We love to over complicate things in advertising. So, if you only remember one thing from this article, make it this: the difference between a good campaign and a great campaign is often as simple as using a consistent voice.
By doing less work and not recasting each ad, you can actually make your campaign more memorable and more effective. All you have to do is find a distinctive voice and stick to your guns.
Humans aren’t always super rational when it comes to our purchasing behaviour. So, the more we can do to make people like and trust a brand the better. And a consistent voice goes a long way in building that trust and making a brand feel dependable.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but a brand’s personality is communicated through the personality you choose. The more we hear from a brand, the more opinions, ideas, and assumptions we have about the brand. So, when we hear from a new voice each time a brand speaks to us, it’s like hanging out with someone who’s in a suit one day, swimmers the next, and occasionally dons a 15th century suit of medieval armour. Which, as you can imagine, makes it very hard to figure out what this person’s all about and form the kind of relationship we strive to create for our clients.
The power of using a consistent voice is that the audience will naturally begin to associate it with a brand. So, the second your brand speaks, people will immediately recall the thoughts and feelings they have about the brand. And that’s before the ad has mentioned who the message is coming from, or what you’re selling. All your previous ads are now paying (even more) dividends.
But as I write this, there are only a handful of brands who are benefiting from the audio shorthand of a consistent voice. Meaning we’re all missing out on creating some serious brand equity. But not only that, we’re essentially starting each ad from square one each time – instead of square three, twelve, or, in some terrific cases like Motel 6, square seven hundred and nine (probably).
So, who’s using a constant voice over to incredible success?
For a whopping 31 years, the charming Tom Bodet has been telling people that Motel 6 will ‘leave the light on for ya’. This consistency has made the Motel 6 brand a friendly, no-fuss, household name and inseparable from Tom Bodet’s folksy, down-to-earth persona and loveable dad-humour. As well as all their advertising, Tom’s also the voice you’ll hear on your wake-up call.
Motel 6 – Millennials
Motel 6 – Keys
Motel 6 – Facelift
American author, storyteller, humorist, and radio personality Garrison Keillor lent his voice to Honda for 15 years. In 2002, we put him forward as a wild card casting idea for Weiden + Kennedy, and given it was a UK campaign for a Japanese car we didn’t hold out much hope. But as you can hear, everything just worked.
If you don’t know his name, you’ll definitely know his voice. For almost a decade Jony Ives has introduced every new Apple product to the world. As such, Apple is now synonymous with his softly-spoken passion, intelligence, and humanity.
Traditionally, telecommunications is a rather stale category. But David Smyth’s Irish accent and personable tone has become a household name in Australia. That’s right, an Irish accent for an Australian brand. Not an obvious choice but one that has transformed iinet from a regular telco into a friend you’ve known for years (who just happens to know a bit about the internet).
So, how do you find a consistent voice?
One way is to simply keep using the voice you’ve been using. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – as the saying goes.
Another way is to plan ahead. If you’re thinking you want to tap into the tremendous amount of benefits of using a constant voice for your brand, it makes perfect sense to cast the net far and wide and spend time getting it right. You’re unlikely to find this perfect person in the same place everyone else is looking.
Earcasting, the voice casting division of Eardrum, has been unearthing the more interesting and memorable brand voices for over three decades. Each week, the Earcasting team venture out to comedy clubs, local theatres and drama school grad shows so you don’t have to. As a result, they have an unrivalled database of distinctive voices to carry your campaign for a long time.