What does your brand sound like?
Selecting the right sound for your content is more than a question of finding a nice voice. There are many things to consider, and there’s one obvious choice that’s often overlooked.
Yup. It’s perfectly true. Chances are, I am not a fit for your project.
How do I know this?
Well, I’m not a fit for most projects to be honest.
The fact is that every brand has its own voice. Its own sound. More than that, each and every individual project requires specific consideration. From eLearning to video marketing to TV documentary narration.
I bet you know what your brand colours are. You may even have a specific typeface in mind. What is your brand sound? Think about it. What does your brand sound like? What kind of voice does it have?
The best media producers and brand managers know this already, but maybe you are just starting out on your marketing journey and hadn’t yet considered it?
Often, the answer can be found by the clear understanding of your target audience. Who are they? What sex are they? How old are they? Are they active, are they gamers, are they stay at home mums or dads, or are they billionaire entrepreneurs.
Once you’ve established your target audience there are further considerations. What’s the message? What would be the best voice to communicate that message to that group of people?
Sometimes it seems obvious. If the product or message is aimed at women, you’d use a woman’s voice, right?
Probably, but not always. Ever seen an ad for chocolate or ice cream with a deep, seductive sounding male voice?
Or maybe you’re selling a product to children. Do you use a child’s voice? It worked for the Milkybar Kid! Or perhaps you want to give your product a character like Tony the Tiger (they really can be grrrrrrreat!).
Sometimes you just want a voice that sounds…different.
When Dutch company Heineken decided to try to convert the (largely) bitter-drinking population of the UK to lager back in the early 1970s, they selected the voice of comic legend Victor Borge. A Danish voice. Pretty soon, lager was “refreshing the parts other beers cannot reach” across the UK.
But what about non-commercial projects?
How do you go about deciding on a voice for, say, an educational project? Again, experienced eLearning and educational producers know this already, but there are many considerations.
Perhaps your target audience speaks English as a second language? If so, great care must be made to choose someone who speaks clearly and slowly.
It may be best to find an interesting, conversational and maybe even slightly quirky voice if the written material is a little…er…dry.
Perhaps your project is specific to a particular region or country. Finding a voice with an accent that is familiar to your audience can pay dividends.
Then there’s another consideration. You.
You’re aware that YOU may be the best voice for your project, right?
If you’ve got the skills to talk to an audience in a relaxed and conversational way, then you should seriously consider it. You’ll still need a professional recording studio (or you’ll sound like an amateur), but you can make a big impact with a personal approach.
Above all, whatever voice over you decide to settle on, make sure you don’t use that voice to talk people out of buying from you.