Cindy Ratzlaff, Brand New, Brand You | Aug. 27, 2012
Understanding and implementing strong, clear messages is easier when you have identified your entrepreneurial voice. There are several different voices with which a business can communicate and choosing one can help you get from the idea stage to the starting line. You’ll add additional voices and messages as your company, product or service matures, but since the start is the most challenging hurdle in any entrepreneur’s business life cycle, let’s examine some options that will get you to go.
The teacher imparts information, sharing what he or she has learned and making it easier for the client or customer to find and utilize the information the teacher has worked hard to learn. The teacher voice is nurturing, encouraging, and informing. The teacher voice provides step-by-step plans, action items, resources to help clients succeed, templates and a guiding hand to help clients navigate the information. This voice is ideal for coaches, realtors, or how-to products and services. Mari Smith, Chris Lang, Lou Bartone, Denise Wakefield and Max Simon are just a few examples of Teacher voices.
The Trailblazer voice reveals a new way of doing things, boldly stepping forward and creating something that did not exist before. The Trailblazer shares the secrets behind a new system, strategy, technique or tool that he or she has created, perfected or discovered. The Trailblazer often finds a need and invents a solution. The Trailblazer voice needs to highlight the problem and celebrate their solution in marketing messages. The Trailblazer must also convince people to try their solution over all others. The Trailblazer needs to provide metrics and social proof to win over the marketplace since their solution is new. Trailblazers such as Richard Branson, Matt Mullenweg, Jack Dorsey, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Mark Kornfilt would be examples of Trailblazer voices.
The Deal Maker
The Deal Maker voice has a product or service that is not entirely different from others in the market space but the deal maker is able to offer a better price, a more personal service, a bigger inventory, a special bonus, free shipping or something that makes their product or service the best choice for customers. The Deal Maker voice needs to billboard their offer and show the consumer how they’ll save time, money, and frustration. Deal Maker voices are Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Tony Hsieh of Zappos are examples of Deal Maker voices.
The Trusted Resource
The Trusted Resource provides valuable information, tools, solutions or strategies whether or not they created them personally. The Trusted Resource can be an information aggregation specialist like Guy Kawaskai of AllTop or can be destination for multiple trusted resources like Pete Cashmore of Mashable, who has gathered a tribe of experts to share their insights in one spot. The Trusted Resource must keep up to date, in the know and consistently on top of new developments in their resource area or consumers will find another resource. The Trusted Resource can also become a Teacher Voice like Mike Stelzner of Social Media Examiner who specializes in social media tips, tools, techniques and strategies for entrepreneurs and also hosts virtual trainings with big name experts.
The Inspirational Jump Starter
Gary Vaynerchuk, Ali Brown, Shanda Sumpter, Cynthia Kersey and others are great examples of Inspirational Jump Starter voices. This voice is a storyteller, sharing their own journey and offering to shine a light on ways in which entrepreneurs and solo-preneurs can accomplish their own goals and dreams. The Inspirational Jump Starter voice needs to awaken desires, reveal passions and create new beliefs and empower change in clients and customers by acknowledging their pain, frustration and longing for “something more.” Again, this voice is often used in conjunction with the Teacher Voice and/or the Trailblazer Voice, but a brand can begin here and branch out if this is a good fit for that brand’s DNA.
Which voice is right for your brand?
I try to incorporate many of these voices in my own brand messaging, combining my teacher voice, inspiration jump starter voice and trying to be a trusted resource. Those are my brand values.
Most successful entrepreneurial brands combine several different voices within their brand messaging strategy. For example, a teacher voice might also be an inspirational jump starter. But entrepreneurs getting ready to launch should choose at least one strong voice and employ that voice clearly and consistently to attract and engage those people who most want and need what you offer.
Which voice are you?
@photocredit: istock photo plus additional element