Put A Lid On It! | Sustaining Customer Focus When Creativity is Overflowing

Brand teams are often comprised of folks busting at the seams with creativity and concepts.  They see the world in 4K; their dreams are in HD.  You’ve seen them: they’re the corporate cool kids.  They don red chinos and horn-rimmed glasses. Their hearts pump caramel macchiato and they speak in #hashtag.  Don’t get me wrong.  There is much more to them than that but I’m very descriptive (if you haven’t figured it out by now). 

Leveraging their wiring and knack for creative concepts can be a huge asset to a brand team.  Fresh ideas and innovative approaches are critical to the team’s viability and effectiveness.  However, like anything else, the stream of ingenuity could benefit from a dam of temperance. 

When developing brand strategy, it's important to always keep the customer at the forefront.  Sure, it’d be nice if our ridiculously innovative social media campaign captured the hearts and minds of 70 year olds that suffer from alzheimer's.  Unfortunately, the likelihood of that is slim.  Failure to moderate our creative zest runs the risk of completely missing the target.  

In brand marketing, the goal is to engage and educate your customer about how your product can meet their specific need(s).  There are several ways to accomplish this feat.  However, if the efforts are irrespective of the customer, they are fruitless.  With that said, here a couple of ways to sustain customer focus: 

Write the vision

Muhammad Ali, arguably the greatest boxer of all time, often said that you can’t hit what you can’t see.  While this is absolutely true for the sport of boxing, it also has application in the business world.  Customer awareness is imperative in any branding strategy.  Take the time to develop and document buyer personas.  In your branding discussions, post a picture or a profile on the wall that represents who you’re attempting to engage.  Document their interests and preferred mediums of communication.  Get an understanding of their demographic and review it regularly.  

Mine/Mind the data

Data is the gold! If your brand team has a separate data analysis group, do yourself a favor and become their best friends.  Your marketing data-points are the pavers that create the path to your customer.  Purchasing patterns, web analytics, sales data, and survey responses are just are a few examples of the gold that we’re constantly panning for.  Once the data has been gathered, strategize by leveraging the underlying qualitative and quantitative information to determine the most effective way to reach them.  Creativity is welcomed; however, the data must be the baseline.  It’s like being given the answers before the test.  Small caveat: keep in mind that customers are still people.  They change!  So, data mining must be a part of your ongoing strategy to ensure proper alignment with your target.