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Build a Strong Brand Foundation with Brand Pillars

Read this guide to learn what the five brand pillars are and how you can use them to build a strong brand foundation.

Brand pillars are a framework businesses can use to develop a brand strategy. They’re a way to define your company’s personality and goals. A company's brand pillars project a cohesive identity across your products, platforms, and marketplaces.

Brand pillars act like the foundational supports of a house. Skipping one leads to a shaky construction. These pillars go to the heart of what your brand is. A memorable logo or tagline is no longer enough to establish a market presence. Customers are now looking beyond what you’re trying to sell. They want to know what your company is trying to accomplish in the world.

If you do your job right, your audience won’t see individual pillars in your marketing strategy. Instead, they’ll latch onto the brand identity that you’ve built around these pillars. You’ll be able to clearly demonstrate that your company aligns with their interests, needs, and values.

This guide will discuss the five brand pillars and how you can develop your company's identity through them. Let’s take a deeper look at brand pillars and their impact on your business.

What are brand pillars?

Brand pillars are a series of characteristics and values that define your company's identity and personality. They also explore brand perception and the expected customer experience. Exploring your brand pillars helps you define your business goals and aims.

They also project a clear image to your audience and set you apart from the competition. If a customer is able to relate to your brand based on your brand pillars, they are more likely to support you over competing companies. This is why marketing your brand pillars is important to make a name for yourself as an established business.

Brand pillar example

One of the best-known brand pillar examples is Amazon. Amazon's brand pillars are focused on creating an efficient online marketplace, providing convenient delivery, and offering a customer-focused experience.

Areas of recent growth include Amazon Prime and Amazon Fresh. The fast, affordable delivery and the sheer convenience of these services reinforce Amazon’s core pillars. Customers value these pillars and the service they provide, which is why Amazon has continued to be such a successful business in the industry.

Why are brand pillars important

It takes time to build customer relationships. Missteps or weaknesses in your marketing campaigns can damage your brand image and affect your relationship with your customers. This is especially true if your competition has developed a strong brand messaging strategy.

But brand pillars can make it easier to attract and retain the right employees and customers for your company. Your brand’s purpose and personality make a big difference in how it’s perceived in the industry.

Not only do strong brand pillars improve your relationship with your customers, but it also makes your business more desirable to work at.

The five brand pillars

The five brand pillars include purpose, positioning, personality, perception, and promotion. Understanding these pillars helps you build a clear identity and see a path to future marketplace success.

Brand purpose

Your brand’s purpose is the vision that led you to create the company. It defines your company’s mission beyond earning profits. Brand purposes can include aspirations, values, marketplace relevance, long-term goals, and unique commitments.

Brand perception

Perception runs both ways. It refers to how your brand is viewed from the outside and internally.

You can build brand trust by adjusting your customer’s brand perception. But brand trust is also influenced by the internal work environment. The people you’ve hired have a perception of your brand as well, so you want to work towards creating a positive image of your brand both internally and externally.

Brand personality

How do you build a brand voice? Your voice is your brand's personality and makes you identifiable in a crowded marketplace and differentiates you from competing brands.

It’s also sometimes called the brand identity pillar, and it includes mood, tone, opinions, and approach in your communications. This also covers visual identity like well-known logos and viral marketing campaigns.

Brand positioning

The brand positioning pillar examines where your brand is positioned within the market.

Who does your company appeal to now? What slice of the market would you like to attract? How will you bridge this gap? What competition do you have, and what are they doing that you aren’t?

These are all questions that you should answer so you can determine what your brand offers that others do not.

Brand promotion

How you promote your brand says a lot about your identity and values. To promote your brand effectively, you'll want to develop an advertising campaign or social media strategy. The promotion pillar may include:

  • Building awareness of your services or products
  • Attracting new customers
  • Cultivating brand loyalty
  • Cross-selling products from your other lines
  • Competing in new markets

How to create brand pillars

You create brand pillars by defining your company’s values and the promises you make to customers. Next, decide how you’ll communicate this through a clear, consistent identity.

However, brands aren’t static mission statements. They are dynamic. Brands grow and change as the company gains experience. You’ll need to explore your marketplace position and test your understanding of customers to refine these pillars over time.

Identify brand values

The principles that guide a company are your brand values. They are built atop the five pillars you’ve already defined. These fundamental beliefs of the brand act like a compass. They align marketing and development decisions with the company’s core identity.

Brand values are often specific statements of how your brand will interact with the world now and in the future. These are meant to be internal guidelines. However, they can certainly influence your external perception.

Customer engagement is driven by a brand’s values. If your values are aligned with your customers, they will have a better perception of your company. That can make them more receptive to your marketing messages.

Determine brand identity

Brand identity is the visible part of your brand. It’s a collection of tools and elements used to build a consistent image across platforms. This can include logos, website design, and color schemes. Beyond that, identity covers voice, tone, and how your messaging is structured.

For example, will your brand’s social media communications be chatty and playful or factual and professional? What if you don’t define your brand identity?

Your company may have inconsistent messaging and presence across platforms. This can confuse customers or give them misconceptions about your business. Inconsistency also makes it harder to distinguish yourself from the competition.

Define brand promise

A brand promise is often an explicit statement of commitment to a cause or mission. For instance, brands often promise to offer low prices without sacrificing quality.

But the brand promise isn’t just a message on a website. It’s embodied by the real, living people working within the business.

Promises given to customers let them know what to expect with every interaction within the company. Businesses that keep their brand promises build audience trust. They also solidify their reputation in the marketplace.

Establish brand positioning

Start by identifying your target audience or ideal customer. What do they want? How do they perceive your brand? What triggered any misperceptions, and how will you manage these issues?

Next, see if your company stands out from its competitors with a unique value proposition. What are your company’s strengths, and what needs more development? How is the UVP serving you, and does it fit your marketplace niche?

If it limits instead of facilitates your business’s growth, you may need to change marketing strategies or rebrand.

Test brand pillars

So you’ve done research internally and among customers. You’ve filled out a brand pillar template and have a solid idea of what your company stands for. All of your knowledge is theoretical until you’ve had a chance to test it out in the real world.

How is your company performing, and how does the audience respond? Surveys, A/B testing, focus groups, and social media metrics give you the view from many angles. This information helps you refine your brand pillars and marketing strategy.

Benefits of brand pillars

These pillars can help you build brand awareness of your company by clearly stating your purpose, values, and personality.

But it's important to make transparent statements and use consistent messaging across platforms. This increases customers’ trust and loyalty.

Develop a clear understanding of your brand’s positioning, strengths, and areas for future growth. This will differentiate you from competing brands that haven't defined their own pillars.

Establish your brand pillars for long-term business success

The five brand messaging pillars define your brand's identity within your company. But they also explain your identity to your audience.

Perception of your brand is influenced by the personality of your brand’s voice and its core purpose. After clarifying these pillars, you can start brand building. Look at your values, visible identity, and market positioning. This sets your company up for greater reach and real longevity.

Growing your brand requires a mix of research, marketing outreach, and testing the results. Mailchimp can support your company at every step of this journey. Our suite of tools and analytics pinpoint where your audience engages with your brand. That helps you develop new marketing strategies whose ROI is backed up by real data.

Try Mailchimp today and set your business up for long-term success.

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