A voiceover artist does more than give voice to your content, they create an emotional connection between the listener and your brand. Using the same voice across your professional business recordings helps reinforce your image and build brand personality. Which is why when you take a moment and remember a Coors beer commercial, you probably hear the deep, resonant voice of Sam Elliot. Or you may hear the smoky, soothing voice of Susan Sarandon when you recall a Tylenol commercial.
But, how do you know which voice is best for your business? With all the different types of voices available, how do you know which one to choose? Let’s take a walk through the process…
PHASE 1: THINGS TO CONSIDER
Male or Female?
One of the most common questions people ask is whether a male or female voice is best for their brand. The good news is, for most industries, there is no wrong answer. Studies show that people are divided pretty evenly on their preference for male or female voice, and experts say that pitch, timbre and cadence matter significantly more.
What about accents?
Whether you “pahk yuh cahr” in Boston, hail from Chic”ah”go, or think life is “bettuh” in Savannah, most Americans speak with some kind of a regional dialect. Likewise, the Australian and British dialects are equally distinct. If you are advertising locally or are showcasing a regional brand, you may want to choose a voice that feels more familiar to your listeners. If you are advertising nationally within the U.S. a “General American” voice will likely work best. Be cautious about using foreign accents without considering your audience. Studies show that listeners find foreign accents less believable.
Who is your audience?
When choosing a voice talent for your brand, your target audience should be the most important factor. Who would one of your prospective clients take advice from? Who would they find the most captivating and trustworthy? Whether they’d prefer a conversation with a friend, command from an authority figure, or advice from mom, keep your audience’s needs at the forefront when listening to voice samples.
PHASE 2: EVALUATING VOICE SAMPLES
Listeners are perceptive to traits. In fact, one study showed that people knew high-power voices when they heard them. While each voice is unique, it’s possible to group collections of voices based on the emotions they elicit.
Slowly Read over the list of personality (and voice) traits below, and pause for a moment to reflect on what images each brings to mind.
Now go listen to voice samples, and see what images they conjure up when you hear them. Take notes. Which voice traits are the most in-line with your brand values? Which ones would be most appealing to your target audience?
PHASE 3: MAKING YOUR DECISION
Before you go back for another listen, be sure to factor in tone. Professional voice talents are skilled at changing their tone to match different delivery styles. Not sure what we mean by voice vs. tone? Think of it this way, you have the same voice all the time, but you change your tone depending on whom you are speaking to. When you’re out for dinner with friends you take a different tone than when you give a work presentation, or when you comfort a child. Be sure to listen to the different samples under each voice before making your selection.
You may narrow your options down to a select few, but when it comes time to make the final choice, ultimately, you should trust your instincts. Our intuitive preferences are the result of our brain’s subconscious perception. So, in choosing your brand’s voice, just go with your gut!