Barista Magazine

DEC 2017-JAN 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 84 of 107

2. Defi ne your market. When it comes to defi ning who your target market is, remember that there is no such thing as a universal brand. There is no magic brand strategy that will capture "everyone." It's important to acknowledge who you are, who your customers expect you to be, and how you can best cater to them. Do your research. By focusing on the needs and expectations of your target market, you can be more effective in grow- ing your sales and creating a loyal customer base. Elizabeth Chai, an independent designer focused on coffee brands, acknowledges the importance of this, as well. "The target market should strike a healthy balance between what a company's goals and intentions are, who will be purchasing their product, and the environment it lives in (such as neighborhood, region, college campus, theme/style)," says Elizabeth. "Trying to force a de- mographic to work in a confl icting environment will ultimately require spending more time, energy, and money." You should also consider the role that emotion plays when con- sumers make their buying decisions: They aren't always rational, especially regarding luxuries like coffee. Knowing who your customers are and what "tribe" they want to be a part of will allow you to shape your brand and your messaging to reach them in a more personal way. If you try chasing every potential customer, whether they're a part of your target or not, you'll dilute your message. Losing sight of who matters the most puts you at risk of weakening your brand value—and if your brand doesn't represent something that people love or loathe, you likely won't be noticed at all. This type of brand purgatory is the last place you want to fi nd yourself when you're trying to grow your business and gain passionate customers who love your product and want to share it with everyone they know. Brand loyalty is not something you can buy. It must be earned by consistently living up to your promises and exceeding the expec- tations of your customers. Loyal customers are the foundation of a good business, and they are priceless when it comes to word-of-mouth recommendations. "When a company has built a truly solid brand for itself, there will be strong, loyal following of that brand," Elizabeth says. "I'm a fi rm believer in investing in those who already have some level of devotion to promoting either a company's product, or the broader mission of what they stand for." Remember to take notice and thank them when you have the opportunity. After you've clearly defi ned your market, you will be better equipped to identify potential distributers and wholesale partners, as well as better utilize social media tools for targeted advertising. Knowing your market means knowing how to better reach them. 3. Defi ne your goals. One of the key elements that will shape your brand strategy and how you pursue it is determining your brand goals. Your brand goals im- pact how your brand develops, what market you target, and whether you are content being a solitary business or you want to grow into a multi-outlet chain with big dreams of acquisition. By defi ning your goals and then identifying objective checkpoints on the way to reach- ing those goals, you can better monitor your company's progress, fail- ures, and success. If things aren't working the way you expected, you will have a benchmark for making changes. Be fl exible and re-evaluate your goals on a quarterly basis. While the core of your brand should be rock solid, the process of creating an effective brand strategy isn't linear—everything is up for evaluation and adjustment. "Think big, but be realistic," says Elizabeth. "Remember, 'You get It can be more work than you expect to maintain active social media profi les, but it's important that they aren't neglected. 85

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