Profiling customers and prospects for the brand platform

In describing stakeholders for your brand platform, prospects and customers are usually considered the most important groups.

For products, this is a fairly easy task (unless you’re launching a new technology with lots of potential applications) because products are usually developed with a customer profile in mind. There’ll be research performed as to the number, the demographics and the psychographics.

But for companies, particularly multi-product line companies, identifying the customer/prospect population is more difficult. Now if you’re carving out a company with a vision and mission already directed toward a group, a general description might suffice.

Let’s say you were doing a brand platform for Crayola. You’d be able to cite children and their parents and teachers as customer/prospect shareholders. And unless Crayola decided to market products such as fine arts supplies or office supplies (both very poor ideas), they will be okay with the child/parent/teacher model.

Sure, some of their products will be directed at certain child ages from preschool to teen. But for branding purposes, the choice of colors, logo, tagline and themes will be elemental and creative based in part on customer/prospect profiles.

For a company like GE or DuPont with multiple and diverse product lines, the problem is a little more complicated. GE in particular will have a problem defining consumer stakeholders because we’re talking about aircraft makers and railroads to beginning families. There may be nothing in common. If this is so, it’s good to know.

In these cases, each product line or division will have to establish the prospect/customer profiles for branding their businesses. The corporate brand will have to be developed without much regard to consumers. This doesn’t mean you ignore consumers in your brand thinking. It’s just that you will need to think more generically and universally.

If corporate customers and prospects can be defined, no matter how abstract that profile will be, it is great direction for those who will be brainstorming and creating brand elements.

It’s worth the attempt to do it.

Martin Jelsema

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