When developing your brand and business – there is a lot to consider and identify. From the brand voice and visual elements to your products and how those products get displayed, the details matter. Achieving a brand that successfully speaks to your audience both on an emotional and practical level is a process and one of the most difficult components of that process is navigating how YOU, your voice, your personal preferences, and your life story fall into your brand.

Many businesses make the mistake of believing that they are the hero in their brand story – putting themselves front and center before all else. This way of thinking puts your audience’s wants and needs on the back burner and takes the attention away from how you can solve their problems and make THEM the hero of the story.

Basing decisions on personal preference and opinion is one of the most common and tragic flaws we see amongst entrepreneurs. But thankfully, it’s never too late to reroute toward a more audience-driven strategy.

Are you unsure if you’ve put too much YOU in your business? Here are three questions you can use to audit your brand.

#1 Have you hired a third party to develop your brand and marketing strategy?

Have you hired a third party to develop your brand and marketing strategy?

It can be tempting to do everything on your own and fall into the “I know my business best” mentality. But the truth is that every decision you make regarding what’s best for your business and brand will be biased and more than likely based on personal preference rather than what your audience wants and needs.

When this happens you may find your business struggling to reach the right audience – or any audience for that matter. Basing your ad buys, designs, website layouts and social media platforms on what YOU prefer means that you are assuming that the entirety of your target market thinks and feels exactly the same as you do – and THAT is a huge mistake.

By hiring a marketing agency to help you develop your brand and marketing strategies, you can get unbiased direction based on actual data and experience. An agency like Vinci Digital will identify who your target market actually is and ensure that their needs and preferences are driving your marketing decisions.

#2 Does your marketing collateral focus on who you are or what you can do for your audience?

Does your marketing collateral focus on who you are or what you can do for your audience?

Take a long hard look at your website, your social media, heck maybe even your service menu – are you talking more about the WHO than you are about the WHAT? While we know that consumers love to know who it is they are supporting and that their approval and admiration for the “who” will be a driving force in making them a repeat customer – the only reason they will connect with your business in the first place is to find out if you have the product or service they require.

Relationships and customer loyalty are built once they realize you can solve their problem, supplying what it is they need to be the hero in the story!

So what’s our point? If you were #hangry and went to Taco Bell but as soon as you walked in they explained that they were out of food – what would you do? You’d walk right back out and find another business to alleviate your hunger would you not? But say before you walked in they had a sign on the door saying they were out – you would have never come in in the first place. You wouldn’t waste your time double-checking if the sign was accurate – you’re hangry so you’re going to move right along to the next business!

Should a potential customer come to your website in hopes of finding goods or services to solve their problems but all they find are photos of you, your life’s story, and why your brand is so awesome – they won’t spend time digging for what they are looking for and will move on.

All collateral should quickly and easily identify how your brand is going to solve their problems first and foremost.

#3 Do you know who your target audience actually is?

Do you know who your target audience actually is?

There is a saying, “If you are for everyone, you are for no one.” Some business owners will stand in ignorance and pledge that they “don’t have a target audience” because their product can benefit anyone. And while there may be truth in the fact that the general population would find their product or service helpful or attractive – your target audience consists of people actively looking for what you offer. They are people most likely looking for you, your product or your service. They’re the ones who will benefit the most.

By assuming your business is above defining a target audience you are putting your pride before your potential. Instead of limiting your business, identifying a target market allows you to attract more customers, more efficiently. Why spend time courting prospects who are not a good fit?

Inc.com hit the nail on the head in this article stating, “Targeting a specific market does not mean that you are excluding people who do not fit your criteria. Rather, target marketing allows you to focus your marketing dollars and brand message on a specific market that is more likely to buy from you than other markets. This is a much more affordable, efficient, and effective way to reach potential clients and generate business.”

Your Customer is the Hero, But You Still Have a Role to Play

Did you read through each question and feel like this article was written just for you? Don’t feel bad – you’re not alone! You put your heart and soul into developing your business and creating products and services that you can be proud of. While you may have work to do, don’t forget that you do play a crucial role in your customer’s story – as the Guide, you make it possible for them to conquer their dragons and save the day!

Beyond your role as a guide – you and your backstory play a crucial role in building relationships and brand loyalty.

Are you interested in learning more about becoming a story brand and making sure there isn’t too much YOU in your business? We would love to connect with you.

Gerald D. Vinci

Gerald D. Vinci

Gerald D. Vinci is the CEO of Vinci Digital with over 20 years of experience in marketing and advertising. He partners with mid-size, established businesses as a growth and scalability consultant and strategic branding advisor as well as offering a full-suite of agency services. Gerald calls Carmel, CA home with his wife Safira and two children. He has co-authored two books, and is working on his own upcoming book titled, “Small Business Pricing Mastery – Creating effective pricing and defining value for today’s products and services.”