Picture this typical parenting moment: I’m driving my kids somewhere. The oldest and I are having a discussion. We’re talking about alone time, people’s relative needs for it, how it’s okay if your needs for alone time differ from another’s, etc. Then, from the back seat, her little brother adds to our discussion: “I’m going to floss the cat!”
God bless the little child. He’s happy; he’s friendly, and oh-so-interested in whatever. He’s also five years old so focus isn’t exactly his strength right now. Not so long ago, I found myself saying: “When you focus, you pay attention to your priority.” I’m sure that little nugget changed his life…at least until he’d located the cat.
Maybe it’s just me and the conversations we have around our house, but I find myself thinking about focus a lot. Clients hire me to help them research and focus their brand strategy and I’ll confess that as I head into my twelfth year of doing it, the more I find myself pushing focus.
The theory isn’t hard; you decide—for example—what type of audience you want to serve and you pursue those people.
The practice of focus, however, proves to be harder because it requires leaving all the other types of people out. That’s the downside—eliminating options. Do we find that so hard because it seems “mean” to the audiences we left on the sidelines? Or “narrow-minded” to foreclose against new and interesting directions that might present themselves if we kept all of the options open?
Focus takes confidence, yes, but that’s why you do research. Once you commit—true, you will no longer be free to consider awesome ideas like, oh, I don’t know, flossing the cat—but the upside of focus is that creates an opportunity to layer the limited resources of time, attention, and money on the same goal where they might make a dent. You have a better chance of knowing which marketing strategies will help you find the people you want. The right-fit customer will have a better chance of finding you because you’ll be speaking their language and hanging out where they live.
Kyndra Wilson, KW Brand Translation
Culture geek. Proud Colorado native.