Your brand is important. It says a lot about you! And while Anne and Gabby have talked about marketing yourself before, in this episode, they really hone in on what your brand should be and how you can make it work for you in the long run. They also discuss what you should do if you haven’t seen success with your current brand and the inevitable waiting game you have to play.
Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:
Make sure your brand isn’t too “trendy”. Trends change, your brand shouldn’t be tied to a specific trend.
Branding is not an overnight process. As your career develops, so should your brand.
Your brand should match your core personality and traits!
You have to make modifications and tweaks to your brand as the industry evolves, but make sure your core values remain consistent.
Referenced in this Episode
Direct links to things we brought up ++
VO: Today’s voiceover talent is more than just a pretty voice. Today’s voiceover talent has to be a boss. A VO BOSS Set yourself up with business owner strategies and success, with your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with some of the strongest voices in our industry. Rock your business like a boss, a VO BOSS Anne: Welcome everybody, to the VO Boss podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my beautiful co-host, Gabby Nistico. Hey, Gabby. Gabby: Hi, Anne. Anne: Gabby, today, we’re gonna talk about your VO brand, and specifically, your VO brand longevity. Gabby: Yeah, I love this topic, because I think it’s often overlooked but really important step in creating a brand. We have to think, yeah, not just about how that brand is working right now, today, but what’s gonna happen with that brand in five years, 10 years, 15 years? Anne: So let’s talk a little bit about your brand, and first of all, what do you mean by brand longevity, like what, how should your brand be currently in the marketplace? Gabby: Well, I mean thinking of it on a big scale, on a broad scale, whenever you have service industry or retail product, they have a logo and that logo usually, not always, but usually has a slug line attached to it, something like the Nike swoosh and “just do it” or McDonald’s with “I’m lovin’ it,” and every so often, usually about once a decade because it’s with each new generation, they will update and modernize the look of the brand. Now this could be just a simple modification to the logo, maybe to brighten it up, touch it up a bit, make it a little more current. It could be a font change, it could be a color design, I mean every so often we see the same thing with Coke and Pepsi and other soft drink brands, they update the can, and it’s all in the interest of keeping it current, keeping it fresh, but they’re not going back and reinventing the wheel every time. They’re just doing little minor upgrades to the existing brand. So that’s the challenge that voice actors sometimes fail to think about is do I have something that’s going to be updateable, do I have something that’s going to move with me over time or am I gonna have to start over at some point? Am I going to vocally outgrow my brand? Anne: Well that’s a really great point that you make. I think that it’s so important for us as relevant, current talent in the marketplace to stay relevant and current in the marketplace. Gabby: Most definitely. Anne: For most of us because we’re more of a service industry, we need to kind of stay on top of what our clients’ demands are and what our clients’ needs are, so I think our brand really has to evolve with those industry times and how we can best serve the clients, and so for us, a personal brand should update with new trends in advertising, new trends in what our clients are using, like new methods of advertising, so for example, if there’s a new… conversational came about, you know, how many years ago, it’s been kind of a trend in the industry for quite a few years, but it used to be that announcery. And so if you had started in the industry how many years ago, 20, 30 years ago, that would’ve been kind of a brand maybe that you would’ve tried to go along with, because it was a trend in the industry. Then as conversational, natural, believable became a thing, then your brand had to evolve along with it. Gabby: Exactly. And we see in a lot of cases that actors sometimes get a little bit too tied or their brand I should say. Anne: Attached. Gabby: Gets a little too, yeah, attached or tied to their current age range or to a vocal attribute or some other specific thing that kind of becomes almost a little too rigid, and doesn’t give any flex room for yes, later on, when you have to modify and move with the times. So there’s two parts to this. The first part is if you’re new to branding yourself in voiceover, please be aware of being too trendy. Too trendy is never a good thing, right, so I always say to people like great examples are things like a few years back, it was very popular, you know, the hipster era was very popular and it was being used as a fashion statement, it was a way to describe people and it was sometimes considered a negative, sometimes considered a positive depending on context, but it was a very limited time phrase. Almost no one even uses it anymore. Anne: Gabby, Gabby: Too trendy. Anne: I agree. I think the Millennial, I think that the term Millennial, it is the definition of a generation, but I also think it’s trending right now and I think that there may, as Millennials become our bosses they may or may not want to be referred to as Millennials, and so Gabby: Correct Anne: I think that those of you that are using that, I think it’s great if you’re on trend and if you have maybe a branch of your page that’s saying that you’re a Millennial voice, I think that’s great, but I think you also need to be able to adjust if the trend changes. Gabby: Correct. And that’s really critical. If you have all of your eggs in that one basket, you’re