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Branding: A Crucial Step to Marketing
Who You Are and What You Do
 
Voice actor and marketing visionary Frank "The Voice" Frederick has written and recorded an important e-book and audiobook for voice actors: Love Notes - Personal Branding Imaging and Marketing for VO Artists. The following article is an excerpt from Chapter One: Evolution.
 
By Frank Frederick
Voice Actor & Marketing Consultant
©2007 Legend Corporation
 
Your personal brand identifies who you are, what you do, and suggests a promise of what you can do for other people.
 
This is done by delivering a pledge of confidence, quality, and customer service.
 
A personal brand is a perception which exists in the mind of the consumer. It is the view of your client or potential client as to the value of your reputation. Brands create an indelible impression which is fundamentally striking.
 
Defining yourself with a brand is a step toward expediting performance in business.
 
YOUR REPUTATION
 
What is a personal brand?
 
A brand is defined as “The name, sound, symbol, or sign used to identify items or services of a seller. A brand differentiates those goods from the goods of competitors." 
 
In the business of the voice-over artist, we each have developed a reputation which precedes us. Every person we meet will form an opinion about who we are, how we perform our jobs, and the scope of what our service business means.
 
This reputation is our personal brand. It encompasses the words we use to describe ourselves to others.
 
The challenge is to engineer the identity of your brand, so that the opinions of clients are always affirmative ones.
 
YOUR 'VALUE'
 
A brand is an asset, an intangible asset, but an asset none-the-less. 
 
Yet a brand may also be a liability. Brands and their brand owners are inextricably linked, as the brand adds or subtracts from the perceived value or image of a product or service.
 
This is an important point. A brand may not necessarily be a positive asset. Since the value of a brand is based upon opinions of the way customers and clients view your image, if the product image is not a positive one, or a customer has a poor experience with your company, an asset may turn into a liability.
 
SHAPES PERCEPTIONS
 
Why create a brand identity? For a voice-over talent, the brand left with our clients is our reputation and has certain behaviors.
 
These perceptions, for example:
 
1. Inspire credibility.
2. Develop strong client loyalty.
3. Target a fixed message in the hearts and minds of clients and customers. 
4. Allow us to be consistent in our marketing efforts.
5. Let us adapt services to reflect our brand image.
6. Fixate emotional bonds.
7. Separate ourselves from the competition.
8. Bring out our personal message quickly and clearly.
 
This is pretty dry stuff is it not? The fact is that brands are not fun. They are a lot of hard work.
 
It takes time to develop the right brand and brand identity, form a strategy, and manage the implementation of a brand. The success or failure of a brand also takes time, effort, and knowledge of your market and your position within the marketplace.
 
THE NEXT STEP
 
Is there life after the brand?
 
You bet there is; it is the next step in personal branding and it is called LoveNotes. If you are ready to go beyond the brand, you will first need to know the basics of branding and this is where you find it; and you will learn how to:
  • create an Identity Statement for yourself and your business;
  • develop a strategy for your brand implementation;
  • become an architect and a brick mason, laying down the ‘building blocks’ for your brand image;
  • manage how your brand works, and focus on areas which will show the most success time after time; 
  • give your customers and clients the kind of service which will keep them coming back again and again; and 
  • have your competition ‘scratching their heads’ and wondering why they just recommended you for a job, instead of taking it themselves.
HOW BRAND HELPS
 
Why do you need a personal brand? Clients and the public want something with which they can immediately identify.
 
It may be something as familiar as that old pair of shoes you just cannot throw away, and something which appeals to their values and draws them into a world of magic and of mystery.
 
Here are just a few of the many reasons why you need one today.
 
1. Spotlight the type of clients you desire. Do you desire a specific type of client? Imaging clients for radio and television, perhaps? Maybe you desire high-end, upscale narration, character; or commercial clients.
 
Are you cultivating clients in a specific area or market? Crafting your brand is the best way to attract their attention.
 
2. Earning potential increases when you have moved to the next step in branding. Your personal brand positions you as one of the “movers and shakers” in your area of expertise. As such, you will be able to demand higher fees.
 
3. Business 'highs and lows' disappear. Once you have a brand identity, your name, expertise, and strengths are differentiated. Instead of chasing after business, it will come to you in a steadier flow because you have a focused message which reaches a client's ‘buy buttons’.
 
4. Branding brings credibility and awareness. The right brand creates awareness. In the voice-over business if you are well-known, then you must be good. The market gives your ideas and talents more prestige and credibility, thus increasing your perceived value.
 
5. Increased perceived value. Brands convey respect, honesty, and knowledge. This will enhance fees and sales.
 
BRAND IDENTITY
 
As a client develops a relationship with you, he/she will believe your talent adds intrinsic value to his/her product or service. More than a brand, you need a Brand Identity, which clearly and concisely identifies you to your market.
 
The brand is a good starting point, but there is so much more to consider:
  • What does your voice-over business stand for?
  • What promises are you making to your potential clients and current ones too?
  • How are you positioning yourself in their memories; what memories does your Brand Identity bring to their minds?
With the Love Notes e-book, you are about to take the Doctoral level class in branding, and it can be fun.
 
Frank Frederick is a veteran voice actor, producer, engineer, director and industry entrepreneur. His passion for marketing led to writing Love Notes, which details how to create your personal voice-over brand and market your skills - including a 30-day Marketing Program (to repeat every month!) The e-book is available for download at $12.95. The audiobook version - a three CD set - costs $22.95 plus shipping. Both are payable via PayPal to: Candlepro@yahoo.com. To order, please contact Frederick by email (below).
 
Email: frankf@xmission.com; 801-759-2996
 
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