Choosing the right person for a voice-over is an important marketing decision. File photo. (Pictured: Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado, in studio, giving voice to Delsin Rowe for a new video game).

Choosing the right person for a voice-over is an important marketing decision. File photo. (Pictured: Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado, in studio, giving voice to Delsin Rowe for a new video game).

It’s your business: The allure of voice

As businesses search for ways to connect on a personal level with their customers, producing a video and uploading it online can have a significant impact.

While the video quality is important, companies rarely pay much attention to the voice used in such productions.

Marketers must recognize that the tone, inflection, accent and, yes, even gender all come into play when it comes to video marketing. Like any other communications tool, the voice used in your video must reflect your brand. Not everyone can afford a big name star to do a voice-over, but the good news is that it is not necessary if the voice makes a connection with your customers.

Knowing where to start can be as simple as having a good understanding of your business’s personality and which attributes best describe your brand. For example, do you want to come across as trustworthy, reliable and serious, or is your company’s style more carefree, fun and stimulating?

This is important because bad choices can alienate customers simply because they do not relate to the voice and its personality. While it may be inexpensive to use their own voice, the reality is that there are few business owners who are blessed with a silver tongue.

In choosing whose voice you want to communicate your brand, a lot of it relies on knowing your customer. Are they young, old, looking for friendly advice? Are they family oriented or single? Male or female?

That last point brings up the issue of whether to use a male or female voice. It’s not an easily answered question. Some say to use a male voice to reach a male audience and a female voice for a female audience. But there is some research that digs a little deeper into that question.

In an Adweek/Harris poll, the results indicated that when it comes to persuasion, 19 per cent of respondents indicated a female voice would sway them more, while 18 per cent said a male voice is more persuasive.

Other research indicated that when it came to selling specific products, the choice of voice can have an even more significant impact.

If you are selling to an older audience, for example, they often have difficulty hearing higher-pitched voices. Consider using a lower toned voice, which in most cases would be male. Stereotyping also comes into play, so if you are focused on family-oriented products, consider a female voice as many still feel women are more caring and nurturing than men.

Outside of videos, there are significant developments taking place in interactive voice response technology. As this development continues, greater emphasis will have to be placed on the choice of voice marketers used to communicate with their customers. This will not just affect a video on a website or blog but on the type of voice used to communicate with customers from their fridge, computer or car.

While these technological advancements add to the ever growing communications tool box, voice is still an effective and personal method of communication. The key, of course, is to make sure you’ve made the right choice.

Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached via email at joesmith@shaw.ca