That’s right, do you know where’s your but? As in, we do this, but not that? Our services are ideal for these people, but not those?

  • What don’t you do?

  • Who do you not serve?

  • For whom are you not the ideal supplier?

Do you know the answer? The world’s biggest brands do. If you want to eat seriously healthy food, then McDonalds is not for you. If you want a computer that can easily connect with another device, don’t by an Apple. If you want a comfortable flight from Joburg to Cape Town, don’t choose Kulula.

The usual marketing question is “who’s your target market”, i.e. “who are you for?” upon which most business owners cringe because they hate excluding potential customers. But maybe it is easier to turn the question around? Who are you not for?

Deep down we all have someone we know is not our ideal customer. They complain too much. Expect too many favours. Take too long to pay us. Don’t show enough respect and always compare us with the cheapest option. Those aren’t our kind of customers….

Knowing who you are not for, is one of the most powerful questions in branding.

You see, building a brand means doing something none of us likes doing: making difficult choices. You need to accept the fact that some people won’t like what you stand for. Some people hate Marmite, like me, and others love it. A business owner once told me he hates the orange colour of my website.

Building a brand comes with a lot of positives: higher profits, greater customer loyalty, more effective marketing, easier sales. But there is also a downside. Not everyone will like you. Are you willing to make this sacrifice?

The rules of nature are clear: what goes up, must come down. If you try to be everything, to everyone, odds are you will come up short.