The Acid Test
17th January 2007
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How do you solve a problem like Maria?

I was on a call with online branding guru Kirsten Dixson earlier today, and she reminded me of a technique which I originally learnt from the marketing manager of my local radio station. It’s a technique that helps you make sure that everything you do is in line with your brand at all times, and in the radio station they called it the ‘Maria Test’. ‘Maria’ was an illusion, a figment of the marketing manager’s imagination, a painting in words, but everyone at the station knew her like their best friend.

They knew where she lived, where she worked, what car she drove, where she ate, what kind of coffee she drank. They knew where she’d been to school, and what she did for a living. They knew who her friends were, and where they went on a night out. They knew EVERYTHING about her – even though she didn’t exist. Why? Because Alison was exactly the listener they wanted to attract.

It meant that when they went to a potential advertiser they could tell them exactly who would be hearing their message.

It meant that whenever a DJ came up with a new idea for content, the station manager could ask "would Maria listen to this?"

And it meant that everyone at the station lived and breathed the need to please Maria.

She was a great point of reference.

Only, until this afternoon, I’d forgotten all about Maria. And more importantly I’d forgotten that my own business needed it’s own Maria, and her friends, to keep me on track. In the next few posts I’ll introduce you to Alison and her friends. They’re my ‘Maria’, the kind of people that Personal Branding can help. Read the pen portraits, and ask yourself "does my business have a Maria?"

See you soon


1 Comment

  1. Paul Copcutt says:

    Rob -great to see that you are taking the personal branding approach to heart and getting out in to the blogesphere – well done! Loved the point about Maria, great example of first knowing and then being focused on your target market and then being conciously aware of what is on brand or off brand for you. I now have you subscribed to my blog list so look forward to future postings. Paul

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