Those that read my articles are aware of the fact that I place a high priority on branding.  In past articles, I mentioned that branding is the consistent, unique means by which you communicate your company’s message.  However, for today’s piece, I’d like to layer in an additional concept which is equally important with regard to the establishment of your small business brand – lifestyle.

When your branding strategy accounts for the lifestyle your average customer, I believe you are poised to take the strength of your message to the next level.

Let’s review two brands and consider the lifestyle of their respective audience. 

What comes to mind when you think about the average Kashi All Natural Foods customer?  More than likely, their average customer is health-conscious, well-read and possibly places a priority on environmental issues.  Now let’s jump to a completely different brand – Monster, the energy drink company.  I’m willing to wager that their average customer is relatively young, male and is tech-savvy.

Both of these brands communicate in a way that resonates with their core customer. For instance, Kashi’s marketing messages focus on wellness, great life choices, and guilt-free food options.  Monster, on the other hand, has a far more aggressive stance.  Their branding projects a no-holds-barred message that incorporates extreme sports, youth and edge.

I used these two examples to illustrate that branding is more than appearing different; it’s also about aligning your message with the lives of your customers.  Those that are successful in doing so will be deemed less intrusive when advertising and marketing.

Here are three things to remember when aligning your brand with your customer’s lifestyle:

Be flexible

The archetype for your customer will change over time. Be sure that your branding strategy is flexible enough to move with larger trends affecting the lifestyle of these core customers. For instance, today’s mature audiences, baby boomers, are trending towards increased technology use. They way you reach them will be far different than the means to reach the prior generation of older customers.

Don’t give priority to your preferences

Let’s say you’re really not that big on being “green” but your average customer is. It’s to your advantage to place your personal environmental convictions, or lack thereof, on the back burner.  Many businesses forgo sales in order to focus on the lifestyle and/or values of the small business owner rather than the customer.

Move into their world

In today’s world, it’s not enough just to know your product. You’ve got to know your customer.  What do they like, where do they spend their time, what activities are they involved with? As you start to search for these answers, you’re likely to uncover new avenues for your marketing messages. It could be as simple as learning that your customers attend a particular music festival, or a new social media site.  The point is, the more you learn about your core customer, the better suited you are to engage on what matters most to them; you’ll be seen less as an outsider.

Walter Dailey is a small business marketing consultant and speaker with Dailey Sound Vector Media. DSV Media is a creative services company that creates and critiques commercial campaigns for small businesses throughout the North America.  Ask Walter your questions at walter@dsvmedia.com