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How To Create Your Unique Voice Over
Brand: What Everyone Will Identify As YOU
July 11, 2017

By Jean-Marc Berne

Voice Actor/Narrator, Coach, Producer

How do you brand your voice as a voice over talent? And what is branding in the first place? 

Branding is the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.

An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. 

Branding is something that you can clearly identify, like the McDonald's golden arches or the taste of Coca-Cola. You know exactly what those golden arches look like and what Coca-Cola tastes like.   

The same concept can be applied to your voice. By creating a brand for your voice you are putting forth your essence, something that people can clearly identify. And by doing so, you are distinguishing yourself from other voice over artists who sound like you in pitch, tone, delivery and vocal age range.  


But how do you get to your essence and create an effective brand for your voice?   

Your essence will stem from three things: 
  1. How you perceive yourself
  2. How others perceive you
  3. How you would like to be perceived by others  
Now imagine the above as three circles that intersect in the middle. That point where all three circles intersect, that's going to be the basis for your brand.   


Start this process with a series of branding exercises. 

Answer questions about yourself, how you perceive yourself, and how you would like to be perceived by others. 

By going through this process, you determine where you see yourself in the voice over market now, so that you can create a road map to get to where you want to be in the marketplace. 

For example, you may perceive yourself as being funny and quirky, but you would also like for others to perceive you as the badass superhero.  

Then, send questions to a core group of 10-15 people that know you well. This should be a mix of friends, family members and people in the industry whom you can count on to give you feedback. 


Based on the combination of answers that you give and that others provide, a pattern starts to emerge.  

So let's say that the adjectives that come up the most in the branding answers are: "funny and quirky." But you would also like to have the "badass superhero" as part of your brand. 

Then, you would find a way to work that into your branding statement.  

Take, for example, one of my star students, Issa Deas. He's a guy with a deep, 'Voice of God'.  He sounds like a young James Earl Jones, so his voice has authority and gravitas.  But at the same time, he's super funny.  

So after walking him through a series of branding exercises, we came up with the following branding statement:  
"If James Earl Jones and Will Smith had a baby."  
With this statement, you get a clear idea of what his voice sounds like - deep, with authority, and a sense of his character: hip and funny.  


This branding statement becomes the basis for all Issa's marketing and communications.  Everything from his voice over demos, his emails, to his website and business cards are brand-centric. 

This creates consistency in all his communications and in how he presents himself to the world. Casting directors, producers, agents and managers don't waste time sending him auditions that don't fit his brand. And Issa doesn't waste time auditioning for projects that aren't a good fit for him.  
Note: Issa has been landing steady voice work, including national TV and Internet commercials for Hennessy and Honey Bunches of Oats / Pixar, plus roles in video games, "The Division" and "NBA 2016-2017" to name a few. 

And he's continuing to build his brand with his own vocal musings, titled: "Cynical Sentiments," among other great projects he's in the process of developing.  See  


As you can see, there's a lot of power in having a strong brand. 
  • It's what differentiates you from the pack, in a good way.
  • It's what elevates you from the voice over crowd. 
  • It's what separates you from those who want to be everything to everyone. 
Instead of being generic, you're being specific, and you're letting your personality shine through every communication, and every performance. 

And in the process, you're putting money where your mouth is.
Your voice is your brand. Make it powerful.
Jean-Marc Berne is president of Berne Media Enterprises, a bilingual, English-Spanish creative media consulting company based in New York. He is also a busy voice talent, voice over coach, international professional speaker, singer-songwriter, and author of the book, The Heart-Voice Connection: How To Infuse Your Message With Real Emotions. He is the voice over coach for the Disney Channel animated series The Octonauts, and creative consultant for print and radio ads for HUD, the National Fair Housing Alliance, the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, and the National Crime Prevention Council. He is also a Spanish-English audiobook narrator (Negocios and La Fiesta Del Chivo), and commercial voice over clients include Bud Light, McDonald's, Western Union, Timberland, Pollo Loco, McKinsey, Pfizer, VNSNY, Xfinity, NFHA, and HUD to name a few. As a voice over coach, he has created a series of workshops (Power Marketing for the Voice Actor, Intro to Voice Over Technique, Spanish Voice Over Technique and Kids Voice Over Technique). His new 12-session online group coaching series for public speakers, Power Up Your Voice, begins July 12 (see details link below).


Power Up Your Voice - Group Coaching begins July 12


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Comments (1)
Jim Conlan
7/11/2017 at 2:04 PM
There needs to be more of this kind of stuff in considering how we promote ourselves. Too many voice talent have either no brand or consider themselves all things to all people. Regrettably, talent agents abet the all-things approach, because they want their clients to be available for the broadest spectrum of available work. This is not the way to build a brand.

Now, Jean-Marc... considering the breadth of your own experience - what's your brand?
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