doing some pretty bad things? Here were it’s core values:

  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Communication
  • Excellence

Enron’s audience believed it was respectable, believed it had integrity, and thought Enron was communicating everything they had to only to later find out that excellence got tied up with shady business practices.

And because of it, Enron has gone down in the history of corporate America as one of the biggest frauds and scandals of our time.

You can’t come back from that. So you have to gain an understanding of your own core truth and beliefs before projecting those onto an audience that’ll match up perfectly with your own.

Core truths and beliefs define the brand’s DNA.

And by brand DNA I’m referring to your vision, mission, and core values statements. These are going to become the lifeblood of your entire organization. If these get ill-defined, are fudged, copy-and-pasted, or aren’t taken seriously they will infect your organization like a virus.

You have to craft these in such a way that position the future of your business and it’s present in a dominating mindset.

Be original in your statements. Don’t copy and paste.

Believe me. You won’t get anything out of copying and pasting someone else’s statements. I’ve tried. They have to come from a place that emanates from within. If they don’t they won’t mean anything. And I know you want your statements to mean something.

Here’s the frame of mind I want you to consider for each:

  • Your vision statement. Go big or go home. Be ambitious and do it courageously. A small vision is going to produce small results. We’re in the business of dominating, remember? Seriously. Go big, or go home. No small thinking here.
  • Your mission statement. This is a statement of purpose. Define your purpose and set it in motion.
  • Your core value statement. They’re going to define your brand’s cultural behaviors and skills; drive your priorities and decisions; and determine how your organization is going to spend its time. These are important. Don’t just throw random, “good-sounding words” next to bullet points and call it a day. Develop a set of these that resonate with your brand.

Makes sense why I don’t condone gender-based age brackets for target audiences now doesn’t it? As with Day One things are much deeper and have more layering than they appear to have. You have to go beyond the tip of the iceberg with just about everything when it comes to branding.

But then you also have to get into the business of setting yourself apart. Understanding branding and defining your target audience is great, but if you aren’t breaking molds or standing out from the crowd none of this won’t matter.

So let me explain how you go about becoming a stand out…

Continue to Day 3