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  • Writer's pictureGerry

Your (Brand) Inner Circle

One of the holy grails for me in business, has always been to get closer to my consumer/member/user.

Proximity is everything, particularly in this digital world, as it contextualizes where your brand/business/product sits in relation to each group of consumers and their use habits.

Ask yourself these questions first:

Where do your most important/valuable interactions take place?

How many brands do you let in to your inner circle and why those particular choices?

How has this evolved over time? How many have been displaced and why and how many are getting closer to you?

How much is it worth to you (and to them) for them to be that close?

This is in effect your brand inner circle. So what do you need to do to create the same connection with your most important customers?

I will give you my own inner circle as an example:

The most important device for proximity to me is my phone:

I have a number of brands/businesses/services I interact with on a range of timings.

Daily (mostly):


The Athletic - sports journalism

Spotify - music

Training Peaks - training schedule

MFP - food diary

Peak/Calm - Brain and Sleep training


Anyone of 3 messenger apps


Fantasy Baseball

Twitter/Instagram/FB - in that order

News Notifications - multiple sources


My Coach

15 or so various business daily digests

MLB round up


In App messaging:

All of the above +







In Email:

All of the above +

The Feed - sports nutrition


Various triathlon brands and fitness brands

There are a few more, but these are the most important ones to me. And when i look at my brand inner circle, this is definitely a strong reflection of me and my interests. It is also interesting to see what I am wiling to pay for and what I take a passing interest in.

It is also very clear that transactional relationships just don’t get that close to me.

As a result I think these are the real business questions:

What and where are your ambitions for your consumer?

Are you achieving them and are they realistic?

How do you measure this and share it in your business?

If you don’t have my attention how will you get it?

The Athletic is an interesting example:

On twitter, I follow a few journalists/writers whose opinion/input/insights I value, and one by one (or so it seemed to me), they announced they were now writing for the Athletic (which I had never heard of before). So I explored this service and found quality writing that really appealed to me. I then found out it was a subscription service.

Their charter is very clear:

Their Loves:

Quality writing

Ad-free experience (overcoming the fear of revenue by any means)

National and Local coverage

Personalization for me to my favorite teams and writers.

Of course I signed up. The service and product is so good, I actually couldn’t tell you how much I pay.

I have gone on to share content and talk about the quality of writing I find there (like here). Now I am not just a subscriber but also an advocate….from a standing start.

What does your brand/business/service need to do to get close to your brand's target inner circle? What Fears do you need to overcome to put yourself in the same channel/room/device as the customer you covet?

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