How to Pick the Right Voice Actor: Check Your Bias
We have helped a lot of clients find the right voice for their advertisements. From this, we have learned that the choice between a male or female voice-over is often the starting point for their decision. We think this is quite interesting behavior – and we’d like to challenge it a bit.
Take, for example, the “battle of the genders” regarding which voice is better for conveying a certain message has been going on since the early days of radio. In history, male broadcasters have often been preferred for factual content, whereas female broadcasters were favored for the reflective broadcasting. Because of their deeper tone, male voices can be naturally perceived as trustworthy and capable of conveying authority – think Morgan Freeman – that man only tells the truth.
Opposite, people tend to dismiss female voices in relation to authority, as they generally perceive them as soothing and emphatic. Studies conclude that the differences in gender preference are, more often than not, caused by prejudice and stereotyping. Most of these terms are even outdated.
As we take a look at the modern voice-over market this seems apparent – female voice-overs promote beauty and cleaning products while male voice-overs promote cars, tools, and aftershave. This makes perfect sense, and we know that it works. Women promote women-stuff and men promote men-stuff…
However, isn’t advertising all about sticking out?
We say it is. What if we told you that women compensate for their high vocal pitch by charging their voice to sound energetic, thus conveying authority? Well – they do! Women in powerful positions tend to thrust their words to increase their authority.
This is interesting as it goes against the stereotype – an authoritative woman. In fact, men, women, and non-binary people are equally capable of conveying all speaking styles and emotions, they just don’t do it the same way.
So – in fact, the gender decision does not necessarily have to conform to stereotypes. You can convey the same message either way and maybe even have an added bonus of “sticking out”, as you go against what is expected.
Stereotypes do sometimes work (even if ironically)
But there are alternatives that can work just as well.
It all comes down to your goals, brand, product, and target audience. With a voice-acting scene more and more diverse by the minute, keeping yourself updated on market trends and the social context surrounding your brand seems like the only way to go. Staying relevant sometimes mean challenging stereotypes, be those related to gender, age, ethnicity, or even trends. How does smooth sound like nowadays, and what does it even mean?
We’re here to guide your voice-over productions to make sure you’re happy with the recording received, and we’re always happy to advise on trends based on our expertise. However, keep in mind, that your audience defines your voice.
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