Brand Identity & Ideal Client

OH. BOY. I know you’ve heard it before, and I also know it’s one of the hardest things we do as business owners, but today we’re going to be talking about your brand identity and ideal clients. I know what you’re probably thinking… ‘But Janice- I thought this channel was about video marketing?’ and you’re right! But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that if you don’t have a clear idea of your brand identity and target market BEFORE you start creating videos, you won’t see the results you want.

Alright, let’s dive into the hard part – WHO you are, and who you serve best. There are a lot of different books and tools to help you through the process of finding the answers to these questions, including one of my favorites- The Conquer Kit: A Creative Business Planner for Women Entrepreneurs. You can also head to our website for a free downloadable PDF we’ve developed to help our clients work through this part of the process before we start filming.

It’s important to acknowledge first that these two things are GOING to evolve over time. Who you are now, and who you serve best now, and who you will be in 5 years are likely going to be different- they might be a little different, or they might be a LOT different. And that’s totally okay! I started Big Dog Little Bed 8+ years ago as only a wedding videographer, and now we specialize in helping businesses & organizations grow using video. That means not only do we create videos to help them market, but we also help them think through the strategy behind the video creation. SO different than what I was doing back in 2012! And that’s totally okay. Our brand, literally the logo and visuals, along with the work and messaging, has all changed over time to reflect the changes in who we are and who we serve best.

So this is a question you should be asking yourself regularly. It’s not an exercise you can do once and say ‘DONE!’, but one that you should pause to reevaluate on a regular basis. If you’re not using the tool we have on our website, I would start with these general questions, reflecting and brainstorming on each, and eventually moving towards a clear 1-2 sentence answer as to WHO YOU ARE, WHAT YOU DO, and WHO YOU SERVE BEST.

One more thing to note before I offer some general guiding questions I’d suggest- it’s worth noting when you do this if there is a difference between the CURRENT ANSWERS, and what’s true for your business right now, and FUTURE ANSWERS, or what you’d like to be true in future years. This can be particularly important for newer businesses, who are still figuring out the answers to these questions.

OKAY, here are some general questions I would use to guide this reflection:

  • What do you do as a business (literally)? In the brainstorm process I’d list of any services or products you offer now, as well as any you might imagine offering in the future.

  • WHY you do this work. There are lots of videos and resources out there emphasizing the value of grounding your business in the why, and understanding what your WHY is can be a crucial part of your brand identity, so I’m linking a couple of my favorites below. Grounding your brand identity in WHY vs. WHAT allows more flexibility in shifting your business and offerings over the years.

  • How do you approach your clients and the work? I love this one, because it really gives you a chance to reflect on both process and point of view. We tend to obsess about product, but I think the real marketing advantage comes in when we deeply understand and communicate our process and point of view in addition to that.

  • What makes you different from other people or businesses doing the same thing? What is your unique competitive advantage? Why are your current customers choosing you?

    • Again, for this one I’d think beyond just differences in product and services, but also differences in your process and your point of view. These impact overall client experience, so are worth reflecting on when it comes to brand identity.

  • How do you want people to FEEL when they interact with your brand? While this is certainly part of their actual experience when hiring you, this can also be more generally. How do you want them to feel when reading or viewing content you create? What about when they see posts on social media, or interact with you or your employees in real life?

  • Where are you located, and where are your clients typically located? This could be a factor if you’re a regional company who only serves people in a specific area, or the opposite, if you love to travel or serve clients remotely and want to make it clear that where you’re located doesn’t impact who you serve.

Once you’ve reflected on yourself and your business, the next step is thinking about WHO you serve best, also known as your ‘Ideal Clients’ or your ‘Target Market’. One activity I’ve done in the past that I’ve found extremely helpful is creating a client ‘avatar’ where you literally create an imaginary person who represents all the characteristics of your ideal client. I’ve even seen some people name them, and use that avatar as the barometer for any marketing materials they create. Would this post or video make this person more likely to continue following me? More or less likely to hire me? Rather than asking ourselves how EVERYONE will feel about the content we’re creating, thinking really specifically about how that person would feel about it.

I’ve personally found it helpful to think back over the past year and list the three clients I most enjoyed working with, and then reflect on characteristics they all have in common. These characteristics are likely going to help in identifying who my ideal client is.

If you head over to our Coaching/Strategy tab, you’ll have access to a free downloadable PDF that will guide you through this process, resulting in your 1-2 sentence overview of your brand identity.