Finding and hiring the right voice talent to serve as the audio ambassador of your brand has become a lot easier in the last decade. That voice can be found anywhere from explainer videos to radio ads to your telephone system.
At Voices, we operate the world’s largest marketplace that connects producers with professional voice talent. In doing so, we intimately understand the voice types that are most in demand. The voice type is merely a reflection of the tone and style of delivery that a creative producer is seeking.
Before launching into your next project, consider how a given voice could match your brand and the objectives you’re trying to achieve. Think about your business objectives. Maybe the sound you’re going for is reflected in the voice types below. Let’s explore them now.
A reassuring voice letting you know that he or she, and by extension the brand, cares about you by stating a cause that aligns with your ideals. This is the voice you want and need to hear from at those low points in life. They are a voice of comfort and stability. Their voice comes through an unexpected TV commercial or more likely through a podcast where relationships are formed over time. In just a few episodes, listeners unknowingly develop a sense of trust with the podcast host, coming to see them as reassuring, trustworthy and even as a friend, albeit from a distance.
As advertisers are trying to convey a sense of community during the COVID-19 pandemic, the heartwarming caregiver is being heard more than ever. Take, for example, this ad for AT&T about staying connected. Or if you need to hear this voice in your head, think of celebrities like Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts, or John Legend.
The authority figure is the no-nonsense, get-to-the-point delivery that tells the listener exactly what they need to know, nothing more, nothing less. This approach prides itself on cutting through the clutter and giving you just the facts.
A joint-study between the University of Miami and Duke University found that individuals with lower-pitched voices are perceived to have more integrity, competence, and physical power. You can find this voice type in both the male and female voice. If we were to jump into the realm of celebrity voices for examples, most people tend to hear Morgan Freeman, James Earl Jones, or Cate Blanchett in their heads. Their poise, confidence and unquestionable authority easily lend themselves to building trust.
You know this voice. It’s your colleague who seems to always be a step or two ahead of you with the latest technology. The upside is that as early adopters, they become the expert that you rely on to show you, teach you and upgrade your technology. The approachable expert is always there when you need them and always makes you feel just as smart as they are by bringing you into the loop. They help you handle entire backlogs of software updates on your mobile phone, give you the inside scoop on something new such as breaking news, the latest trend or meme about to become a global phenomenon, upcoming movie releases, or the pending launch of a new product or service.
Celebrities whose voices lend themselves to an approachable expert read include George Clooney, Matthew McConaughey, Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, Taylor Swift, Elisha Cuthbert, and Emma Thompson. This voice may still be rich or even gravelly, but in comparison to the authority archetype above, these voices are lighter, with an air of warmth and familiarity — like a trusted peer, friend, or family member.
Person of Mystery
For those of us in North America, a foreign accent or dialect catches our ears because it’s different and intriguing. A person of mystery voice type is most often associated with a voice of luxury. It has a currency all its own, representing freedom and craftsmanship. This voice could inspire a spontaneous trip to Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, or the purchase of a handcrafted watch made by craftsmen in Switzerland or Germany. This voice is used to sell luxury goods or a tourist experience like no other.
When casting for a person of mystery, voices with accents and dialects are being used more and more often. While at times this is due to the increasing localization of ad campaigns, it most often turns out that accents are just appealing, especially when they are foreign to us. Imagine the voices of Nicole Kidman, Tom Hiddleston, Trevor Noah, Salma Hayek, Hugh Jackman, Idris Elba, and Kate Winslet. Or think of Keira Knightley’s long standing position as a brand ambassador for Chanel. Use words like charismatic, enchanting, foreign, luxurious, posh, or romantic to get that person of mystery read you’re looking for.
Many advertisers desire a famous or iconic sound, but not everyone has the budget to hire a celebrity or famous voice actor. However, a Voices.com survey revealed that marketers and advertisers have found a way to achieve a similar result. In fact, 63% of respondents said that they believe that ‘A similar voice can achieve the same result as a celebrity voice.’ It’s important to note the distinction between a ‘similar’ voice over, which has similar vocal qualities to famous voices, and a celebrity soundalike, which is an imitation of one person’s voice.
Whatever voice you choose, remember that it needs to resonate with your brand, and just as importantly, your audience.