By Jared Atchison, co-founder of WPForms

When you start a new business, your audience must be able to recognize you from a sea of competitors. What sets you apart is what makes you stand out and encourages consumers to check out your brand. So, if you don’t have a unique brand voice, it’s easier to get lost in the sauce.

A study by Harvard Business Review found that 64 percent of consumers agree that shared values help them create relationships with brands. The branding your company adopts determines how it presents itself to consumers and who it caters to.

Here are a few ways you can establish a unique voice for your brand that grows your business and brings you closer to achieving its goals.

Look at your mission statement.

Your company’s mission statement tells prospective customers about its goals and purpose. Without knowing your brand’s values, it’s challenging to establish a voice that speaks to your target market and furthers your marketing efforts. How your brand presents itself to its audience determines how it’s received and, therefore, how successful it’ll be.

Make a list of things you want your customers to achieve using your products and services. How will your brand help them reach success? How does it differ from other brand’s objectives?

At my company, our mission is to “empower people to succeed” with our tools and software. Using this information, we created several mini goals of what we aim to achieve through our brand:

  • Putting people first
  • Doing what’s right
  • Providing customers with opportunities to succeed
  • Paying attention to detail
  • Laboring for simplicity 

Using these goals, we were able to pinpoint what our company hopes to achieve through its products and services. This made it easier to establish a brand voice that aligns with our goals. So, when we create content or brainstorm ideas for new products, we know what message we want to send. 

Refer to your audience.

If you know your audience well enough, it’s easier to create a voice for your brand that makes sense. Because they’re the key to the success of your business, how they perceive your brand voice tells you what’s working and what’s not. 

Collecting customer feedback gives you honest, accurate information you can use to refine your brand voice. Send a survey to your email list or create a post on social media asking your customers for their opinions. 

Use social listening to help you monitor social content and mentions so you collect the most accurate data. Use this information to outline customer needs and pain points to create a brand voice that speaks to them directly.  

Pay attention to specific adjectives and keywords your audience uses to describe your brand and its products. Blog comments, social media posts and emails are solid places to start. How does your audience interact with your brand? What kind of language do they use? What does your brand help them with the most? Make a list of these answers to add to your brand voice description.

Practice consistency.

Your business wouldn’t be where it currently is without its employees. As such, it’s essential to include them in the process of establishing your brand voice. They can provide you with different perspectives to consider and help you see things in ways you couldn’t before. The more feedback you get, the more accurate a brand voice you can establish.

Ask your team members to describe the company’s brand voice and see what you come up with. Pay attention to repeated adjectives and phrases they use and add them to your list. 

When your team is small, it’s easy to maintain a consistent brand voice across all outlets. As it grows, however, this proves more difficult. Consistent brand representation across all platforms increases revenue, which is why you should create and maintain a style guide. 

A style guide outlines your company’s standards and includes up-to-date information about its branding, such as voice, colors, language, tone and more. Because it’s solidified in writing, it makes consistency easy and effective so you and your team can represent your brand accurately.

Over to you.

If you want to win over potential customers and continue retaining existing ones, it’s crucial to establish a stable, relatable brand voice.

Refer to your mission statement to determine what kind of voice you want your brand to adopt. Ask for feedback from your audience as well as your employees who can give you deeper insight into what your voice should sound like. Finally, practice consistency to build brand recognition and grow a loyal customer base.

How will you establish a unique voice for your brand?

Jared Atchison is the co-founder of WPForms, a drag & drop form builder for WordPress that's being used on over 400,000 websites.

Published on: Oct 11, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.