Branding for voiceovers part 1 - what is a brand?

Voiceover Branding Part 1 – What is a Brand?

Voiceover artists know that branding is important, but why? What does voiceover branding do? Why do you need it?

If you search google for ‘what is voiceover branding’ you will get a lot of answers. It can be confusing and overwhelming. So, first things first…

What is a Voiceover Brand?

There are 3 main types of branding – corporate, product and personal.

Corporate Brands – typically used for big businesses. It’s the overarching recognisable name that individual products or services sit underneath. Think Apple, Nike, Google, Amazon.

Product Brands – these are the individual products that form the corporate brand – for example, the iPhone is a product brand of Apple. Nescafé is a product brand of Nestlé.

Personal Brands – This is all about the individual person, the skills and talents they already have and how they ‘package’ these to sell what they do. Think J.K. Rowling, Jamie Oliver & Serena Williams.

Where do voiceovers fit into this?

Well, I think there is a fourth branding type. Heartfelt Brands.

Snuggling in-between personal and business brands, this is branding for smaller independent business. It’s not just about the person running the business, although that is usually a big part, is also about the way they run their business. Think shops that have a focus on ethical products, small producers, artists, makers and creatives that want to run their business, but not in the traditional capitalistic way. There is so much more to a heartfelt brand. More care is taken about how and why they do things. More personalised service. More heart.

A few of my favourite heartfelt brands are:

  • Elvis & Kresse – who make bags and accessories from recycled London fire hoses then donate 50% of their profits back to charities
  • Lucy and Yak – a clothing brand that are ethical, eco-conscious, size inclusive and they have a wonderfully diverse range of humans in their product shots and marketing.
  • Goodness Marketing – an ethical marketing business who supports other small businesses
  • Open Kitchen Manchester –  a waste food catering social enterprise committed to reduce food waste, low carbon catering and supporting vulnerable people with access to good food.

Each business (and there are so many more) is passionate about what they do, yes, but it runs deeper than that. They want to make the world a brighter, better place. What they do for a living is more than a job. The business they run is not just another company doing X, Y or Z. It’s a passion. It’s something they have to do. They all have heart.

It’s the difference between someone having a passion and then turning that into a business. Or someone seeing a gap in the market and learning how to fill it.

Back to ‘what is a brand’

Despite what a lot of people think, a brand is not a logo. It’s not your colour choices. It’s not the typefaces you picked out. It’s not the tone-of-voice you use. It’s not your website.

Yes, all these things help point people towards your brand and help it be recognisable, but they are only elements of what the whole brand is.

A brand is more than each of those things. It goes much deeper.

I can’t explain it better than this, so…

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder & CEO

Think of it like this.

If you want to buy something from an Apple store you probably already know the following:

  • You know the shop will be minimal with meticulously laid out items.
  • The shop will be white and clean.
  • There will be lots of the latest phones, tablets, laptops and desktops on display, all ready for you to touch and try out.
  • There will be lots of staff, all with iPads & headsets, all ready to help you.
  • If you do ask a staff member about a product, they will know everything about it. They will know the difference between all the models, from the technical specs to what colour it comes in and what accessories add.
  • If you do buy something, you know it will be beautifully packaged.

The fact that Apple also has a logo shaped like an apple doesn’t matter at all. All the logo does is point us to the right shop. The Apple brand is all about how you experience Apple. The way you are treated by Apple staff & how Apple train those staff (we know we are not going to get the same expert knowledge from the 19 year old who works in PC world). It’s about knowing when you buy from them it will not be cheap. It’s about knowing when you walk out of that shop with your product you’ll be feeling excited about it and know no one else sells anything quite like Apple.

Whether you love or hate Apple, we all know who they are, what they do and the standards of service they aim for.

That overall feeling and experience is the brand.

Why does a voiceover need a brand?

We go back time and time again to these big brands because we trust them. We like how they do things. We agree with the way they do things. We like the way we feel when we’ve come into contact with them.

It’s the same for voiceovers. How you connect to your clients, and why they choose to work with you again and again. It’s the trust your clients feel when working with you, knowing their project is in safe hands and the feelings they have after a project is complete.

It’s about creating an experience your clients will have with you and how they will think about you. It’s how they feel at every point they come into contact with you – whether that be your website, when they talk to you on the phone, your social media posts, emails, invoices, business cards, even if they meet you in-person at an event.

It’s how people think about you when your name pops up in conversation.

Your job as a voiceover and business owner is to create a brand that speaks and connects to your ideal client. That creates a strong impression and results in a positive connection experience. That creates a relationship with you and your business that means they want to work with you. It’s about the feeling of trust built up over time that means your clients will come back to you and recommend your services to other people.

If you don’t have a solid brand, it’s difficult for clients to trust you and believe your service is worth the price you charge. If they don’t feel this, they will probably choose someone else.

Every encounter matters.

How do you start to build your voiceover branding?

There are a few key elements that make up a powerful brand. Each are important and each help to define that overall brand feeling and experience.

  • Your values and aspirations – what you do and why you do it.
  • What makes you different – is it a unique service, a unique way of doing things?
  • Your ideal client – who are they, what are they looking for, where they go to find it?
  • Your brand personality – are you lively, fun, classy, calm, exciting, innovative?
  • Your brand tone-of-voice and messaging – how you communicate with people.
  • Your brand’s visual identity – how does your brand look?

If you want to create a brand that leaves a lasting impression it’s important to know all of these elements. Look at each one and you will begin to discover what your brand is and, (equally as important) what your brand is not.

Your brand is the personality you want to convey to the world.

It’s not about what you do – it’s about how and why you do it.

This is why branding is so important. You may do audio books, voice of God or IVR. You could be a vocal coach, an accent specialist or an impressionist. What makes you stand out from the crowd, from all the other voices who offer the same thing as you is HOW you provide those services and WHY. That is your uniqueness. That is what makes you stand out. That is why your client will want to work with you. That is your brand.

Photo by Balázs Kétyi on Unsplash

Helen offers a range of voiceover branding packages to suit your budget. CLICK HERE to find out more.

Have a look at some of Helen’s branding projects…

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