Posted on

The Wrong Way to Market Your Brand

The Grand River in Southern Ontario has broken it banks.


Generally this happens every spring during the “thaw.” The “thaw” came a bit early this year.

An abnormally large amount of snow, followed by several unseasonably warm days, in addition to excessive amounts of rain has caused chaos in neighbouring communities to where I live today.

Two areas have declared States of Emergency. Thousands of people are under mandatory evacuations. Schools and business are shuttered. Homes are being damaged. Emergency services are working over time to protect lives and property. And it’s not over yet.

One particular company – who I refuse to name because they don’t deserve the recognition – decided to take advantage of this natural disaster.

In a series of images, this company took aerial drone shots of the damage being done in their community, and then plastered them all over social media… complete with their giant logo on every single image.

In other words… they branded a natural disaster; and just seeing their logo all over the images upset my stomach.

Marketing Fail

You know the saying there’s no such thing as bad publicity? Well, that was BEFORE social media.

These days, trust me, there’s such a thing as bad publicity.

You don’t want to be the company going viral for all the wrong reasons. The company getting shamed for branding a natural disaster and using it in marketing materials.

Never take advantage of a disaster to market your brand.
Tweet Quote

The Right Way to Market

At the same time this was happening, another business (in the same industry) took to social media to share flood updates, public service announcements and information that was of great value to their audience.

They didn’t brand it. They didn’t try and sell anything.

They just served their audience in a genuine way.

Which company, do you suppose, is going to be remembered?

When Disaster Strikes

Disasters happen a lot these days. From floods, to school shootings, to chaos in political systems and governments.

During those times, we all have opinions.

We also all have platforms.

How you choose to use them matters.

Let me leave you with two thoughts…

Are you contributing to productive dialogue, or adding to the noise?

Are you serving yourself, or serving your audience?

You can guess which of these is the right way to engage in the topic and which of these will leave you trying to resolve a disaster of your own creation!

Posted on

5 Hints Your Brand Isn’t Working (and How to Fix It)

My first encounter with Celia Siegel was at VO Mastery in Ft Myers in November 2015. I sat in on a mentor session with her and was immediately blown away by her knowledge and skill. When it comes to branding, Celia knows her stuff!

Listening to her break down and analyze brands is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. If you’re unsure of the message you’re putting out there, or want to figure out how to create the correct message, you need to spend some time with Celia! I’m so happy to offer a few of her golden nuggets for the 12 Voice Over Tips of Christmas.

5 Hints Your Brand Isn’t Working (and How to Fix It)

It’s that time of year … you’re sipping eggnog and assessing how to do things even better in the year ahead. Well VO vixens, I’m going to tell you the one place you need to focus to kick 2017’s behind. Your brand. When your brand is working for you, you’ll feel proud, successful, confident and willing to put yourself out there. Your brand will do lots of the work for you. But that’s only if your brand is working.

Is your brand working for you? Here are 5 ways to tell (and how to fix it):

Your brand sets you up as one-of-a-pack instead of one-of-a-kind. Does your brand reflect you specifically? For instance, the idea of being the voice next door had a certain novelty to it in the 80s because most VOs sounded like announcers. But now that we have been entrenched in the more real-read styles, sounding like the voice next door does nothing to separate you. The voice next door (or the minivan mom) could be almost anyone.

The Fix: Go on a thorough fact-finding mission about what makes you unique. Your brand is already in you, and the more specific you can get on describing why you are a unique choice, the better. Take voice next door or minivan mom further based on who you are, what you sound like, how you tell a story and what working with you is like!

Your brand is not authentic. If your brand is positioning you as someone you’re not, it’s never going to work. Your brand must match how you sound. This alignment builds trust. Ever been to a website with a teeny-bopper graphic, then you press play and hear a voice with major gravitas? It’s jarring! A brand that works is not a just pretty picture or a smokescreen.

The Fix: Make your brand a transparent representation of you!

You’re speaking another language. Your brand needs to speak clearly and concisely to copywriters and producers. Talk about a tough and talented audience! Advertising creatives live in the land of wit, creative ideas, world-class writing and spot-on execution.

The Fix: Learn their language and speak it with confidence and authenticity.

Your website looks like the year 2000. Does your online-brand-presence make you look successful? If your website makes you look like you need a loan from your mom and dad, it must be remedied—and fast!

The Fix: This doesn’t mean throwing tons of money at your website. There are so many options to have an affordable, sleek, intelligently-laid-out, website that’s responsive and on-trend. Don’t settle for anything less.

Your heart says no. If you don’t feel proud of your brand, you won’t be compelled to put it out into the world. And a brand that’s hidden surely isn’t working for you.

The Fix: Create a brand you love. (It’s not as hard as it sounds!)

Happy Holidays!

If you don’t love your brand…if your brand isn’t working for you…2017 is the year to make it happen! At Celia Siegel Management, my team and I love helping to create unique, authentic brands that our clients love. And with a brand you love, promoting yourself will come easy (and if it doesn’t, we can help with that too).

Want to find out more? Schedule a free 15 minute brand-strategy session and we’ll talk about the possibilities.

Thanks for sharing this post from Marc Scott's Voice Over Blog.

Posted on

Protecting My Brand: Why I Deleted My Voice Realm Account

For any of you that are familiar with me and this blog, you know that I’m quite outspoken on the subject of voice over rates. I’m a full-time professional voice talent. This is how I earn my living (a very good living). In order to earn that good living, I’ve worked very hard at branding and marketing myself the right way.

I’m forthcoming with my rates for any and all clients. You’ll never find me underbidding for jobs on Pay 2 Play sites or freelance sites. In fact, 95% of my work comes from my own marketing efforts. Not from casting sites. I list myself on casting sites because it’s another place to post my demo. I even write for a casting site, because it gives me an avenue to educate.

