The Pillars Of Brand Building
After posting our last blog, “A Most Important ‘Take Away,'” I had lunch with friend/ programmer/social media maven/all-around smart guy Michael Lovett. He heartily agreed with our message and suggested his own “brand pillars” as a logical followup. Check out Michael’s good-as-gold brand-building advice below.
A Strong Foundation
When building a house, you want to make sure that the foundation is strong. The same holds true for building a brand. If you take the time to work out the key foundational points of your brand, or brand pillars early on, you can avoid some of the decision paralysis that can affect new or growing brands.
Brick by Brick
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of how to discover and select your brand pillars, lets first talk about why they are important. Like the foundation serves your house, your brand gets its strength and stability from these pillars. They can serve as a mechanism by which you can measure the potential of any given opportunity. In other words, brand pillars will not only help you identify the important concepts and keywords of your brand, but they will also provide a protective enclave for your budding brand identity.
In practical terms, brand pillars can help you decide on the tone of voice of your marketing message, or the “fit” of a proposed brand partner, what topics you will and will not entertain on social media, or even the colors you use in your advertising. Brand pillars can keep you on track and growing, rather than spending countless hours in a “rabbit hole.”
Measure Twice. Cut Once.
So, you’re totally convinced about the importance of brand pillars, but how do you actually “do” it? It’s really pretty simple, and it only takes three steps:
1. Make a list of keywords/concepts
2. Find similar or related keywords/concepts
3. Refine the keywords/concepts
Let’s take a closer look at each step. First, come up with a list of words and concepts that you feel represent your brand. For example, let’s assume you own a talent agency specializing in children’s party performers. You might start with words like “fun” “party” “kids” and “entertainment.”
Once you have a handful of words and concepts it’s time to let the Internet work for you. Search each term/keyword/concept in Google Images and look for striking pictures that ring true for you and your brand. If a picture is worth 1000 words, then each image you find can help you refine and hone in on some really strong and powerful brand pillars. The more specific and “weighty” the refined result the better, but be careful about being too specific. You don’t want to end up with narrow thin brand pillars, just like you don’t want to have soft disparate brand pillars. As with all things, balance is key here.
Congratulations, you just created your brand pillars! Go forth and build that brand! Oh, it’s worth highlighting that these brand pillars are not set in stone. They should be visited and evaluated against the over all direction of your business at least once a year. If the brand pillars are out of alignment with the primary thrust of the business, they should be corrected.