Entries Tagged as 'marketing'

PBS updates their network logo

PBS logo Old vs New 2019There are a few brands that get a lot of attention when they change their logo.

The first one that comes to my mind is Pepsi. You may have other examples.

Some people think that when companies change a logo, it’s meaningless. We marketers call those people soulless. There’s nothing we can do to help them….or their pocket protectors. 😉

When the big TV networks’ logos change, it’s still a big deal. While the big 5 networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS) themselves seem to be losing the cultural influence they once had, due to the preponderance of programming choices from streaming sources…broadcast TV networks still get a ton of viewers.

So PBS (the Public Broadcasting Service) changing its logo this week on the eve of its 50th anniversary is worth noting from a branding and marketing perspective. PBS’s programming remains unique in many areas because it offers so much content not found on commercial or cable services. It is also a vital brand to over 300 PBS affiliates around the country.

So let’s take a look at what PBS did.

PBS Logo 2019Right off the bat, the new PBS logo is blue. But not just ANY blue. That’s PBS Blue. Corporations, like PBS, love to stroke their corporate egos by creating a unique color and making up words about what that blue signifies.

You know what PBS Blue signifies? BLUE! Sheeesh! Next item.

For perspective purposes, I should let you know that the circles (aka “the shield”) on the old and new logos are pretty much the same size. That might give you some clues to the changes.

Within the circle (or shield) the heads in the new blue logo are bigger…not a bad move in the digital age. And while it may look like PBS didn’t really change the heads on the shield that much…they actually did.

The “neck” is shorter in the new logo, the noses are slightly less pointed and (in a part I find hysterical, given the brand) the noses are slightly raised.

Also bigger (quite obviously) is the PBS wordmark. I think bigger is better for this logo. It’s designed in a sans-serif font that was (here we go again) custom designed for PBS and is know as PBS Sans typeface.

If you’re thinking it looks very similar to about 3 or 4 fonts from your Microsoft Word font catalogue, you’ll get no argument from me. Those are your tax dollars at work, folks.

The final word? It’s a nice redesign and better than the old logo (although I thought the PBS logo of 1984 was pretty classic – see the video link below). I think if I was custom designing a font, I could have crafted something more visually interesting then what they ended up with…but they didn’t ask me now, did they? 🙂

WATCH THIS if you want to see a cool video on the history of the PBS logo.

 

you are here – voiceover geography

where are you_audioconnellSo where are you?

Geographically, where do you land on the map?

Sure, you know the answer to that but the next question is: do your voiceover customers know?

The next question after that is: do you want them to know.

For some folks the answer may be a cut and dried yes or no.

For others it’s not so clear.

I came to this thought by looking, as we all do and should, at other voice talents’ web sites and in some cases trying to figure out where they are located.

Before cell phones and internet phone numbers, one could guess location by area code with a posted phone number. That doesn’t work any more.

For example, I kept my Buffalo, NY 716 area code phone number even though I’m in Raleigh. I have a LOT of contacts to who have that number, it’s a good number and I’m keeping it. I could get a 919 number and maybe someday I will.

So while one can question, because of the internet and phones, whether it matters that one makes clear their geographic location on their web site, I think a discussion is worth while.

What would be the questions in such a discussion?

1. What’s wrong with local or regional work

I’ll start out with my bias – I let people know where I am geographically. I made a point of featuring my Buffalo geography in the past and I am clear that I am now living in Raleigh/Durham.

My reason is simple, the opportunity for regional work is attractive enough for me that I want those local agencies and producers to know that I am available. Part of my marketing plan focuses on those regional folks.

My feeling is that if you like regional work and positioning yourself as a leading talent in your region, you need to be pretty clear where you are located.

Not everyone thinks that way.

2. ‘I don’t want to be pigeon holed by geography’

I’ve heard a couple of schools of thought on this one.

Live in Des Moines, IA but get a Google phone number with a 212 (NY) area code ‘so agents and producers will think I’m….(insert some amazing adjective here).’

