Knowing Your Brand Sound

Before you can take one step toward crafting a script, auditioning talent or selecting the voice for your project, you need to have a good understanding of the brand you are representing. Every company has a voice, and the more consistent that voice is across all of its communications, the better.

One way to determine the essence of a brand is to take a look at the organization’s corporate culture and go from there.

If you don’t have access to experiencing the organization’s culture in person, take a spin around their website paying special attention to their About Us page, their customer service options, FAQs, and the content produced on their corporate blog.

You could also call their toll-free line to get a feel for how their brand sounds and the image they exude to callers. Take care to pay attention to the auto attendant and the interactive voice response (IVR). The journey may take you down a specific path in their phone tree.You might even get to hear some messaging on-hold (MOH) or land in a voicemail box. Is the experience you have when you finally speak to a person consistent with the voice-over? There may be a difference between what a brand sounds like in a corporate sense and the brand experience given by people who work for the brand. The best brands are able to mesh their professional, external facing voice with the voice of their people.

Another great means of learning about a brand is looking at their social channels and seeing how they communicate with their audience.

What do they talk about? What do they value? More importantly, how does their voice come across. Considering the choice of words that are used as well as the brand’s tone of voice (attitude, spirit, etc.) will give you a good idea of how they want others to perceive them and how they’d speak to their customers and the public as a whole.

 

When providing artistic direction, we recommend that you consider the following:

 
Knowing What Your Brand Sounds Like

What does it sound like now?
What should it sound like?

Continuity

Be sure that your brand has the same essence across all channels, sound across all media types (radio, tv), and intent.

Your Brand

Start by thinking about your brand. What words would you use to describe who you are? Three or four adjectives that indicate the personality of your brand help tremendously when it comes to representing your company, using the appropriate tone of voice and a talent’s overall approach to the copy. In your case, this might also extend to the brands of sports teams, the personal brands of individual athletes and even announcers or commentators. What is their sound? How do they want to be represented? Do you require a soundalike or someone to provide a voice match for the character? In this instance, having an audio sample of the announcer or athlete’s voice for talent to match is helpful as are sharing any adjectives to describe their voices, attitudes and approach to the game. Talent can also draw inspiration from images they see or videos showing gameplay.

 

Brand and its Role

This checklist is helpful if you’ve never thought about your brand and how its voice comes across.

There are certain ways that your brand behaves and how you engage with your community, whether online or offline. Start mapping these out:

   ✓    The essence of a company

   ✓    Every company has a story

   ✓    Personality, qualities, goals, objectives

   ✓    Projection of company culture

   ✓    Engages on micro and macro levels

   ✓    Think of a brand like a person; a brand like  a character you can get to know

 

How can you learn more about a brand? Do some research! The following are tips that you can apply right away:

   ✓    Visit their website

   ✓    Gloss over company pages

   ✓    Appreciate preferred perception

   ✓    Observe social media activity

   ✓    Get to know their company culture

   ✓    Notice content, design and usability

   ✓    Talk to someone there

 

Curious about determining brand sound? Consider the following:

   ✓    What does the company sound like?

   ✓    How would they speak to their customers?

   ✓    Discover motivation behind messaging

   ✓    Is there alignment with the brand

   ✓    Does the voice embody the brand?

   ✓    Do you believe them?

   ✓    Ex. Hyundai – Paul Rudd

   ✓    Ex. Mac Vs. PC – John Hodgman and Justin Long

 

Identify the Qualities of Your Brand

Just as before, you need to think about a brand (be it yours or someone else’s) as if it were a real person.

   ✓    Treat your brand as a person

   ✓    Make a character sketch of your brand

   ✓    Take time to create examples of brand personae —Identifying what goes into your brand voice and creating your brand’s signature voice

 

4 Sweet Takeaways

   ✓    Be proactive - know the brand

   ✓    Take 5 minutes to understand your clients and their vision

   ✓    Communicate this vision to the talent

   ✓    Go to bat for the brand by delivering the best auditions you can

 
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING VOICE ACTORS