When you’re a small team, it is easy to keep tabs on your brand. The younger the business, the closer you are to its origin story and spirit of why the company began.
Startups are founder-led. Fewer people are more qualified to shape and speak to brand than those who created it. One benefit of having founders at the helm of the brand is that every story, expression and customer touch point is exactly as the founder wants the company to show up and be perceived. For example, my role at Voices.com has always involved being the public face of the organization. As a founder who came from the industry we serve, I focused my attention on corporate messaging, connecting with our customers and being a thought leader in the space.
As the organization branches out and recruits its first employees, founders begin the difficult task of delegating responsibilities they believe themselves expert at. This takes a lot of letting go, especially on the front lines where real live customers engage with the brand and user experience. For me, the first task was to step away from providing day-to-day customer service. This was later followed by delegating management of our social media channels and instructing others on how to speak in our brand voice.
Trust me, this is not easy! As a founder, you’ve poured your heart and soul into what you’ve made. Creating space for someone else to thrive can be challenging if you don’t really want to let go. Letting go means you trust others to do what you have been doing. While a necessary step for the continued growth of your business and brand, this transition can be scary and if you’re not prepared. At this fragile stage, the potential for brand inconsistency is very real.
This is why one of your chief responsibilities as a founder is to codify your brand.
From the earliest days, your brand needs to be documented, because, no one lives inside your head. Developing handbooks for Brand Guidelines and Style Guidelines is absolutely necessary. That way, anyone who steps into a role can quickly and clearly see how you want your company to be represented, how it behaves and what it will take to remain consistent.
So, are you ready to let go?
This article was contributed by Stephanie Ciccarelli - Co-Founder, and CBO of Voices.com