What’s My Brand?

Trying to get three careers started hasn’t been easy.  However, some things have been coming to a head on at least two of them lately.  This has brought challenges along with the excitement, because–while it’s great to see things finally coming to fruition–there’s a fair amount of stress involved with launching a career . . . not the least of which is how to brand yourself.

Branding is one of those buzz words that entered the business world lexicon a few years back and has basically stuck.  It used to just refer to a mark burned into the hides of animals, but then the advertising world used it for companies and it’s morphed over into entrepreneurs trying to make their own way in the world.  If you want people to know how to identify with you and your product, you need to know your “brand.”

Knowing my brand as an author is easy . . . I’ve always written mysteries.  Sure, my YA series falls into a subcategory of that brand, but it’s still fairly straightforward.  Finding the brand for our (my husband, Craig, and I) art and photography business was also fairly simple.  The biggest challenge there was figuring out our company name and choosing the best color scheme, but even those came quite easily to us.  We still have a challenge to pick out the best layout for our company’s personal website, but since we can start selling on Etsy, that’s something we can take our time to research properly.

But for my third career–that of voice over artist–I have NO idea how to brand myself.

The VO (voice over) class I’ve been taking these last six weeks has been about creating a good demo and website for your career.  In one of the classes, we had to come up with a mock website and an elevator pitch that accurately described ourselves.  For those of you not in the writing business, an elevator pitch is a quick 2-3 sentence speech you have at the ready for that important moment when you’re face to face with a producer, agent, or some other person who could help propel your career into the stratosphere of success.

Each of the students got a little help with the elevator pitches, because we received feedback from our fellow students (and the instructor) on how our voice sounded to them.  That was an eye-opening experience in and of itself, because I realized I was trying to make my voice sound a certain way, rather than realize my natural voice lends itself perfectly to the kinds of copy I’d prefer doing anyway.  Once I relaxed into my true voice, the elevator pitch came quite easily, too.  But the website is another matter.

The adjectives that my classmates said best described my voice were things like:

No nonsense
Straightforward
Intense
Assertive/Strong
Authoritative
Intelligent
Confident/Street Smart
Playful

These were all helpful when it came to creating my elevator pitch, but how do you design a VO website based on those attributes?

Seriously, I’m asking, because I have no idea.

My first attempt (back in class #2) was to just put a silhouette of a woman standing at a microphone, and my name on a home page.  To me, that DEFINITELY signified “No Nonsense” and “Straightforward,” but my instructor said I needed to create something else, because the microphone is done so much in the industry and it doesn’t really say who I am.  Well, I’m a married mystery writer, photographer, voice over artist, and occasional massage therapist who loves to read, travel, sing and ride her bike.  Am I supposed to incorporate all that into my VO website?

We were encouraged to look at other VO artist’s websites, and while I found some that were cute, they didn’t seem to say “Voice Over Artist” to me.  One was an animated version of a woman in her kitchen, baking cupcakes.  Each of the cupcakes was a link to a piece of her demo (commercials, animation, audiobooks, etc).  It was cute, for sure, but it just doesn’t seem to be a great tie-in to voice overs, in my opinion.

So, I’m sitting here, on the verge of finally beginning my voice over career and completely unsure how to brand myself.  If I could handle the pain, I’d consider getting a tattoo that said “VO.”  You know, like back in the old ranch days?

Of course, if I branded myself that way with each of the careers I’m working on, I’d be one heavily tattooed heifer.  😉

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. HSS
    Nov 08, 2013 @ 09:44:48

    Hey Alyx, this is so timely. ‘What is my brand’ is the most exasperating question to answer for any one. We each are so many different people depending on the role we play that it’s hard to carve out a piece of our selves in order to ‘brand’ it.

    Maybe the way to look at this is how you want to be portrayed and how to show that visually. Here’s where all that writing helps; what details show all those wonderful adjectives your fellow students said about your voice. Certainly, I can think of a website with clean lines, strong images, lots of white, black letters, with a playful flourish of colour. Maybe since this is about voice over work, you could have an audio file of you talking?

    I’m sure you will hear from the more creative people how better to do this. Harder to do for myself though. Why is it so much easier to brainstorm for some one else.

    I do like your idea of a VO made into an olde fashioned brand as a symbol. I know you meant it as a jest but it got me thinking of what symbol I could use for my brand. But first I have to figure what that is!! Yikes!!

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Nov 08, 2013 @ 11:33:37

      You’re right, Helen. It’s difficult & unfair to try to pigeonhole any of us into a quick image or elevator pitch, because we’re all so versatile.

      I like your suggestions just fine, Helen, & they’re actually quite in line with my thoughts. Thank you for them. And good luck to you in finding your own brand. 🙂

      Reply

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