“Positioning the brand and regaining trust are all smart things for us to do and those are the litmus tests for any decisions we make.” - John McKinley, CEO & Founder of SaferAging
Let’s say you’re the owner of a non-profit dog shelter and trying to raise money for a new addition to your building. To kickoff the campaign, you decide to create a 60-second radio ad. But before you get started, here are four questions to consider that will help you position your brand and gain the trust of your audience as you look to hire voice talent.
Who: Who is your character? With this question, you can develop the life history of your character and match his personality with the tone of your project. Thinking about our dog shelter example, you would probably want to shy away from a rough, loud, and tough voice who sounds like he has worked construction his whole life and instead use a calm, soft, and gentle voice who sounds like he has worked as teacher his whole life.
What: What message is your character trying to convey? This question is at the heart of your voiceover project. You need to be able to clearly outline the main objective that you want listeners to remember because consumer attention is a finite resource. Returning to your non-profit dog shelter, the main message is ultimately the raising of funds, but you will need to back up this message with two or three key pieces of data as to why yours is the worthiest of causes.
Where: Where is the character located when he is delivering his lines? This may not be the most obvious question to ask before selecting voice talent, but this question sets up the environment for your voice actor to capture and utilize. For a non-profit dog shelter, your character could be arriving at the shelter and the audience may hear the sound of tires on gravel and the sound of a car door slamming while the character speaks of his volunteer history with the shelter as the barks of dogs resound in the background. By purposefully outlining where your character is, you can enhance your message by creating a new realm of imagination for your listeners.
Why: Why should your audience listen to your character? Credibility is the name of the game. Before you select a voice, you need to know and analyze the demographics (age, income, education, etc.) and psychographics (attitudes, tastes, beliefs, etc.) of your target audience so you are able to move beyond the intellectual level and reach your audience on an emotional level. The sheltering of dogs is an intrinsically emotional topic for many people, but you still need to take your listeners one step closer to donating through a persuasive and engaging message.
Although the answers to many of these questions will most likely not be explicitly stated in your voiceover project, these four questions can create a solid foundation for your voice actor that will come through in the production, character development, and messaging of your project.