Who Are You? Discovering Your Brand Persona & Why It’s Important
In the world of marketing and advertising, the achilles heel that keeps many good companies from becoming truly great is the belief that all they need for marketing success is a logo and a website. But paying a random graphic designer to create a cool logo and website for you doesn’t make a successful marketing strategy! The reasoning behind this is pretty simple, really …
That’s where a brand persona comes in. And yes, it’s more than picking out a cool font or designing a kickbutt logo. In fact, before you can even think about creating that stuff, you must figure out your brand persona. Simply put, your brand persona is the personality of your company – and in this way, determining it first will actually help you make smarter decisions when it comes to all the visual elements of your company.
Think about it this way: when you get dressed in the morning, it’s your personality that defines your style choices, not the other way around. Whether you dress straight out of the J.Crew catalog or the local thrift store, your style is a direct result of your personality. That’s what your brand persona is – it’s your company’s personality! The brand visuals that show off your company to the world (like your logo, tagline, font families, and color palette) are just the clothes you pick out once your brand persona has accurately defined your personality.
And when it comes to email marketing, you want to be sure your audience knows WHO you are and WHAT you’re all about based on the consistency of your brand persona throughout your campaigns and even your landing pages.
BRAND PERSONA = WHO YOU REALLY ARE
Brand Visuals = How the world sees you
That being said, how the heck do you figure out who you are? Before you launch into a full scale existential crisis, don’t worry. Sendlane is here to help! We’ve already covered a few ways you can use visuals to increase your brand recognition, but today, it’s all about discovering your brand persona. Let’s dive in!
3 Elements of a Brand Persona
While it may seem like an insurmountable task to define your brand persona (after all, we spend our entire lives really defining our human personalities, don’t we?!), it’s actually not that difficult. In fact, it’s just a matter of three elements: Brand pillars, Core values and Mission statement. Even better, these four elements work in direct connection to one another, with each organically leading into the next … kind of like this!
Wondering how that all works? Let’s break it down.
What are they?
Brand pillars are the first and most foundational element of your brand persona for one main reason: they will help define everything else. These 3-5 keywords or short phrases that embody your brand are the perfect starting point for determining everything else. Brand pillars provide a guide for every piece of content you produce from that point on. Whether you’re creating your entire website or writing a quick blog post, your brand pillars should be at the forefront of your mind as the main checkpoint.
Everything you create and send out into the world should be founded in and bring to life at least one of your brand pillars … and everything you create that doesn’t should NOT be used, lest you run the risk of confusing people with conflicting messages.
How do you create them?
This might be the most fun element of your brand persona to create – and the most important. To make this happen, pull in everyone from your team. And we mean everyone – not just your marketing team, but your sales team, your product development team, even your customer support team. Everyone should have a say in this process because everyone will define your essential brand pillars differently based on the lens through which they see your company.
So get everyone together, bring a massive set of sticky notes and pens and ask each person to write down ten words that they think best define your company … and wait for a pattern to emerge (because we’re pretty sure it will). Are there words that multiple people from different departments wrote down? Are there a bunch of words that all have a similar meaning? Those are the basis for your brand pillars! Once you’ve got a good list, sit down with your marketing team and whittle it down to 3-5 that you think will be the best. Remember, every piece of content you create from here on out should embody at least one of these words!
What are some examples?
Coca-Cola has one of the best brands in the business and at the core of it all are four brand pillars that define everything they do. In one version of the company’s (massive!) brand book, Coke talks about their “design principles” (or what we’re calling brand pillars here) as the core elements that clarify what is – and even as important, what is not – the Coke brand. They even say that “everything that has to do with the Brand must align with them.” Sound familiar? That’s because they’re brand pillars? Check ‘em out:
What are they?
Core values are 3-5 short statements that act as a promise for your brand and guide every decision you make, from how you make your product all the way to how you share it with the world. While brand pillars and core values are similar, core values aren’t just about what you deliver, but also how. Brand pillars define the parameters by which you share your product with the world, while core values define the very way you behave in the world – both internally (how you treat employees) and externally (how you treat customers).
Core values are your true north – the compass by which you navigate every action.
How do you create them?
Often times your core values are the hardest element to discover because they’re the very essence of who you are … it’s like defining your entire personality with 3-5 statements. Core values can be so ingrained in the DNA of your company that it’s hard to actually try to define them. But try you must!
Think back to your big brainstorm session. Why do you think people picked the words they did? Why did you pick the words you did? Often times, the way you define your brand can actually be the way you are defining yourself.
For example, one of Coke’s brand pillars is to be “familiar yet surprising,” always seeking for their brand to lead industry trends instead of follow them. Now look down to their list of core values in the example below. Notice how there is some level of innovation in every value? Statements like “be insatiably curious,” “remain constructively discontent,” and “reward our people for taking risks and finding better ways to solve problems” all speak to this idea that everything Coke does should be a new and exciting take on what people know and love … or it should be “familiar yet surprising!”
What are some examples?
Again, let’s look at Coca-Cola. Their company values are a perfect combination of what and how, acting as a complete framework for every action of every person associated with the brand – from the top-level executive all the way to the delivery truck driver.
What is it?
Your mission statement is the last element because it is essentially one pithy statement that combines all your brand pillars and core values. It takes all those personality traits and out of them, creates one statement of purpose. Your mission statement tells the world why you exist (and it’s not just to make money). It tells the world what you what to accomplish and how you set about doing it. It is the end goal that successful brand pillars and core values will lead to.
How do you create it?
Sounds tough, right? Truth be told, it is. But it’s not impossible! While the task of distilling your entire identity into one simple statement seems daunting, it can actually be done by answering three simple questions and then plugging them into a pretty straightforward formula (or at least a version of it). And all that hard work you’ve already done to discover your brand pillars and core values? It’s going to make crafting your mission statement even easier!
- WHAT do you want to provide?
- WHO is your target audience?
- HOW will what you provide uniquely benefit this target audience in a way that nothing else can?
What are some examples?
Just to keep things consistent, let’s stick with Coke … it also helps that their mission statement is pretty rocking. They actually break it into three short statements:
Now check out how they deliver on that mission statement:
Just try to watch that without smiling. Without feeling refreshed and optimistic and happy. All the things that Coke promises in their mission statement is delivered … and the actual product is only part of that delivery!
Here’s a couple other mission statements we love from brands we know you probably love to – not just how what they deliver, but how. (Also – we’re not even going to tell you their names, because their brand persona is so on point that just an image will tell you who they are!)
Now that you’re an expert when it comes to discovering your brand persona, hop on over to our blog post about how brand visuals can help increase your recognition and engagement in email marketing. You’re now well on your way to the brand marketing strategy we know you’ve always dreamed of. (We can’t be the only ones who dream about that stuff, can we?!)
If you’re ready to put your brand to work, it may be time to put Sendlane to work too! Give us a free 14-day test drive. Kick the tires, test the brakes – we’re sure you won’t be disappointed!