A Little History Lesson On The Voice Realm

One casting site I’ve been a member of for quite some time is The Voice Realm (TVR). I’ve blogged for them a few times, and blogged about them a few times. I even booked one really great client that I’ve done probably close to 30 voice over jobs with via the site.

What I liked about TVR from the beginning was how they marketed themselves. They were a site for professionals. Only professionals. They were very selective of the talent they allowed to join. There was no bidding for jobs. Just set rates. And, for the most part, fair rates. In fact, they claimed the best rates of all the casting sites.

When they introduced their Quick Cast system and began offering $55 voice overs, I called them out on it. I wrote a blog post about the development, and interviewed them regarding it. I wanted to hear how they justified such a strategy when they claim to populate their site exclusively with professional voice actors.

Cheap Voice Overs – The Downfall

This past week I was notified by another talent that my name, picture and profile, was featured on the domain I was very upset, to say the least. In all my years of marketing myself, I have never once marketed myself as cheap! To find out someone else was made me sick to my stomach.

To find out it was TVR upset me even more.

I immediately reached out to TVR to find out what the heck was going on. I was insulted and offended that they’d use my name, profile and picture on such a domain, especially given their stance on professionalism!

The answers I received from them were entirely unacceptable to me.

The Voice Realm’s Defense

In the initial conversation there was a lot of deflecting. The individual I spoke with tried to point fingers at other Pay 2 Pay sites and how those sites market themselves. The individual refused to speak directly to my concern, which was, “This is not about other sites and what they’re doing. I’m talking about YOUR site and what YOU’RE doing!”

I made it abundantly clear that I was not ok with them promoting me as a cheap voice talent and I requested my profile be removed from the domain ( immediately. This is the response I received:

“30-40% of our daily web traffic comes from that site. So that’s almost 400 visitors EVERY DAY… That makes absolutely no business sense for us.”

My response to this individual was, “Keep the domain, I don’t care. Just get my profile off it.” I was told, “That is not possible.” I was then invited to delete my profile and provided with a link to do so.

All voice talent listed with TVR can (and do) appear on this domain and it (according to TVR) cannot be stopped. I was also told that this information is in the Terms of Service for the site. By using the site you immediately agree to being included in such marketing practices.

The Voice Realm seeks professional voice talent for their database, only professionals. I was basically told they’d rather lose me as a member of their site then remove me from the marketing of this domain, and again, the individual provided me with a link to delete my account.

That’s exactly what I did.

A Statement From The Voice Realm

My Question: The Voice Realm has always marketed themselves as a site strictly for professionals. You claim to have stringent processes in place to ensure only professionals get listed on your site. You claim the highest rates of any other casting site. How do you respond to professional voice actors who are finding out they are being marketed by your site as “Cheap Voice Talent Online.”

The Voice Realm’s Response: The only people that see that domain are people who type the word ‘cheap’. It’s worth noting that other casting sites have this keyword active and their paid ads appear higher than our domain. So really if you’re on nearly any website that finds you jobs online then it’s going to be an issue for you on all the sites.

Many talent, including yourself, have benefited from the domain in question. We can see exactly where a client has come from and how they ended up hiring a talent through analytics. Had the client not used the word ‘cheap’ they would have not been directed to our site, and likely ended up at a site like Elance.

The fact is people search for thousands of keywords online related to voice overs. One of those keywords is ‘cheap’. If we owned the rates would be exactly the same.

My Final Thoughts – I’m Not Cheap

The Voice Realm, in their statement, failed to address my concerns satisfactorily. In fact, I felt they failed to address them at all.

My purpose for my blog has always been to educate. I’m not going to to tell anyone how to run their business. I’m not going to tell anyone how to market themselves or their business. I will offer advice, encouragement, and lessons learned through my own experiences.

My sole concern with this issue is being marketed as cheap. I find it offensive and insulting. TVR either doesn’t understand this, or has no desire in admitting they’ve made an error in judgement.

For me to remain with the site, given my personal stance on the issue, would be hypocritical. I do not market myself as cheap, I will never market myself as cheap. I will not allow someone else to market me as cheap. I have too much respect for the voice over industry at large to endorse someone marketing “Cheap $55 voice overs and Cheap Voice Talent.”

For that reason I have deleted my account.

As a blogger, I feel a responsibility to all my readers, and especially those who are members of TVR, to present you with all the facts. I want to make sure you understand how your name, picture and profile are being marketed. Armed with all the facts, each of you can make a personal decision based on your own branding and marketing practices, whether or not you’ll continue to be associated with the site.

It’s my hope that this blog, and the conversations and debates that will result, might bring about a change that is mutually beneficial to both parties involved (the talent and TVR). That remains to be seen.

For Comment: How do you feel about this marketing tactic? Will it change your involvement with the site?


Posted on

Brand Consistency For Your Voice Over Business

Whether you realize it or not, as a voice talent, you are a brand. No different than Pepsi or Nike or McDonalds. Well, maybe you don’t have celebrity endorsers (or maybe you do), but nonetheless, you are still a brand.

As such, you have a responsibility to represent your brand well. Especially in an online marketplace where the exposure potential of your brand is unprecedented. Continue reading Brand Consistency For Your Voice Over Business

Posted on

Self Promotion and Your Voice Over Business Part 3

* This post is part 3 in a a series. You can read post 1 here and post 2 here. *

The conversation went something like this: “Does a car salesman post a tweet or Facebook update each time he sells a car? Does a doctor tweet each time he completes a surgery? Does the grocery store clerk share an update each time to she rings through a customer?” Continue reading Self Promotion and Your Voice Over Business Part 3