Do you ever hear the sound of a can opening and immediately think of the world’s favourite soft drink? If you’ve seen an advertisement and right away knew what company or product it was for, that is the result of consistent branding. The reason why today’s biggest brands use the same logo, imagery, colours and jingles for years on end is because they know their customers will immediately recognize it.
In the voice-over industry, an industry that is primarily built upon the way things sound, branding allows you to “put a face to a name”. While branding is generally thought of as a visual identity, it also encompasses a brand’s message and personality.
So why is brand consistency so important?
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While prospective clients are often looking at voice-over talent with the intent of booking, there are also situations where they may just be browsing. A client may like what you have to offer, but for that particular project might be looking for something different. It may take someone seeing your services countless times across multiple touch points before they even consider you. Consistent branding in these situations makes it easier for people to remember who you are. As your brand recognition increases, you begin to build trust between yourself and your prospective clients.
Research has proven this to be the case. In his book “How Customers Think”, Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman states that 95% of our purchase decision making takes place in the subconscious mind. This is, in part, thanks to a phenomenon psychologists call context-dependent memory. When you are presented with a logo or face that you’ve seen before, it provides context for the memory that has just been triggered, allowing you to remember why it looks familiar.
If you’re just starting out in the voice-over industry and are yet to decide on your branding, or you’ve been in the game for a while and have never given branding much of a thought, the best way to begin is by determining what your niche is. This will be the foundation for your branding strategy. If you’re inconsistent in who you are marketing yourself to, you’re going to end up confusing your audience. If you want to keep things general, that’s okay, but standing out amongst a sea of talent will be much harder.
When it comes to establishing your long term branding strategy, engaging the help of a professional is a great option. Just like you would take your car to the mechanic (unless you happen to be skilled in automotive repairs AND voice acting), brand agencies can use their knowledge and expertise to bring your vision to life.
If you’re looking for a more cost effective option, online platforms like Fiverr and Wavve are a great place to get started. Whether for agencies or solopreneurs, Fiverr has a wide variety of services and courses to help with your logo, business cards, LinkedIn banner, video materials, and everything in between. The waveform animated video at the top of this post was made using Wavve. Best of all, you don’t have to be tech-savvy to use either platform!
Should you decide to do your own branding, ensure that the end result looks polished. It’s important to remember that your clients may be coming from marketing or ad agencies who are well versed in good branding.
One way to ensure that your branding remains consistent across multiple platforms is by establishing your branding guidelines. This can include but is not limited to; professional pictures of yourself, your logo, your demos, your mission statement, colour palette, fonts and typography. Be sure to keep your guidelines in a place that is easy to access, so that you can refer to them when necessary.
While many companies have at some point decided to re-brand, establishing a solid brand strategy from the get-go allows you to protect your brand recognition and identity in the long run. It also means that you only have to set up your branding once per touch-point, allowing your marketing to remain consistent and focus on what’s really important – your voice-over work.
If you set up your branding a while ago and have since realised you’re not happy with it, changing it isn’t the end of the world, however, it’s important to consider if a refresh is truly necessary. Are you willing to potentially lose some prospective clients just because you don’t love your branding? Rather than completely changing things up, try adjusting your colour palette and fonts. These simple changes might bring new life to your brand whilst keeping what makes it memorable.
Brand consistency doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does require you to have a clear understanding of what your brand is. As a voice-over talent, ultimately you are your brand. If you stay true to your goals, keeping things consistent should be easy.
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