Article, Identifying your target industry, audience & competitors by Paul Coppcutt :

Step 4 – Who, What, Where?
by Paul Copcutt

Step 4 – Positioning – identifying your target industry, audience & competitors

There is absolutely no benefit if you have spent all that effort defining and developing your personal brand if you spend most of your time communicating it to the wrong audience.

Having a clear understanding of your target audience is critical to being noticed by the right people, so you should be able to clearly and in quite some detail be able to describe them.

You might know who that target audience is already and if you have been in that business for a while might even know them by name. If not then you need to take some time to think about who might be attracted with the skills and strengths you have identified, or perhaps who you most would like to be working alongside perhaps based on some of your passions. Your needs might be a bit more immediate than that, in which case who has the greatest need for your skills and talents right now?

Another factor to consider is not necessarily to put yourself with in an industry silo but to look at it differently in terms of the target’s influence – such as the disabled or literacy – see if there can be a stronger link to your vision and/or purpose.

Once you have decided on that industry or segment you need to take it down to the next level as to which people in that arena are the ones that you need to influence and who need to be exposed to your brand and your message.

Approach this from both the demographics – such as age, gender, location etc and then take it deeper to the psychographics – what do they do in their spare time, what they like to read, what professional or community activities might they be involved in – this can be invaluable for you to ‘meet’ these targets in situations where perhaps your competition will never be.

Looking at your competition you must be fully aware of the potential barriers for you and these can be outside of the box in terms of threat. Coca Cola for example considers one of its major competitor’s cell phones because their target market – youth- may choose to spend a dollar on text messaging or phone calls versus buying a can of Coke.

Conduct a similar exercise to that of target industry and target audience – again experience might already tell you who they are. What is the same- what do you have in common with these competitors? Now more importantly what makes you different?

For that thinking outside of the box who else might be competing for your target audience’s time and resources? What advantage do you have over that competition, why should your target market listen to your message?

Some of the earlier work in the personal branding process is that of identifying your strengths and brand attributes. Some of those you would expect you and all people like you to have – i.e. your competitors are likely to have these attributes – for example a Chief financial Officer would be expected to have Honesty as an attribute for the role they perform. This then would be considered a rational attribute. But a CFO might not need to be Witty, which then would be considered more of an emotional attribute.

It is the emotional attributes that can be the differentiators, the reason people want to work with you and for you and – if you have that attribute and none of your competitors do you can really start to use that positive attribute to stand out to your target audience.

Identifying your target industry, audience & competitors
is the fourth step in the 7 P’s of Personal Branding

Paul Copcutt is founder of Square Peg Solutions, and excels as a personal brand consultant for professional service providers and business owners who are missing out on great business opportunities because they are not clear on who what they have to offer, who they should be talking to or how to get their message out there.


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