When choosing a spokesperson for your brand, there are many factors to consider beyond how good of an actor someone is or what their voice sounds like. Your spokesperson isn’t just presenting your brand, they are representing it, and as such they should embody the message you’re trying to get across. Luckily, we’ve broken down the process and provided some examples of what’s worked for brands, and ways to discern what might work for you.
Before you even begin auditioning possible spokespeople, you should have a clear vision for what your brand’s identity is, who your target audience is, and what the message is for your campaign. Take some time to write out clear answers to all of these questions, this will help to crystallize what kind of spokesperson you should be seeking. Finding the right match for your message is more important than whether you choose a male, female, American or international accent.
Research shows that men’s voices are considered more forceful, while women’s voices are considered to be more soothing, but both genders are roughly equally persuasive. These results show that both men and women can represent almost any industry as long as the campaign is carefully thought out. For example, many insurance companies choose to use male spokesmen because men’s voices are considered to be more “neutral” and “factual”. However, that didn’t stop Progressive insurance from choosing a female spokesperson to play the character Flo, and Flo has been a wild success for Progressive, driving sales and even accumulating her own fan-base. Why? It might be because Flo’s character is all about her bubbly enthusiasm for car insurance – things that are usually more strongly associated with women. Progressive chose the right spokesperson for their specific campaign, not for the general industry, and it has proven to be the right decision.
What about if you’re selling a stereotypically gendered product and you know that you want a male or female to represent your brand to best appeal to your target customers, how do you choose the right person? Now here’s where specific voice and physical characteristics come into play. Let’s compare two campaigns that both were selling to a target audience of men but which chose totally different people as their spokesmen. Old Spice picked Isaiah Mustafa to play their “man your man could smell like” in their wildly popular commercials. Now consider the Dos Equis beer campaign featuring “the most interesting man in the world”. Both companies want to sell to men of all ages, and both companies use tales of an adventurous and exciting life to do so. The difference is that Old Spice uses a young, baritone-voiced man to sell activity and attraction – two things men might hope a deodorant can help them with in their busy lives. Meanwhile, Dos Equis is selling an image of sophistication – an impression that even a young man out at a bar might hope to make. Once again, it doesn’t matter what you are selling, finding a creative way to relate your core brand values to your target audience is what counts.
As far as accents go, it used to be that British accents represented worldliness and formality, while American accents were more down to earth and fun. However, in recent years, the American accent has become more standard and might now be a good choice for an international campaign. Overall, matching your spokesperson’s accent to your target audience is considered good practice unless your specific character has a reason to be from elsewhere. If you do go for a British accent, just be careful to get the right one to suit your campaign, as studies show that prejudices and stereotypes can play against certain regional accents. There is no one right spokesperson for every company, but luckily there is also no shortage of talented actors and voiceover artists to choose from. Once you’ve got a firm grasp of what your campaign is trying to project, then finding the right person to represent you becomes much easier.Have any tips on finding the perfect brand spokesperson? Share with us, in the comments below.