Companies spend whole marketing budgets on the way their company looks, but how many pay attention to how their company sounds?
In my twenty-something years of recording and producing voiceovers for local, regional, national and international corporate clients, I’ve often been asked “does it matter who the voiceover is?” or told “we don’t really care — you choose”.
There are several reasons you absolutely should care.
Getting it wrong is quite easy. For example, I remember being subjected to listening to a random e-learning module, delivered by just the guy who developed the new software I was meant to be getting uber-excited about. Twenty seconds in and he’s delivered six words in such a dreary, apologetic and uninspiring fashion that all I can do is picture a sad middle-aged man sitting behind a computer screen, mouse in hand. What he’s saying is totally irrelevant because I can’t shake the image in my head. There’s total disconnect, engagement is at zero and I couldn’t care less. The real issue for the software company is that their software is incredible, innovative and exciting — but because of the quality of the voiceover, no one knows.
So, when picking a voiceover artist, here are a few pointers to help you avoid an apathetic response to your video:
Who are you?
Whomever you pick to voice your video becomes the voice of your brand. It should reflect the personality, tone and style of your business. What attributes would describe your brand? Do you want to come across as reliable, solid and trustworthy? Or are you more frivolous and carefree? The voiceover should reflect these qualities, reinforcing those attributes throughout the film.
It can help to imagine how your target customer might sound, and look for those qualities in your voiceover artist. Choosing the wrong one here means your audience has no idea what sort of a company you are; they’re hit with feelings of negativity and are put off your product or offering within seconds.
Who’s your audience?
The general rule is that if you’re chasing a predominantly male audience, then a male voiceover is best. The same for female. This also applies with age range. Approximate age matching of artist and audience is also a good idea.
However, much of the time, gender is interchangeable, and it won’t be a deal breaker either way, as long as you consider the next point when choosing your talent.
What are you saying to your audience?
Some voiceover artists are particularly suited to a more commercial type of delivery (think advertising rather than storytelling). These can be really effective for a 15-second commercial, but not so appropriate for corporate video.
Other voiceover artists are highly versatile and can adapt to whatever tone and style is required. So it’s important to listen to a variety of voices before choosing and make sure you know what you’re after. Accent can be hugely important too. If you operate in a local West Australian market, that’s probably the accent you’ll be looking for.
However, think about what’s going to resonate best if you’re making a film for your global market and you need an international feel.
Take a look at some examples of voiceovers
Here are a couple of examples from the Lush library, which we believe totally hit the nail on the head when it comes to choice of artist for a corporate video:
Oracle Group wanted to expand their insurance business by bringing in contractors. Obviously there’s a propensity for such a topic to be fairly dry, but with some careful scriptwriting and a fabulously upbeat voiceover that perfectly hits the personality of their brand, Oracle Group could engage exactly the audience they were after.
And REEP, who provides online cash flow budgeting, forecasting and scenario planning software for small business, was targeting the local rural market. The voiceover here represents the trustworthy, solid, reliable brand while relating directly to the target market.
Ultimately, if you choose the right talent, the artist will make your video come alive. Their delivery will brilliantly complement the visuals, it will create the all-important personality of your brand, and most importantly it will help retain your audience’s attention right to the very end.
If you want to work with an experienced video team dedicated to getting your next production right, contact the team at Lush Digital. Like what you’ve read? Sign up to the Lush newsletter for fortnightly advice to help you market your business better, tips from our video production gurus, and a podcast or two from our favourite podcasting team, Brand Newsroom. In the meantime, you might enjoy these:
The art of public speaking [podcast with show notes]