Launching a new brand in the direct to consumer space is exciting. It’s a crowded and noisy space, yet it’s crucial to ensure that customers will embrace and purchase your products before you hit go. But how do you successfully position your brand in the market and attract loyal customers before taking the plunge? It actually comes down to basics: understand your target market’s preferences, behaviors, and needs, then test it as many times as you need to. Said another way, shoot bullets first, then cannonballs, so you don’t run out of gunpowder. In this article, we will explore a simple approach you can customize as you see fit to assess customer interest and determine if your up-and-coming D2C brand will resonate with your target audience.
Create Your Ideal Client Profile (ICP)
Start by defining your ideal customer. Understand their demographics, preferences, and shopping behavior. Create a detailed profile that includes information such as age, gender, hair color, lifestyle, family status, and other relevant characteristics. In the past, it’s common to give this person a name! This exercise will help you gain clarity on who your target audience is and guide your marketing efforts effectively. If it’s not a skill you currently have on the bench, hire someone or outsource it. Just don’t skip it!
Take a Stand
Based on available data or conducting surveys, take a position on the messaging, style, and overall look of your brand. After all, you have to start from somewhere. Determine what resonates with your target audience and aligns with their preferences. Maybe your space is dominated by cheap knock offs – why does it make sense to go up stream for a more elevated product? Or perhaps the issue with existing products is back end customer service – how would you message your brand differently so that it hits home? Whatever the case, develop a unique brand identity that stands out in the market and differentiates your brand from competitors. To be effective, don’t tell them, show them.
Before fully launching your brand, pilot it in the real world. This is the part about shooting bullets. Offer product testing opportunities with strategic partners, provide free samples to potential customers – whatever makes sense for your product and target demographic to give you the crucial information you need to make a decision. This allows you to gather valuable feedback, gauge interest, and assess if your products align with customer expectations. Similar to creating your ICP, you can also outsource this to take a more direct route.
Adjust and Refine
Based on the insights gained from the pilot phase, further refine your product, and if necessary, brand identity. This might be the hard part for most. We’re all human at the beginning and end of the day, and experiencing negative feedback or better ideas hurts. Honor it, take the time to be clear on your goal of a successful brand, and keep moving. Use the information to develop a compelling brand story that emotionally connects with your target audience. Clearly define the unique value your brand offers and create a consistent brand image across all touchpoints.
Once you have made the necessary adjustments, it’s go time!. Implement your refined brand identity, messaging, and product offerings to the people. Leverage strategic partnerships from before, your marketing channels to create awareness and generate excitement among your target audience. Collect and track your progress along the way with Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to monitor the market response so you can adapt accordingly quickly and decisively if needed.
Stay attuned to market trends, customer demands, and industry shifts. After all, we’re all playing in the same pond together and you don’t have to recreate the wheel every time. Actively seek feedback from your customers, create surveys, ask questions, and remain open to new information and insights. Once you’re out there, the work has only begun. Keep managing and adjusting post-launch to ensure continued success.
Having real, actionable data about products from your up-and-coming brand is a critical factor for success, and your heartache. By understanding your target audience, developing a compelling brand identity, piloting and adjusting your offerings, and staying open to customer
Jeff Lo is owner of TGS Elevate, a visual marketing / merchandising company that provides printing, point of purchase displays, and store fixture manufacturing, and in-store build outs for companies that have 50-500 locations nationwide.