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How to choose the right voice artist for your project

Choosing the right voice artist for your next project might not sit very highly on your list of priorities. But fail to cast the right voice actor for your brand and your audience, and you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

A voice-over doesn’t just add meaning, it becomes the representative for your brand. A successful voice recording will give your company a personality for your audience to connect with.

So, what are the secrets to choosing the right voice artist for your next project?

Choose the right voice artist for the type of project

The first thing to consider is what kind of project you’re working on and what your objectives are. Perhaps you’re working on a television or radio commercial to build brand awareness or selling a product or service. Maybe you’re creating a corporate video: some training or an introduction to a new policy. Or perhaps you need to record a new IVR voice recording or in-flight announcement. Are you almost ready to record your latest audiobook or podcast episode?

The type of project will affect the type of voice artist you choose. Corporate videos and explainers demand a more authoritative, serious tone of voice compared to the acting and dynamism required by a commercial or a piece with characters. Clear and easy to understand diction is essential to IVR recordings. Decide whether your script is presenting or storytelling, and choose the right voice artist accordingly.

Pick a voice actor to suit your target audience

The next thing to consider is who you’re talking to. One of the main goals in creating your piece of content is to engage with the audience. Whether you are looking to educate, inform or impress, you have no chance if the voice doesn’t resonate with them.

It’s important to consider the age range when selecting your voice actor. If you’re selling or creating a product for children, choose a voice actor who can imitate a child’s voice as this will appeal most to them. In this Haribo advert, the adults are given children’s voices for comedic effect. It’s safe to say the advert would have little appeal to children if the voices were those of adults.

At the other end of the scale, adults are more likely to respond to voices that sound of a similar age. Saga understood this when they cast Larry Lamb as the voice of their advert.

Another important choice to make when hiring a voice actor is their gender. A study on how the brain reads male and female voices suggests that due to the increased complexity in the sound of female voices, they are clearer and easier to understand. This is worth bearing in mind if you’re casting for an IVR recording, in-flight announcement, explainer or e-learning video.

If your goal is to earn the trust of your audience, you should match your voice actor to their gender. In this Nike Women advert, we are taken inside the minds of women doing sport in a way that is realistic, intimate and inspirational. Meanwhile, this breast cancer awareness campaign achieves greater empathy when voiced by a woman.

Where your audience is from is another factor that will impact your choice of voice artist. If going for a global market, a neutral American or British accent is best. Not only does it have universal appeal, but your viewers who speak English as a second language will appreciate the neutrality and clarity of speech that may be critical to their understanding.

Within the UK, there are some accents which lend themselves to specific roles. Scottish accents are considered trustworthy, you will often hear bank advertisements with Scottish voice-overs. The Royal Bank of Scotland called on the help of Outlander star Sam Heughan for a friendly, lighthearted yet trustworthy voice-over in their March 2019 ad.

Meanwhile, accents from Yorkshire denote a sense of comfort and familiarity, ideal for advertising bread. The revered Hovis advert made by Ridley Scott in the 1970s has aged well, surely in part down to that perfectly cast voice-over.

Can your voice talent deliver the emotions you need?

With the goals of your project planned and your target audience identified, you should then consider the emotions you want your content to convey.

Albert Mehrabian, Psychology Professor at UCLA discovered that just 7% of meaning is in words and 38% in tone of voice. That means finding a voice actor who can adapt their tone of voice to your specific needs is essential to the success of your video. 

Do you want to inspire feelings of security, belonging, amusement or lust? Compare the friendly yet professional tone in this Natwest advert, with the sensual sound of Nicole Scherzinger describing a new Müller yoghurt. Humour offers you a much broader scope to get creative, like this bulldog who seems to hail from London, managing to appeal to a Millennial audience whilst also earning a few laughs.

When it comes to tone, a study by Phil McAleer into the perception of voices discovered that mid-range tones, as well as being easy to listen to, are considered most trustworthy. This highlights why you rarely find deep or high-pitched voices in explainers, like this one from an ethical coffee chain.

Choose your voice artist with the help of recommendations

With such a detailed set of requirements, from the type of script to the tone of voice, it can be overwhelming to search the voice actor market for just the right person.

It’s best to choose someone who is established in their field and has plenty of experience in the genre you are working in, whether it’s e-learning, IVR, podcast recordings or commercials. You can narrow your selection down by gender, age range, accent and tone of voice.

Working with a professional voice-over agency will take the legwork out of your search. They can recommend a list of suitable artists based on your specifications, all of whom will come with their expert seal of approval.

Think long-term

A successful partnership between voice artist and brand is something every successful business should aim for. Encouraging your audience to develop a lasting emotional attachment to your brand via the voice they hear in your content is a very powerful tool.

71% of customers are more likely to buy from a brand they have a connection with, so consistency with your voice artist over a long period of time could reap significant rewards. Dervla Kirwan voiced the Marks & Spencer food adverts for several years, launching the company’s food brand into the big league as a premium food retailer.

Careful consideration when selecting the voice artist for your next project could see your brand propelled to new levels of engagement with your audience. At Matinée, we’re committed to offering a complete voice-over service, from choosing the right voice from a database of carefully selected voice artists speaking over 80 languages, to arranging professional recordings in our custom-built studio. Whether it’s for a corporate voice-over, an educational video or a character audio track, we have the experience and tools to deliver the very best results at an affordable price. Start by browsing our website for recent voice demos spanning many accents and languages to get a feel for how your brand might sound. Then, get in touch to discuss your next big idea.

Why not get in touch with Matinée Multilingual today to find out more?

Call us on +44 (0) 118 958 4934

Or email project@matinee.co.uk