Entries Tagged as 'advertising'

VO Agent Alliance Shows What They Are All About

Anyone who reads this blog regularly (which mathematically is equal to 100 x 0) knows that I love great marketing and even more, great graphic design that supports that marketing.

All new organizations fully understand how important it is to make sure your target audience knows who you are, what your name is and what you can do for them.

Marketing people in those new companies know you should never stop doing that. Ever.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Sadly, you don’t see that combination of great marketing and graphic design a lot in the voiceover industry…until recently.

The 15 voiceover agencies who comprise the VO Agent Alliance, a new collective of vetted professional voiceover talent agencies operating individually but committed as a group to the highest standards the industry has to offer, understands the importance of audio AND visual marketing

If you haven’t seen their posts on their social media pages like Facebook, you missed some pretty great examples of how to get a voiceover branding message across to your audience in a visually memorable way.

GOING TO WAR

A little background – the VO Agent Alliance was formed after a disreputable Canadian voiceover pay-to-play company secured venture capital money to, among other things, acquire a major California-based voiceover lead generation service in August 2017. The lead generation service was a significant marketing tool for voiceover agents but now with new owners, who have been found to skim money from voice talents to keep for the company coffers as part of their P2P division, Alliance agents did not want to be associated in any way with the voiceover lead generation service’s new owners.

Thus, the VO Agent Alliance was formed bringing together long time voiceover agency owners, smart business professionals, who were not going to take an attack from a disreputable Canadian voiceover pay-to-play company on their voiceover agency businesses sitting down. Well that’s my view on the situation, anyway.

VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Together we can do it

“VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Together we can do it”

So the war poster motif (a design style most popular in the states during World War II) now seen in these graphics seem really apropos for the VO Agent Alliance. Plus, I just think they are super fun, creative and memorable.

VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Support Them

VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Support Them

VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Quote Correct

VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Quote Correct

VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Double Submitted

VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Double Submitted

The only critique I have about these WWII-era-like posters is that there should have been some kind of tag or logo tie in either with the #Voicestrong movement or with the VO Agent Alliance wordmark or website address.

For example, I grabbed one of their posters and branded it just a little more and it looks like this.

VO AGENT ALLIANCE The Good Guys

VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE The Good Guys

Just a little extra branding to make the purpose of these posters a little clearer. But again, great overall work on the creative by the VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE .

IT’S THE 1950’s ALL OVER AGAIN

Most of us have seen the memes with the mid-Century looking clip art. It’s been done, right?

But the reason it’s been done and gets done again is because it gets people’s attention. People look. People read. People react. All of which is a marketer’s and new business owner’s dream.

VO AGENT ALLIANCE No junk auditions

These particular pieces from the VO Agent Alliance score high with me because they tie in the group’s brand and web address, giving people who are unfamiliar with the new group place to search and learn

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Get paid properly

VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Get paid properly

INFOGRAPHICS

I’m sure most folks understand the purpose of infographics but just by way of brief explanation for those who do not, infographics are a way to share fairly involved messages in a more interesting way than just paragraphs. Inforgraphics help tell the story of message (often times complex but not always) through the creative use of words, typography, graphics and color.

These information style seems to have really become popular in the last 5 years…but that’s just my novice opinion — someone smarter (anyone smarter) can give you better details than me.

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Diminishing Returns

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Diminishing Returns

Be that as it may, my friends at the VO Agent Alliance have also used infographics as a way to break down their messages and service in a more understandable way. While a bit of creative whimsy may be taken by the reader in the first two sets of graphic examples, like it’s genre, the VO Agent Alliance infographics are pretty much all business.

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Voiceover Pain Scale

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Voiceover Pain Scale

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Voiceover Choices

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Voiceover Choices

There are some others that are also swell, but I just wanted to share some of my favorites as a way to maybe help you rethink some of your visual branding. Not so much to steal any ideas here but maybe as an inspiration for an idea to help you convey your voiceover business messages to your clients across a spectrum of marketing channels.

