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November 3, 2020

Discovering Your Brand Identity: Finding Your Customers and Validating Your Problem

A brand’s identity is essential to its success. Without a clear understanding of who you are and who your customers are, you risk falling behind in the marketplace. In our previous article, you learned about how to craft your brand identity and clarify the fundamentals of your business. It is important to know these fundamentals, including beliefs, purpose, and mission, before you take the next steps.

Once you have a firm grasp on these principles and on who you are as a company, it is time to find your future customers. These are people who are experiencing a problem or pain that your product is uniquely suited to solve.

One thing that is important to remember is that not everyone needs your solution. Trying to market your product to everyone is expensive and ineffective. The following steps will walk you through the process of finding the right group of customers who want and need your solution to the problem they are experiencing.

Steps to Identify The Problem and Find Your Customers

Step 1: Find Your Problem

When you first decided to create your brand it was probably because you had a great idea for a new product. You were excited to offer this product to the public, but what problem is your product solving?

Problems can come in many different sizes. You could try to solve a big problem like world hunger or start small like battling hunger in your local neighborhood. We suggest starting small and working towards bigger goals as your brand grows.

What problems are you uniquely equipped to solve while staying true to your identity? Brainstorm several and take your list to a group of people who are experiencing those problems. Ask them questions about how they experience this issue, and get feedback on your solutions.

Step 2: Identify Your Problem Assumptions

The next step on the journey to finding your customers is to identify the assumptions that you have about your problem and about the people who experience it. As you learn more about your problem, you are becoming an expert who has knowledge about the aspects that your customers experience with that issue.

For example, problem assumptions for a customer struggling with meal planning might be, “meal planning can help you save money,” or “meal planning is for people who have busy schedules.”

Even though these statements may sound obvious to you, it is important to remember that they are assumptions. Not every one of your customers will share these same beliefs, but each assumption will help you gain valuable information from your potential customers.

What assumptions have you made about the problem you are solving and about those who experience it? Compile a list of 10 assumptions that you will need to verify with your target customers in the next step.

Step 3: Target Customers Experiencing the Problem

After you have listed your problem assumptions it is time to identify the groups of people who might be suffering from your problem. At the beginning of your journey you may have already had an idea of whom you wanted to serve, but are there others who would be additionally or even better served by your solution?

It is okay if your customer target looks different from when you first developed your brand. You want to find the right group of people to market your product to and it takes time and research to find those people.

What people, groups, or organizations experience your problem and would benefit from your solution? Use social media and word-of-mouth to find a few individuals and then ask them to point you in the direction of others like them. You will quickly find your niche group of people and will begin to cultivate your brand’s culture together.

Step 4: Validate Your Problem

Now that you have found your group of potential customers you must validate that the assumptions you compiled are correct. How exactly do you do that? You ask your customers!

Start with a small group of your customers, around 10 people, or use a market research service like User Testing. Ask them questions that will directly or indirectly validate your assumptions and listen carefully to their answers. As you talk with them you will start to learn more about the ins and outs of your target customers. If your initial assumptions were wrong you can create a new list that is now backed by customer research.

While you are with them, take the time to discuss what the group has in common. Do they share the same favorite books, tv shows, and movies? Knowing these common characteristics will guide the decisions you make in many aspects of your brand including marketing.

Find Your Customer’s Before You Launch

Don’t skip the process of finding your customers before you launch your product to the market. Validating the problem you are solving and fine-tuning your customer target group is extremely important.

If you skip these steps the solution your product offers could be completely misaligned with what your customers need and want. While it might seem like a lot of work at the beginning, it will pay off tremendously in the long run. You will end up with a product that had research backing it to show that it is needed and has the potential for success.

Brand Identity Coaching

Our next article in the brand identity series will dive deeper into discovering your brand culture. We will discuss your logo, brand name, and other key aspects of your brand identity.

Discovering your brand identity with a business coach can be extremely helpful. Reach out to Clear Function if you would like to learn how to take your product from an idea to a full-fledged digital brand.

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