Yesterday in our blog we talked about UK accents and how choosing a voice over artist with an accent can amplify your message and resonate with your audience. Today we tell you how this can be achieved.
Regional stereotypes dominate all aspects of daily life and therefore hearing a certain regional accent can conjure up connotations both positive and negative in the listener’s brain.
Research carried out by the BBC suggests that attitudes towards accents are based more on social connotations and prejudices surrounding the location or social group associated with that accent than on the sound itself, but even this is questionable. After all, how can we make an assumption about someone from a part of the country we haven’t ever visited or know anything about? Of course television, cinema and cultural rivalries can contribute, but essentially something about someone who speaks with an Irish lilt seems “comforting” without ever having met them.
Interestingly a study found that business people who spoke with an Indian accent were perceived to be hardworking and reliable by 69% of their peers, compared with just 24% feeling the same way about the UK’s Liverpool (Scouse) accent.
Respondents in the BBC survey about attitudes to accents also indicated a preference for accents relatively local to them: Scots said they loved Ewan McGregor’s Perthshire accent; the English found Hugh Grant’s voice the most attractive; people in Wales preferred listening to the Welsh accent of actor Richard Burton and BBC radio presenter Huw Edwards; while those in Northern Ireland found Terry Wogan’s Irish accent irresistible.
So what does this mean for your business? It is possible for businesses to use regional accents and dialects to their advantage. For example, many banking institutions choose to locate their Call Centre’s in Scotland since the Scottish accent is closely associated with financial prudence and being friendly. Airline passengers on the other-hand would feel uncomfortable if the pilot had a Brummie twang (UK Birmingham accent), and (perhaps not surprisingly) 81% said they would feel most reassured by a pilot with a classic “RP English” accent – associated with leadership and intelligence. Edinburgh (72%) and Newcastle (65%) accents rank as the most “soothing” in the UK.
So before casting a voice over for your telephone IVR messages, product demonstrations or business presentations think twice before requesting a neutral English voice over, and talk to us if you need some advice. It’s important to think about the pre-conceptions the voice over immediately conveys to your audience. And choosing the right UK English accent for your project will positively change the effectiveness of your message and influence your audience’s affiliation with your business.