Let me ask you a bold question. What do you want to accomplish with your business? I'm not talking about what you as an entrepreneur are trying to accomplish. Some people are in it for the money, some for the experience. What I'm talking about here is your company's mission. What does the world look like when your business is successful? Take the time to think this through. There's no right or wrong answer.
But the more time you dive deep into this, the stronger your brand will be in the long run. I have an example business idea that I'm going to walk through with you from scratch. It won't be perfect but I want to take you through the elements one by one. My business idea is for ethically-made phone cases targeting boho yogis. Notice I didn't start with the name of my company just yet. I have a product for a specific target audience and that's as far as I'm willing to go at this point.
I recently went on an incredible trip to South America, where I ran into people from this specific demographic everywhere. And, hey, yogis need phones, too, right? My guess is that I can offer a product that appeals to their environment-first sensibility offering phone cases made from sustainable and recycled materials. And thus, my mission: to lower the environmental impact of technology by offering sustainably-made phone accessories.
I admit, I didn't come up with this mission statement on the spot, it took me about 20 minutes. But let's break it down a bit right here. My goal isn't simply to sell sustainably-made phone accessories, it's to lower the impact on the environment. Something far greater than simply selling phone cases or accessories. I've also finished off by saying phone accessories, not just phone cases.
This is important. As a business, I don't want to pigeonhole my business into phone cases only. In the future, I might even extend my product line. So, best to keep it vague and flexible. Notice that this process reflects a second major design principle in identifying the problems and proposing a solution. Now, for part two, I need to think about how my mission translates to my customer. What's the promise I'm gonna be communicating with my audience?
I tried a few different formats for my brand promise but I feel like this one works the best. When you buy one of our phone cases, you're choosing a greener option that leaves the environment in a better place. Again, I spent about 10 minutes on this, and if I spent a bit more time, I could probably make it even that much better. But I hope at this point you get the idea. Your promise is about setting expectations for your audience.
You're telling them what they're gonna get and how they're gonna benefit from it. Let's move on to the final piece of the puzzle of your brand architecture, which is your brand pillar. At this moment, I like to ask myself this question: given my company's mission and my brand promise, how am I going to deliver this? How am I going to speak to boho yogis about my environmentally-friendly phone cases? Another fun way to think about this is, what's my brand personality?
So pick three to four brand pillars and act as if the foundation of that supports the mission and brand promise. In my own scenario, I have to think about my audience with boho yogis. I'm not going to be overbearing or authoritative nor do I want to be sarcastic. This group has a very strong belief about the environment and takes that extremely seriously. You really have to respect your audience and put yourself in their shoes.
Empathy is an incredibly important aspect of e-commerce design for both the design of your site, as well as marketing your product to customers. For this audience, I'm going to make sure my brand echoes their sentiments and amplifies their beliefs. When my phone cases are on their phone, I want it to be a statement for them to demonstrate, and to demonstrate to others, that they care about the environment and they're making their environmentally-friendly choices.
And for this reason, I'm gonna make these my brand pillars: grounded, community-orientated and joyous. I picked these because I think they're an effective representation of my audience, as well. I think I'll be in a good place if my brand reflects the values of my audience. As you see in the coming lessons, these brand pillars act as a foundation for your brand identity.
Every visual decision you make will keep coming back to these pillars, for your e-commerce photography, for your product description and more from there. So, take the time to decide on your brand pillars. But remember, you want to build a minimum viable brand right now. We're not aiming for perfection. We're aiming for you to have the ability to launch and learn. Before moving on, let's review what we've created.
First, you articulated your mission. It takes time, but doing it right helps you in the long run. After that, you identified your brand promise, how your target customer is gonna benefit when they interact with you. And lastly, you answered the "how" question: how are you going to deliver this? How are you going to act?
Those are your brand pillars.