The Sound Of Business Part 4
STEPS TO CREATING YOUR SONIC PERSONALITY©
1. List all the human attributes inherent in your business personality. An accounting firm may want to project stability, reliability, and a conventional outlook - think the avuncular voice of Walter Cronkite. An advertising agency might want to deliver a hip, cutting edge, in your face creative personality - think the edgy delivery of Chris Rock or Dennis Leary. Now before you get all excited and start shouting, 'how I am I going to afford these guys?' the answer is you don't. There are great voice actors available at very reasonable prices that can project the desired style and delivery.
2. What are the audio qualities of the Signature Voice? Do you want a man or a woman, or a combination of both? Do you want a deep base voice full of conviction, a snooty British accent dripping in condescension, or a comic rapid-fire patter aimed to amuse and entertain? When we created the MassiveRecordProductions.com (http://www.massiverecordproductions.com) project, we required a smart-alec wise-guy approach, in the vain of Dennis Miller. In this case, the actual accent of the voice was less important than the delivery.
3. What kind of language, phrasing, and cadence is required to give the Signature Voice its personality? When we were looking for a Signature Voice for a DVD that was to be used at the Winter Baseball Meetings, we decided on a combination of Dizzy Dean and Mel Allen. The key was that 'good ole boy' southern charm conveyed through a combination of baseball jargon, phrasing, and dialect. We weren't looking for someone to imitate Dizzy Dean, just someone who could deliver the essence of Dizzy's love for the game.
4. Wet or Dry? Have you ever watched one of those 'The Making of ?' documentaries on a how a movie was made? Sometimes they will show you a scene with dialog but no music or sound effects. It's really very flat, even with the actors doing their dramatic best. Voice without music or sound effects is called a 'Dry' delivery. When the effects and the music are added in postproduction, the scene delivers real emotional impact. The music and f/x provide emotional clues and memory hooks.
5. Write the script. I find having the voice in my head is a great help in writing the script. Whether you're shooting for Sidney Greenstreet or Rod Serling, the cadence, phrasing, and language are what makes the script come alive, and creates the Sonic Personality© that will represent your company. Unrelated to the actual voice but definitely of importance to the script, is the point of view. The script should not be about you, it should be about how your audience can benefit from knowing you. Don't fall into the trap of focusing on you and listing a bunch of product or service features. Talk about what you can do for your audience, and in that way you will make a real connection.
6. Audition the talent. Once you have a script, it's time to audition a number of voices to find the one that fits the Sonic Personality© you are looking for, and of course the price you are willing to pay. We generally have 50 to 100 people audition for each script. We then narrow the search down to the two or three best voices that fit the audio and budget requirements and present them to our client.
7. Implement on the Web. Once the voice audio is complete, music and sound effects can be added as needed. The audio tracks are then cut into digestible clips, compressed, and converted into appropriate implementible files. The Sonic Personality© program can be delivered on a website, or a DVD or CD presentation.
The Proof Is In The Toaster
In a world of mental clutter, 'information anxiety', and low attention spans, Sonic Personality© will become the next big weapon in webmedia presentation and marketing. But let's say you're still not convinced even after reading the four installments of 'The Sound of Business.' Let me show you exactly how Sonic Personality© can work in a practical example, but you have to promise to participate.
Take a sticky note or a plain piece of paper and place a big question mark on it. Under the question mark draw a line. Now place the piece of paper in your daily agenda two weeks from today. In two weeks, I want you to write down on that piece of paper the name of the fictitious product in the example we are going to create. If you can remember the product's name, Sonic Personality© has done its job.
Here's the setup. There are certain things in life that are very personal, the way you dress, how you comb your hair, the way you take your coffee, and how you like your toast. There is nothing worse (well of course there is) than waking up on a Saturday morning, taking the last two slices of bread, placing them in the toaster, and in several minutes find you have what can best be described as a 'burnt offering.' There is definitely a need here that needs to be filled.
Our made-up client is a small appliance company who has created a toaster that audibly warns you what setting your toaster is on as soon as you put your bread in it. This product has appeal for anyone who has been irritated by ruined toast. The client isn't sure what kind of Sonic Personality© they want to present, so we create a series of Sonic Demo Spots.
Click on the link below to hear the various sonic demo spots, each with its own Sonic Personality©. Don't forget to create your two-week reminder and if you remember the name of the product, you should start thinking about how to implement your own Sonic Personality© campaign.
About the Author: Jerry Bader, is a partner in MRPwebmedia, a website design firm that specializes in creating multimedia websites with audio, video, Flash, and interactive elements. MRPwebmedia developed the Sonic Personalities© concept using custom-crafted voice-overs. Phone (905) 764-1246 and visit http://www.sonicpersonality.com and http://www.mrpwebmedia.com.