Identifying and building out your Brand Companions - or those 'best fit' individuals for your brand and offering - can be the most underrated part of a brand's marketing strategy. Many entrepreneurs will dream up their ideal customers during the early stages of opening their business, but very few people actually put pen to paper and do their due diligence to build these profiles out.
But, here’s the thing - understanding your Brand Companions is what allows you to create an emotional connection with your prospects and ultimately increase sales with your most ideal customers.
Knowing your ideal audience, like you would know your best friend or partner, is what empowers brands to create marketing campaigns that actually work to attract and convert the customers that they want most.
Brand Companion is our loving term for what is also commonly referred to as buyer personas, avatars or simply ideal audience. They are a fictional representation of your ideal customers based on both qualitative and quantitative insights.
Benefits of Creating a Brand Companion
A well-researched, fully developed Brand Companion allows you to create products, content, sales strategies--really anything--with intention and results.
Creating your Brand Companion :
- Equips you with the knowledge to develop messaging that is going to make your ideal customer say 'wow, this really speaks to me', 'is this brand inside my head?' or even better 'holy cow, this is exactly what I need'.
- Enables you to keep your marketing strategy, digital channels and promotional campaigns focused on the audience that is most aligned with your brand, values and offerings.
- And possibly most importantly, empowers you to say NO to the individuals that won't be a good fit for you or your business.
It takes work to create companion profiles that allow for this level of success - which is why so many entrepreneurs fly past this as they're focused on building out their service or product, launching their business and running the day-to-day. As a solopreneur managing all aspects of your business, you may be able to get away with this, but as you grow and scale, you'll want these profiles to ensure everyone on your team is on the same page as to who you are trying to attract to the brand.
By evaluating the four elements we list out below and answering the respective brand companion questions, you can make significant strides in creating your brand's companion profiles.
How to Create Your Brand Companion
There are four crucial elements to creating a Brand Companion. While these are just the beginning - there are many more questions you can dive into to form a fully-fledged profile for your ideal audience - this will get you well on your way.
If you loved creative writing in high school, or if you founded your business (or joined the company) because you authentically believe that what you're offering is making the world a better place, you’re going to love creating your Brand Companion.
Let's dive in!
A Day In Their Life
This first exercise is the easiest: start by envisioning your dream customer.
Imagine that every single customer was the best customer you could ever have. This person is the individual whose life is going to change thanks to what you've created.
BASIC CONSIDERATIONS: Is your ideal customer male or female? How old are they? Do they have a family? What industry do they work in, what does their day-to-day work life look like? Especially if offering a B2B solution, dig into the professional side of your soulmate, their goals, tools and daily nuances.
Take these classifications further by answering 'why are you targeting this specific demographic' or 'why is this important to my brand' to each of the previous questions.
NEXT LEVEL CONSIDERATIONS: How do your buyer personas spend their time? What do they really enjoy? What do they dislike? What other brands might they love? What routines, rituals or habits do they have? Who inspires them? What values do they have? What's important to them personally and professionally? What are their personalities like? Are they sarcastic and witty or serious and professional?
Their Deepest, Unspoken Desire
Okay, your Brand Companion has started to take shape. You feel a little more connected to them, and are starting to view them as the individual he/she is, rather than a mass audience of no ones.
Now ask yourself: what does my Brand Companion really want?
Get specific. For example, knowing simply that your Brand Companion is “hungry and tired after work” is probably not good enough to allow for a good message or positioning -- but understanding that they want to “eat healthy, home-cooked meals that don’t take a ton of time so they can feel good about themselves and their homemaking skills” is much better. See the difference? You went from someone who's going to opt for McDonald's to one that subscribes to Blue Apron.
To help you get to your offering's core benefit, and the unspoken desire of your soulmate, it's helpful to follow the 3 Why's Approach. Start by stating the obvious 'want'. Then ask yourself 'why', then ask 'why' again...and so on. Until you uncover that golden nugget that you are confident will drive your companion to action.
What’s Holding Them Back?
Without obstacles, we’d all be fit, genius, uber-efficient millionaires. But since the world, and our lives, are sprinkled with challenges, we often have to work incredibly hard to get to where we want to be. This is where you come in - your solution is going to change that for them. First though you need to truly understand not just what is standing in their way of taking action, but what do they think is standing in their way.
Speaking to their hesitations and knocking down their barriers, is going to help you streamline the buyer's journey and acquire more happy customers!
CONSIDER: Do they not have the right tools? Are they lacking the time or money they (believe) they need? Do they not possess the knowledge they need? Are they lacking confidence in their decision-making? Are they stressed, frustrated or overwhelmed by anything? Do they not understand their options?
How Can You Help?
Now that you've created a solid foundation for who your Brand Companion are, what they want, and what’s standing in their way, it’s time to consider: how can you solve their problems and help them get what they want?
CONSIDER: Start with your brand why (mission, vision, values) and work from there to touch on your how (processes, frameworks, strategies) and then your what (products, services, features). Most companies create their plans in the reverse of this flow and, because of that, their message and positioning lacks power and fails to drive emotional connection.
A well-defined Brand Companion should influence everything from the types of products or services you offer to the email subject lines you choose when you send out that next email newsletter.
Everything you do from this point forward should be tailored to your Brand Companion.
Originally published in April 2017. Updated on May 29, 2020.