When did you last feel like an alien?

I recently read an article about how craft beer producers are missing a trick with women.

Sales of craft beer among women are growing for a number of reasons, but the branding hasn’t caught up. No beer brand has decided to put female beer-buyers in its sights. And it shows. The majority of craft beer branding is pretty masculine, which alienates – or at least, fails to entice – the female beer enthusiast.

She pootles around the beer aisle, not really knowing what she might like, or how to decide.

The craft beer market is going through a change, and what it needs to do is some brand positioning work, to make it clear to women that craft beer is for women too, that they’ll enjoy it.

Obviously, anyone can buy craft beer, but the current brand positioning feels very male-orientated, and that can put female buyers off. Why would you put off your biggest potential market?

This is less about selling, and more about making the product easier to buy. The muddier your position, the greater the chance your customer will end up feeling like an alien, not knowing where to start with your products.

Granted, some products and services have an easier time than others. There’s little potential for confusion when faced with a spectrum that has a supermarket-brand bottle of gin at one end, and the latest corked, wax-sealed artisan tipple from the Cotswolds at the other. The visuals and the price tags do a lot of the work.

In other areas, particularly business-to-business sales, the distinction is less clear.

How do you communicate which slice of the market you occupy, when it may not be simple, wise or even appropriate to advertise prices? How do you convey the high-end nature of your offering when your primary marketing tool is a website? It’s not exactly something you can heft to feel the quality…

With the right groundwork, you can consider how to express your positioning in every aspect of your brand: every point of contact with customers, every stage of your sales pitch.

Positioning is especially important because it helps potential customers to determine whether your product is in fact the one they need – it might not be.

When your positioning isn’t clear, stray customers wander in, feeling like aliens, unsure where to start. Deep down you know that you’re not quite what they’re after… but it’s really difficult to turn that work down.

If you do take on work in this way, you can end up wasting time and money working on a project that doesn’t really fit. With a bit of luck it’ll work out OK for both parties, but it’s not a sustainable long-term strategy for growing your business.

At some point you need to phone home, pin down what your business is all about, and get that message out to your customers.

Good brand positioning avoids the issue in the first placeyou won’t be tempted to take up the wrong kind of business, because you’ll be too busy with the right kind.

(Image via W. Warby)

Written by Chloe Marshall

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