As Debbie mentioned in the previous post of her #VOnow blog series, my first suggestion was a complete rebranding of her professional image. While surveying her Internet presence — logo, tagline, photos, etc. — her message wasn’t consistent across all platforms, so we began at the beginning of any project — the research stage.
The following questions had to be answered:
- Who was her competition?
- How were they presenting themselves?
- What was her target market?
- How was she perceived?
- What was her brand position in the minds of her clients?
- What message was she trying to convey?
- What were her business goals and objectives?
One thing that was clear was her brand promise: excellence — in client service, in artistic delivery, in ease of execution.
After conducting a SWOT analysis, competitive analysis and a brand assessment, we got to work.
Who was her competition: Any “seasoned” voiceover artist.
How were they presenting themselves: Based on the research, I found that, like Debbie, most other seasoned voiceover artists (like Susan Bennett) were using a microphone in their brand identity, so that was the first thing to go (after all, we wanted to differentiate her).
What was her target market: Despite Debbie Irwin Voiceovers being a small company, her primary target market is big — corporate America: General Electric, HSBC, Barclays and Adobe — so we needed to take a B2B branding approach.
How was she perceived? What was her brand position in the minds of her clients: Because of her exceptional track record, when asked to describe Debbie, “professional, reliable and genuine” was how she was already perceived.
What message was she trying to convey: Debbie Irwin is “Your Voice.” Everyone has something to say, but not everyone knows how to say it. Ad agencies, writers, marketers all collaborate to tell a story. That’s where she comes in. Not only does she study the words in the script, she studies the content and the client’s overall brand message to ensure that the entire story is delivered as if they were speaking themselves, from the source — professional, reliable and genuine.
What were her business goals and objectives: First she wanted to be acknowledged as an authority in the voiceover industry. Second, she wanted to grow her business, which is easier when you’re regarded as a trusted adviser in your field.
THE THREE C’s OF BRANDING
In order to do this we needed to apply the three c’s of branding: clarity, consistency and constancy. It was now time for the creative stage.
Clarity: With regard to clarity, we decided that the company’s name was already very descriptive “Debbie Irwin Voiceovers,” but it needed a new tagline, something succinct to compliment it and drive the message home. The tagline had to define emotional benefits and “something bigger” that she delivers. According to Gibson Biddle, “Emotional benefits relate to the way in which I, as your customer, can gain confident control of my life by using you. The ‘something bigger’ speaks to what you aim to deliver to your customers, but also to the world in ten years.”
After a few iterations, I suggested “Be Heard,” which satisfied both the emotional benefit and the ‘something bigger’ in one phrase — one tagline that perfectly supported her message. By using Debbie Irwin Voiceovers, her clients feel confident that their message is delivered as intended — she hears their objectives and speaks their message in a way that cuts through the clutter.
The ‘something bigger’ is both the quality with which she delivers the message (ensuring the message’s impact today and tomorrow), and the importance of the actual message (she’s very selective about the projects she voices). So, I presented “Be Heard,” along with my reasoning, and Debbie agreed.
Consistency: As Debbie indicated, she had all kinds of pictures, bios, and tag lines spread across the Internet on a variety of sites. Now that we had a tagline (“Be Heard”) we needed a logo. So I designed one without a microphone that would reflect Debbie Irwin Voiceovers’ new brand identity. The D was created to represent “Debbie” and the spokes were designed to represent sound coming from Debbie (your voice). This is how Debbie helps you “Be Heard.”
The separated parts forming the D signify that it’s a joint effort of both the client and Debbie, which brings the message to life. Also, that Debbie will always put in additional work, into her work, every time in order to make it work — I used work three times there because she works, hard. The progression from grey to red in the spokes suggests the dynamics of Debbie’s delivery, her versatility; her ability to be cold and calm (as was needed for her most recent TTS project), or give you 110 percent of her energy until the meter on the board is “almost” red and about to clip.
After looking through all of her professional photos, I preferred the one below because her smile is inviting and she presents herself with charm and ease, as if you’re meeting at a garden party; she’s leaning towards you because she wants to hear your words, then help you “Be Heard.”
Next we needed to change her social media “handles” (or nickname which uniquely identifies her and her brand) so that she no longer had multiple social media urls. We needed to make it easy for anyone to find her anywhere. I suggested @DebbieIrwinVO as her new, and only, social media handle because it clearly identifies her and what she does. Then we created a new mini-bio to be used across all social media profiles, one that highlighted her areas of specialty as well as some of her more notable work, while describing what she does in a witty way and using a branded hashtag:
Voice of the #StatueofLiberty #Museums #Money #Makeup
#NYC is my home but my voice loves to travel!
Want to #BeHeard? I’m your #voiceover artist — #VOnow
Once everything was created, I implemented the new tagline, logo and mini-bio across all social media platforms, and redesigned her main website (www.DebbieIrwin.com), email signature, letterhead and business cards to reflect Debbie Irwin Voiceovers’ new brand identity.
Constancy: We are now in the marketing stage: showcasing the new Debbie Irwin Voiceovers to the world and working towards her goals and objectives. As an authority in the voiceover industry we now make daily “relevant” social media posts (across the platforms I felt would be most effective for her, the others were deactivated), and weekly blog posts. Better still, we created a #VOnow blog series (based on her branded hashtag: #VOnow), where she gathers her thoughts about the voice over industry. Combing through the content, we go back and forth with edits and then I present a final version for approval before it goes live. This alone has increased engagement across her social media profiles. She’s been able to use it to inform those interested in, or curious about, being a voiceover artist; and direct these resources to people who ask for advice on being a voiceover artist.
Klout is a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the "Klout Score," which is a numerical value between 1 and 100.
The increase in her “Klout Score” clearly demonstrates an increase in her exposure, as we send out monthly email newsletters to keep the voiceover industry, as a whole, informed of Debbie’s recent work and availability.
In short, with Debbie’s rebranding now public (and periodically assessed), my role is to manage Debbie Irwin’s online presence to ensure one look, one feel, and one tone to the company’s brand messaging across both traditional and non-traditional marketing channels.