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5 Pillars of Branding

What Are Brand Pillars?

Brand Pillars are a set of principles businesses can use to define their unique position in their industry.  These “pillars” are broken up into five categories and define the company’s brand as well as how it sets itself apart from its competitors. Seems simple, right? Well, a business’s brand can be a lot more complex than it may seem on the surface. Most people are familiar with how a company uses a logo and other written elements like a tagline or slogan, but brands also tap into your emotions to convey their values, feelings of trust, and product or service superiority. The main brand pillars are purpose, perception, personality, position, and promotion. It takes a deep level of strategy and consistency to communicate your company’s values in a way that resonates with your target audience, and these pillars can help us zero in on what those values are.

Pillar 1 — Purpose

Purpose is the mission and foundation of your company. It’s why your company exists (beyond wanting to earn a living), and it’s what gets you up in the morning eager to work. Purpose is the answer to the biggest question your company needs to be able to answer: Why?

A few things to consider when answering this question:

  • What drives the brand
  • Do we solve a problem?
  • How do we impact our customers, employees, and community?
  • What do we want our legacy to be?
  • What are we, as an organization, proud of?

Pillar 2 — Perception

Perception is how your customers experience your brand. There are a variety of brand touchpoints that give you the opportunity to shape the perception of your brand like your website, advertisements, social media, community presence, and of course, customer service. First, you must understand your brand perception in order to shape it appropriately. Try asking yourself the following questions:

  • How do we think customers perceive our brand?
  • Is this how we want to be perceived?
  • Is our brand misinterpreted, and if so, where does it stem from?
  • Are we effectively communicating our positioning?
  • What do people think of our competitors?

Pillar 3 — Personality

This pillar helps describe your brand’s behaviors, emotions, and human characteristics. This will influence your brand’s voice, design, color palette, and much more. It’s your brand’s opportunity to foster that immediate connection between you and your clients or customers. When developing your brand’s personality, think about the following questions:

  • How would we describe the business if it were a person?
  • Do we look, act, or sound too similar to our competition?
  • Is our personality authentic to who we really are?

For more information on brand personalities, check out our blog on Brand Archetypes

Pillar 4 — Position

Brand positioning is defining how your brand is perceived. Everyone thinks about a brand in a very specific way. People don’t typically think about Toyota the same way they think about Mercedes. By defining your business’s position very specifically, you can build brand loyalty among your target audience. Figure out your brand’s position by asking the following questions:

  • Who is the target audience?
  • Does our current position resonate with our target audience, or do we need to evolve our position?
  • What are our 5-year goals versus our 10-year goals?

Pillar 5 — Promotion

Promotion is all about how you engage your audience. How are you enticing your audience to choose you over your competitors? Brand promotion differs greatly from product promotion in the sense that brand position is trying to establish a connection between your business and its customer or client that will hopefully turn into a long-term relationship. Product promotion is more of a short-lived transaction based on selling a service or product. Effective brand promotion puts your business in front of the right people, at the right time, in the right context. Think about the following questions:

  • How are we currently promoting ourselves?
  • When do our customers need us and where can they find us?
  • How do we get our brand in front of more customers?

Now, more than ever, people are looking for a brand that stands for something and that they can connect with on a personal level. Brand pillars are the foundation of any business and are vital in creating your messaging, communication, and business strategy. By using this process, and carefully articulating your brand pillars, Mad Men Marketing can ensure that your brand will reach and affect the hearts and minds of your target audience.

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