When you create your ideal customer profile, you identify certain characteristics or traits of your customers. These characteristics are what you can use to build your brand and to form the message that you use in your marketing. This results in your customer not just identifying with your brand but also being proud customers who happily share that fact with others.

Red Bull is a great example of this with their marketing. They have historically used two different marketing strategies for two different, but potentially overlapping, sets of customers. The first campaign is the “Red Bull Gives You Wings” campaign that promoted Red Bull as a quick energy boost for regular people (often office workers).

The second marketing strategy is targeting young people with their sponsorship of extreme sports. Younger consumers of Red Bull might not be extreme athletes themselves but they identify with certain of those characteristics such as rebellion, being unconventional, playing hard, and partying hard. Even if the consumers do not have those characteristics themselves they wish they did.

Once you have identified some of the characteristics of your ideal customer you can do interviews to find out what ones will work best for your brand. The more general the characteristic (the more it is shared) the wider net you can cast with your marketing. They might work for people that are trying to fit in with the crowd.

However, general characteristics do not speak to our sense of individualism. So, it might be better for your brand to latch on to some of the more edge characteristics that are fewer people share but that elicit a stronger response. This path might result in fewer but more loyal customers.

As with a lot of things with your business, this is something you can test as you grow. Big companies do this all the time when they test a marketing campaign in one city before rolling it out nationwide.

If you are struggling with defining your brand you can ultimately build a brand that reflects you–the founder. In the long run authenticity will always beat out fake.