In the startup world, everyone’s hustling — vying for attention and trying to be remembered. A huge way to stand out from the crowd is with your brand’s voice. It’s the way to show off the personality of your brand, the magic that makes customers go “Hey, I like what you’re saying and want to hear more!”

It’s like a first date. If you’re not connecting with what a brand is putting out there, you won’t exactly be signing up for a long-term relationship with it, right?

Let us tell you, defining your brand voice from the very start can set you apart from the competition and build a loyal customer base. In this guide, we’ll explore actionable tips for finding your brand’s voice — and using it to say something meaningful.

1. Uncover Your USP

If you’re a startup founder, you already know your business needs to stand out if you want to survive a crowded marketplace. And knowing how your organization is unique is a huge first step in creating your voice — simply use what sets your brand apart to let it shine through your communication. Infuse your brand voice with a distinctive tone and perspective that aligns with your USP, and don’t copy competitors or imitate industry norms. In this game, you gotta strive for originality.

Real-world example: Dollar Shave Club

Who could ever forget this brand’s viral launch video?! With witty dialogue and an irreverent tone, the video showcased the startup’s disruptive approach to the industry. Ever since then, Dollar Shave Club has been known for its casual and relatable voice — and its dedication to providing “f*cking great blades.”

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2. Understand Your Target Audience

Before you can define your brand voice, you need to have a clear understanding of your target audience. Research and create buyer personas to identify the needs, values, and preferences of your customers. This will help you tailor your brand voice to resonate with your audience effectively.

3. Discover Your Brand’s Personality

Just like people, brands have personalities — you just have to uncover yours! Consider what personality traits best represent your brand. Is it friendly and approachable, or sophisticated and authoritative? Create a list of adjectives that align with your brand’s identity and culture — and while you’re at it, create a list of adjectives that absolutely do not align with your brand. This exercise will serve as a foundation for developing your brand voice.

4. Create A Brand Copy Style & Voice Guide

Listen, we’re all about breaking rules, but sometimes, we could all use a little guidance. Having a document that outlines guidelines for tone, language, and commonly used phrases will give your brand voice the foundation it needs. Include examples of how to communicate in different scenarios, such as social media posts, blog articles, or customer support emails. Share this guide with your team to maintain a unified brand voice across all touchpoints.

Real-world example: Hulu

We are obsessed with Hulu’s Big Green Guide — aka, everything anyone needs to know about the streaming giant’s brand. While there’s a ton of visual information in the guide, if you want a master class in brand copy style and voice, start on page 98.

5. Get Everyone On Board

Once you’ve got your voice on lock, it’s time to ensure your whole org is aligned. Conduct brand voice training sessions to educate your team about the importance of brand communication. Provide examples, discuss dos and don’ts, and encourage team members to incorporate the brand voice into their daily interactions. Consistent brand messaging creates a cohesive and memorable experience for your customers.

The Bottom Line

In the early stages of your startup growth, you might think, “Brand voice? Not top of my to-do list!” But remember, investing time and effort into developing a unique and authentic brand voice isn’t just a minor detail — it’s a power move. And remember: Defining your brand voice isn’t just a one-and-done deal. Nope, it’s an ongoing process. You’re going to be constantly tweaking and fine-tuning based on what your customers are saying and where the market’s headed. Roll with the punches, embrace the journey, and above all, keep it real.

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About the Author: Jenny Farias

Meet Jenny — the founder and brand-alchemist-at-large here at BxH. She's an award-winning marketer and speaker dedicated to helping founders turn their unicorn dreams into reality. When she's not crushing it at work, you can find her jet-setting across the globe, supporting fellow female founders (hello, gWen!), or hitting up Charlotte's vibrant entrepreneurial scene with her boyfriend, Ben (#BenTheGem). Wherever she goes, Jenny brings her infectious energy and can-do attitude to the table — preferably alongside a spicy margarita.

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