Whether you are a large corporation or a small business on its way to become a large corporation, the Voice Over Artist you pick up to incarnate your brand is a crucial element in your marketing strategy.
The right Voice Over Artist will create an emotional, profound and lasting connection between your brand and your customers. Below are 6 tips to help you select the perfect voice over artist for your brand.
Identify what are the emotions associated with your brand and list them
The specific emotional impact of your brand will depend on the products you are representing. For example, if your company is developing medical solutions, you will be wanting to project a combination of competence, efficiency, and compassion for the patients. On the contrary, if your company focuses on fashion for trendy teenagers, you will be looking for a hip, enthusiastic voice or voices, probably with a sexy tang to it.
Opt for a male or female voice over artist
Now, this is a difficult decision to make. A relatively reliable rule of thumb is to select the gender of your voice over to match the gender of the largest section of your customers. In other words, best choose a male voice over artist if the majority of your customers are guys and a female voice over artist if the largest segment of your customers is composed of women or girls.
In some cases though, there are no such clear cut definers, which is when it becomes important to assess the values typically associated with gendered voices and how those fit with your products.
“Men’s voices are associated with neutrality, with authoritative, factual information,” explains Arthur Chu, a Cleveland-based artist who’s done voice-over work for brands like Safeway and Intel. “The voiceover you want for some kind of authoritative instructional video, or something asserting dry historical fact, is going to be that baritone, somewhat monotone, slightly stern voice.”
This means that for products related to technology or highly mechanical products, a male voice over artist would be a logical choice unless you are looking to achieve some paradoxical effect.
Female voices typically carry more intimate, warm, comforting and emotional overtones. For more detailed information, we highly recommend these researches by Phil McAleer or the University of Sheffield study or the 2010 Harris Interactive poll, as the gut reaction to voices evolves far slower than technology .
Check the portfolio of the voice over artists you preselected
A professional voice over artist should be in a position to provide you with a selection of excerpts of previous works. This will give you the opportunity to both hear the voice over artist’s performance for previous clients and, if applicable, see if the target audience corresponding to these recording matches your market.
Run some tests with your target demographic
The importance of these test will largely depend on the intended reach of your campaign. The largest the reach, the most thorough the pre-recording tests. These tests should aim both at selecting the voice over artist, or artists if necessary and at determining if a storytelling or a presenting style is most effective.
Beware of the accent
Whilst a neutral American or British English might be appropriate for a large audience, it might be preferable to choose a local accent either to create a stronger identification with a local target audience, or to create a strong connection between a local product and the surrounding folklore.
Think long term
Your brand is meant to last for a long time, and so should its voice. When selecting the voice over artist who will be the voice of your brand, it is essential to ensure that your short-list includes only professional voice-over artists, as there are many dilettantes monetizing their voices whilst waiting for a “real job” and those will turn down further recording as their new full-time job will not enable them the necessary time to go to the studio for the recording sessions.
These are the main elements in selecting a voice over artist for your corporate communications. To ensure both professionalism and continuity, you should opt for a professional recording studio. Not only will those have a rich catalog of voice over artists who they work with regularly and who they can vouch for, they will also supervise the recording, edit the video to incorporate the voice and adapt the written material included in the video as well.