But don’t talk about Des Moines.

I’ve always questioned this as setting yourself up to be caught in a lie. If producers like you and then think you’re in their big city market (where they will want to work and meet with you!) but you’re not physically there, they might feel cheated. That seems like a bad way to begin a (likely very short) business relationship. Some people do it…it must work for them, I guess.

The other thought is: I do work around the country and locally without telling people where I am…those that need to know my location, know.

Certainly, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. And if you are absolutely sure that every viable regional producer and advertising agency around your actual location knows where you are, then carry on.

But if you aren’t absolutely sure…then you have a task to add to your marketing to-do list. Quickly. And yearly.

3. ‘My area is not geographically sexy’

That’s my way of addressing people who say they live in the middle of nowhere. It’s not that they live at the end of the world, but they can see it from their porch.

I respect the challenge. Some folks may live in paradise but on a map, it’s a long ways from even a big village. Many voice talents do and they still work.

A couple of ideas on this and, not surprisingly, they require some marketing efforts.

One idea is to make your geographic area seem sexy to a reader.

Now I understand you may be looking it outside your window and thinking that there is no way in h-e-double hockey sticks…

But hear me out.

Just grab a pencil and write down positive words that might describe your area: peaceful, natural or picturesque, maybe? What are some features of the area: lush forests, clear lakes and streams, imposing mountains? What about friendly neighbors and a strong sense of community? Certainly you can think of more.

Now how might the attributes you think of possibly tie into your voiceover branding?

Trust me when I note that big city producers sometimes dream of getting out of the city so your descriptions may entice them to read more about you just based on a well written description.

Plus if you can tie in the positive attributes of your remote location with your VO styles – that works. Just reiterate in that same branding that, technologically, you are an A+. You may live in Mayberry but let media producers you’ve got all the voiceover bells and whistles. Don’t fib on that.

The other idea if you’re living more remotely is borrow the some ideas from regional marketing development organizations.

Your local government may be like bumpkinville, but know that someone in regional or state government is marketing even your remote region, in someway, to developers. You just have to surf some websites to see what they are saying and HOW they are saying it. Don’t worry about using their regional names and information…that’s what it’s there for!

Quick example, in Buffalo (when it was less successful) it was hard to get the attention of regional site developers. Buffalo may have been New York State’s Queen City before the St. Lawrence Seaway opened but from the 50’s through the turn of the century, it was depressed.

Then somebody did the math and thought if they tied in the world renowned Niagara Falls area (only 30 minutes away for the New York and Ontario, Canada sides of the Falls) into the regional branding, the city could gain some traction.

Hence, Buffalo has been marketed as the Buffalo-Niagara region. The airport, as an example, is called the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Your area may have some regional branding tricks too…check it out.

Look at regionally within your state and also at other surrounding states.

4. Safety

This is not last because it is least important.

I totally get the safety issue.

Some people not only don’t want to publish their home address (where their studio is located), they would prefer not even to talk about a city…possibly even state.

If that is a true concern, then keep yourself geographically anonymous. And don’t give it a second thought. Seriously. Period. End of story. Market yourself in other ways.

If your safety concern maybe isn’t as severe but it is still a bit of an issue, I have some ideas.

Focus your geographic branding only on your state, if you’re comfortable with that. Again, focus on the positive marketing attributes of your state and stop there.

I could easily talk about so many positive benefits of being in “The Carolinas” (two states for the price of one!), or living in Central North Carolina. Both give producers a general sense of whether or not I might be close enough to work with them without saying I’m a voice talent in Raleigh/Durham or Raleigh, NC or Cary, NC.

Otherwise, and this is something I do, just feature a P.O. Box as your address. If somebody you trust needs to come to your studio, you can talk on the phone (or via email) and give them your studio address.

That’s all I’ve got for now on this one.

Hopefully this discussion and the ideas I’ve presented can help you a bit.

If you have other ideas, please feel free to share in the comments below.

