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Brand or Audience First?

     
8:50 pm on Aug 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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So which comes first, branding or finding/developing that target audience? Does our audience determine what our brand will become, or is it because we have a definitive brand that we get our audience?

What is your Brand?

We've all heard that developing our Brand is important. But what is it? Brand Name and your Brand are related, but they are different things.
Put simply, your “brand” is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name... Your brand name exists objectively; people can see it. It’s fixed. But your brand exists only in someone’s mind.
source: Jerry McLaughlin, What Is A Brand Anyway [forbes.com]

Your Brand is developed through your connection with your Audience.
• Identifiable Brand Name
• Reputation of Service, Goods or Information
• Trust Factor
• Look/Feel of Website
• Customer Service

Who is your Target Audience?

Your Audience is developed, meaning it is built and maintained through a process. That process must withstand the influence of trends, seasonal effects, financial current and public interest.

Your Audience is made up of:
• Buyers
• Proponents & Critics (those that influence the Buyers.)
• Followers/Supporters

Where do you get your Audience?
• Web Search Results
• Advertising
• Social Media
• Backlinks
• Reviews
• Word of Mouth

How did you develop your Brand & get your Audience. Which came first?

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5:19 pm on Aug 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Build an audience first... brand follows.
5:22 pm on Aug 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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This kinda touches on the reality that a website is never "just" the website. It is an extension of the business, so needs to be treated as such. If the business already has a brand, any new aspect of the business should portray that brand in the correct light. Be that a website, social media page or old school print media.

An online business is a very different prospect though. The market and user may well be a massive factor for building a brand.

Mack.
5:33 pm on Aug 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Build an audience first... brand follows.

I'm going to disagree somewhat- with this way, your audience determines your brand. That may be fine for some people, but not if you want to be in control of your brand/destiny.

Who you are and what you want to accomplish (your brand) determine who your audience should be. In my opinion, if you want to control your brand, THAT has to come first, before audience.

Sure, things can always happen that wrest control of your brand away from you (Hi, American Airlines!), but that should be a rare case.
8:06 pm on Aug 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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a website is never "just" the website. It is an extension of the business
True, however not all sites are associated with a business, if by business we are describing that which sells or supplies a service or product.

Some sites are informational, hobby, special interest, etc but they too must build branding for recognition. The more distinct the branding, the easier the identification in spreading interest and thus the wider the audience base.
10:48 pm on Aug 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I think of branding as a coin with two sides:

- Do they recognize me?
- What do they think of me?

Good visual design can give a boost to both. Try to have a coherent look and feel for everything about you that your target audience will see. Design details like color choices, fonts, grid layout and more ... all can help to make you recognizable. Especially, there is power in a logo that represents you well.

The deeper aspects of branding ... the loyalty of your audience ... must be earned over time. That depends more on the quality of your content and the experience you deliver than on how you look, but it all plays together.
5:24 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Audience first, then brand, at first in terms of website and content people mostly care about getting an answer to what they are looking for, then they come back and will notice your brand more and more.
10:34 pm on Aug 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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This is how I explain "brand" to my clients, no matter if it is a personal brand or a business brand.
It's not about a logo or a slogan.
You have a brand as soon as people get an impression of your trustworthiness.
What brings about trust has been studied for years and years. I've boiled it down to three factors:
1. Competence
2. Integrity
3. Caring.
The higher your competence, the strength of your integrity and how you are perceived as caring all weigh in on the power of your brand.

If you look at McDonald's, everything they do works to hit on one of those three points. Trust is vital if you are asking people to put your product in their mouth and swallow it. Hospitals, same thing. But, really, every person and every business wants to be trusted. Is Google trusted? How do they measure on 1, 2, & 3?

Number 3 (showing caring) explains the Google Doodle and things such as this (announced today):
[newsweek.com...]

Simple! Well, no. Obviously not. But, let me make it even more complicated...

Not everyone, even in the same audience, values integrity, caring, and competence the same way. And, the weight of each of these elements of trust can shift, even in an individual. The context can change depending upon when the message is given. Where the message appears and, of course, who is sending the message can also make a difference. Context matters.

Therefore, in building your brand, are you communicating your caring when your key audiences are more concerned about your competence? Or the other way around–super competent, but not caring. Etc. (Insert your personal case studies.)

And, I say it again to stress it, the measures can shift. Red Cross cares. That's why I trust the Red Cross. But then Red Cross screws up. Ug, a problem. (Interestingly, the screw ups are generally regarding by the public as Red Cross not caring.)

One of the major fun things about the TV show House was how the doctor was so competent he didn't have to care. I loved that. Or even have integrity (came in late, disappeared when needed, etc). Drama. But, viewers began to dislike the main character and the writers had to adapt. Eventually, the ruined the show (for me) by making House more caring.

Back to real life... Different audiences put different weight on the different aspects of trust. But, for all audiences, all three are important, always. Screw up on any three too much, and you're dead. Even if you are Dr. House. Once trust is lost, it's almost impossible to get back.

Strive to be competent (little things mean a lot; bad spelling kills me), do what you say you are going to do (this is much harder than you think, you have to meet expectations), and show that you give a rip (if you are in it just for the money, you'll have a problem). Do that, and you'll have a strong brand.
10:05 pm on Sept 6, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Is there a branding difference between Desktop & Mobile web presence?
9:03 pm on Sept 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I think there is, but it's more about user expectation and to an extent user experience. The way a site presents itself to the end user may vary, and perhaps branding may differ as a result.

I am seeing a lot of companies portraying their brand differently between mobile and desktop, but I am also seeing a lot of companies re-group and in effect modifying their desktop experience to be more closely matched to their mobile interface. If we take Facebook as an example. For years the desktop version had the full "Facebook" logo at the top of every page, Mobile was simply an "F". Now the desktop version is using the same condensed logo as has been used on Mobile

Years ago companies used to use trimmed down version of their logo or branding for icons and favicons. They use a similar approach for mobile design and now that is being merged with the desktop. Another example would be "Yell". They use Yell.com on the full site, but on their app and I believe mobile pages they simply use the generic "finger logo" .

Mack.
10:37 pm on Sept 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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just existing is a brand. It's how you burnish it, make it shine, that turns it into a commodity.

this: " - " is a brand. I can even trademark it. Register it internationally. Big deal. It means nothing without all the rest that goes behind it. Or

A name is what you make it or

A rose by any other name...

A brand is Hard Work Put In Action.

I merely caution my clients to avoid something that is goofy to start with... or MIGHT become goofy when public tastes change. Other than that it is merely an identifier, something that marginally defines one thing from another.

The hard work is getting the audience.
9:54 am on Sept 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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With recent emphasis on privacy and security, having a secure HTTPS website is surely important in today's branding.