It’s been a month since VoiceOver Atlanta, and I am still energized by the wonderful community we have. What blows me away every year is just how passionate every single person I meet in this industry is — coaches, producers, voice talent, everybody.I adore being in a space that buzzes with passion, intelligence and focus. My focus, as you know, is empowering this fantastic community through branding. And what better time to work on your brand than now — when that conference buzz is still fresh and spring is in the air?
No time like the present!
Here is one of my favorite exercises from my new book, “Voiceover Achiever: Brand Your VO Career. Change Your Life”:
Branding allows you to tell your story in a way that is entertaining, concise and specific. The trick is to focus in on exactly what that story is and then to emphasize important aspects of it that your ideal customer will find interesting.
I developed this Brand Finder tool with that in mind. And I use it to kickstart the brand discovery process with all my clients. Spending time grappling with — and answering — these questions is a crucial first step toward getting at the heart of your brand story.
- What do you want to accomplish? (You must know where you are headed in order to get there. Be as specific as possible)
- What makes you competitive and differentiates you from other talent? (Voiceover is an extremely competitive business. Knowing what makes you unique will allow you to carve out your voiceover niche. Sameness makes every single audition like the lottery. Uniqueness makes you stand out, which gives you an edge.)
- If you could only audition for one style of copy what would you want it to be? (Your main brand needs to appeal to your core audience. Pick a genre and start there. Nuanced changes in approach can be made for other genres.)
- What would you like advertising agencies/buyers to know about you and your style? (In other words, why should anyone hire you? A clear answer to this question is imperative. If you don’t have one, you have work to do.)
- How would you describe your current image? (What feels great? What’s missing? What needs an upgrade? Be tough on yourself. Only by assessing yourself honestly will you be able to make improvements.)
- In your opinion, is there anything about your image that feels outdated or off-base? (What message are you sending out now? Do you send the wrong message? What could be enhanced or improved upon?)
- What words do you associate with your signature sound? (Use detailed language to describe your voice. Be honest. Be bold. You’ll be doing a lot more of this type of thing.)
- What colors, textures, moods or metaphors come to mind about your voice/image (your voice/image sounds, feels or is like ______)? (This is my sneaky way to get colorful images from you that you can use to create visuals.)
- What popular cultural icons (famous people, movie stars/eras, popular commercial products/trends, etc.), contemporary or historical, could you align with your voice? (What does your story have in common with theirs? Find descriptions of the items on your list and note any clues to your own brand.)
- What kind of music, fashions, stores, and what area of the country does your voice feel most comfortable in? (Look at how the entities on your list advertise and again scour the ads for clues to your brand.)
- What brands (can be any product or service including other voice talent brands) do you personally like and why? (This one is huge! If you are attracted to someone or something, you see your ideal self aka brand in it. For instance, I love Apple because it is visionary, well designed and a hub for an entire community. That’s what I am on a great day!! I love Zappos. Not for the shoes — I could find shoes anywhere — but for the culture and the customer delightful service! I love giving that kind of service! I love Birchbox because it’s well designed, appealing and tailored just to me. See how you play this game? Spend some serious time noticing and creating around this concept. You can find inspiration in the multi-million-dollar brands that you love.)
- Make a list of all the character voices/roles and networks/commercial products that you can see yourself as a perfect fit for.
- Write a rough and brief voice talent and career bio. Just a couple paragraphs. You will edit and infuse this bio with your brand later, so don’t sweat the writing too much at this point. Include notable details about your voice and work/professional qualities (feel free to pull from your answers to questions above) as well as your home studio info, where you are located and any personal or professional tidbits that might interest a potential buyer.
See how fun this can be? You are on your way to enhancing everything about your VO biz.
Feeling on a roll? Pick up a copy of “Voiceover Achiever” on Amazon and keep the brand passion going. Need help? Call me for a free 15-minute brand consultation. I’m always here to help you. Whatever you do, make sure you claim your power and brand your career.
Until next time, passionate entrepreneur!
Psssst! Did you hear? I’m holding an upcoming branding workshop! For details + to register (limited space!), click here.