Hope this helps.

with 235 stations, entercom doesn’t need to shout anymore

Entercom Logo change audioconnell

With the announcement on November 17 that Entercom Communications Corp. (“Entercom”) (NYSE: ETM) had completed its with CBS Radio Inc. (“CBS Radio”), the Pennsylvania-based media and entertainment company now boasts 235 radio stations in most of the biggest markets in the country. These include historic stations like WCBS AM/FM & WINS-AM in New York, KROQ-FM in Los Angeles and WBBM AM/FM in Chicago.

So with all these new stations, Entercom decided it needed to tweak it’s branding, in part, by redesigning its logo.

Gone is the stylized small “e” in the diamond and the all caps, italicized word mark, replaced by a diamond-less small “e” and a very basic sans-serif in upper and lower case. Purple is the main color now.

So what does this all mean?

Well in the grand scheme of things, not much. Except I think Entercom is changing its branding message.

Prior to the CBS merger, it feels to me like the old logo was saying “we’re a player, we’re a company that’s working to be a truly major player in media, specifically radio.”

Now, with all of these major new stations, totaling a whopping 235 radio stations across America, the simpler – actually more boring logo in my opinion, says “we ARE a player and we don’t have to shout from the roof tops…if you’re advertising in radio, you’re going to need (not want) to speak with us.”

Finally, just for some perspective, your gentle writer remembers (and worked in radio when) a broadcast ownership group could only have 7 AM stations, 7 FM stations and 7 TV stations…total! Times have changed and change is scary.

a braggadocios dust collector

audioconnell trophyI was talking today with a fella who submitted to The Voice Arts Awards and came home with an award.

I was congratulating him, he said thanks and he asked “where do you stand on this whole award thing for voiceovers?”

Laughing, I said my thoughts don’t really matter.

But he pressed me for an answer, saying he was a little self conscious about the whole thing of talents having to pay for an entry, pay for the travel to get to the awards if nominated, food, lodging, tuxes et al. It can be an expensive trip. Oh and you have to pay for the trophy.

All of these statements are true for most award shows, by the way, big or small.

Then he noted how people in the industry can rightly or wrongly perceive someone who participates in such an awards program as a ‘tool’. Are they doing it for ego, praise and recognition? Are they using the possible nomination and award for marketing purposes? A little of both?

First thing I said was to knock off feeling self-conscious about the whole thing. Enjoy the win and enjoy the recognition. I knew this guy wasn’t an egotistical schmuck like some in the voiceover industry are.

It's all about meWait, like ALL in our voiceover industry are. We’re actors…we want to pretend, we crave praise for our pretending, we want applause for our pretending and then we want to be paid…for our pretending. Then we want publicity for all that again, confirming for the world how great we are at pretending.

‘But enough talk from me about how great I am, why don’t YOU tell me how great I am!’

Actors are among the most needy of the needy. That’s in our DNA as performers. You’re not above it as an actor and neither am I.

Sure, some folks go too far with the neediness because there are extremes in every business. But there isn’t a voice, stage or screen actor on the planet without an oversized ego. (Except me of course…have you read my bio? Have a bucket nearby, you’ll get queasy. Search engines love it, though).

When these VAA’s first came out (it was crazy expensive to participate back then, it’s gotten more reasonable since I’ve been told), I was like ‘this is the dumbest thing ever, what idiot is going to pay for this stuff?’ Turns out, by year four, there are plenty of idiots.

But they are not idiots…they are doing what they need to do for themselves and/or for their business. It’s OK to want to submit to be nominated for awards (and by submit, I mean like 2-3 submissions — if you’re an individual submitting more than that ((way more than that by some counts)), I am not buying the ‘marketing’ excuse….you ARE just an egotistical schmuck and not in a good way).

I’ve submitted and won for other awards. Such participation had a marketing benefit, which I executed and the award ultimately helped my business.

