Opinion: Stepping into the shoes of the consumer

by Nnadozie Egeonu


Even if your business is novel, before you came into the scene, customers you are targeting, how were they addressing that need?

Branding is a creative exercise; it involves lots of analytical thinking and creativity. You have to play the part of the consumer or ‘would be clients’ to perfectly understand their mindset and how best you can sell your idea, product and service to them. The truth is that branding provides the bridge, between someone who knows nothing about you, to now understanding how you’re different. It is that bridge, and that’s its function. For people to walk through that bridge to your own end they must be convinced of the alternative you provide, your uniqueness and the different way you solve their problem or the new category you render. To believe you are the only business offering your kind in the market place may be an illusion. Even if your business is novel, before you came into the scene, customers you are targeting, how were they addressing that need? Think through the eyes of the customer.

You can not truly understand the mind of the market by just assuming that you have it all in stock without proper analysis and acting like them. When you step into their shoes and see through their eyes, you will be faced with a lot of questions, which if you honestly answer will be setting a path for proper branding and positioning. “Okay. How many different choices do I have, as the buyer, to solve ABC problem?”. No matter what kind of business you are into or a brand you intend to build, know the other choices close to yours which the market is faced with, and understand what shapes the market decision for a particular choice. Are they buying a particular product because it provides them all the satisfactions they crave for or do they stick to it because it is manageable compared to the rest? How are your competitors positioning, what are they doing and how are they doing it? Are they happy with it? Is it working for them? Has the market really seen their needs being met? What really does the market want/need? How can I deliver it to them, different from how the rest do theirs? And would the market accept the difference?

Even if you are creating a new category in the market, you would love your target audience to accept this freshness wholeheartedly. How then do you stir their emotions to gain their 120% loyalty? You can only achieve this by playing the other part as the market (target audience/customer/client). It really boils down to truly understanding and knowing your potential buyer, and really understanding what they’re looking for. Their needs, their wants, their desires, and what’s available in the marketplace. You can even take up an existing idea in the market and resell it to them in a whole new concept and package. Stepping into the shoes of the customers you are creatively assessing it, looking out for opportunities that other overlooked or thought never existed, or the communication gaps that exists or some category of buyers that weren’t reached, a particular area that wasn’t being addressed. Rather than going broad stroke, look out for opportunity. Who’s maybe being under serviced, under valued, under appreciated? And how could you do it better?

A brand would not be built solidly without an entrepreneur understanding his market and the social and psychological peculiarities that exist within it. Each niche market has a need, and they have a way they want it delivered to them. Find it. Don’t build your brand by what you think while standing from afar or by what you want, and shove it on the market. Build it by becoming one of the customers yourself and shaping your brand by what the market wants.

Experience the market yourself, feel the pulse of it. Make your market research practical and interactive.


Nnadozie Egeonu is a brand analyst, who helps small and medium scale entrepreneurs and start-up businesses develop competitive brands, create alluring corporate images, and effectively project their products to their target markets. He blogs about branding on www.brandigest.wordpress.com


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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