Who's Your Muse?

In a blog last month, we discussed the “why” behind your business and how all good branding discussions starts with the question: “why do we exist?” Without knowing why you exist, it’s hard to convince other people to get on board. But once you have your why figured out, how do you determine which people you actually want getting on board? A Brand Muse is the inspiration for your brand. It doesn’t have to be a real person, (and in fact sometimes it’s better if it’s an imaginary muse friend), but it needs to be the idea of a person who aligns with your why. This person should have very specific attributes: age, marital status, lifestyle, geographical location, interests, education level. This kind of information can help you target your brand efforts. If your brand is attractive to your muse, then it’s likely it will be picked up by people on their periphery as well.

Let’s look at an example muse scenario.

  • Your Business: A CrossFit gym in the heart of downtown Chicago
  • Your Why: To inspire athletes on a mass scale by sending an athlete to the Games
  • Who You Are Looking For: Someone who is already in amazing shape, young enough to spend a few years training up, makes enough money to afford an unlimited membership, has a flexible work schedule which is not overly stressful, is committed to living in the city for the next 4-5 years.
  • Your Muse Is: A 6’1”, 22 year old college graduate named Matt. Matt has several years of experience with olympic lifting thanks to his high school and college football career. He works and lives in downtown Chicago and makes about $90K a year.

Now that you have Matt nailed down as your muse, we’ll answer a few of your questions and concerns:

If I choose just one person I feel like I'm alienating everyone else.

Unlike the Why, the Muse is kept internal - the outside world will not know that you are going after a fictional guy named Matt and therefore won’t feel obviously alienated.


But my brand is for everyone!

Your brand is not for everyone. It is for people who align with your purpose. Matt aligns with your purpose and looks good doing it - your perfect brand ambassador if he were to exist. Trying to appeal to everyone often results in speaking directly to no one.


By focusing my brand on one person am I severely limiting my market? Bigger market means more sales, doesn’t it?

Like a target, there are concentric levels. The people closest to the center are the people whose values and lifestyle look the most like Matt's. When you actively target and speak to that specific audience, more like-minded people in those people’s periphery will show up. Your membership will end up in varying degrees of closeness to the center, but it all starts with Matt at the bull’s eye.


Make Your Own Matt

We encourage you to take some time to flesh out your business’s muse. Give them a name, specific features and background and think about them at each critical decision your business makes. Once you hone in on your perfect brand ambassador, you will be surprised by just how many of their doppelgangers start knocking on your door.


Photo: Jason Devaun