Last week I blogged about targeting your brand to not only attract your most favorable market segments, but also discourage any unfavorable segments. Those are the folks your targeted customers and prospects would be uncomfortable being around.
Your patrons are part of your brand
That is, not only is the brand defined by stakeholders, the stakeholders are part of the brand just as much as your name, logo, trade dress and tagline.
In the context of “rubbing elbows”, our primary stakeholders are the customers. But there are also the employees, the retail reps, the associated companies and products, the suppliers and in some cases, investors. (After all, If ol’ Warren is invested in the company it must be doing something right.) So to some extent, all these associated groups are integral to the brand.
Customers reflect and resonate with the brand
Customers and prospects are the single most important group, other than your employees, that shape the brand itself.
As far as market segments are concerned, be very specific right from the beginning. Then determine who that target market would like to see excluded from the “family”. As I said previously, this is especially relevant to retail and services marketers.
Then in developing your brand platform and then your brand elements, attempt to encourage the attractive prospects and discourage folks your prospects wouldn’t want to associate with. This is a tight rope where balance and tact are required, but the messages, however subtle, need to be clear.
And even if an “undesirable” wanders in, your good customers will know it’s just by accident and the incident won’t destroy their loyalty.
I know this is an elitist point of view, but I don’t apologize for raising the issue and offering advice. It is the basis for what some branding consultants call “cult branding”.
Remember, your customers are part of your brand. When others see who patronizes your establishment, it says plenty about who you are. That’s branding.
I’d welcome any comments, pro or con, concerning this aspect of branding.