A discussion with voiceover and actor André Refig about his branding.
How do we define who we are?
Looking inward and trying to figure out ‘who we are’ and how to brand ourselves is really, really tricky. You may presume this is something I find easy – after all – branding and brand strategy is what I do.
The answer isn’t so straightforward. I do help voiceover artists discover their brand (I’m seriously in the wrong job if I don’t!) but I did struggle to brand our business B Double E. I think it’s down to a fear of feeling narcissistic and that good old imposter syndrome that likes to pop up oh so frequently in my brain.
Looking inward feels (to many of us – and I think especially to creatives) awkward, icky and uncomfortable. The way we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us is going to differ. So it is easy to start to doubt ourselves, and even doubt if people do really see us in a positive light.
What we need to think about when we’re branding ourselves is how we want our clients to see us. Branding is so much more than looks. It’s not just our logo, colour palette and typography. When branding our voice over businesses we should look at our values and ethics, our clients, our competitors and how we want to work.
So what sparked all this? Well, I spotted a post recently on LinkedIn written by one of my branding clients André Refig. It was a couple of years ago André and I worked together. I thought his perspective of working out ‘who he is’ a few years after he did it would help other voice overs looking at their own branding. So over to André…
So, who is André?
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I’m a bilingual voice artist (French-English) with a native accent in both languages. A trained actor, I’ve been working in voice for 12 years. My main areas of specialty are video games, explainer and corporate videos and E-Learning, including dubbing from English to French and vice-versa.
I’ve voiced characters in games such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Dying Light 2, The Valiant, F1 2021 and 22, Age of Empires II, Raft and more.
What’s the best piece of brand advice you’ve been given?
Brand isn’t just about fonts and colours and logos. It’s about who you are as a person and business, your values, your personality, your professional approach.
What advice would you give other voiceovers looking at their branding?
Get external opinions from a professional who specialises in branding.
Which strategies have worked well for your brand and website?
Having a consistent visual style and logo to use in communication: website and socials. Proof of professionalism.
Recommend a book, podcast or blog
Food for Life by Tim Spector: a rigorous, scientific look at what food is actually good for you and not. No guff or unfounded opinions, just whatever the latest research tells us. A fascinating read and very practical too.
What’s the most unusual or worst job you’ve been asked to do?
Tough one. I think some of the worst ones, or at least those I regret, are those for which I didn’t know who the end client was until after or mid-way through the session, and then I realised it was a client I wouldn’t have wanted to work for if I’d known who it was (for ethical reasons).
What one thing does the voiceover business world need more of?
What’s your favourite thing about being a voiceover?
The sheer variety of work.
And here’s what André wrote on LinkedIn that sparked the idea for this chat…
Who are you?
Without getting too philosophical about it, this is not necessarily as straightforward an answer as some might think. I was confronted with this question when going through the process of branding for my business.
As a voiceover and actor, you are your business, so who you are as a person is intricately linked to what your business is (though not completely identical). Recent scientific research indicates that although our self-perceptions of who we are and how we come across to others are mostly accurate, we all have our blind spots and cognitive biases.
In order to get a clearer picture of ourselves, it’s necessary to ask others who know us well how we come across. Of course, each of them in turn will also have their own preconceptions and biased views. This means that we shouldn’t attribute too much importance to the opinions of any one individual, even (especially?) if they’re close to us! However, by averaging the feedback from all the different people we ask, the result is the closest to an objective appraisal of ourselves we can hope to get.
Having gone through this process myself, I was relatively pleased to find that the difference between my own and others’ perception of me was not too great, but there were definitely some notable discrepancies, which made the whole exercise very much worthwhile.
Once I knew who I was (sort of!), then the process of branding my business could begin. This was daunting to say the least but the journey was made easy by the wonderful Helen Bee, who guided me through the whole process with such a sure hand, designed all of my logos, icons, banners, collateral material, came up with fonts, colour schemes and so much more.
I would have been absolutely clueless about it all and would never have known where to start. With Helen, it was such a joy from start to finish. Of course, there is no actual “finish” where branding is concerned as it’s ever evolving, but I’m so pleased with everything she did. Thank you Helen!
Branding that lasts
To hear how happy André is with his branding nearly 2 years after us working together brings me a lot of joy. It’s a reminder that branding (when done well) should last many years. When we feel connected to our brand it can help us promote and market ourselves. It can give us confidence in our abilities and skills. And it can help us raise our prices.
If you are reading this wondering what the hell I’m on about, my What is a Brand? blog should answer some of your questions.
If you are looking to work out what makes you stand out from the crowd, read my How to find your fabulous – a USP guide blog.
If you are considering branding or updating your current brand, I’ve written some questions to help you decide if you need to rebrand.