Creating your brand pillars

brand pillars

Brand pillars are the most important attributes and principles that you want communicated through your brand — essentially who you are and what you stand for.

Examples of brand pillars

For example, a consulting company may base their brand on pillars like Quality, Experts, and Partners.

This company would make every effort to ensure that every visual element of the company — from colours, names, taglines, and all marketing productions — reflects these pillars. Since quality is one of the main brand pillars, this business must be careful to use the highest quality graphics, advertising, and media sources in order to communicate this pillar through their brand.

Consider what you would like to communicate to customers — are you professional or fun? Modern or traditional? Colourful or conservative? Be sure to provide consistency throughout all of your marketing activities in order to develop a clear, consistent and recognizable brand.

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Defining your small business’ brand experience

In a recent post, we talked about brand pillars and why they’re so important to have in a small business. Because branding is a multi-layered thing, we also wanted to touch on the topic of brand experience.

What is brand experience?

A brand experience is just what it sounds like – every possible interaction between a customer and your brand. This can include several factors:

  • The brand’s performance  – If it meets customers’ needs and performs better than other options available.
  • The brand’s treatment – The way customers are treated when dealing with the small business.
  • The brand’s community –  Whether or not a small business has a connection to its broader customer base.

Of course, as with many things related to branding and marketing, the feelings and emotions of the customer come into play. And for good reason, too – would you want to keep up a relationship with a small business that consistently made you feel dumb, or like a nuisance?

The brand experience is designed to encourage people to return to your small business gladly, to meet the needs and desires of your customers, and to increase customer satisfaction. Take time out to imagine your small business from your customers’ point of view – in what ways do you want to be treated? How do you want your questions answered? If you do have any complaints, what actions do you want your small business to take? Make sure your brand experience is consistent, while keeping up with customers and meeting new and emerging needs. It’s the culmination of all your hard work in developing your brand, so make it good!

What tips do you have for defining your small business’ brand experience?

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Creating your small business’ brand pillars

All of us can likely list off a number of brand names off the top of our head, whether world-famous or locally renowned. Brands are seen everywhere, within every industry. A brand represents the emotional and logical associations that you make with a certain company, product or service. The interesting thing about branding is that it reflects internal and personal interpretations, which may differ between people and cultures.

So how do you design a brand for your small business that customers will react to positively? Creating brand pillars is one way.

What are brand pillars?

Brand pillars as the most important values and characteristics of your small business that you want to communicate in your branding. Your small business can have as many brand pillars as you like, but you should focus on the ones most important to your business’ image and values – for example, “Accountability” may be more important to your business than “Community Involvement.” And deciding not to include “Community Involvement” doesn’t mean you don’t care about the community your small business operates in – it just means it’s less critical to your image than other brand pillars.

When planning your small business’ marketing strategy, identify your brand pillars very early in the process, and empower all your employees to keep your brand pillars in mind with everything they do for your small business. You don’t have to expressly outline your brand pillars word-for-word in your marketing, but use them to guide your actions. If one of your brand pillars is “Community Involvement,” for example, you probably will want to partner with local associations to sponsor events. This consistency and dedication will help maintain a positive association in the mind of your customer.

Check out our article, Defining Your Brand Pillars, for more information on creating and using brand pillars for small business.

 

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