Founders, Are You Doing These 5 Things to Effectively Communicate Your Brand?
A quick and simple checklist for clearly communicating to the external world
- Consistency is Key- Be consistent with the use of your company name. Whether it be on your website, social media accounts, or your company listing in PitchBook, make sure you are uniform with the use of your company name to ensure its clear recognition. If your website and your listing in a startup finder says you are called “Bubbles Technologies,” and your logo and LinkedIn just says “Bubbles, “ this inconsistency is bound to confuse potential customers and future contacts in properly identifying or locating your company. Employees, partners, media outlets, and “supporters” who are trying to promote or communicate your company will be doing you a disservice by not being able to properly position your brand in front of relevant stakeholders, whether they incorrectly tag your account on social media or publish an article with an incomplete company name. Is your company name in all capital letters, but employees send emails or share social posts with your company name lower-case? When pitching your company, do you or your teammates abbreviate the company name? Though this can be extra challenging for startups who are growing quickly, dealing with various moving pieces and seem to be quickly “outgrowing” their brand, it is crucial that you streamline a consistent and clear communication strategy.
- Signed, Sealed, Delivered- Let’s talk about that email signature! I know, I know, it sounds so simple, but… every time you message with someone over email, whether it be a potential client or future partner, your email signature is a free, simple, and effective way to communicate your brand. You can create a simple and sharp email signature with the company logo, your name and position, company name, and website. Want to add your company tagline? Personal or professional LinkedIn page? Go for it! Try to keep it clean and not too busy, but use your email signature as a clear opportunity to strongly position your company’s image. Don’t forget, adding your website or LinkedIn profile is potentially pushing business development opportunities as well.
- Watch Your Mouth! I Mean, Fingers- Speaking of emails… we all know that as a founder, you are representing your brand and product at all times. When you are emailing with someone that you do not know (especially the first time), remember that this is not an SMS or WhatsApp message. Use upper-case letters when beginning sentences, full words like “thanks” instead of “thx,” and use complete sentences. This potential lead isn’t (just yet) your BFF, so don’t treat them like one. You are a talented, ambitious, creative, a hell of a communicator, and a professional founder! Convey it in your emails.
- Logos, Headshots, and Webinars, Oh My! — Were you invited to participate on a virtual panel? Is the sponsor looking for a vector logo or a PNG? How about a great headshot of you for the social promotion? A bank of your company logos and a quality headshot should be readily available in your back pocket at all times! You don’t need to go all out Tyra Banks-style just yet, and especially in these crazy times, it seems to be more acceptable and even celebrated to use more casual photos for your headshot. Just make sure you have that nice picture with high resolution, with your best, authentic, non-pixelated self, ready to share. The same applies to different versions of your logo. Time is of the essence! You wouldn’t want to delay an upcoming event promotional post because you are waiting for your graphic designer to create your logo in SVG.
- Look Me In The Eyes — As mentioned above and as we have all internalized, you, dear founder, are your brand. So, let’s talk about some simple video chat etiquette. Whether you’re a Zoomer, a Microsoft Teamster, or a Google Hangouts extraordinaire, there a few basic things to keep in mind when you present yourself on-screen. Make sure you are looking into the camera during the video call, and not at the monitor set up to your right or the person in the corner of your screen. Feel free to make some small talk and try and connect with the person you are talking to before diving into business. Play up body language and SHOW your engagement (but not in a forced way); nod your head when you agree, repeat back to the speaker a key message or point they made that resonated with you. Smile! And, if you are answering emails and doing other tasks during the call, make sure it isn’t obvious from your facial expressions or the click-clacking of your keyboard. Or better yet, just focus on your video call.
There you have it, founder friends. Did you check off 5/5 on this short and sweet list? By implementing the 5 recommendations above, I guarantee you will be voted “Most Effective Communicator” at your next virtual team happy hour.
Are you a founder-in-the-making? Seeking your next adventure, looking for a career shift, or trying to find meaning in your work? Make sure to check out my career podcast, “What Should I Do With My Life? Figuring It Out From Those Who (Seem To) Have It All Figured Out!” available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Anchor & Spotify.