A strong brand is more than just a logo or tagline. It is the result of careful consideration and development of three key elements: purpose, positioning, and personality. These three elements work together to create a cohesive and resonant brand that can make a positive impact on the world and stand out in the minds of consumers. A rock-solid brand strategy can also supercharge your company's growth plans
Purpose refers to how a company aims to make a positive impact on the world. It is the reason for a company's existence beyond just making a profit. A company with a strong sense of purpose is more likely to have loyal and engaged customers who are drawn to the brand because of its values and mission.
Patagonia is a great example of a brand with a strong sense of purpose. The company's mission is "to use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis." This purpose is reflected in Patagonia's commitment to sustainability, including using recycled materials in its products and supporting environmental conservation efforts.
Positioning is how a company is perceived in the minds of consumers in relation to other brands or products. It is important for a brand to establish its positioning in the market in order to stand out from its competitors and attract its target audience. Patagonia has positioned itself as a leader in the outdoor industry by focusing on high-quality, durable, and sustainable products.
In addition, the company has cultivated a strong brand personality and reputation for environmental activism, which sets it apart from other outdoor brands that may not prioritize sustainability. Brand positioning is similar to product positioning
but requires different approaches to competition and audience attention.
Personality is the unique character or tone of a company, which can be expressed through language, messaging, and design. A strong brand personality can help a company differentiate itself from its competitors and build an emotional connection with its audience.
Patagonia has a strong personality that is reflective of its purpose and values. The company's messaging often focuses on environmental issues and encourages its customers to take action to protect the planet. In addition, Patagonia's design aesthetic is simple and functional, reflecting its focus on practical outdoor gear.
Startup brand strategist Arielle Jackson believes that it is important for startups to take the time to clearly define and articulate their purpose, positioning, and personality. She recommends a set of exercises
that can help founders create a long-term vision for their company, establish a foothold in their market over the next 18 months, and develop a consistent voice and personality. These exercises can be effective at all stages of a startup's growth and should be revisited and updated regularly as the company evolves.
Jackson cites Patagonia as a great example of how purpose, positioning, and personality can work together to create a strong and cohesive brand that resonates with its target audience. By clearly defining its purpose, positioning itself as a leader in the outdoor industry, and cultivating a strong and consistent brand personality, Patagonia has built a successful and influential brand that is admired by consumers and respected by its competitors.
If you are looking to develop a strong brand for your startup, consider taking the time to work through the exercises recommended by Jackson and regularly revisiting and updating your company's purpose, positioning, and personality.
Brand Messaging Pillars
Once you've identified your company's purpose, positioning, and personality, the next step is to define the company's messaging pillars.
What are brand messaging pillars?
Brand messaging pillars are core messages you want to communicate to your target audience. These aren't always defined word-for-word, but are a theme that the company's marketers and writers can work with. For example, a messaging pillar might be "environmental sustainability." Marketers can craft ad campaigns that speak to their product's limited environmental impact.
How do you decide on brand messaging pillars?
Your brand messaging pillars should connect your company's unique value proposition
to a pain point of your target customer. Often, there are a few pain points, hence why it's common for companies to have a number of brand messaging pillars.