Many successful brands choose to channel more of their time energy into a loyal customer base. Rather than marketing the product itself, they design the brand positioning around an explicit audience. This works exceptionally well when marketing a product that holds only a small space in a crowded market. Here, the brand promise is crafted in a manner that is defined by—and can even help to define—the target audience for whom it is intended.

Brands That Embody, Inspire and Motivate their Target Audiences

So-called lifestyle brands are often defined by the “who.” Lifestyle brands embody the interests, attitudes, and opinions of a group or culture. They inspire and motivate people with the goal of shaping consumers’ way of life through their products or services. While it’s true that every brand has targets, not every brand chooses to define its very essence (i.e., promise) around its target audience.

Brands focused on the “who” will typically aim to create a feeling and motivated culture through their services. The majority of the marketing strategies are explicitly designed with their target audience in mind. One of the best examples of a “who”- based brand is Proctor and Gamble (P&G). P&G markets to parents or those running a household. One of P&G’s most impactful and remembered campaigns was the “Thank you, mom” ad aired surrounding the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. This advertisement’s goal was to bring attention to moms, and all they do for their children. P&G’s creating of such a specific, emotional advertisement was their attempt at targeting an audience—moms. The actual commercial did not mention any of their products or services, but rather just focused on strengthening their audience’s loyalty. 

The Imperative Customer Loyalty

Brands that emphasize the importance of the “who” rely heavily on the loyalty of their audience. Since they are marketing to a smaller, more specific audience, it is even more important that those customers continue to return. This type of positioning is prevalent among lifestyle brands. 

One example of a brand that is currently very successful in positioning with a “who” strategy is Brooks Running. Brooks manufactures running shoes and apparel for long-distance runners. The Brooks brand focuses on their produclts’ ability to withstand the miles and miles for which their customers will likely need them. Most avid runners do not switch running shoe brands once they have found the right one for them. So, capturing these runners initially is crucial for the success of their company. 

Makeup and skincare product brands are also example of brands that rely on capturing returning customers. People typically don’t abandon makeup and skincare products once they find those best suited for them. Since there are multitudes of similar products on the market, these brands especially need returning and loyal customers to make their company successful. 

Creating and focusing on a smaller and more specified brand audience is a great way to position a brand. When marketing to a specific audience, you can develop marketing strategies that will resonate with that audience because you know what they like and want to hear. Consumers identify with this positioning because it makes them feel like they are a part of something. Using the “who” brand positioning can help your brand hone in and create a loyal and consistently returning audience.

What makes “who” brands special is that when the customers feel they are part of the brand, It doesn’t matter if someone else comes along with a cheaper alternative. The fans remain loyal because they see themselves reflected in the brand.

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