If you’re new to this blog or post series, please read the first entry. Part 1 focused on your situational analysis and contained your mission, vision, projected annual compensation and your personal life cycle. It’s really the first step into realizing your brand and now I’m going to teach you about the second part called “audience analysis.” In business a market analysis is a way to research and discover trends in the market you’re interested in pursuing, such as “soft drinks” or “real estate.” A market is a grouping of individual that share similar qualities and/or attributes. Personal branding is all about the niche markets rather than the full-blown industries, but the industries give you an idea of where the niche is heading.
Market’s can be sectioned off in what’s called market segmentation, where you choose a piece of a larger market and promote your brand to them specifically. As you brainstorm and segment a market, the output is a beachhead, which is your main target market that you will be going for. Your personal brand works in the same way, displacing the word “market” with “audience.” An audience is how you measure personal branding success, as well as how you connect and who you’re messaging to. An audience size can make one person a celebrity and another an unknown. As you increase your audience size through blogging and networking, you have more opportunities at your feet.
Large audiences are the reason why Gizmodo, Robert Scoble, TechCrunch and other blogs are making thousands of dollars. Advertisers compensate based on size of audience, relevancy and credibility. Audiences (fans/website visitors/subscribers/people in your network/prospects interested in your topic) are the one’s that will come to your speaking events, email you for information or want to do business with you. Audiences can be converted in to friends, friends can be transformed into clients and clients into money. In this post I’ll dive into audience research and a SWOT analysis for you.
- Audience Research: Just like companies, you want to find out where your audience lives, how they communicate, their lifestyle and their behavior. Remember that you’re not dealing with companies in a B2B/B2C operations, but rather the customers who may “purchase” your product (brand). If you’re looking to get a job, then research where recruiters gather, or if you’re interested in college students you may want to pursue Facebook. Conduct a search on Google or Technorati under key terms that reflect your interests. It is also useful to conduct research on the current job market trends, which you can find on the U.S. Department of Labor site, as well as Careerbuilder.com and Monster.com.You want to know what’s hot and what’s not. If you’re in the technology field be forewarned that things change so rapidly that you’re brand can have a lot of momentum and then be tossed away in a heartbeat. Also, your brand must stay relevant and if it’s not you may want to re-purpose it a little, without losing authenticity and passion. Consider it a balancing act, but still important in your long-term success. If you see an upward trend for your niche, then you will want to position yourself immediately.There are two forms of research: quantitative and qualitative. When you view hard number statistics that is quantitative and it’s easier to trend that type of data over time. Qualitative relies on reasoning and behavior, such as someone that is energetic, enthusiastic and sympathetic. The people in your audience are people, which means they all have their own brands and have the freedom to stay a part of your audience or leave to be a participant in another’s audience. Your goal is to research a niche of people that are reflective of your brand and a blog is a great filtering tool to keep only the subscribers who enjoy your brand active.
- Personal SWOT Analysis: For all of you who haven’t taken a marketing class, a SWOT analysis consists of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This model tends to be applied to businesses of all sizes, while incorporating competitors to see where they stand in relation to the company.
- Strengths – Think of your skills, which could be your ability to design graphics, develop websites, write, communicate, project manage, etc. Personal strengths may be your networking skills or how sticky your brand is to attract others.
- Weaknesses – These are area’s where you need improvement. They could range from your ability to construct a blog to how you present yourself in public. Weaknesses are an important part of your development plan as well and overcoming them is essential to your personal growth.
- Opportunities – As you progress in your career, you need opportunities to reach new heights, gather new skills and meet people who can help you along the way. I’m not saying to take every opportunity given to you, but never miss out on one that fits into your plan.
- Threats – Threats come in all shapes and sizes. A threat could be another individual competing for the same job, an environmental factor that may hinder your chances to succeed or a new movement that could possibly make your brand irrelevant or outdated. Some threats can be avoided and others cannot. With the right opportunities you can bypass some threats.