Other folks, as I have read on social media, get indignant and self-righteous about not ‘paying to play’ for award. I don’t have that kind of free time nor the energy to enter into such a useless debate. I’ve got work to do.

I have chosen not to participate in the VoiceArts awards because I don’t see it having much marketing benefit for me. It may as time passes, who knows. That is the beginning, middle and end of that story.

But just because it doesn’t work for me does not mean The Voice Arts Awards (or any other awards you pay into for consideration) are necessarily bad. Awards are basically a business tool, a means to a marketing end.

audioconnell award winner's marketing plan

What IS bad is if you submit yourself for nomination, get nominated, travel and party, come home with the hardware and then DON’T have your marketing plan ready for how you plan to squeeze every ounce of marketing juice outta that gold foil tin cup you just paid how ever many dollars it cost you.

Major news organizations will NOT be reporting on The Voice Arts Awards. Networks were not on the red carpet asking who you were wearing. Any media push or public relations benefit that you might get from such an award has to come from YOU, the winner. YOU, the nominee. You, my friend are the publicist on this gig.

What’s your plan???

The award was just the beginning of the work ahead. My guess is, from a marketing perspective, the trophy is going to be nothing more than a braggadocios dust collector for some of Sunday’s winners.

Those folks simply wasted their money on a nice party because they don’t have a focused marketing plan to back up their award investment. That’s a missed opportunity and a senseless waste of money.

Don’t be like those folks.

what does your web site look like?

Peter K. O'Connell Web Site Layout

My oldest needed some “mall therapy” last night so we walked through a variety of stores that sold stuff nobody really needed but some folks thought they wanted.

We walked through the Apple store looking at all the new fangled devices and then I did the thing that all Fathers like to do to their children.

I embarrassed my child.

What I did was open the browser on different models of computers: big ones, small ones, portable ones…all of them, then typed in my voiceover web site domain.

She found it embarrassing partly because it was my web site on these screens and partly because I’m her Father and this was in a mall and Daaaaaaaaa!

My purpose actually wasn’t to embarrass anyone but rather to check and see how my web site looked on a variety of different screens with updated software.

See, we all assume our website designs and layouts look good everywhere because that what the designers say and that’s what they are supposed to do….look good everywhere.

But technology changes and sometimes upgrades on different computers and devices can alter the look of a website in ways you don’t expect.

So next time you are in an Apple store or Microsoft store or Best Buy or someplace that shows a variety of different screens and allows you to surf the web, surf to your own web site.

Make sure it looks and interacts the way it’s supposed to. If it works perfectly well, then you don’t need to do a thing.

If not, make whatever changes you need to keep it updated.

I’m sure you’d rather know about a problem now than find out about the issue from a prospective or current client.

voiceover business card story

Peter K. O'Connell Voiceover Business Card

Over the weekend, audio producer Brad Newman was evidently looking at all the business cards he collected at FaffCon 9.

He saw that I had not one but two new business card designs.

He posted a picture on social media and it started a discussion because folks had questions. Why the two cards? Why the different designs? Why didn’t Minnesota beat the Yankees in the wild card series? Lots of questions.

So I thought I would do a quick overview on the two cards which will also bring you up to speed on my marketing changes (if you’re some kind of marketing stalker).

OLD CARD

  • 2017 O'Connell Business Card Old The relatively cheaper old cards were crafted while I was trying to get some new, fancier cards made
  • My original goal was to update all my voiceover branding since I moved to North Carolina; I would adopt the dark blue light blue scheme that was a tip of the hat to the University of North Carolina’s color scheme (not exactly like theirs but in the family)
  • I also had a graphic idea for really highlighting the phrase “Voice Over Talent” and explaining the type of work that involves (because I’ve had to continuously explain what a voiceover does for 35+ years)
  • I was trying to do a plastic card, as I had done before with cards I did while in Buffalo, but my old vendor screwed up the new blue design TWICE and after that, he got fired
  • You’d be surprised at what a complete pain in the butt it is to try and RGB and PMS color match light blues – ridiculous
  • For the old cards, I found a vendor who did the thick paper cards who also painted the sides
  • He could not do a PMS color do I got stuck with that crazy bright blue
  • The weight of the card was really nice as was the painted edge
  • As nobody else was going to be as bothered by the color situation on the old card as I was…I lived with that old card for a while

