Sound Branding Term 5: Brand Voice

Thanks to the feedback from Tim Noonan, voice branding expert from Australia, this definition has been  improved:

Brand Voice is the voice that best reflects the ‘personality’ and brand values for a product, service or organisation. The most important aspects during the selection process of the brand voice are accent, gender, perceived age, tone, pitch, volume, rhythm and recognition value. Once a brand voice is chosen it is crucial to obtain exclusive usage rights, at least for your field of business, if not your brand voice could even harm your brand, particularly if the same voice is used for your competition, thus diluting or distorting your brand.

When selecting the Brand Voice the same voice should be considered for use across multiple channels associated with the brand, such as automated telephone services, advertising, instructional audio and of course within the product itself, if it is self-voicing.

What is better:  a voice talent or an actor?……

In order to convey a more authentic and natural brand expression, In most cases It is preferable to find a voice talent who naturally expresses the brand values and desired accent/dialect, rather than relying on performance or character acting skills. There are exceptions to this principle, such as in animation and Sci-Fi films – the voices of Babe and ET, and the robot named Number 5 in Short Circuit are some notable examples.

For more information: Belin, Fecteau, Bedard (2004): Thinking the voice: neural correlates of voice perception, TRENDS. in Cognitive Sciences, Nr. 8, 03/2004.

Do you agree or disagree with this definition? Is anything missing in the definition we use? Please post your ideas in the comments section.

Advertisements

5 responses to “Sound Branding Term 5: Brand Voice

  1. I’ve been reflecting on the above definition proposed for Brand Voice – it’s very good – particularly its emphasis on reflecting brand values. As a Vocal Branding consultant, it is very clear to me that while a lot of people are in the voice business, very few work from a sound philosophical branding basis, largely recycling and perpetuating long-held conventions of vocal style coming out of radio etc. I discuss these and other voice brand issues on my Vocal Branding site and blog http://www.vocalbranding.com.au

    Below I offer an expanded and extended version of the original definition, plus some thoughts on its last paragraph. My version may be considered too long and unduly tutorial in nature, so I would value perspectives on it.

    “Brand Voice is the voice that best reflects the ‘personality’ and brand values for a product, service or organisation. The most important aspects during the selection process of the brand voice are accent, gender, perceived age, tone, pitch, volume, rhythm and recognition value. Once a brand voice is chosen it is crucial to obtain exclusive usage rights, at least for your field of business, if not your brand voice could even harm your brand, particularly if the same voice is used for your competition, thus diluting or distorting your brand.

    When selecting the Brand Voice the same voice should be considered for use across multiple channels associated with the brand, such as automated telephone services, advertising, instructional audio and of course within the product itself, if it is self-voicing.

    In order to convey a more authentic and natural brand expression, In most cases It is preferable to find a voice talent who naturally expresses the brand values and desired accent/dialect, rather than relying on performance or character acting skills. There are exceptions to this principle, such as in animation and Sci-Fi films – the voices of Babe and ET, and the robot named Number 5 in Short Circuit are some notable examples.”

    [I am not sure if the following paragraph is necessary, because I don’t think the terms mentioned are in wide usage or are clear enough stand-alone. And although I’ve read the article cited, I’m not convinced it sufficiently explains these terms.

    Good references on voice are very hard to find, so I think the reference should be left in.]

    Recommend for deletion:
    “In more detail…a voice can be analysed in the following aspects: voice structure, vocal speech, vocal affect and voice recognition.”

    Recommended to retain:

    “For more information: Belin, Fecteau, Bedard (2004): Thinking the voice: neural correlates of voice perception, TRENDS. in Cognitive Sciences, Nr. 8, 03/2004.”

    Thanks for this great resource and for considering these suggestions.

    Tim Noonan
    Vocal Branding Australia

    • Thanks Tim for your feedback. I think the first paragraph is the best definition I’ve seen so far :)
      Tim, thanks a lot for your suggestion – you’re the voice branding expert :) I am going to change the term. For the records here is the original post (created on 9 July, 2010):
      “Brand Voice is the voice that best reflects the brand values. The most important aspects during the selection process of the brand voice are tone, pitch, volume, rhythm and recognition value. Once a brand voice is chosen it is crucial to obtain exclusive usage rights, at least for your field of business, if not your brand voice could even harm your brand.
      In more detail…a voice can be analyzed in the following items: voice structure, vocal speech, vocal affect and voice recognition. For more information: Belin, Fecteau, Bedard (2004): Thinking the voice: neural correlates of voice perception, TRENDS. in Cognitive Sciences, Nr. 8, 03/2004.
      Do you agree or disagree with this definition? Is anything missing in the definition we use? Please post your ideas in the comments section.”
      Thanks again Tim for your input!
      Karlheinz
      PS I think your comment about “voice talent vs character acting skills” is very important.

  2. The psychology involved in making an impeccable statement is no easy task for any promotions agency. What I pick up though from all parties involved is that every person has their own distinct voice. But that talent should be channeled in the right manner. some people translate a red bold words on email as shouting, while someone elase perceives it as emphasize. Branding agency need not make the mistake of being misread by their audiences. with that in mind making a good impression results in long term relationships with their customers.

  3. Thank you for this wonderful blog.
    I’ve been helping a wide range of professionals distinguish themselves through their voice. I describe this as voice image building. I guess this is a form of personal vocal branding, although I don’t like to use the word brand for individuals. Any thoughts on this?

    • Dear Sadhana,
      thanks for your feedback. Unfortunately I’ve been very busy over the last months so I haven’t bloged in a while :(

      From my perspective I talk about Sound Branding and how corpoations can use it to build a strong brand. One objective is to have a clear image. An important aspect in the acoustic world is voice, hence I would always argue that it is very important for a company to use the same voice character over a long period of time. The voice character should be selected on the basis of the brand values.

      You speak about a single person. I can live with the understanding that a person can be considered as a brand, however; I understand if that is a bit strange to you. In your case I would talk about “personal voice charachter” which is a part of the personal image.

      Hope this helps!

      All the best,
      Karlheinz

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s