When I was in high school, a movie that was supposed to epitomize our generation, Generation X, came out. “Reality Bites” was supposed to be about us. The problem, which my sister and I have discussed at length, is that we just miss being Gen-xers and we just miss being millennials. How much of a problem this is I’m not sure, but I loved the drama of reality bites and wondered why my life was so lacking of such problems. As a teen, I thought this was clearly because I was really not a Gen- xer, not understanding at the time that it was Gen-X in Hollywood.
But what I now appreciate is that being born in between periods gives me an advantage, I hope. I easily identify with and relate to people a little older and a little younger, finding a lot in common with both, and this is essential in helping be the voice of a brand. As a full time, professional voiceover actor who does a lot of commercial work on tv, radio, and internet, I want to make sure that I deliver what my client wants: an advertising package that is memorable!
Get their attention
When my sister and I used to get in and out of taxis in college in NYC, somehow we often said hello and greeted our driver in unison. This in turn would call attention to our high and youthful voices which were then typically commented on. I never minded, especially since it has now turned into a career. That was the beginning of getting their attention. You want to pick a voice to represent your brand that people associate with it in a positive way. When I do youtube videos for the New Jersey lottery, and I get to say the famous tag line “Anything can happen in Jersey,” this is my chance to give my spin on the brand. I imagine being the girl at the party or in the casino that is so fabulous that everyone wants to be with her, the life of the party that no one can resist, and that is the sound I project. As the voiceover talent, it is our job to self direct and coordinate with our clients to create the right image for that brand.
Keep their attention
Casting the right voiceover actor allows you to get brand recognition. Using the same voice for a campaign instead of hiring talents for one-offs allows them to get to know the brand. This brand recognition helps you carefully define the relationship you want your clients to have. This can happen very commonly with on-camera talents, but it happens quite a lot in voiceover as well. For example, I have been working on an on going campaign for a hospital in Florida. It is very important that all of the reads for these local tv spots be the same: warm, comforting, trust worthy, and reliable. That voice is now associated with the brand. When I work with the producer, the only direction he needs t give me at this point is how to pronounce the different names in the spots, because we need to maintain consistency for each commercial. The viewers in that area recognize what the ad is for as soon as they hear my voice, and that is brand recognition.
Choosing the right voice will not only enable you to draw in your dream clients, but it will help you reach across generations from millennials to baby boomers. Why have major brands like Cadillac chosen a millennial female voice for their national tv campaigns recently? Because they know this voice reaches across generations and has universal appeal. The millennial, conversational read is the sought after commercial read of the moment, where it sounds like you are the girl-next-door talking to a friend. If you want to reach your dream clients and keep them listening this is who you need to cast for voiceovers.
If you want to maintain a lasting relationship with your clients, then you need to cast a voiceover talent who will work hard to maintain a relationship with you! In order to have brand continuity, a professional voiceover talent who can truly deliver will work hard to get to know what you are looking for during the duration of a campaign to bring out all of the nuances of your brand. She will work hard to deliver the best quality audio and let you know that you can rely on her repeatedly. And in the end you will be proud that you chose so well. You want new. You want fresh. But at the end of the day you also want reliable.
It’s not about the voice…
The voiceover is never about the voice. There are so many of us out there who can do the same job, and there are a lot of talented folks. And it is not even about the studio, because we do all have different studios that give you different finished audio. It is about the result of the voiceover that we leave you with, the impact it has on your brand and on your marketing. You need a talent who understands that!