What are brand pillars?
Brand pillars shape the values and characteristics of a company. They are the foundation of how you operate and how you get your message out to the world. Essentially, they are the core beliefs and most important aspects of your brand. They answer the question "Who are you?"
Your purpose is why you started your company and what you hope to achieve with it. Your mission statement should answer the question "What is your purpose?" Your purpose defines the culture of your company. It will guide which type of people you hire to help you grow, and it will also attract the customers and clients that resonate with your goals.
How do your customers perceive you? How would you like them to perceive you? Writing down what you want customers to associate with your brand will give you a goal to work backward from. For example, if you are a service-based business such as a plumber, or HVAC repair, having outstanding customer service, i.e., responding to customers' needs quickly, and letting them know you are available to help them 24/7, will set you apart as a leader in your market.
A brand is not something you have - it's who you are. Identity is about who you are as a brand. To define this pillar list out some keywords that sum up who you are as a company. Daring, aggressive, caring, compassionate, etc., then create a mission statement using those terms. This is a fun exercise that will really help to mold your overall vision and outline how you want your team to interact with your customers. You don't really know how to act until you understand who you are.
We all have different values, which are essentially those things that are the most important to us, those things that we make a priority. In this day and age, it is crucial that you communicate those values to your audience so they know what it is you stand for. Another element to this is the concept of going very niche with your offering, that is rather than trying to make your product appeal to everyone (which will likely end up with it appealing to no one) find a niche in your market that you can dominate. I would rather have 100 rabid customers than 1,000 lackluster ones.
5. Brand Experience
Right now, off the top of your head, I am positive you can think of a time you interacted with a brand and had a sub-par experience. On the flip side of that same coin, I'm sure you can think of a time when you were impressed, not only with the product offering but the overall experience you had interacting with that brand. From helping you select the right product to fit your needs, to the customer support that walked you through setting up your account or assembling your new workout equipment, to the follow-up email you received 10 days later to make sure everything worked out well, each of these touchpoints was an opportunity for the brand to shine. If all went well, you probably told a friend (or three) and everyone was happy. I have long been a believer that customer service is one of the most important things for a company to get right. And to do that you have to create a memorable experience for your customers, one that will keep them coming back time and again.
How to determine your brand pillars
To determine your brand pillars, you need to ask a series of questions that will guide you to the key components you want to convey to your audience.
- Why did you start this company?
- What do you ultimately want to achieve with it?
- What effect or result do you want your customers to benefit from?
Team members and customers that relate to your "why" will be drawn to you on the basis of a shared purpose.
- What do your customers perceive your value to be?
- How do you solve a problem for them?
- Why should they care about your company and what you offer?
Are you an authority in your field? Do your customers come to you to learn something? An example would be a fitness expert who gives free instructional classes every day via live stream. Once authority, trust, and value are built customers will have no problem spending their hard-earned money buying workout equipment or paying for 1-on-1 sessions.
- What is your company culture like?
- What is the attitude you portray?
- What convictions and beliefs do you stand for?
- How does your behavior depict the above?
This is the personality of your brand. If your brand was a person, would you be friends with them? Start from the inside and work outward, your team, brands you associate with, and your customers. Decide what type of relationship you want to have with your customers and maintain that identity across all of your platforms.
- What is the most important result when interacting with your audience?
- What do you value most as a company, above financial gain?
Your values define what you consider to be most important. Asking these questions will help to define what you care about as a company.
- What is your ideal customer experience? What does that journey look like from beginning to end?
- What experience do you want your customers to have when they interact with your brand?
- How is the above better than what your competitors offer?
Think about what your customers get in exchange for what they give. High quality? Piece of mind? Lightning-fast service?
Set aside some time to evaluate your mission, image, character, integrity, and the experience you offer. All of these things are what shape your brand.