Voiceover Actors: You Have the Power to Make a Huge Difference For Brands

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Consider the importance of Emma Watson’s role as Hermione Granger. Thanks to the “Harry Potter” film series, Watson has helped an entire generation visualize and connect with her character in a totally personal way.

In fact, research shows just how effective the right voice can be in popular culture. There’s a reason why endearing voices in films and other media can stay with people long after they’ve finished watching.

Professors at Durham University worked alongside the Edinburgh International Book Festival and “The Guardian,” setting out to survey individuals about the experiences they felt after reading. The results add weight to the theory of “experiential crossing:” the phenomenon of character voices staying with people and narrating mental events. Interestingly, 19 percent of surveyed individuals said they heard characters’ voices beyond the book.

So how can brands use this information to create a voiceover experience which attracts new customers?

The right voiceover talent can help brands get under their customer’s skin.
Experiential crossing may sound a bit scary, but it’s nothing to be frightened of. Here’s a practical example: in order to visualize a scene, some “Harry Potter” fans who have seen Emma Watson play Hermione may now imagine her voice when they read J.K. Rowling’s books.

The right voice over talent can have the same effect for any creative message, whether a film is looking to create a heroine or a brand is looking to market a product.

Perhaps one of the most obvious examples is Billy Mays. He became synonymous with various cleaning products on the Home Shopping Network thanks to his instantly recognizable vocals and high-energy voiceover promotions. Think of (or hear) Billy Mays and you think of OxiClean or Orange Glo, whether you want to or not.

READ: Voiceover Training 101

A regional voiceover can help brands be a cultural success in new markets.
To cite another good example, Jake Wood is a British actor best known for his role in the long-running TV show “EastEnders.” He has also, quite memorably, used his regional voiceover talent to play the role of the Geico Gecko in the U.S., giving him a thick Cockney accent which stands out from other American TV commercials and sticks in the viewer’s memory.

Jake’s role as a voiceover artist for Geico ended in 2015, much to his disappointment. On the other hand, the fact that Jake voiced a CG gecko for the best part of a decade came as a huge surprise to a U.K. audience who only knew him as a TV actor. In fact, this helped to generate an international spike of interest in Geico at the time.

Brands need to find their voice—could you be their next star?
The right voiceover artist can go far beyond their role of simply providing the right sound bites. Fictional characters of all shapes and sizes stay with people long after they’re gone and a voice can bring emotion to a brand in just the same way.

Companies that create memorable characters as part of their marketing efforts aren’t just creating a figurehead for their products, but can also form a personality that’s relatable and culturally relevant. That is, if they find the right voice, of course. Those characters need to sound just right to really speak to the brand’s audience.

Most interestingly, companies with international ambitions can localize their advertising to help their brand image stand out and connect with customers across the globe.

Not all brands realize just how integral the right voice over talent is for their image, but you can be sure that consumers will notice the difference.

Simon Luckhurst is the owner of Voice Talent Online, a voiceover agency providing end-to-end voiceover and audio localization services in more than 75 languages.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

Simon Luckhurst
Simon Luckhurst is the owner of Voice Talent Online, a UK-based voiceover agency that provides end-to-end voiceover and audio localization. He has 14 years’ experience in audio production, localization, and business ownership.
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