…. When We Are the Voice Of the Brands Everyone Knows and Loves
When I started working with my first voice over coach, Anne Ganguzza, I loved her website. It made her standout not just from other voice over actors but from other coaches. It was bold, it was easy to navigate, and it established Anne as a professional. In large part, because of the brand that Anne created on her website before ever speaking with her I trusted that Anne was a voice over professional and if I worked with her I would be successful. This is no accident. If you met Anne Ganguzza, then you know that she is a branding genius.
As voice over actors, daily we play both the role of the talent and the role of the small business owner. Immediately in 2015 I decided that not only would I coach with Anne but I would hire her to help build my brand, as I needed to learn all that I could from her. She hit the nail on the head, working hard to get to know me so that the brand that we built for Laura Schreiber Voice is truly a reflection of the work that I do and what I bring to my clients. As a working creative, we are in a unique role because we ultimately get hired by other brands to represent them, but it is in solidly establishing our own unique brand that we can distinguish ourselves from others in our industry. According to Forbes article from March 2018, “your brand often acts as a function of your reputation and visibility.” As a professional voice over actor, it is essential to establish your brand so that your clients will get to know you as an individual and will trust you as a professional.
As a solopreneur, your brand begins with your website. It is your store front. Clients can listen to your demos, see samples of your booked work, and find out how to contact you. Those are the basics, but the fun begins when you use your website to do two things: show clients how you are different than other voice over actors and how you will best meet their needs. Kristin Wendys of The SelfEmployed.com advises “Think first with the eyes of a client and analyze what he is looking for, what are his biggest concerns, and what problems he needs to solve.” Some voice actors have brief summaries so that clients can quickly learn about their services, but much in the way that I am very chatty, my website is overflowing with long narrative explanations that I hope will help my clients connect with me.
Visual images help create your brand and your logo is very much a part of this. I have both an avatar that I love and a Laura Schreiber Voice Logologo. I use them both differently. My logo is on official correspondences like invoices with my avatar is on my business cards, thank you notes, return address labels, stickers… all marketing materials essential to establishing my business brand. According to Entrepreneur, “Simple branding is best, especially if you can make an association in people’s minds that helps them remember you.” My hope is that the feeling that people get when they see my logo and avatar will help build our connection. Everything associated with my brand is very pink and matches.
Why Clients Need To Understand Your Brand to Relate to You
The more clients feel that the know you, the more they will trust you and want to work with you. They want to know not just that you can do the job, but that you will make their life easier because they trusted you to do the job over someone with similar abilities and qualifications. It is wonderful to meet clients in person, but now more than ever this is not often possible, so your brand helps clients get to know you!
What Your Brand Enables you to Do When Marketing
As small business owners, building a brand that clients recognize enables them to hire us directly in lieu of going through a casting site or a talent agency. This direct rapport, booking through our website without our middleman, is the goal of our branding. If we are savvy enough to create a unique brand, we have an opportunity to book voice work directly. According to Forbes in October 2019, “By definition, brand familiarity is the process of creating brand presence by providing awareness, emotional connection, value, accessibility and relevant differentiation for your audience. Building strong brand familiarity is one of the most significant hurdles companies face.” If you are getting direct bookings, this is a great sign you are doing a good job with your brand and if you are not you likely need to keep working on it.
Here are some useful links if you want to research more about branding for solopreneurs: