We Uncovered the Best Voiceover Strategies for Your Brand

Hadley Stork

Some brands know exactly why their voiceovers sound a certain way while others may need a bit more direction. For many, voiceovers are often last-minute decisions but, these seemingly small decisions can lead to a huge impact on brand affinity.

The most commonly asked question is whether to focus your voiceover choice on audience or brand identity. Let’s say your brand targets a Southern audience. Does it make more sense to use a Southern accent? If your product is inspired by French cuisine, will a French accent resonate better with consumers?

Using our third-party measurement partner, Veritonic, we got to the heart of this question.

Assessing the Impact of Creative: How Different Dialects Fared

Region

Is it better to match voiceover dialect to the targeted region or should brands consistently match its identity? This study included a fast-food brand marketing a Southern product and a sauce brand marketing a non-Southern product.

Southern Accent marketing a non-Southern product Non-Southern Accent marketing a non-Southern product Southern Accent marketing a Southern product Non-Southern Accent marketing a Southern product

We found preference highly depended on the marketed product. For the Southern product, both the general market and Southern audiences preferred the southern accent, but for the non-Southern product, both groups preferred the non-Southern accent.

Marketing a non-Southern product with a Southern accent seems inauthentic to consumers and the results demonstrate how aligning a voiceover to the marketed product or service resonates more effectively.

What this means for marketers

  • Consumers don’t necessarily prefer hearing their own accent in an ad. Instead, they respond better when the accent is authentic to the brand or product marketed. If your brand or product identity is not aligned with a specific region, it may be better to use a general market dialect for your voiceover.

Age

For brands that broadly target audiences, is it more effective to align voiceovers to different listener demographics or to stick to the brand’s identity? For this test, we looked at a streaming service and a live music app to compare a younger and older voiceover artist.

Older Artist Younger Artist

Interestingly, the results were split. Within the different age groups, there was no distinct preference for one voiceover. Consistent with the regional test findings, this supports the idea that audiences care more about a voiceover that aligns with a brand’s identity rather than one that sounds like them.

What this means for marketers

  • With a broad targeting strategy, hone in on the voiceover that speaks most to your brand identity. Consumers are more vested in a voiceover that accurately represents the brand versus sounding like them.

Multicultural

At Pandora, we have significant data about marketing to multicultural audiences. Related to voiceover decisions, marketers have been wondering about effectiveness of multicultural voiceover artists in reaching these audiences. Ulta Beauty tested this within its multicultural strategy.

General Market Creative Multicultural Creative

Interestingly, both general market and African American audiences preferred the African American voiceover, driven mostly by higher recall. Moreover, the African American audience rated the creative with an African American voiceover artist 9 points higher in emotional resonance than the beauty industry benchmark. They also rated the multicultural creative 16 points higher in recall compared to the general market creative.

These results appear to deviate from our previous findings where it was more effective to focus on the audience dialect versus brand identity. However, as our previous whitepaper found, making authentic connections with multicultural audiences is crucial to success. A multicultural voiceover will only work if the brand respects the multicultural experience, which is a reflection of the crucial brand identity.

What this means for marketers

  • Effective advertising is bound to honest portrayals of unique, diverse identities. This is exactly what Ulta Beauty did, avoiding stereotypes and leveraging relevant messaging to the African American experience. This aligns with the regional test as southern consumers responded best to the ads that felt most authentic to them.

Foreign Accent

When does it make sense to use a foreign accent in your voiceover? We compared a British accent to an American accent for an international airline company.

British Accent of an international airline company American Accent of an international airline company

Overall, listeners preferred the American accent with one exception. Listeners with a household income >$75K preferred the British accent, particularly with regard to Purchase Intent and Emotional Resonance.

What this means for marketers

  • When targeting an audience with a higher household income, a foreign accent may be a good consideration. It’s important to note the airline company was an international brand, which is why an international voiceover was applicable. Voiceover decisions should make sense for the brand as well as for the audience.

Marketer Takeaways

  • Authenticity is key! Our studies found consumer preference is tied very closely to brand authenticity. As marketers, we must strive to be as relatable and in sync with our audiences. However, it’s important to consider the impact creative decisions have such as ways close the gap with voiceover decisions?
  • Use audience insights to fuel voiceover strategy. Our studies on foreign and multicultural dialects provided insights on variables that should inform dialect decisions. Marketers should consider these insights to optimize creative to be as effective and honest as possible.