So, you’ve recently got your start-up off the ground and you’re ready to take the world by storm – awesome. But have you found your business’s voice yet? If the answer is something along the lines of ‘No’ or ‘Not really…’ (or even just a bit of a shrug) then you should probably read on.
Brand identity is important. Whether your start-up’s focus is developing the next killer social media app or selling ice creams, you need to make sure it has a clear voice. Think of any big and well-known company – Disney, Google, Coca Cola – and there are certain images that are sure to jump into your mind straight away in relation to them. With Coca Cola, for example, you’re probably going to think of those Christmas adverts that come around every year without fail… Most brands forge their identities through expensive marketing campaigns, though we’re going to assume that you don’t have the budget for that right now. But don’t worry, there are plenty of other ways to develop your start-up’s voice and, as you’ve probably guessed, we’re going to run you through some of them.
Have Something – Anything
Let’s start with the basics, okay? In order for your business to have any sort of brand identity at all, you need to have something that people can interact with, even if it’s as simple as a Facebook page. This may seem like obvious stuff, but you’d be surprised by how many businesses out there don’t have any web presence at all – or, if they do, websites devoid of any sense of character.
A simple way to start developing your business’s voice is through an About Page. Again, this may seem like basic stuff, but trust us when we say a lot of people overlook it. What will be on your About Page will largely depend on what sort of business you’re running (you’d expect a funeral director to have a much more formal one than, say, a belly dancer), but it’s important to make some sort of connection with the reader. Even just a few sentences about why you started the company can achieve a lot, reminding your audience that there are actual humans behind the business. If you don’t have anything, then it makes it harder for people to make any sort of connection with your brand.
Think Like Your Audience
This is always a handy thing to do when getting your business off the ground: take a step back and look at things from the outside. Given that you’ve poured a lot of time into your start-up already, you probably know what sort of audience you want to attract. So now it’s time to think about what sort of reaction that audience is going to have when they stumble upon your business.
To a certain extent, it’s important to pander towards what your audience would expect from a business like yours. Think about a company like Marks & Spencer – a quick glance at their website and marketing campaigns will show what sort of audience they’re gearing themselves towards. They definitely have an awareness of what their audience expects from them. But there are dozens of different audiences out there and, as a result, dozens of different tones you can take when it comes to your start-up’s voice.
Get A Logo That Speaks For You
It may be a bit of a cliché to say this, but a picture really does speak a thousand words. You can hone your start-up’s voice through text as much as you like – and it is helpful – but having a strong logo that really speaks for your brand is sure to do a lot of heavy lifting for you. Graphic design and branding really do go hand in hand.
There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to making sure your logo is right for your business. Colour, font, imagery – all of them play a big role in deciding what first impressions people have. For example, if you want to present a professional outward image, you might want to consider a cursive font and a muted colour palette. Makes sense, right? Likewise, if you want to give off a more fun and playful first impression, then you’re probably going to want a logo with bright colours and maybe some imagery.
A bad logo can also say a lot about your business as well. For example, if you decide to go for one made in WordArt then it’s likely to give people a sloppy first impression. A logo, good or bad, speaks for a brand. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to sorting out a good logo, well, there is a service we can recommend – hint, hint.
Outreach That’s Aimed at Your Audience
Like we said before, it’s not realistic for you to have much of a marketing budget when you’re just getting started, but there are obviously loads of affordable ways to get the word out, such as through social media. It’s amazing how much good a regularly updated Facebook page or Twitter account can do for a new start-up.
…But it of course depends on what sort of business you’re running. Again, viewing things from your audience’s perspective is key. Regular competitions on Facebook can be a great way to promote engagement, but that’s only if your audience is likely to engage with you that way. If you’re targeting an older audience for example, you need to think about how much people in your chosen age group actually use social media. Likewise, if you invest in some local radio spots to promote your company, you need to consider whether the people that’d be interested in your product are likely to even listen to the radio. Basically, with any sort of marketing you do, you need to make sure it’s tailored towards the audience you’re going for.
This final point is perhaps the most important one. Once you’ve decided on a voice for your business, try to stay consistent. If you flip-flop between being uptight and formal and casual and informal, then it’s just going to confuse and even alienate your audience – which you probably don’t want.
Of course, it’s okay to change your business’s image, but just try not to do it too often. Some level of consistency is important in building trust, as it demonstrates that you’re confident in your vision of what you want your business to be. Of course, companies redevelop their image all the time; McDonald’s is probably one of the most obvious examples of this, with the company aiming to appeal to a more professional audience in recent years (trying to compete with coffee shops like Starbucks with its McCafé range). At some stage it might make sense for you to change your business’s image as well, and there’s nothing wrong with changing your mind. Just try not to do it too much.
There you have it, five ways you can Do More when it comes to finding your start-up’s voice. What do you think? Do you have any tips to share when it comes to branding? Be sure to hit us up on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – we’d love to hear from you!