Having a clear definition of your brand is key to success in business today – regardless of whether you’re product based or offering a service. If you don’t know who your brand is and what it’s about, how can you expect your ideal audience to know, like & trust you? How can you expect them to buy from you or work with you?
Once you’ve brainstormed the areas below, you should start to see some common themes start to pop up. These common themes are your Brand Pillars – the foundation that your brand values & voice is planted atop of and flourishes from.
Are Content Pillars and Brand Pillars the same? They are not.
Content Pillars are where & how your brand will show up & market, whereas the Brand Pillars guide your brand’s presence across all media, online or otherwise. Do not confuse these two; steadfast & strong brand pillars will be the foundation for all messaging & touch points your brand has. Ever.
Having defined Brand Pillars, Brand Values & a Brand Voice is key to this journey. So let’s strip it back and jump into how you can start defining your own brand now with the 5 Ps: Purpose, Position, Personality, Perception & Promotion.
Brand Purpose (Vision & Mission Statement)
What is the purpose of your brand? What is your brand story? Why did you start the whole dang thing – in short, what makes you special?
Does your brand put self-care first? Do you encourage exploration, adventure & play? What was the reason for creating your brand? Did you start the whole things just to make money, or was there some other root motivation that caused you to go into business (congratulations, btw, it’s a huge thing to be an entrepreneur or business owner; be proud of yourself!) I’d be willing to bet your answer sounds something like “I wanted to help other women” or “I wanted to save the planet” or “I wanted to make life easier for parents”. All of these things combine to form your basis of your Brand Purpose.
Brand Position (Values)
What is important to your brand? Is your brand empowering, motivating & uplifting? Is your brand a catalyst for social change? Is environmental impact a core factor in every choice your brand makes? Do you donate to charity? Are you actively involved in anti-racism initiatives & partnerships? Do you partner with organizations to support survivors of domestic abuse? Get down to the core of your brand here – this is not an area for fluff. Sure, you can start with fluff when you’re brainstorming but you better come back to it and further expand on those nuggets – really get down to the beautiful magic behind why you’re so invested in this brand and why others should care about it too.
Brand Personality (Voice)
What do you want your brand to feel like? How do you want your brand to make others feel? We’re really diving into emotions and feelings in this section as we begin to assign human characteristics and attributes to our brand.
What would your brand look like if it was a person? How old would it be? What would it wear? Where would it live? What would it do for work? What would it’s hobbies be? Does it drink coffee or tea? Take public transit or walk to work? How does your brand feel about politics? Does it voice it’s opinions loudly or only in private? Is your brand high end or accessible to all? Does it care about the planet and people?
Use these questions to start building a personality and voice for your brand. Don’t worry about filtering yourself at the start of this exercise – just do a good ole’ fashioned brain dump of everything that comes up. Write it ALL down for now; we’ll work on finessing it all later on.
Really focus on the emotional response you wish to elicit from your target or niche audience here – how can your brand help them to feel like the hero? What emotions would your target audience be experiencing during the moment & how did your brand help achieve these feelings (more on this in the next P)?
There are five main types of brand personalities, as outlined by Investopedia, each with common traits. I’ve given them some relatable flair, bestowing upon them each a high-school archetype example we can all conjure in our minds:
- ‘The Cheerleader‘ – Excitement: Carefree, spirited, and youthful
- ‘The Ultimate Best Friend Forever‘ – Sincerity: Kindness, thoughtfulness, and an orientation toward family values
- ‘The Jock‘ – Ruggedness: Rough, tough, outdoorsy, and athletic
- ‘The Valedictorian‘ – Competence: Successful, accomplished, and influential, which is highlighted by leadership
- ‘The Ballerina‘ – Elegant, prestigious, and sometimes even pretentious
Where would your brand fall within these five main personality types? How does your brand exemplify their personality? Can you envision your brand as it’s personality if it were to be cast in an episode of the newest high school sitcom? What if it were being cast in a hospital drama? Coming of age romance series?
What is the character your brand is embodying and how will it relate to your audience in order to get them to buy from or work with your brand?
Brand Perception (Viewpoint)
How do you want your brand to be perceived. If you brand were a person (or personality – good thing we just covered that, right?) what would other’s say about it when it left the room? Is it trustworthy? How about reliable? Was it pleasant to be around or did it leave everyone feeling like they needed to take a shower (definitely not what you want your brand to feel like…unless you’re trying to sell soap, I suppose!) Is it pleasant and welcoming to all? Or exclusive and only accessible to top shelf folks?
How do you want folks to feel after interacting with your brand? Inspired and motivated? Confident & more self-assured? Educated & informed? Cared for & validated? How you want you brand to be perceived is key to understanding your niche audience and knowing how to connect with them.
Brand Promotion (Where)
How does it make sense for your brand to promote itself? Online platforms, print, radio, television, social media, in-person events, etc. Which of these areas does it make sense for your brand to be present at? Remember, you don’t need a seat at every table and, in fact, trying to be everywhere is not usually a good strategy when it comes to reaching your target audience. Drilling down to your niche audience and doin appropriate, in-depth analysis of their wants, needs and demographics will help you know where best to position and promote your brand so that you can ensure it’s reaching your target audience each and every time.
So, there you have it: the branding 5Ps. Are you able to define your own 5Ps for your brand? If not, I highly recommend grabbing a pen and paper so that you can start diving into this branding foundation work for yourself. Not sure where to start or overwhelmed with how to research your target audience? Send me an email and let’s chat more about how I can help you achieve the branding and online marketing results you’re looking for.