I believe one of the most important decisions, which often gets overlooked, is what voice you are going to use.
What do I mean by a voice?
Your voice is defined by the language you use while communicating across all platforms.
The most basic of examples would be do you use “I” or “we” when writing a news post or talking in a video.
Before you build a community around your business and raise awareness of your brand, you should consider the voice you will use as it will alter people’s expectations.
Voices often overlap in different ways and there are many types of voice you can use, but for this article I’d like to focus on just two voices which are at opposite ends of the scale.
- The individual
- The professional business
It is important to keep in mind that voices do not have to directly match up with team sizes, I am not talking about how you describe your company, just how your company sounds. An individual can take the role of a professional business, and a team can come across as individuals. Let me explain…
An individual: Thank you for backing the kickstarter. It means the world to me, and I’ll do everything I can to not let you down.
The professional business: Thank you for backing the Kickstarter. It is our mission to produce outstanding products that our community will enjoy, and it is great to have you with us.
These examples are somewhat exaggerated, but let’s take a deeper look.
If you use the individual voice your community will see you as a person, rather than a company. In most places you will use your own name and photos of your face, rather than business name and company logo.
- Pro: You will be able to have direct, personal conversations with people which can form tighter connections.
- Pro: People will expect a less professional approach and be more forgiving of errors.
- Pro: People want to help individuals achieve their dreams more than companies.
- Con: You can expect people to message your personal accounts rather than company accounts.
- Con: When starting out it can be harder to win peoples trust as an individual is less likely to succeed than a team.
- Con: Any negative interactions, whether it’s reviews or damaged items, will likely be directed at you and it can be hard not to take it personally.
The professional business
If you use the professional business voice, you will be seen as a company and people will not think of the individuals behind it. You’ll always use the company name and company logo in communications.
- Pro: It is much easier for the team to distance themselves from their work and only work 9-5.
- Pro: People are more likely to support your first projects as they see a professional approach which suggests experience and capability.
- Pro: People will take you more seriously.
- Con: People will be less forgiving of mistakes.
- Con: People will be harsher with their words as they don’t see the people behind the company.
- Con: It can be harder to grow a community as people are wary of companies and there are no personal connections.
Choosing your voice
When you consider your own voice and how you want to be perceived, don’t just pick one of the 2 options from above. There are plenty of hybrids such as the casual team, who find a balance between personal communication and being seen as a professional company.
The important part is to identify how you want people to see your company and to then fill that role. Are you choosing to have a 9-5 career, or to be into this 24/7? Can you deal with the emotions of personally being called up on something, or do you want layers of separation?
The words you use will be judged, even without knowing it people will make assumptions and alter their expectations based on what you say.
If you plan to run a crowdfunding campaign it is even more important to be aware of this. As a first time creator, who you are will play a big part on whether or not people want to support you.
You should try your best to find your voice and then be consistent across all platforms. When picking your social media handles, setting up avatars, writing about your company on your website, or making a Facebook page.
I would love to know if you have ever considered your voice, and what decisions you made while deciding?