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Today, it’s just not enough to be brilliant. People must know and remember that you are.

For start-ups, that means a focus on creating a compelling brand right from the beginning. Your brand is one of your most valuable assets. Get it right, and it will position you and your business long term as irresistible, powerful and engaging.

Today’s most successful brands are more conscious than ever about how they communicate with their audiences. If you carefully craft your brand’s voice, tone and behaviour, you’ll have a much better chance of capturing your audience in a world with a low-attention span.

1st Set the right tone for your brand:

Your brand will have an ongoing two-way conversation with your world 24/7. It will engage your audience, and interact with them across multiple platforms.

Your tone is almost as important as your content. Your brand has its own voice, and it’s your job to set the tone in all the language around your business.

Notice how you are talking to your audience whether it’s in-person or written communications. If you speak with clarity and sincere intention, it’s going to hit home – allowing your audience to hear you, understand what you’re doing, and then, want to climb on-board.

Be consistent about communicating you are who you say you are. If your brand’s voice is authentic and aligned with your values –i.e. what you stand for – you will come across as trustworthy and genuine.

If you come across as withholding or secretive, people will run away.

2nd Mind your brand’s behaviour:

Brands are like puppies (seriously.) They need a lot of attention and a firm hand.

Think about how you’d like your brand to be perceived by your audience. Communicate that to your team, make sure everyone is on the same page so there’s the promise to do whatever it takes to deliver exactly what you’re promising. Under delivering is not a smart business strategy.

Every brand has an attitude. This will either work in your favour or not. Be aware that the world is going to have a particular set of feelings around you, your brand and your business.

Double check that your business brand’s attitude is welcoming and engaging from the start. Your business will land a high score when it comes to empathy if people feel your brand cares about creating strong emotional connections with them 24/7.

Keeping people at arm’s length is not an option. At least not in the new brand landscape!

3rd Inspire others. Share your purpose:

When you tell people what you do and how you do it, it’s interesting – but it’s not always that inspiring or helpful. However when you talk about why you do what you do, a different dynamic starts to happen.

You’ll notice people lean in, listen closer and an emotional connection start to kick in. People are craving to hear your ‘why’. What’s more, it takes courage to live your ‘why’– it’s your purpose, after all, says Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why.

Look at making your ‘why’ part of your brand story, dialog and communication in all things, online and offline.

In full disclosure, it’s going to take a little more effort than just talking about the nuts and bolts of your business. This is about looking at why you’re starting the business in the first place. What are the defining moments that led you to this very point in time? Why are they meaningful to you? And, just as importantly, why should anyone else care?

Working out Your Why is a highly charged process and hugely rewarding. It’s one of the most powerful exercises you can do.

OK. Is your brand nailing it? What’s the current prognosis of your business brand? Share your story of how you’re shaping the voice, tone and language around your brand. Your brand is an act of social engagement with your world. Be mindful of your brand behaviour.

About the author

Mary van de Wiel (alias: Van) is best known for her global expertise when it comes to coaxing out the real emotional power in brands to dramatically spike the bottom line. Van is founder and Brand Psychologist™ of ZingYourBrand.com. When she’s not hosting her weekly radio show, running her signature Brand Audits, speaking or taking the NY Brand Lab on the road around the US, Mexico or Australia, you can find her putting the finishing touches on It’s Not Enough to Be Brilliant: 10 Dares of Branding. Follow her on Twitter @maryvandewiel.

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