What Are Brand Pillars?
Jun 20, 2022 | Gulsen Vural
Branding originated in the 1500s, but substantial changes took place during the 19th and 20th centuries. Through decades of experimentation and technological advances, brands have learned how to reach out to consumers and convert them into brand advocates.
With the rise of the digital age, consumers want to understand the real purpose of brands and their stories. Technological progression has proven to show that, employees and consumers are expecting a brand to add value to society, and ultimately have a good impact on the world- rather than focusing on sales.
Marketers are now seen adding positive affirmation to their marketing and telling their part on how they are being socially responsible. You can now see advertising, leaflets, brochures, and social media posts powered by the concept of making a ‘human connection’ to target audiences and resonating with their emotional needs.
‘People want more of human connection to businesses,’
So how do we establish a brand that your audience resonates with? Well, using brand pillars will help you build on this.
What are Brand Pillars?
Brand pillars merge your company’s values and personality. It is the touchpoints of your business and highlights the characteristics that make up your brand.
Your brand should communicate your message to the world, and the reason to why it exists. Branding pillars help you define these fundamental points and set you aside from your competitors, and include your core values, important strengths, or anything that supports or adds dimension to the central question of "Who are you?"
Essentially, these pillars of your brand can be anything you think your customers care about, such as innovation, convenience, sustainability, on-time delivery, etc.
In order to define your business, your brand pillars should be valued and advocated by your customers. When asked why they admire your brand, your customers will likely be able to list off your brand pillars if you communicate it through your branding clearly.
By carefully selecting these pillars, you will be able to give better products or services to your clients.
What are the Five Brand Pillars?
Build your brand with these five brand pillars: Purpose, Personality, Positioning, Perception and Promotion.
Purpose can be understood as the mission and foundation of your business. It boils down to the reason why you have formed your company. It can be industry-specific or broad enough to incorporate future and supplementary company activities.
The purpose of your brand answers questions such as ‘Why did you start your business?’ and ‘What are you hoping to achieve?’.
You may want to think about this strategically, as this will be what you are communicating to your audience. Your employees and customers will want to know why you are on a mission to achieve your business mission, and therefore aligning your purpose to your business goals will allow you to target the correct audience.
Source: Mission Statements of Top Brands
Perception is about how your customers perceive your company/brand.
If you are a new business, or currently rebranding, write down some words that you want to be associated with your brand and do the extra research in finding out the characteristics that your previous and current customers attribute you to.
For example, if you are in the business education or consultancy field, you may contribute words such as mentorship and leadership to your perception pillar. These characteristics, therefore, depict you as an educator and leader in your industry that aids the growth of others.
Through the eyes of Kotler, brand positioning is “the act of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market”.
In other words, brand positioning is the way a company distinguishes itself from its competitors and where, or how, it is viewed and interpreted by customers and the public.
There is great importance to positioning. As it involves creating associations in customers' minds, it is a powerful tool that directly links to influences customer loyalty, a willingness to purchase, and customer-based equity.
Find ways to describe your one-of-a-kind value proposition in a way that encourages customers to choose you every time.
This brand strategy is a crucial component of your company's growth. Here's a tip: establish yourself as an expert, the best in your profession, and a brand that understands what it's doing.
A few examples:
Pandora- a brand that offers hand-finished, high-quality and modern jewellery at mid-premium prices.
H&M- affordable clothing and accessories retailer for trendy clothes.
Apple- to create an emotional connection with its customers through exceptional experiences
Coca-Cola- positions its products as thirst-quenching and refreshing. The products they offer are said to bring joy to its target market.
Ford- a low-cost competitor with a focus on function
Inextricably linked to your identity is your brand personality. A brand's personality can be defined as its voice, tone, and how the public perceives it. It is more than how you connect with the public as it represents who you are as a company.
Before they see your brand name, people should be able to recognize your colours, speech style, and anything else you publish. Buying is an emotional decision, so people want to form relationships with companies by recognising your brand through defining features that represent you.
For example, an identity brand pillar could be ‘humorous’ or ‘bold’. This means your customers expect to see the funny personality shine through your branding, marketing and interaction with your customers.
Closely tied to brand experience, promotion is how you promote your products and/or services.
As there are many options on the market, customers will choose companies they like. To form a brand that people like, you need to focus on creating a positive experience for your customers.
There are two different promotion styles that support a customer’s experience: Sales Promotion and Brand Promotion.
A sales promotion concentrates on the present- discounts, giveaways, coupons, flash sales and other short-term sales tactics.
Brand promotions have another goal. The purpose of it is to achieve long-term brand loyalty, forming a community that always chooses your products/services. The overall aim is to create a strategy that cultivates continual growth in brand recognition and admiration.
By forming a positive brand experience through promotion, you will stand out from competitors and your customers will keep you in mind for purchases.
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