Contributed by Una Hartzell-Baird and Jen Edds

Sound is a critical tool in shaping client and prospect perception of your business. We get so wrapped up in logos, colors, fonts, and other visual aspects of our message, that we often overlook how we sound.

Are you trying to reach a market segment that speaks another language as their first language? Recent research shows that processing messages in a non-native language allows for more deliberation and a less emotional response to the message. So, if your message is intended to have an emotional appeal, you’d better listen up – and make sure your audience is, too.

Here are some considerations and tips to help you create an awesome sonic experience for your audience.

Sound and audio branding is the use of sound to reinforce brand identity. It’s the intentional use of sound, voice and music to create emotional connections, shape brand perception, and trigger an association.

And, as much as sound can have a positive impact on your market, it can also negatively impact your clients and prospects.

Read further to understand key components to effective sound and audio branding and how 317 Sound Design and LUNA Language Services can help you come through loud and clear to your clients and prospects.

Why Sound Quality Matters

Good sound quality will go unnoticed. You will most likely never be complimented on the time and care you put into recording a top-notch voice recording.

However, poor sound quality in a narration is a turn-off to the person listening to your message. In the worst-case scenario, your listener turns off or tunes you out completely. In the best-case scenario, your listener endures the hiss, crackles, and pops and listens to the message. Either way, the seed of doubt has been planted about the quality of your product or service. It’s the equivalent of dirty silverware in a fine dining restaurant.

Your Brand Voice

The voice that represents your brand in a narration requires the same thought and consideration as the colors and fonts used in your logo. It’s the sonic representation of your brand, and it must be congruent with what is represented visually, and the tone of your message.

If your company makes a bold-super-charged-high-energy drink, your audience better feel the power and excitement in the voice of your narrator. A delicate little mousy voice will create confusion about your brand. Confusion breeds lack of trust. See where this is headed?

Offering your sonic message in multiple languages isn’t only a matter of making sure it is culturally appropriate. Consider also whether a hilarious pun will work in translation. Humor is a difficult thing to translate. Will your message fall flat because the call to action simply isn’t relevant to the target market?

When deciding to use bilingual voiceover actors, ask these simple questions:

• Does the quality of the actor’s voice match our message?

Is your message playful? Serious? Romantic? Exciting? Make sure the tone of voice matches the intent. Ask your voiceover project manager for help if you’re not certain which actor to choose.

• Does the actor speak with a native accent?

Always make sure that the accent of your actor matches your target market. You may not be able to tell that someone is from Mexico versus Colombia, but your audience will. A small focus group can go a long way!

• Is the dialect we chose appropriate for our target market?

Demographic information about your community is available from a variety of nonprofit and government organizations as well as marketing firms and language agencies. Research the most prevalent ethnic groups to determine the most wide reaching option for language and dialect.

LUNA can help you decipher the appropriate accent, dialect and quality of a bilingual voiceover actor to ensure your message hits all of these key points.

Creating your Recording Environment on a Budget

According to professional voice over artist Amanda Fellows, a $100 microphone and a great recording environment will get you a better sounding recording than a $1,000 microphone and a poor recording environment. Amanda shared the following tips for creating a solid recording environment on a budget:

• Record in a room with carpet and other sound absorbing materials. Avoid rooms with hard surfaces where sound will
bounce and echo.

• When recording in an area with hard surfaces, surrounding your recording space with blankets is an inexpensive way to
create a better recording environment.

• Your car makes a great alternative recording studio because of the sound absorbing materials in the interior.

317 Sound Design can provide the perfect environment for your audio recording. We can also compose background music, jingles and other audio components to ensure your message is heard exactly as you intended.

In conclusion, give as much thought and consideration to how you sound as to how you look. It’s every bit as impactful to your customer’s experience. Consult LUNA and 317 Sound Design to ensure your message doesn’t go in one ear and out the other.