Choosing a voice-over artist for your video is not just a matter of finding someone who speaks and articulates well, because the person you choose to deliver your message automatically becomes your brand ambassador. How your audience perceives and responds to that voice will impact how they perceive your product, too. Deciding on the right voice-over talent for your video means going beyond considering just a male or female voice, and includes looking at the qualities of the voice, the content and intent of your video, and who your audience is.
You might think that the first thing you have to determine is whether to go with a male or female voice. The oft-quoted 2010 Adweek and Harris Interactive study shares some interesting insights on this matter. The study found that 48% of respondents found the male voice to be more authoritative and forceful, while 46% perceived the female voice to be more soothing and caring. However, almost half of respondents indicated that gender did not matter either way when it came to which voice is more authoritative, caring, or persuasive.
Because about half of people think that a male voice is more authoritative, and most of the rest think that it doesn’t matter, if you want to sell computers or cars, you might want to go with a male voice. The low-pitched male voice was also found to work well with senior citizens. But, if you are trying to sell a self-help program, a more “caring” female voice would probably be a better fit.
It also seems that matching the gender of the voice-over artist to the gender of the target market (like using a female voice for a cosmetics product) usually gets the best results. As for the children’s market, an energetic and expressive voice is best at capturing their attention.
Here is a brief list of qualities or characteristics to consider when choosing a voice-over talent:
- Pitch – If you are targeting a specific demographic, such as senior citizens, the pitch of the voice is crucial to ensure that your main points are heard.
- Tone – Do you need your voice to be serious, enthusiastic, or compassionate?
- Enunciation – The ability to pronounce words clearly.
- Modulation – The ability to vary the voice so that it becomes more expressive and engaging.
- Accent – Whether it is a regional, American, or British accent, choose an accent that your audience can relate to.
Beyond the technical merits of the voice, you should also consider if the artist’s voice sounds unique, has good reading flow and rhythm, and is well-suited for your video. For example, if you are telling a story in your ad, a presenter-style voice will not work well. Some artists are good at story-telling, which requires a flexible and expressive voice to impart the dramatic elements of the story and imbue character into the narration. Others may excel at being cheery, positive, and inspiring, or serious, calm, and measured.
One way to find the right voice to match the needs of your video is to make a list of emotions that describe your brand, and then find the voice-over artist that can deliver them for you. Identifying the right voice-over artist for you may well come down to how well you understand your brand.
If you decide to create a video with us, we have a variety of male and female voice talent that we work with regularly, and we can also find someone outside our standard options to fulfill specific requests. Let us know if you have any questions for us, or if you’d like more information.