We’ve seen many versions of a diagram that shows brand pillars in client briefs. It is a popular PowerPoint image, used to illustrate the concept that a brand rests upon pillar concepts that are derived from corporate directives. Sometimes it is expressed with the pillars resting on a mission statement. The pillars make a strong visual, and the image is very helpful to keep several departments on the same page, all working toward the same goals. But what happens frequently that Marketing will take a literal interpretation of this diagram, layering campaign content on top of the pillars. The mistaken idea is that the pillars need to be present in the message to the target audience.
Your brand pillars are not for public consumption. This diagram is just an organizing vehicle to help clarify business decisions. Brand pillars are popular now, but some future iteration of business education may change that, and some other diagram will be in vogue. It doesn’t really matter what business tool your company uses. Your customer doesn’t care what your pillars are, or whatever tool you are using to keep your brand team straight. Your tools are for you.
We look at brand pillars as the source for customer-facing content. It’s reference material. We look for how a brand’s core principles apply to the shopper, and craft evergreen content. Evergreen content is messaging that holds true through all seasons, and is rooted in the corporate mission. Evergreen content should adapt for each audience and each stage of the buying process.
The trick becomes how do you grab onto shopper attention, exploit current trends, and still keep your brand story prominent? Clearly defined evergreen content that is meaningful to your target audience will help keep your brand message strong, no matter the current climate.
This approach can be especially helpful to companies that carry more than one brand. Brands are tailored to specific markets, but the core principles, the brand pillars are most likely the same across an entire company. Customizing your evergreen content to fit the audience will give your campaigns more power.