The secret to VO success is simple, and it’s not really a secret at all.
You’ve got the talent, the drive, the skills. That’s a good start, but if you want to succeed in voiceover you also need to be able to answer the first question every top agent asks: Do you have a brandable voice?
Those who can say yes – and show proof – to that question with confidence are the Harvard graduates of the voiceover business. Doors open to them wherever they go. They find more work and make more money with less effort. They make it look easy.
To those on the outside – not securing auditions, not booking gigs, not beeing heard and feeling shut out – it might seem like magic. Something beyond reach.
But chalking success up to pixie dust is a mistake.
Blaming the Internet isn’t going to get you anywhere either. Yes, you’re competing worldwide now – but the flip side of that is there are a world of opportunities out there, too. You just need to find the ones that are right for you. And to achieve that, you need to know who you are.
In other words, you need a BRAND.
You Are Your Brand
Think of a few brands you like. What comes to mind?
In the world of consumer products, strong brands are authentic. They resonate with consumers. And they develop consistent products. When, for example, you buy an Apple product – whether it’s a laptop or a smartphone – you have certain expectations. And they are meet every time. If the brand tries to be something it’s not, the company is in trouble.
Likewise, in voiceover, strong brands are authentic, they resonate with the buyers who hire voiceover and they deliver a consistent product because they come from within. That’s right, good branding is not about putting on a costume and parading around as something you’re not – it’s about being who you are at your core.
Remember Michelangelo’s famous quote about the statue of David? The artist said the masterpiece was there in the block of marble the entire time. Similarly, your brand is in there already just waiting to see the light of the day.
A good branding professional will be able to see your true essence and help you chip away at anything that’s getting in the way.
Achieving Brand Nirvana
When you outward brand mirrors your inward authenticity, everything you do becomes more powerful. Your conversations and marketing efforts create a vibration. And you start to create brand nirvana. That’s when the magic starts to happen. Here’s what it looks like:
- You have a sense of alignment between who you are and what your brand says about you.
- You believe in yourself, know you can win the job and walk with the confidence and swagger of someone who knows their own value.
- You leave a distinct positive impression every time you audition- a digital imprint of yourself that reinforces that value.
To achieve this idyllic state, you need to do a few things:
- Have a website that reflects the real you.
- Do what you love, be who you are, and share it – on your website, on social media and in-person. Say everything with heart and authenticity.
- Don’t ever try to be, or sound like, someone you’re not. Want to be one-of-a kind instead of one of a million? You already are. Developing your brand will let you show it to the world.
Celia Siegel is the “Chief Voice Officer” of Celia Siegel Management, known for creating strong personal brands for voice talent and marketing those brands to the max – in a way that’s authentic to each voice actor. She is also the author of the upcoming book VoiceOverAchiever: How to Cultivate Bravado, Swagger and Confidence Through Personal Branding. Learn more at CeliaSiegel.com.
BRANDS THAT WORK
When branding is authentic, it’s as unique as the talent if represents.
The talent: STEVE LAWSON
His brand: Mankind VO (mankindvo.com)
Why it works: Lawson is undeniably nice and that is why his clients comeback again and again. Nice guys do not finish last when they own their authenticity.
The talent: IESHA NYREE
Her brand: Sparkling. Wondrous. Loveable. Limitless. (IeshaNyree.com)
Why it works: Her sound is loveable, her character reads wondrous and she has contagiously fun energy in the booth.
The talent: TRACI WILDE
His brand: Traci Wilde VO (traciwilde.com)
Why it works: If a name fits, use it. Wilde wears peacock colors in her hair and, as the brand says, “her voice is sultry, smoky and sure to jump out and grab you.”
The talent: MIKE COOPER
His brand: Mike Cooper Voiceover. The guy next door. Only better. And British. (mikecoopervoiceover.com)
Why it works: This playful twist on the cold cliché of the guy next door sets Cooper, who lives in the U.S., apart from the pack of regular guys sets him up to be a memorable go-to.
Find more examples of brands that works at