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Brand Messaging Pillars

5 Brand Messaging Pillars Every Brand Needs


Intended or not, your brand constantly shares messages every day. I’m not just talking about the caption you whipped up for Instagram or LinkedIn this week (it goes much deeper than that).

I’m talking about your brand messaging pillars, which are the deep-seated truths, beliefs, and convictions embedded in the fabric of everything you say and do. 

Brand messaging pillars are kind of like a basketball court. Key ideas are organized based on what’s fair play (on-brand) or out of bounds (off-brand).

So whether you are whipping up a social post for the week, or you’re creating an entire campaign to launch a new offer, it’s these pillars that guarantee your message won’t sound like it came from anyone else ← which is exactly what we want. 

There are five brand messaging pillars behind every brand:

Brand Messaging Pillar #1: Purpose

Your purpose is the most important brand messaging pillar to nail down because, without a purpose, there’s no reason for your brand to exist. The right people will deeply resonate with your purpose. And even if there are hundreds (if not thousands) of businesses that do what you do, it could be your purpose that drives people to love your brand more than the competitor next door. 

Some statements that come directly from your purpose are your… 

  • Mission Statement — What your business does and why it exists 
  • Vision Statement — The greater change you aspire to make in the world 
  • Core Values — The convictions that drive how you do business every day 
  • Personal Founder’s Story — The origin story of how you started this business 

To reflect a bit on your purpose, ask yourself these questions:

  • Why do I wake up every morning and do what I do? 
  • What change do you hope to see in the world through your brand? 
  • Why is the work you do important? What value does it add to the world? 

Just to give you an idea of how much weight this holds, based on a recent Harris study, 82% of people say that they are willing to invest in brands that share their same values.

Don’t skimp on this one. 

It’s the very heartbeat of what you do. And it’ll serve as your internal compass for making larger brand decisions, long-term.

Brand Messaging Pillar #2: Your People

The next brand messaging pillar to consider is your audience, your leads, your clients, and your customers. To cover all my bases, I like to lovingly call them your people. Because at the end of the day, that’s who they really are: people. Humans. 

You’ll often hear the argument that your brand is just meant to serve your audience, and that’s it. I actually disagree.

Being clear on your purpose FIRST before even thinking about the people you serve gives a much clearer direction on where to go. That’s why I listed it first. 

As your business pivots (and it will), your audience will change too. 

We want to honor the work that lights us up. It’s that fire in our belly that tells us we’re called to add a certain value to the world. Once we’re clear on what that is, then we can invite our audience into the conversation. From there, it makes it easier to see where their purpose and our purpose align.

These are a few brand messaging things to keep in mind when it comes to your audience: 

  • Brand Story — The narrative of your brand from the perspective of your audience 
  • Audience Profile — A close-to-lifelike explanation of your ideal client, the pain points/desires that drive them, and the things they care about 

Start thinking about your people with these questions: 

  • What perception does my audience have of my brand? 
  • How much does my audience understand about the work I do? 
  • What pain points, desires, anxieties, or concerns, or inertia does my audience have? Are they internal or external? (Aka, what are their buyer persona types?)
  • What brings my audience to me in the first place?
  • How do they want to feel after working together? 

You can’t understand your audience unless you talk to (or stalk) them. It’s just the nature of how business works.

To quickly understand your audience, and the other four brand messaging pillars, I suggest creating a brand message framework. 

For now, let’s move on to the next pillar: positioning.

Brand Messaging Pillar #3: Positioning

Once you’re clear on your purpose, and you know your people, the next natural segue is to figure out your positioning. 

With strong positioning, you’re creating a specific image in the minds of your audience about who you are as a brand. It differentiates you from the hundreds of thousands of businesses that do what you do. 

Without strong positioning? You’ll easily succumb to looking, sounding, and being like everyone else as you drown in the cold, cold sea of same. (Being dramatic for added emphasis)

These are brand messaging statements that tie back to your positioning: 

  • Big Idea — The argument or perspective that your brand is coming from 
  • Value Proposition — A brief statement about what you do, who you serve, and how you do it differently 
  • Key Differentiators — 3-5 strengths you consider your brand’s secret sauce 
  • Home Page Headline — The first line on your website meant to pull people into your world

While it’s important to know who you ARE, it’s just as important to know who you AREN’T. What you don’t do. Who you don’t serve.

