After building or developing a product, every startup gets to the point of sale. To do this effectively, you need to decide how to communicate your product to an audience or several audiences. It’s important to take some time out to decide on what your brand voice is. It’s not just what you say that’s important – it’s how you say it.
The brand values of your company should extend to your product and its marketing efforts. If your brand values are “trustworthy, dependable, fun and reliable”, you have to translate this into your marketing.
1. Know your audience
What audience is your startup selling services or products to? Are they a youthful audience, what’s their gender and at what stage in life are they at? It’s easier to reach your audience when you speak a language that easily resonates with them. You’ll be perceived as a brand that understands them and increase trustworthy.
2. Listen to your existing customers
Do you have any existing customers? Follow them on social media for a few days to watch what they post and how they interact with other people. Take note of specific methods of communication – do your customers love GIFs? Or they prefer writing 300-word posts on LinkedIn? When you find out how your customers talk, You can create a voice that makes the customer feel at home.
3. Get Inspired
What are the leading brands in your industry? How do they communicate with audiences? Do you find it boring, interesting or funny? If it’s boring, is it boring because of legislative restrictions? Do you think your brand could have a more interesting tone?
Also make a list of brands outside your industry that you love and take note of what makes their brand voice spectacular.
4. Be Unique
Like advised earlier, if legislation isn’t restricting you from how to communicate to your audience, it’s best to cut out of the bunch and create a new tone for your brand voice. Financial terms are usually boring, what if you made your communication content easier and simpler to read?
Saying the same thing the same way everyone else is saying it will have no effect on your audience.
5. Define your Brand voice
To effectively communicate with your startup’s brand voice, you must state exactly what values you want your brand to represent. When we created Core (the character that sends the Devcenter developer emails), we described it as witty, funny and unserious. Core however has its limits to jokes it can tell.
Are there any issues affecting your industry or environment that your startup or employees care about? It’s not enough to just pick any cause that seems to be ‘trending’ as it will be obvious you’re not committed to it. When you find these causes, your company can get behind them by providing activism materials, supporting existing activists or raising awareness. It’s important to be careful when picking causes to fight or support. If your company is rife with misogyny, it’ll be awkward to get behind the #MeToo movement.
Patagonia is a retailer of sustainable eco-friendly products. They’re also engaged in efforts to fight global warming and protect the earth.
— Patagonia (@patagonia) December 28, 2017
At this stage, think about how you want your customers to feel when they interact with your brand.
Engage your audience with your brand tone by creating content for them. Discuss this with your marketing team and brainstorm through ideas. Sort through these ideas and create blog posts, tweets, instagram captions, hashtag campaigns and infographics to deliver your brand voice via content.
Create a tone of voice guide with your marketing team. This will help content creators decide exactly how to write content to amplify your brand’s voice.
7. Extend your brand voice
Your brand voice should extend into your company’s logo, icons and typography. Think about what icons or images will resonate the value of your startup’s brand. Does a font with serifs say “trustworthy financial service”?. It’s important for the imagery that accompanies your communication properties to be aligned with your brand voice.
After pushing out content and communication material for a while, it’s important to review the effects of your brand voice. Is your audience in love with it? How has the voice affected engagement with your brand and content? Has there been negative feedback? If you’re getting the results you want, you should stick to the brand voice. Otherwise, you might have to reorganise your communication efforts.
With so many startups marketing via the same channels, it could be hard to sell a product. By following these 8 steps, you’re well on your way to defining a brand voice that sets your company apart from others.