“This is CNN.”
There are some slogans we just automatically hear in our heads even while reading. Like the above with the voices of James Earl Jones and Gilbert Godfrey, respectively. That's how strong the right voice for your brand can be.
Sonic branding isn’t a new concept, but due to the rise of technology like smart speakers it’s becoming a critical part of brand guidelines. Sonic branding encompasses sound effects, jingles, voices, and more. And it goes beyond interactions with smart speakers– a strong sonic identity “must be embedded into every possible touchpoint with the consumer.”
The right voice instantly identifies your brand while simultaneously demonstrating its values, personality and tone. For brands that utilize a lot of video content (especially in multiple languages), text to speech (TTS) has become the best way to maintain consistency and scale. Plus, TTS voices have gotten both more lifelike and more varied, so there’s a lot of good choices out there.
Voices can be as different as wines, and each one can have a different effect on your brand identity. So how do you pick the “right” voice for your brand?
Learn to identify the qualities of a voice. Listen to it, let the sound swish around in your ears. What do you hear?
When it comes to voices, we must consider:
Pitch: How high or low a voice is. Generally, the higher the voice, the more feminine it sounds, and the lower the voice, the more masculine it sounds.
Volume: How loud do you want your voice to be? Loud enough to hear across a field? Or a whispering indoor voice– quiet enough for a library?
Speed: How fast do you want your voice to speak? Slow, like the sloth from Zootopia, or fast, like the Micro Machines guy? Consider the type of information you’re trying to get across in addition to the brand identity.
Tone: The quality of a voice’s sound. Could be mellow, bright, rich, brash, etc. Do you want the voice to be gentle on the ears or harsh and attention-grabbing?
Timbre: This is the special sauce (to totally mix metaphors) of everyone’s voice, the characteristic that makes each voice unique. Voices can be smooth or gravely, sound old or young, and so many other things, and it is the combination of these qualities that give you timbre. Timbre is why Tom Waits and Michael Buble can sing the exact same note– with the same pitch, volume, tone, accent, and speed–and sound completely different. It’s also why you’d be able to pick out who’s who immediately.
Accent: Every speaker on earth has an accent (even you!). When considering which accent works for your brand, determine first what accents your intended audiences have. If your audience is in the UK, for instance, you may not want your sonic branding to be with an American accent. And even within the UK, there are so many different accents denoting different areas, and each one has subconscious associations for your audience. Picking the right one can get difficult.
What Voice Pairs Well with Your Brand?
As a voice sommelier, it is your job to figure out what voice pairs best with your brand. And in order to do that, you have to understand your brand’s “voice.” And this time, we’re not talking sonically.
In other words, what is your brand like? Is it hip and fun? Classic and respectable? Hip and respectable?
Old bank buildings were designed to have very classic, “solid” architecture, with thick walls and classical columns. This look conveyed a sense of established permanence and trust, which they wanted customers to associate with them. They wanted a building that says, “It’s safe to put your money here.”
Think similarly about how you’d want people to think about your brand. For better or worse, people associate different voices with different things. A traditional brand that wants a lower pitched voice to convey a sense of authority would pair well with James Earl Jones. A younger brand with a chaotic sense of humor would pair well with Awkwafina.
The data proves audio is important
Why is finding the right voice so critical for your brand? Let’s look at the science:
- It’s powerful! Sound triggers emotions. The sound of a voice can make someone calm, agitated, or remind them of a person or place. The right sound combined with the right visuals can put your customers in the right emotional place for your message.
- It’s everywhere! If you see something you don’t like, you can turn away or close your eyes. If you don’t like something you hear, you can’t just close your ears. You are always listening, even while you sleep!
This is why it’s so important to find the right voice for your brand. It must match symbiotically with all other aspects of your marketing, just like a great wine perfectly compliments a meal.
Use your brand voice with Videate
Computer generated text to speech voices have gotten to a point where it is hard to distinguish between a voice actor and a machine. Videate has an impressive library of text to speech voices that can be sampled for your videos in multiple languages, dialects (eg. Australian English vs. American English), tones, and timbres.
You can also use your own text to speech voice with our service.
With text to speech, you can generate all your videos using your brand voice and be able to update them quickly and easily, without having to re-record everything. All you need to do is figure out which voice best pairs with your brand. And Videate can help.
Ask for a free demo today.