Defining the Brand Messaging Pillars
There are many things that can make a brand succeed, but perhaps one of the most important aspects is having a definitive answer to the question: "Who are you?"
When it comes to connecting with customers, or edging ahead of competitors in crowded markets, one way for a brand to get ahead is to know what truly makes it different. Only then can its brand positioning and value proposition be strong enough to carve out a distinguishable brand identity capable of communicating directly with the people it needs to.
But how do brands go about authentically answering that question of self?
By identifying their brand pillars. Brand pillars are the values and characteristics that make up a brand and determine how it will communicate its message to the world through defining the fundamental points that set businesses apart from competitors.
But where do brand pillars and brand messaging pillars come in? Is there a difference? And does a brand messaging framework need them?
We've got the lowdown.
What are brand pillars and brand messaging pillars?
Brand pillars differentiate a brand and refer to the things that customers perceive to be either valuable, or unique about a brand. For example loyal customers might credit your innovation, or friendly manner. Brand messaging pillars meanwhile are incredibly useful for content creators as they identify the three primary themes, benefits or unique value propositions that make a brand stand out from competitors.
Ultimately, there's not a lot of difference between them. Brand pillars differentiate your overall brand by identifying fundamental aspects, beliefs or values, and strike a chord of connection with your customers who should share those same values or needs.
And brand messaging pillars solely represent your brand's message by identifying the three key messages that need to be externally communicated by your brand in its brand messaging.
These pillars then make up the foundation of your overall brand messaging strategy as they identify what's most important, ensure that the brand message reflects your core brand values, value propositions, and points of differentiation, and begin to nurture the connection with your target audience.
The 5 defined brand messaging pillars
When it comes to brand messaging pillars, there are five brand pillars which are the driving force behind any strong brand messaging. They are:
Your purpose is an articulation of why your brand exists. Any brand or business has a reason behind why they started out and what they hoped to accomplish. Answering these questions, alongside questions about how a brand wants to serve its customers and what value overall it offers to its market can reveal its purpose.
Overall, the brand purpose should attract and retain employees and customers that share the same beliefs and values. Later, it's up to you what type of employee time tracking solutions or CRM text messaging software you will use.
How a brand is perceived by its employees and its consumers ultimately defines how successful it is, and how well it is able to deliver on its brand promise. To discover your brand perception ask:
- What role does your brand play in the minds of your customers?
- What do your customers perceive your value as a brand to be?
Remember, your brand perception is separate from your brand image. Your brand image is how you choose to present your brand to your target audience - not how it is actually perceived by them.
The brand identity is perhaps the most complex brand pillar of them all, because your brand identity is your brand: It’s the image your brand wishes to portray to the world. Your identity is capable of wordlessly communicating who you are, what you're about, what your brand promise and brand personality is, what you stand for, and what brand values you adhere to.
Although so much goes into building a robust brand identity, for the purpose of your brand messaging pillars you can use the following questions to begin to envision it:
- What is your company culture?
- What point of view does your brand hold?
- What tone of voice does your brand use when it communicates?
- What behaviours and values define and motivate your brand?
Brand values reflect the unique value proposition presented by your brand to the world. This is perhaps the easiest brand pillar to identify as you should be able to list what is important to you, what you stand for, and what your brand values on a level that is deeper than financial gain, (i.e: creating memorable audience experiences, helping audiences achieve goals).
Finally, your brand experience is something that should be embedded into your brand strategy and is another fundamental aspect of brand messaging. Your brand experience refers to the experience that customers have using your brand or business ahead of your competitors, and this experience should be entirely unique to you. Define your brand experience by asking:
- How do customers interact with you throughout their journey?
- What type of experience do you want your customers to have with your brand?
- What gives your customer experience the edge over your competitors?
Once you've identified answers to all of these pillars, it's time to populate these into a brand messaging document. Then it's time to put them to work by integrating these throughout your brand messaging framework to ensure that your brand communicates your key message not only in its brand voice, but as a reflection of its entire identity as a whole.
How to integrate your brand messaging pillars into your brand messaging framework
Once your pillars are clearly defined and showcasing your uniqueness, values and other individual draws for your audience, it's time to check that your brand messaging focuses on the things you've identified. Otherwise, you'll risk it sounding inauthentic and shallow.
To intertwine the two successfully, use the following steps:
Compare your brand message against your pillars
Go through the following checklist when evaluating your brand messaging:
- Does your overall brand message draw from things you have identified in each pillar?
- Is your message being communicated in your brand voice, and reflective of your brand's personality?
- Is your messaging missing anything?
- Are your values and identifiers clear and consistent?
Ensure they feature in your brand guidelines
Brand messaging pillars are an essential addition to any brand guidelines. Pillars provide a framework for creating consistent, engaging content that aligns with the brand's core values and objectives, which is exactly what brand guidelines themselves are designed to do.
By clearly defining the brand's voice and tone, they help content creators to stay on message and avoid straying off brand. Plus, brand messaging pillars can help to ensure that all communications across channels are cohesive, tell a compelling brand story and support the wider brand strategy too.
Refer to your pillars when creating content
As brands create new content, it's important to keep those brand messaging pillars in mind. For example, if you're a luxury car company, some of your brand messaging pillars might revolve around quality, prestige, and sophistication. So, when creating new content, your creators will need to ask themselves how each piece of content can reinforce one or more of those brand messaging pillars. Now with the rise of AI content creation, you may be tempted to see if you can use that to help you, if you do, make sure you run it through an AI detector to see if it passes as well as checking it reads okay to you.
This will help to ensure that your content is on-brand and aligned with your business goals. Additionally, using brand messaging pillars can help to streamline the content creation process by providing a clear framework for what should be included.
Use them to guide your user journey
By mapping their brand messaging to each stage of the user journey, brands can ensure that their messaging remains on point at every touchpoint. From awareness to purchase to post-purchase, brand messaging pillars help to keep businesses focused on the messages that matter most by working out when its best to have messaging focused around values, or purpose.
As a result, businesses that map their brand messaging pillars to the user journey are more likely to craft messages that resonate with their target audience and drive results.
Need to structure your brand messaging pillars?
Creating a strong brand messaging strategy is essential for any business, large or small. It’s how you communicate your unique value proposition to customers and differentiate yourself from the competition.
And the best way to start crafting your own brand messaging pillars? Work with an experienced team like us at Huddle. We can help you identify what makes your company special and develop messaging that authentically reflects your values and resonates with customers. Ready to get started? Brief us here, or: