“It’s all about the voice”. If, like me, you’ve been one of the millions of people watching BBC1’s ‘The Voice’ you’ll have become well accustomed with this phrase that the hosts and coaches have repeatedly drilled home since the opening blind auditions. The Voice’s USP is placing the importance on having a unique voice that would be instantly recognisable on the radio rather than letting appearances influence the decision. Well what if we were to apply what Jessie J et al. have been doing with singers to ads? Is enough attention being given to how ads sound and crucially how to ensure that they make an appealing first impression that gets listeners sitting up and taking note?
Developing a distinctive voice is one way in which you can bring your brand to life. Feedback we’ve gleaned from listeners through RadioGAUGE has shown how people often don’t like having to work too hard to figure out who is speaking to them. Advertisers such as Honda don’t have that problem. As soon as you hear the dulcet tones of Garrison Keillor you know straight away that it’s Honda talking to you. There’s no need for them to spend time setting up the brand, instead they can get straight into delivering their message and what they have to offer.
Like all the hopefuls on The Voice, song selection can be a crucial decision for brands too. Pick the right song and you will be able to create an instant connection with the audience that translates the positive emotional attachment they have with the song on to your brand. Carphone Warehouse is a current example of an advertiser doing just that. They’ve used the soundtrack from The Wombles as backing to their ‘Waste’ campaign and tap into the emotional heritage of our childhood associations with those characters. This has enabled them to create a brand proposition which sets them apart from their competitors and creates a distinctive tone for the campaign.
The use of music can help set the feel of the ad but how brands actually deliver their message is equally as vital. Often the way we speak has a greater effect than what we are actually saying. Tone of voice can be central to building appeal for your brand. An advertiser who understands the importance of this is Heinz. They utilise a crop of ‘Best of British’ voices including the likes of Tim Healy and Larry Lamb to Alison Steadman and Sheridan Smith talking about classic ‘Heinz’ scenarios that listeners can relate to and that perfectly encapsulate what the Heinz brand represents.
Of course, all of this isn’t to say that the image of your brand isn’t important (as we are seeing with The Voice as it progresses through its live shows and becomes more about the ‘whole package’) but remember that the voice of your brand shouldn’t be underestimated.
Our challenge to advertisers out there is to ensure the voice of your brand is given the due care and consideration it deserves. After all, it could be the element of your campaign that captures the imagination of the audience, causing them to “turn their chair around” and select you.
Be inspired by all things audio including an interview with Steve Sitwell (2012 D&D Radio judge and Musical Director of The Voice): http://www.dandad.org/inspiration/inspired-by/rab
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