gonna run into a problem. We see the same thing with imagery as well. I think this is really important, you know, again a few years ago, I’m trying to use current references so everybody can understand what I’m talking about, a couple years back, mustache, it was all about the mustache, everything was mustaches and it was just a little ridiculous in my opinion, but very, very popular. Well some people started using it in their branding as well. Now, in most stores if you’re finding mustache items, they’re on the clearance bin. Anne: Yeah, yeah. Gabby: No one wants them anymore. The whole mustache motif is pretty much dead and gone. So again, anything too, too trendy right now, the last probably two years or so we’ve been in the unicorn phase, everything from unicorn hair to unicorn frappuccinos to just unicorn imagery on clothing and fashion and home decor, but it’s the same thing. It’s going to turn here very quickly. Anne: Yes. Gabby: You can’t capitalize effectively on something that’s that trendy unless you’re in retail, and we’re not. Anne: Right, that’s a big differentiation, actually, Gabby. Gabby: Yeah. Anne: The fact is, retail can go along with the trends like that. In voiceover, it’s about our voice, it’s about how we’re gonna be elevating other people’s brands, so therefore, we can maybe take a shade of the trending things that are happening, like maybe you have I don’t know, you have a page or you have a spot Gabby: Splash of color, yeah. Anne: A splash of color or you even have a spot that kind of I don’t know, is unicornish, you know, that kind of goes along with the trend or you have a couple of spots in a little demo that you did yourself or put some music to. I mean that I think is fine, because then you’re kind of playing into what the demand is of the market and I think you just need to do something that isn’t so permanent that it would be very difficult to rebrand. So I think like for websites, it becomes even more important that unless you’re gonna pay somebody to completely redesign your site, you know, every couple of years, it’s gonna be difficult if you’re trying to be too trendy. And so there’s essences of your brand that should, I think, remain classic for longevity. And one thing I wanna talk about, Gabby, is longevity in and of itself is something I think people don’t give their brand enough time to evolve and to actually see Gabby: oh, yeah Anne: That it’s actually becoming effective, like it doesn’t, branding does not happen overnight. I wanna, Gabby: No Anne: Wait, Gabby, can I just say that again? Branding does not happen overnight. It is a process, it is an evolution, and it’s something that can evolve and change as needed, but it’s not something that will happen by tomorrow, so it’s so many people I know get so frustrated about their brand and they have to have it by tomorrow and it’s just like, Gabby: And do me a favor, let’s drop that boss bomb on everybody one more time. Just say it once more. All together now everybody. Anne: Yes, that’s right everybody. Gabby: [Both] Branding does not happen overnight. Anne: Yeah. Gabby: Yes. Gabby: It’s so true! Anne: It is. Gabby: And working with clients, with voice actors specifically, I can tell you, I know you know, everybody expects that, everyone wants that, they want their brand to have immediate impact, they want it to show return almost instantaneously. And it’s not realistic. That’s not at all how that works. It takes time. A couple things about this that I can take from the advertising world and from my experience there. So first off, understand that right about the time you are getting tired of your own brand that you are feeling like you wanna change it is right about the time that the average audience person, the client, the people who see it, maybe even other voice actors, are just getting to know it. In radio and advertising, we talked about what we call frequency and recognition all the time because people get frustrated with things like Top 40 radio and they go why do they play the same song over and over and over and over and over again? It’s recognition. It’s response and recognition, it’s just that. I used to have a boss, a program director who would tell us and remind us these things, but by the end of a summer, we’d been playing the summer hit all summer long and we were so sick of it, so tired of it as the DJs and as the staff and he would go guys, when you’re tired of hearing it, the average listener is just starting to learn the words. The average person is just starting to connect with the song. Anne: What a good point Gabby: Of course you guys Gabby: Are sick of it, you hear it 17 times a day, every day. Anne: Exactly. Gabby: They’re not, yeah. Anne: And your brand, you’re seeing your brand every day, and that doesn’t mean that your clients are seeing it every day, I mean they might just come across it. I think that’s such an excellent, what a great analogy, Gabby, I love that. That’s amazing. Gabby: It takes, but you’re spot on with that. It takes time, it’s so important to keep reminding yourself of that, and know that if you believe in your brand, if you love it, if you have constructed it well, if you’ve done all of your research and your analytics for it, then you have to give it room and time to do its job and know that it could take a couple of years for it to really cement and land the way that you want it to. It’s not gonna be an overnight thing. The other piece to it goes back to what I was saying at the very beginning. You can’t just let a brand atrophy. You can’t just let it sit there and expect that miracles are gonna happen, you have to tweak, you have to do little modifications. Not every day, not even every month, but periodically, you have to move it forward. Anne: Well let’s take a look at the VO Boss brand. Now the VO Boss brand, gosh Gabby, was in development for a good year before Gabby: Yeah Anne: Before you