In my last entry I went over the step-by-step process of developing good content for a TV commercial and the importance of a strong script. Now we move on to the next step, which is selecting the right voice over artist to communicate your message.

Selecting the right voice over artist is a process that is often overlooked, when in fact its something every company should take very seriously, because like a logo, a commercial voice is an extension of your overall “brand,” and the sound and tone should embody what your company stands for.

The right voice can make all the difference when trying to create a successful commercial, and in this article I’ll review the process of selecting a voice over artist, and I’ll also give some tips on how to choose the right one.

Finding the voice

Most production companies already have a handful of artists they use on a regular basis, but if after listening to their selection of artists you still haven’t heard what you’re looking for, speak up!  If a client is unhappy with the voice over artist selection I provide them with, I immediately hold an open casting call (at no cost to the client), and if a production company refuses to do so, that’s a red flag, and you should address this with them right away.

Holding a casting call is a very simple process, and since there are many professional voice over artists out there, you can always find one that fits your budget.

Once the client selects a few potential voice over artists they like, I have the chosen artists do a read through of the script (often called a “demo read”), and these are then submitted to the client in mp3 format so they can hear what the script would sound like with each artist.

Below are four demo reads which I recently presented to a client for his upcoming commercial (the actual script can be seen here). This should give you an idea of what to expect from your production company.

  1. Nancy H.
  2. Alisa Z.
  3. Alice H.

Tips for selecting the right voice

The most important thing to remember when choosing a voice is that you are choosing a representative of your company, so I always tell my clients to write down on a piece of paper the words that describe their company, and then to look back at those words when listening to the artist to see if they feel that from the voice.

For example, a car dealership might describe their company as “confident, reliable, honest…” whereas a spa might describe their company as “calm, relaxing, trust-worthy…”. Obviously these two companies require two very different types of voices.

I also recommend that my clients have at least 5 people listen to the examples–preferably people who represent the type of customer the company wants to seek out. For example, if you are a company that wants to seek out women between the ages of 45-55, it won’t do you much good if the person making the final decision is a 35 year old male. Test out the voices on the actual age demographic you wish to target, and see which voice speaks to them.

Also, think about the longevity of the voice. Studies show that commercials who use the same voice for multiple ads do better, because the viewer is already familiar with the voice being linked to the brand. For this reason, it is important to take your time selecting the voice over artist because ideally you want the same voice in future commercials.

Once you are sure you have selected the right voice (and you are sure the script doesn’t need any further changes), you have the artist do a final read through. The final recording is then cleaned up by the audio producer, a music track is sometimes introduced, and the final audio is delivered to the client for approval.

Selecting the voice of your brand may seem like a daunting task, but if you take your time and don’t rush the selection process, the end result is finding the perfect voice for your company (and yes, the perfect voice for your company does exist, so never settle for less),

If you have any questions regarding finding a voice-over artist please feel free to email me at michal@mehowdesign.com.