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How to position your business for a wide range of audiences

The more you can focus on a target audience, the easier it is to position your business. But what do you do if your business serves a wide range of audiences? What are the best ways to avoid “schizophrenia” in your brand messages?

In the last two months, I’ve worked with several businesses that have had tricky positioning needs.

Each business has had a diverse range of audiences. For example:

  • A flood risk company that serves banks and insurance companies (B2B audiences), as well as homeowners (a B2C audience).
  • An architectural firm that offers its design services to large development companies, municipalities, golf club committees, and wealthy entrepreneurs. Oye!
  • A market research firm that has an innovative product for people in a range of job titles, job roles, and industries.

Perhaps your business serves distinctly different audience segments too!

If you serve many audiences and you’re struggling with how to position your business, here are three tips to strengthen your positioning and core messaging.

Tip #1: Explore your audiences’ mindsets.

Similar MindsetsIf you’re stumped on what your audiences have in common, it may be because you’re putting too much emphasis on their personal or company demographics (ages, job titles, industries, etc.).

Instead, take a fresh look at their mindsets, such as their:

  • Beliefs
  • Values
  • Attitudes
  • Desires

Do you see any similarities or patterns?

For the businesses I’ve been working with, these are the areas where we’ve had the big “ah-has:”

  • The flood risk company’s audiences all share a distinctive value (a desire to learn and an appreciation for education).
  • The architectural firm’s audiences all desire a similar personal outcome (leaving a legacy).
  • The market research firm’s audiences share a common mindset and risk tolerance (a desire to push limits).

Once you have a sense of what your audiences have—or don’t have—in common…

Tip #2: Commit to one brand promise for all your audiences—or consider creating a sub-brand.

Diverse Group with Similar Traits

Your brand promise is the statement summarizing what you bring to the party that’s special and different.

It’s that succinct sentence describing what your audiences can expect from you… that they really want or value.

As tempting as it may be to develop different brand promises for different audiences, it’s important to commit to one overall promise to send a unified message about your company.

I reached out to my colleague, Pecanne Eby of  Brand Mentoring, to get her thoughts on the topic.

Pecanne strongly recommends sticking with one promise to avoid “brand schizophrenia” —the confusion a company creates when its marketing efforts don’t look, sound, or feel like they come from the same company.

If you look at the mega brands such as Apple or Coca-Cola, Pecanne notes, they usually have one brand promise even though they serve a diverse range of audiences.

Are there exceptions? Yes.

In cases where one part of your business may cater to a distinctive niche, it may make sense to create a sub-brand for that part of your business. Think of the brand relationship between Toyota and Lexus, or Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton. In these instances, Lexus and the Ritz-Carlton have their own promises and identities.

Typically, though, if you’re positioning your company as one brand, you need one brand promise for all your audiences.

So the question is…

How do you tailor your marketing messages so they resonate with each audience, while still being true to your brand promise?

Tip #3: Tailor your proof points to your individual audiences.

Targeted Audience

Yes, you need a core message summarizing why your business is special and different.

But when it comes to how you back up that message, you’re welcome to tailor your proof points to each of your audiences.

Your proof points are the best reasons to believe your brand promise. They’re the “evidence” you give to back up your promise and demonstrate how you “walk the talk.”

For example, in the case of the flood risk company I’ve been working with, their overall promise has to do with improving their clients’ understanding and level of certainty.

But how they back up that promise to a banker versus a homeowner is going to vary.

With the banks, the emphasis will be on giving the banks the information and tools they need to minimize the number of mortgages that fall through. On the homeowner side, the messaging will be around helping homeowners make educated decisions about whether to buy flood insurance or not.

It’s okay to tailor your message points to each audience, as long as you’re staying true and consistent to your brand!

Looking for additional positioning tips?

Check out these articles:

Until next time!