“Niche your brand.”
“Limit your offerings.”
“Narrow your focus.”
These are all common phrases that are preached to us regarding our brands. It’s wise advice, and sure, it would simplify things quite a bit if we followed it.
But what if you have multiple audiences, passions and products? Do you have to limit your focus to only one? And if you choose to not limit your audiences, how can you speak to 2 audiences at once?
These questions have plagued me over the years both in my own business, and in my client’s.
When I started Spruce Rd., I focused on serving one audience — fellow business owners in need of a new brand identity design. Since then, I’ve connected with a second audience of fellow freelance designers… which is when things got complicated. Naturally the messaging and marketing are different for each group.
Is it easy speaking to both groups? Definitely not.
There is no precedent to follow or blueprint to swipe. But, I’ve honed in on a few things over the years to bring clarity in marketing to two different groups.
A tale of two audiences
Before diving into branding for two audiences, consider whether your brand should actually be split into separate brands. If your two groups are very different from one another, it could make the most sense to break up with one aspect of your business, and actually give it it’s own platform and brand.
There are many reasons you can separate your brands, but ultimately it comes back to messaging. Are you compromising the conversions of your brand because you are diluting it with marketing your other product… which isn’t related?
Here’s a successful example of how it works:
Nathan Barry already had a great reputation in the design + marketing world. He sells e-books and courses. When he started ConvertKit, an email marketing software, he had big plans for it and branded it separately from the Nathan Barry brand. This allowed him to market clearly on ConvertKit, and not confuse potential customers from his existing products about web design.
The approach of separating brands works for Nathan because of the type of product (software), as well as a different audience (bloggers). It would have been too confusing under one umbrella.
Two audiences, one brand
… but sometimes it makes sense to keep things under one roof. Though the most straightforward answer might be to cut ties and create separate brands, this could come at a cost if you’ve got some brand equity built up.
Let’s look at photographer + educator Jenna Kutcher as an example. Jenna captures the most beautiful wedding photos, and has built up quite the positive reputation in the online community (rightly so!). She wears her heart on her sleeve, shares what she’s learned so freely, and is a great light in the creative industry. People are drawn toward her brand and what she offers. So, when Jenna began offering online courses, resources and a podcast it only made sense for her to keep it all under the “Jenna Kutcher” umbrella. Everything is housed on the same website, maintains brand design consistency, and uses one instagram account.
This strategy works for Jenna because she has such a loyal audience. Her offerings aren’t wildly different (for example: a tutoring service for elementary students, and photography for weddings). It makes sense.
Finding the overlap
When we branch into different audiences, there is often an overlap. What once began as one service, naturally started attracting another somewhat similar audience. If this is the case for you, you need to find the overlap.
Break out your white board and sketch yourself a good ole’ fashioned venn diagram. Jot down attributes of each of your audiences. Write the common attributes in the overlap. This is where you can find your common messaging for your brand! It may seem old school, but take a moment and sketch it for yourself.
Here’s what my venn diagram looks like below. Hopefully you’ll find yourself on either side or in the overlap!