As a business owner or marketing manager, you might be asking what your brand can do to make itself as relatable as possible to the audience you wish to reach. Cultivating a brand identity that resonates with your audience requires more than just technically skilled design. Although we can never detract from the importance of technical design skill, empathy and research are an essential addition to technical skill where it comes to creating the most effective identity for your brand.
Ideally, the process of getting to know your audience is a team effort between you as the business owner or marketing manager, and the design team you employ. To gain the deepest possible understanding of your market, the insights you provide will be further researched and applied by the graphic designer to create the ultimate engaging experience for your desired audience.
Tip #1: If you are still using the term ‘target market’, stop.
The term ‘target market’ used to be par for the course where it came to describing users or potential clients of any particular business. However, technology has radically changed the landscape of marketing. Now, the term ‘target market’ seems overly one-dimensional and not value-centered at all. Over the last couple of years, narrative marketing has become the order of the day – telling stories to your potential users in order to engage them with your product. Information is rapidly becoming one of the most valuable currencies.
Supplying your potential users with quality information, adding value, and solving specific needs have become important factors in expanding the reach of your brand. These things considered, ‘audience’ is a much more descriptive term for the user base you are aiming to reach. This is not just about the terms we use – changing the way you think about your potential user base will greatly broaden the possibilities of engaging with them.
Tip #2: Explore, understand and accept the visual aesthetic that appeals to your audience.
As humans, we have a natural tendency to gravitate towards what we personally enjoy most. This is no different for the visual elements we choose to include in our business. The important thing to remember here is that we should always put our audience’s visual preferences before our own. When we have ideas for colors, symbols or image narratives, we should always ask the following questions: “How will my audience relate to this?” and “Is this consistent with what research has proven my audience enjoys?” A good graphic designer or team will research this on your behalf, advise you and implement this knowledge effectively.
Tip #3: Make the core idea of any visual narrative clear and easily accessible.
No audience wants to expend energy in guessing what a brand narrative is implying. Make sure that whatever your design aesthetic, you isolate core concepts and present them to your audience in clear, engaging packages. Try not to force too many concepts into one narrative – Rather create a series of micro-narratives, each presenting a specific concept. These micro-narratives can then be grouped together and presented to your audience in an engaging and user friendly manner. A good graphic design team, when working with a business owner or marketing manager, will have a good understanding of how to best present these concepts to the desired audience in order to maximize engagement.
For example, in the younger millennial and centennial demographic, users do not want to read too many words but prefer simple, clean and efficient visual representations.
Tip #4: Spend time gathering information that will add value to your audience.
As mentioned in Tip #1, information is rapidly becoming one of the most valuable currencies. By supplying quality information to your audience as part of your brand narrative without injecting it with obvious, straight-between-the-eyes, clubbed-over-the-head type advertising plugs, you will build up your brand to be viewed as a trusted and knowledgeable source of information. By consistently supplying quality information without expectation, your audience will feel comfortable in approaching your brand to fulfill their specific needs.
Remember, your competition is likely to be supplying information too – so make sure that the information you supply is well-researched and presented in keeping with your brand identity. You could hire a content creator and have them work closely with your graphic design team to package and deliver articles, info-graphics and other visually well-presented pieces of information.
Tip #5: Pay attention to analytics
You don’t have to be a big business to set yourself up with useful tools like Google Analytics or the built-in analytics tools of certain social media platforms. Over time, using these analytics tools will provide you with useful insights into the true demographic of your audience as well as what type of engagement works well, and which areas of your brand narrative or engagement strategy still need improvement.
Tip #6: Be sensitive to audience feedback
Where possible, ask for feedback from your audience regarding the presentation and quality of your information. Being sensitive to this feedback and working to implement improvements where needed will go a long way towards building trust with your audience and appreciation for your brand.
Although cultivating an effective and engaging brand identity may seem complicated, the above tips should provide you with a good foundation from which to start building your audience engagement. Keeping these tips in mind will simplify your process and provide and excellent reference point for you and your graphic design team to start building the ideal brand narrative for your needs.
To read more about how your graphic design team can help you in this process, read this article about the questions your graphic design team should always be asking.
What do you think of this article? Did you find these tips helpful? Do you have tips of your own that could be added to our list? Let us know by chatting to us in the comments below!
You can also contact us here to discuss how Grateful Heart Design can help you achieve the best identity and narrative for your brand.
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