Branding is more than just graphic design and brainstorming slogans. It's about telling a unified story across all channels that will resonate with your intended audience. How you brand yourself, then, often has a large impact on who your clientele will be. Understanding your audience's needs is an essential aspect of branding and marketing efforts.
Eric Soulavy, president of Blue Jay Capital, knows just how powerful branding can be. Soulavy's newest project, 121 Marina at Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, is a new luxury residential development for ultra-high net worth clients, and branding is a core component of what cultivates that demographic's interest. These tips will help any brand succeed in building a resonate message that attracts (and retains) customers.
1. Know your customer.
The first step in any successful branding campaign is learning as much as possible about your customer, their needs, likes, and dislikes. Without knowing your customer inside and out, it is nearly impossible to tailor a message the resonates with them.
In Soulavy's case, his customers tend to be around 50 years old and looking to buy their second or third home. They most commonly live in the American northeast and Midwest, and are looking for a blend of indoor luxury and outdoor living with a sense of community. Analyzing these characteristics helps Soulavy craft a brand message that will target the right audience.
"Understand your audience just as well as you understand your product," Soulavy said. "Study demographics, psychographics and overall purchasing trends."
Consider your usual customer. What are they like? What problems have you solved for them in the past? Then, consider your intended customer, even if you do not currently serve them. Ask the same questions. Who are they? Where do they live? What are their needs? How can you reach them? By considering both your existing customer base and your aspirational customers, you can begin carving out a niche in your intended demographic areas.
2. Sell an emotion or idea.
Your products and services are great, right? While you definitely want your customers to have a quality experience, building a brand is often more of an emotional exercise than a fact-based one. Selling a feeling or an idea is often the best way to get customers to enter the conversion pipeline. You'll have ample opportunity to sell your products or services once they engage your company.
Soulavy's clients are looking for a sense of community and a particular lifestyle. Sure, his high-end residences are a draw in themselves, but by building his brand around active living, luxury, and community, customers are immediately drawn in. They picture themselves (and how they'll feel) living in such a place, and that motivates them to learn more. Things like prices, square footage, and appliances all come later.
"A big misconception is that the buyer thinks of luxury solely in terms of price and amenities," Soulavy said. "While those are important considerations, we don't underestimate the value of the community we are building and experience we can offer."
3. Monitor results and pivot accordingly.
Once your brand is built, it should be clear if it's gaining traction with the right audience or not. Are you driving new sales? Are they coming from your target demographic? For Soulavy, home purchases by ultra-high net worth customers signaled that his company was selling on all the right points: luxury, community, tradition, and heritage. Those intangibles were driving interest, and in turn, his properties were driving sales.
If that's not the case for your company, you might need to pivot your message a bit. This doesn't necessarily mean you'll have to engage in a full-scale rebranding effort, however. It could mean reexamining the channels on which you are most aggressively deploying your message. If desirable sales are being generated via social media, for example, you might want to double down on that channel.
If you're really missing the mark, though, it might be time to consider a full rebrand. To gain a better grasp of your intended markets' wants and needs, consider commissioning focus groups, surveys, and polls. Gaining direct feedback from the type of consumer you want to target is invaluable for any branding and marketing effort, and it will be well worth the investment when your rebrand delivers the results you want.
A successful brand understands its target customers well enough to pique their interest by forging an emotional connection. When you've got an audience that's motivated to learn more, you've got a ready-made lead in your conversion pipeline. By monitoring successful conversions and the customers that are buying, you can better understand where your brand is making an impact, and why. Adjusting your messaging accordingly can increase that impact, or attract a new demographic.