Is branding important for voice over talent?
Well, it depends.
That’s an unsatisfying answer, I know, but it’s true.
It really depends on what your voiceover goals are and what your target market is.
The easy answer is, “Yes, of course it is.” And since I’m a big fan of good branding (and geeky enough about it to spend time on branding blogs and forums), I’m admittedly biased towards doing everything possible to put your best foot forward.
In certain cases, though, I think that branding your voiceover services might be a little less than critical.
For example, if you’re lucky enough to get most of your work through talent agents, (and to some degree, this also applies to the pay-to-play sites), chances are that potential clients won’t have many opportunities to interact with your brand, since, for the most part, their decision will be based on little more than hearing your audition.
That said, I think that there’s still a good argument to be made for going through the branding process, even if you never have a single business card printed. The more time you spend focusing on your branding, the more effectively you’ll be able to communicate your brand’s message.
When It Matters
If most of your work comes by way of your own marketing efforts, however, then I think it’s safe to say that marketing and branding are totally co-dependent. There’s not much point in doing one without the other. Done together (and done well) branding and marketing can be extremely effective.
One goal of good marketing is to get your name and your brand in front of the people you’d like to work for. Unfortunately, if the marketing pieces that you put in front of them don’t make a positive impression, you’ve lost that opportunity.
Branding lets you tell your story, in the way that you want it told. It gives you the chance to shape peoples’ opinions about you and your work.
Teach Them Who You Are
Take some time to think about things from your potential clients’ perspectives. How do you want them to feel about your sound, before they even listen to your demos? In fact, let’s assume that they’re not going to listen. You still have a chance to teach them something about you. As soon as someone looks at your materials, they should have a pretty good idea of what to expect from your sound: corporate, quirky, homespun, enthusiastic, etc. It also gives you the chance to give them a pretty good idea of what the experience of working with you will be like: are you a serious, full-time voiceover professional, or someone who treats voiceovers more like a hobby? (Either way is fine, but your target markets are likely to be different, and should be treated accordingly.)
Regardless of your approach, why miss out on the chance to engage potential clients – the chance to help them understand what you do, and what they should depend on you for?
Good Branding vs. Bad Branding
Good branding elicits a reaction…a response…an emotion. It teaches people where you fit into the big picture, and helps them remember you at the right time.