Constraint is one of the most powerful aspects of your brand because it keeps you in your lane, focused on what you do best. 

It takes gumption to say “No, we don’t do this, but I can point you to someone else who can”. That kind of confidence will build you loyal devotees, fast, even if they never become paying customers. 

question to ask yourself to better understand your positioning is

  • How do I do business differently (in my work, my process, my philosophy, etc.) than my other competitors out there?
  • What gaps do I fill in that my competitors don’t?
  • Why should people want to do business with me vs. other options that exist?

Better yet, head to the blog “What is Brand Positioning?“. It breaks down the 4 S’s (try saying that five times fast) of brand positioning so you can confidently articulate why people should invest in you, for *you*.

Brand Messaging Pillar #4: Personality

Even on the days when you impulse buy a $30 vacuum robot on Amazon (hindsight is always 20/20 on those kinds of things), people like to buy from people. 

That’s why personality is the next brand messaging pillar, and it means giving your brand a personality as if it were an actual person.

You’ll have to approach personality from different angles, depending on which of two categories you fall into, either personal brand or faceless brand.

I’ll break down each.

Personal Brands

You are your brand, but you are also not your brand. Yes, your audience probably chose to follow you because they love your personal stories, your personality quirks, your industry opinions, and how you show up on social media.

That being said, you have to clearly define what you choose to keep transparent vs. behind closed doors (ex. How open are you with religious/political affiliations? Will you talk about your kids online? Would you share about peeing your pants? All valid questions.)

It all comes down to personal preference.

Faceless Brands

As a founder, your business is still an extension of you. Even if you aren’t the “face”, what are some personality traits you want to be carried forward through your brand? 

Also, challenge yourself to think of your brand as a person — what do you have in common with your brand vs. how are you different from your brand? 

For example, maybe own a luxury landscape design brand but you personally would never invest thousands of dollars into your backyard. 

These distinctions will help you decide how your brand communicates. 

Now, one way to start understanding your brand personality is by thinking about your brand voice conventions: 

  • Traditional vs. Modern — Do you like to keep things old-school or switch things up? 
  • Luxurious vs. Economical — Would you find your brand at a boutique or at the flea market?
  • Formal vs. Casual — Would your brand show up in cocktail attire or sweatpants? 
  • Animated vs. Calm — Do your words hype people up, or calm them down? 
  • Young vs. Mature — Is Urban Dictionary your best friend or worst nightmare? 
  • Raw vs. Refined — Do you prefer to be rough around the edges, or polished? 
  • Simple vs. Ornate — Are you a long story short or long story long person? 
  • Serious vs. Playful — How often do you want someone to crack a joke? 

And of course, these questions can get you started too:

  • If your brand were a person at a cocktail party, how would they act? 
  • My brand is ____ but not ____ (come up with at least 3)
  • How do you want your ideal client to feel when they read your copy or interact with your brand? 

With your purpose, your people, and your personality now in tow, the last brand messaging pillar is promotion. 

Brand Messaging Pillar #5: Promotion

How do we get your message out into the world? This is where the promotion brand messaging pillar comes in. 

You definitely want to have a specific pre-marketing and marketing campaign for each specific offer that calls for it. But in general, it’s a good idea to have a generic collection of topics your brand talks about day in and day out, in a way that’s valuable and relevant to what you do.

These are the general content pillars your brand should touch on, either monthly or quarterly:

  • Connection — Building loyalty with your audience through personal stories or perspectives 
  • Promotion — Directly talking about your free and paid offers
  • Problem Awareness — Helping your audience understand why they need you 
  • Education — Sharing binge-worthy tips and insights

Some questions to ask yourself about promotion… 

  • How can I communicate my purpose effectively through my content? 
  • What are the common pain points and desires I need to speak to with my audience? 
  • What mindset shifts or beliefs does my audience need to hear? 
  • Which offers do I need to promote on a consistent vs. seasonal basis? 

That about covers it! Now that we’ve chatted through all four brand messaging pillars, I’ll send you off with a quick debrief…

So, what are brand messaging pillars again? 

Brand messaging pillars are the 5 overarching concepts that make up the entirety of your brand — in terms of what to say. I uncover each segment of the brand messaging pillars, and so much more, through the Brand Messaging Guide Process. Or if you want to DIY your brand messaging, creating a brand message framework is your next best step.

Keep reading to dig up even more golden nuggets

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