Hope this helped.

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.

death of the voiceover blog?

Death of the Voiceover Blog?Sometimes we as voiceover business owners are so focused on the operations of our business, the business of doing business, we neglect to paint our stores and sweep our steps.

The ‘stores and steps’ references our web sites. We often look at our sites from the back of the house instead of standing out front and looking at what the visitors see.

A while ago I wrote a blog post about checking out what your web site looks like by going to electronic retailers and calling up your web site on various computers, tablets and phones.

While that applies to web sites, that advice also applies to blogs.

I’ve had a blog since 2005 and in those 12 years, I’ve written a lot about voiceover, marketing and advertising (over 1,300 posts). That’s why I named the blog voxmarketising. In all those posts there are some real golden nuggets and some absolute crap. Trial and error, baby!

But one of the areas of blog management I had fallen way behind in was managing all the links I had listed on my blog to all my fellow voiceover bloggers. It was my way of sharing the blog love by listing their blog link, in the hopes that they would do the same. Some did, some didn’t.

But recently, I did a complete review of all the blogs I had listed on my site to see what blogs were still active and what blogs had given up the ghost.

Over 80 (EIGHTY) voiceover blogs were just cut from my web site because they hadn’t published in 3 or more years or because their bloglink just went nowhere any more.

There were probably 10 or so links that needed to be updated and they have been.

But 80 dead blogs was an amazing number.

Why so many? Based on what I saw and what I know, here are my theories

  • Some folks started blogging about voiceover because they thought they were supposed to for better web traction – they had no desire to blog and no point of view in their writing so they just quit
  • Some people clearly didn’t not make it in the VO business — so why blog about voiceover when one is now selling life insurance?
  • Some folks just got bored with the process of blogging

Sure there may be a myriad of other reasons and all of them are legitimate. Blogging is not mandatory in the voiceover or any other business (unless you’re in the blogging business, then I suppose it’s pretty mandatory.

But does blogging help or even impact a voice talent’s business? That depends.

From a broad perspective, blogging should help a voiceover talent’s business for SEO. If one is blogging about their industry, using a widely accepted blogging platform like WordPress (either as a blog or as part of an overall web site), that alone should generate attention from search engines like Google and Yahoo.

Digging down a little further, if a blogger’s content gains enough interest from a targeted audience and the blogger builds up a dedicated readership, that subsequent attention also generates positive SEO notice and builds the credibility of their brand and reputation.

So SEO is the only reason to blog? No, but it’s a big one because depending on what you write, you may enjoy some unexpected organic word search success. Sure you can buy word search, but organic is less financially cumbersome.

I think in voiceover, there are primarily two types of bloggers – thought leaders focused on SEO (and listening to myself, ‘er, um THEMSELVES speak) and then coaches who want to sell services and also enjoy some SEO love. Neither is bad. Blogs are a marketing tool…just decide what you are marketing what your audience wants to hear.

But what if you aren’t a coach and you don’t think you have a thought that worthy enough to lead anything? Should you still blog?

That’s a personal question.

Blogging requires some sort of commitment. Obviously time but, maybe more importantly, thought.

For bloggers, I think the smart foundation for having a blog should not be ‘what CAN I write about’ but rather ‘what do I WANT to write about?’. Because if you don’t have a real desire to write about something at least about 6 times a year, then blogging is not a tool for you.

Don’t worry, there are other marketing tools, but blogging will not be one of them for you. 80 of my voiceover peers, many of them well known to voiceover community, found that out the hard way. It was not the end of their careers, it was just the end of blogging….for them.

For the rest of us…full steam ahead.

P.S. If you check my blog page and see I’ve gotten the wrong link for your site, you can contact me at peter at audioconnell dot com. Of course, you DO have a link to my page on your blog site, right?!

P.P.S. If you have a voiceover blog that I do not have listed on my blog site and you would like it listed there (and you’re going to offer me a link to my blog as well) please let me know.