As time went on, I knew I wasn’t happy with the old card and, even more so, with the word mark itself which I felt needed help.

As much as I liked the word mark font on the old card, the full word mark did not make the brand name (which happens to be my name) stand out. I wanted a font for the brand name that looked personalized, which would then be supported by the tag line in that font I used on the old word mark.

I could have tried actually printing my name and making that part of the logo, except my printing Sucks with a capital S.

So I look at thousands (truly thousands) of hand script fonts that conveyed friendly, fun and masculine.

Trying to find a masculine looking hand script font that also doesn’t look like it was written by some kind of angry demon is not as easy as you’d think.

Remember, I was trying to convey friendly to support the tag line “Your Friendly, Neighborhood Voiceover Talent”. Worse some of the “male” based script font sure looked awfully girly to me and many of my voiceover peers, whose opinions I sought throughout this process.

Two things then happened kind of simultaneously. I found the font I really liked for the brand and I found a new vendor for printing the plastic cards. It would look good but it would not be cheap.

NEW CARD

  • 2017 O'Connell Business Card NewWorking with the new brand font and old tagline font within the blues color scheme, my designer came up with the logo idea of making everything flush right…I thought it worked really well, so I carried that thought through on the front of the business card where everything is flush right
  • I tried to make the font sizes bigger….small font size may be cool but readability is where it’s at for business cards and my eyes are getting old – bigger font size and a bit bolder
  • My designer also PATIENTLY helped me narrow down my PMS color choices…she deserves combat pay for babysitting me through that debacle
  • I really liked the way the back of the card (all dark blue with white VOICE OVER TALENT) worked on the old card so kept it on the back of the new card
  • The card size as you may have noticed is bigger than the old card…it is credit card size
  • I added a clear coating on all the front and on the white VOICE OVER TALENT…really makes a nice impact

So then why did I bring two sets of cards to FaffCon? Well I didn’t really. I brought mostly the old cards to distribute because I wanted to get rid of them and my peers aren’t likely to be as impacted by my card design as real prospects. I handed out a few of the (expensive) new ones to a few Faffers.

Now you know more about my business cards than you ever wanted to…hope this helps.

check your mail, you may already be a winner

Peter K. O'Connell Voiceover Want Ad 2017Ok, well there’s actually nothing to win but certainly check your mail!

And maybe you already have, which is why you’re checking out this page. Welcome to my voiceover blog.

If we haven’t properly met yet, hi, I’m Peter.

Yes, I sent out a new direct mail postcard this week to about 900 of my media production peers who work in audio production, TV and radio production, TV promo, explainer video production, documentaries and darn near every other kind of electronic production worldwide that uses voiceover.

I hadn’t done a mailer in a while, and with this year being my 35 anniversary in voiceover, I figured that’s something to talk about on a big postcard.

Why direct mail?

People still love getting unique stuff in the mail, even an oversized postcard. It’s a reminder to those I’ve worked with before that I’m still around (give me a call). It’s also an introduction to folks who may have heard of me (or may not have heard of me) but might need some professional voice talent help – the card is a friendly hello (give me a call) to them as well.

I’ll still do email blasts every now and again but I fear those don’t get read as much as they used to…my open rates are still good and I keep the message short and sweet!

So if you’re just finding me for the first time, hi (welcome!), and if you’re returning, hi again and thanks for coming back.

Oh and if you do need to call me, I’m on +01 716-572-1800.