The Voice Over Artist (VO) that you choose will quite literally become the voice of your brand. The right voice can create a real, lasting emotional connection between your brand and your customer. The wrong voice can alienate your prospective customer creating negative emotions towards your product. That’s why choosing the right voice over artist is essential. Below are twelve tips to help you with that process and select the perfect voice over artist for your next corporate video.
List the Emotions that Describe your Brand
Make a short list of the emotions that you would say best describe your brand. For example, if you are financial services provider then solidity and security may be the emotions that you want to associate with your brand. If you are selling household cleaning products then friendliness, efficiency and positivity may be more appropriate. Look for a voice over artist whose voice best embodies those emotions.
Ask for Recommendations
It can be difficult to know where to start when choosing a voice over artist, since there is such a large range of voice over artists. This is why it can make sense to work with a video production agency. They should have a selection of voice over artists on their books that they have worked with in the past and know are reliable. They can also help to screen voice over artists to help match a voice over artist for your particular requirements.
Male vs Female Voice Over
One of the most common questions asked by clients is whether it is better to use a male or female voice over artist. Studies on the relative effectiveness of a male vs. female audience are inconclusive. In a poll of 2,200 US adults by Adweek and Harris Interactive it was found that 46% believed that a female voice was more soothing, whereas 48% found a male voice to be more authoritative. Obviously, this hardly provides conclusive evidence that one is better than other. So does this mean that it really doesn’t matter whether you choose a male or female voice?
Not exactly. One of the problems with the study is that people are not particularly good at assessing why a particular voice is compelling. Many marketing experts suggest that there are very good reasons to choose a female over a male voice artist or vice versa. In general the rule is that a male voice over artist is better if the primary customer is male and a female voice is preferable if the primary customer is female. That said, it is important to test these assumptions by auditioning both female and male voice over artists with your target demographic.
Look at Examples of Previous Work
A good voice over artist should be able to provide you with a range of examples of their previous work. Take a look at the type of work they have done and see whether their type of work matches the same buying demographic as your own product or service. It’s also good to see if they can handle a range of different types of voice work. This includes everything from storytelling type of videos where they may need to use a lot of expression in their voice, through to standard infomercials.
Match the Voice to the Audience
There is no one “right” voice that is going to work with all types of videos and all types of audiences. If you are creating a video for children then you may want a more expressive and energetic voice. If you are appealing to a senior audience then you may want a voice which is calmer, deeper and more measured. The wrong type of voice for a particular audience can cause them to feeling alienated.
Hold a Casting Call
Listen to a variety of different voice over artists before you select the one that you are going to use as part of your corporate video. If you are working with a video production agency they should be able to supply you with a selection of voice over artists which meet the requirements that you have detailed. As noted below you want the selection process to be a group decision. The more people that you can have listen to the demos who are in your target market, the more likely you are to make the right decision for your voice over artist.
Test with your Target Demographic
You might like the sound of a particular voice over artist but how does it resonate with your audience? If the target market for your product is females aged 35 – 55 years old, then you want to have women who fits that description hear the voice over demos. The amount of demographic testing that you need to do will depend on the eventual reach of the corporate video. If the video will only have a relatively small reach, then asking five or so people who meet your demographic criteria may be sufficient. If you are selecting a voice over artist for an ongoing, national campaign then you will need much more rigorous testing.
Presenting vs. Storytelling
The VO that you select will depend on the type of video that you want them to voice. Some voice over artists are more suitable for presenting online ads or explainer videos. They have the traditional presenter voice that you probably associate with late night infomercials. If you are creating a narrative driven piece then you will want to use a voice over artist that is more expressive and able to use their voice to create a sense of drama and character.
If you are creating a video for an older audience then pitch can be extremely important. There is a common condition called presbycusis which affects older people which prevents them from hearing higher pitch ranges. Consequently when marketing to the senior audience, choose a voice over artist with a deeper pitch to ensure that your key messages are clearly heard.
Pay Attention to the Small Details
If you have found a voice over artist that you think you want to work with you should listen to both a demo reel as well as previous examples of the work that they have done. As you are doing this pay attention to the small details. Listen to whether they can modulate their voice to create a sense of interest and expressiveness while still enunciating clearly each of the words that are spoken.
Choose the Right Accent
In our global modern marketplace it can be difficult to decide which accent you should use for your video. If you are appealing to an international audience with a web video then you probably want to opt for a middle range American or British accent. If you want to appeal to a specific audience then a regional accent may be more appropriate. Remember that if you are creating a video for an international audience that English may be a second language and so you want a clear accent which will be understandable by most of your audience.
When choosing a voice over artist think beyond the current video and consider how well they represent your brand long term. People can form an emotional attachment to a voice and connect it intrinsically with the brand. The trust that can develop if you have chosen the right voice over artist is not something that you want to break. This re emphasizes why it is critical that you make the right decision about your voice over artist and ensure that they represent your brand values. You should also make sure that the voice over artist is going to be available in the future so that you can continue to use them.
The right voice over (VO) artist can make a real difference to the effectiveness of your corporate video. Take the time to consider what you want that voice to represent and evaluate your options carefully.