and I even spoke, it was in development, the thought process was there, colors and fonts and things like that were tweaked and played with and literally Gabby, it is, and it’s still developing, right? I mean I would say now it’s been almost two years, and so for us right now, we’re still building familiarity with that brand for people and so we are very conscious, both Gabby and I, of keeping that brand specific to what our original kind of statements were and what we wanted to be effective and have our listeners know us for. And that obviously business owner strategy and success, our main core mission about business is still there, and we keep building on it and adding more I wanna say, adding more components to the brand, so for example Boss University is a whole new component to the brand where we are starting to offer courses, graduate and undergraduate courses onto our brand so that people can start to grow along with our brand and as we grow our listenership, they can also grow with us, and that way it makes them feel a part of us and that I think makes for, first of all, better engagement, better business, if we feel that our listeners and our fans are kind of growing with us, it makes them feel a part of it. Gabby: Absolutely, and so you have to think about your clients kind of in the same way. Just know that there might be some elements of your brand that are consistent, certain things that won’t change and I’m trying to stay a little vague because it could be anything, it could be a phrase, it could be a font, it could be a graphic, it could be anything that’s the immobile or immovable part but everything else kind of Anne: It could be an emotion, Gabby, it could be an emotion, too. Gabby: And everything else evolves Anne: It doesn’t have to be physical Right. Gabby: No, and as you work with it, yes, and as people see it evolve, they feel more and more absolutely a part of it and like they can almost take a little bit of ownership there as well. The other thing to recognize in all of that is some brands, the very nature of advertising especially today, especially in the era we’re currently in, is brands that are constantly evolving and brands that are always moving in a new direction and very few, if any of the elements stay the same. So things to consider: we have audiences now that have a slightly smaller attention span than they used to. I’m being facetious there, even, it’s yeah, they have very small attention spans. Anne: I’m sorry, Gabby what did you just say? Yeah, I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention. Gabby: I know. Anne: I’m just kidding. Gabby: Look at the kitty. It’s so cute. Anne: Squirrel? Gabby: Oh my good. Anne: VO Studio cat, there we go. Gabby: Yeah, okay. So we have to know that and we have to know that sometimes seeing the same thing over and over and over and over and over again, it’s gonna get boring, it’s not gonna have the same impact so mix it up a little bit. I can tell you that for my brand, for Voiceover Vixen, other than the name, there’s been very few things that are consistent. I change my colors often, I change my images often, I’m always coming up with new ways to represent this idea of the Vixen and who she is, and so that’s kind of fun because people have sort of come to go ooh, I wonder what the image is gonna be this time, I wonder what era we’re going into, is it gonna be pinup, is it gonna be day of the dead, is it gonna be vampy, is it whatever. And it’s fun. Anne: I think what you’re saying too, that’s a great aspect to your brand. And so that’s what makes your brand fun, and so in essence, your brand is almost like a concept, an emotion, vixen, you know, what sort of emotions does that bring up in people who are visiting, in people who are fans. And I think like VO Boss was designed with like cool and kind of classic and so for your brand, the vixen kind of changing it up is really great, it keeps it fresh, it keeps it current, it keeps it relevant and for us, VO Boss, classic cool, we can add on different components to it that are along with that theme. And so sometimes consistency is good in that it will breed familiarity, it will breed trust in the brand, but if your brand already has a core value of fun and maybe spontaneous, then it absolutely makes sense to change it up, to be fun, to do different colors, to do different fonts, and I think it really depends on what you just want your audience to know about your brand, and what you want to let them know about who you are as a business. Gabby: Absolutely. And so what it all comes down to guys, is think about the big picture, think about the long term. Don’t just think about your brand today, think about it from the perspective of 10 years from now. Think about longevity and you’re going to have a much more successful start to your brand now. If you want more information about this very topic, Anne and I are in the process of creating a brand-new class for Boss University that you’re gonna be able to access at VOBoss.com. It’ll be out shortly, so hopefully you’ll go and check that out. And from all of us at the VO Boss podcast, we want you to have a kick-butt week and do what we always do, rock your business like a boss. Be sure to check us out live at the Voxy Summit in January, you can register at Voxysummit.com. Anne: We’ve got some exciting stuff for the Voxy Summit, hope to see you guys there, and you can like us on Facebook @VO Boss Podcast and Twitter at @VO_Boss. Gabby: And subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher, or YouTube. Thanks again guys. Have a great week. Anne: Have a great week, see ya! Gabby: Bye! Anne: Bye!
VO: Join us next week for another edition of VO Boss with your host, Anne Ganguzza, and Gabby Nistico. All rights reserved, Anne Ganguzza Voice Talent in association with Three Moon Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast to coast connectivity via ipDTL.