Identifying Who Matters

So now you know you’ve got to figure out what matters to “them.” But before you can do that, you need to think about who “them” is.


It’s completely understandable if you immediately identify “them” as your customers or the people you serve. After all, your business depends on the people you do business with or for. But every organization addresses more than one group of people: big or small, it has employees, potential hires, maybe even volunteers. Some organizations have partners, and many have various kinds of customers or clients. All of these “thems” have to be considered at some point in the process since each will have an impact on how your ideas about your organization are formed. So the next question is, which of the “thems” should you address first?

At Cultivate, we chose to start with our clients. The challenge was that our clients come to us for a number of reasons and looking for different services, so it wasn’t at all clear at first how to think about “them” as a group and figure out what “they” care about. We needed to dig deep, to find an insight that would tie all of our ideal clients together.

The key for us was to identify those we serve best. Anyone can buy our services or products, but those things fit some people better than others. What we were looking for were those ideal someones, and the thread that tied them all together.

Once we’d identified that thread, we worked to understand what was driving that ideal client or group of clients. What were they asking for and why? What did it do for them?

The conclusion we came to was this: regardless of what a client was asking for—whether it was a website, or a social media strategy, or photography, or app, or a video—they were asking for it because they recognized some sort of unrealized potential. There was something that they wanted to get after but they didn’t know how. And the thing they were asking for was a means to that end, not an end in itself.

The thread that tied together our ideal clients was unrealized potential.

What mattered to them was finding a way to achieve their full potential, and our products or services were a means to that end. What mattered to us was doing work that makes a difference. The intersection of those two things was to communicate that the work that we do has the kind of impact that allows our clients to reach their full potential.

Finding the magical intersection between what matters to us and what matters to them gave us a place to start building a brand strategy focused on what really matters.

The strategy we developed has three essential components: identity, position, and campaign.


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We’ve developed and refined an approach to brand that is very pragmatic—one that works in practice, not just in theory—and we can’t wait to share every detail with you.