Brand work for who?

“Who does the brand exist for?” and “Who we do brand work for?” .. The usual answer is that for customers. “We have those target groups and segments. For them, of course.”

True! Target groups, of course, i.e. potential new customers. And those that exist and who already bring in cash flow. And who we should carefully nurture on their bying journey to get back again and again.

Let’s think about the customers first.

Yes, let’s think about the customers – the ones that you can’t live with; and can’t live without either. Just because they are the most natural and self-evident target group we would like to be interested in The Brand.

When world was simpler, brand work was also much simpler. Customers had fewer options. There were fewer communication channels. And the heart rate of life was slower in all respects. Back then it was easy to reach customers, and the exchange was much simpler.

The era of abundance dictated by the choices of customers

Now, we have already lived for years the era of abundance dictated by the choices of customers. Any company with its brand is no longer the center piece of its own reality – if it ever has been. The customer is. And the customers are both disloyal and multi-faithful – at the same time.

As a starting point, it can be said that no one is in principle interested in your brand. Nor has anyone an obligation to be interested in it. We can only accept infidelity and reward the encounter, that is, the time spent with the brand.

No one is in principle interested in your brand

And then about the rest of target groups. Most common reference to target groups refers to groups that are the most interesting in respect of the company’s commercial communications and sales activities. But from the brand work point of view, the concept of target groups should be seen much broader than just the most relevant group in terms of sales effects.

So it’s not just about the customers. Brand work – and any business influencing in general – should also be done with competing companies in mind. They should be aware of and concerned about the existence and actions of other companies/brands. Likewise concidered should be own old customers, competitors’ customers, own partners, own industry and related actors, ie the whole ecosystem from training, public authorities and policy makers, own staff, past and future employees, financiers, owners and future owners. They all are also important target groups for branding. Just a few to mention.

It’s not merely about the customers

Viewed in this way, the target groups for holistic brand work are quite different than in purely tactical and commercial targeting. When understanding of this, and of the scale of the matter, is with the top management, brand work will play completely different role in company strategy – and it’s not unclear how essential driver brand work is.

A brand is no longer the center piece of its own reality. The customer is.

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Timo Keinänen Explorer, service designer, concept designer, strategist, art director, writer and graphic designer.
”I belive that you should be yourself, as all other roles are already taken. If you have the opportunity to express an opinion, express your own.”

Thougths, posts and opinions represent myself only.