As markets continue to saturate amid increasing demand and rising competition, the importance of a brand voice cannot be ignored. When considered in the context of startups, having a unique brand voice is imperative for survival. In this article we are going to take a look at 5 Things Every Start-Up Must Do To Establish A Unique Brand Voice
Devoid of the resources, stability, and experience afforded to established brands, start-ups are heavily reliant on cashing in their unique brand voice to attract consumers and drive revenue.
Why Do Startups Need A Unique Brand Voice?
84% of B2B marketers said brand awareness is their top goal. But why?
Ideally, customers would go to the supermarket and buy whatever brand of product they need to purchase.
For instance, a customer needs to buy a carbonated soft drink. In an ideal setting, the customer walks in and buys the first brand of a soft drink they come across. Doesn’t matter if its Pepsi or Coca Cola, as long as it is a carbonated soft drink.
However, that is not the case. Consumer behaviour is influenced by a variety of factors such as past experiences, personal preferences, and branding. Here are some advantages of possessing a unique brand tone of voice:
A unique brand voice enables the company to become known to the customer. Whenever they come across your brand (in whatever medium), they are able to relate and link back to past experiences, creating attachment and forging a brand-customer relationship.
In fact, 59% of customers prefer purchasing from familiar brands. This just reiterates the fact that increased recognition is likelier to drive increased revenue. A unique brand voice leads to increased recognition in the market.
Sets Your Brand Apart
The need to differentiate your brand more than the next has never been greater.
Consider this: startups received 50% more funding between 2012 and 2017 across all industries worldwide. As startups continue to boom, customers are faced with greater choices and alternatives.
In order to attract, engage, and convert customers, entrepreneurs need to ensure that their brand strikes a chord with the target audience, differentiating the brand from all others.
A unique brand voice lends the ‘distinguishing’ factor crucial for modern day businesses.
Generate New Leads
A unique brand voice will also lead the business towards new leads. The distinctiveness of a brand is a key factor in garnering a consumer base that is loyal towards the brand.
Once the business has established a brand voice, consumers are likely to relate and refer the brand to their family, friends, and colleagues, etc. 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from people they know.
For startups that struggle to generate enough capital for extensive marketing campaigns, word of mouth is often the most effective advertising technique.
5 Things Every Start-Up Must Do To Establish A Unique Brand Voice
Developing a consistent and effective brand voice across all communication channels gives your brand a cohesive feel, in addition to earning strong brand loyalty.
If done correctly, they will associate your brand through emotional cues communicated by your voice. Here are the 5 things that startups must accomplish to create a unique brand voice.
Identify Your Voice
Your brand voice is a direct reflection of your organizational goals, which is why it is important to align the voice with your identity.
The initial step is to ascertain what your brand stands for. The organizational values that you implement in your day-to-day operations must reflect in your brand voice.
One question worth asking is how your organization aims to make a difference in the community?
How a brand determines to connect with the potential customers is also instrumental in determining the brand voice. When identifying the factors that comprise to become a unified brand voice, it helps to imagine the brand as a person.
Next, answer these questions:
- What does it look like?
- What is the type of language it is likely to use?
- How passionate and energetic is it?
- Is the brand pragmatic or optimistic?
Justin’s brand voice aligns with the personality of the brand with the same conversational and confident tone.
The type of ‘person’ your brand is poised to become can help an organization gain insight into the factors that people are most likely to relate with the brand.
Regardless of the media channel chosen, the overall ‘language’ of the brand voice is crucial to establishing a coherent image.
As online marketing continues to rival traditional marketing techniques, startups need to pay close attention to the terminology they are planning to use.
Identify Your Target Audience
Your target audience is the demographic from where you are aiming to capture the majority of your market share. Think about who you want to appeal first with your branding efforts.
The brand voice for a beauty product designed for young females is likelier to have a much more personalized and casual tone than, for instance, the brand voice for a home appliance brand.
Why? Because the demographic for the home appliance brand is likelier to be more mature, and exhibit different interests than a young female demographic.
How do you align your brand voice with your target audience? Let’s start with pinning down the broad demographic. Here are the questions that need to be answered:
- What age of people are most likely to be attracted by your product?
- Which gender is most likely to buy your product?
- Is your product geared towards popularity in a particular ethnicity or race etc.?
- The likely income group that your target audience is most likely to fall into?
- The expected average level of education that your target audience is likely to possess?
Once you have recognized the core demographic, you can be more specific towards their behavioural cues.
Chasing Paper has identified what their target audience wants to know – and made it a point to add their signature cheerful vibe to the responses.
This will help you familiarize yourself with your audience – giving you an opportunity to know what brand voice will resonate with your target audience.
The content that they engage with or the interests they exhibit can greatly shape your brand voice into something that reflects your audience.
Create A Brand Voice Chart
A brand voice chart is a popular method used for determining the brand voice, and ensuring that every communication that is being addressed to the audience follows the guidelines that have been mentioned.
The chart is simple – divided into multiple columns and rows; starting off with a column that lists down the defining words that represent your brand voice.
This is followed by a brief description of the word, often accompanied by an example to drive the point home.
For instance, if your brand voice trait is ‘passionate,’ the description would read something like ‘we are passionate about changing the way our clients work.’
The remaining columns are of the ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ of the voice chart which list the guidelines a brand is required to follow. Here’s one excellent brand voice chart example from CoSchedule:
Complement Your Brand Voice With Consistent Branding
A unique brand voice can only be firmly established if it is complemented with consistent and continuous branding efforts.
On average, a customer requires 5 to 7 impressions of a brand before they begin to remember it.
Customers don’t experience the brand voice itself – they see it when they open your website and read through your web content, or when they see your logo in the market or come across your post on a social networking site.
That is why it is important to focus on the visual cues of your brand, to ensure that they align with the brand voice. Consistent brand representation has been found to increase revenues by 23%.
Tesla perfectly captures the power of visual cues with this advertisement of their electric vehicle, Tesla Model S.
As the cornerstones of successful branding, a unique brand voice and visual cues (such as graphic design, logo and brand identity design) need to work in harmony.
The cohesive picture, formed once your entire branding follows suit, will be the one that leads to the establishment of a unique brand voice.
Maintain Your Uniqueness Through Continuous Improvement
There is a common perception that determining a brand voice is a one-time effort. Once you have determined the tone for your brand, it needs no further ado. Wrong.
As the brand evolves with time, so does the voice of the brand.
KFC has been around since 1952, and its yesteryear branding efforts revolved around the famous face of Colonel Sanders.
However, fast forward to the modern day, KFC‘s branding has evolved and improved. Like any successful brand, KFC has adapted to modern times as evident in this confident and witty advertisement.
Additionally, increased competition and changing consumer behaviour has made it imperative for brands to analyze and tweak their content creation process continuously. Such fine-tuning is necessary to ensure that brands are constantly up to date with current trends.
For instance, many brands may initially decide on a playful, irreverent brand voice but may come across barriers such as content creators unable to include such a voice in the content, or key stakeholders disapproving of such content.
This negatively impacts the uniqueness of the brand voice. Continuous revision and revisiting the brand voice guidelines ensures the voice remains as unique and distinct as ever, while meeting the required deadlines.
Startups are faced with cut-throat competition and low-budgets which can make it difficult to sell a product. By following these five steps, you can create a distinctly unique brand voice which sets your company apart from the competition.
Petra Šestak is an internet marketing specialist at Point Visible, a digital marketing agency providing custom blogger outreach services. In her free time, you can find her on a tatami trying to improve her aikido techniques or in the local pub with her friends. Also, she’s a coffee & chocolate addict.