5 Tips for Selecting Voice-Over Talent: How to Collaborate & Succeed with Brand-Boosting Artists

You may not have the budget to shell out millions for talent the likes of Samuel L. Jackson and Jennifer Garner, but there are key takeaways you can learn from a company with a blockbuster budget when it comes to selecting voice-over talent to represent your brand.

Both aforementioned actors are spokespeople for Capital One credit cards, with the now easily recalled “What’s in your wallet?” tagline. Samuel L. Jackson promotes the Quicksilver Card and Jennifer Garner promotes the Venture Card.

Two very different personas, one brand

We’ll dive more into some of what we learn from this below, but note – Sam and Jen (I think I can call her that since she is the embodiment of the girl next door) represent two very different personas for the same brand. 

Notably, Samuel L. Jackson has played everything from a hitman in Pulp Fiction to Nick Fury in the Marvel Universe to a Jedi Master in Star Wars. Capital One advertises the Quicksilver Card as trouble-free and dependable, so it makes sense that if Sam tells you it is trouble-free and dependable, with his straightforward, direct and iconic delivery – you will believe him (or else!).

Now, with Jennifer Garner – she’s a mom and she’s no pushover (she’s a kick-butt spy in Alias but also the laughable gal in 13 going on 30). Jen embodies strength and approachableness. She’s believable and family friendly. Why would Jen steer us wrong? She’s encouraging you to go have adventures and she’s at the perfect phase of life to promote this. 

Same company – very different approaches to the VO talent they’ve selected to represent them, with two different audiences to reach – but when it comes down to it, both voices of the same brand are promoting a credit card in a very crowded field.

Here are five important guidelines to consider when it comes to selecting voice-over talent (which can also apply to working with a spokesperson). These are budget-friendly tips for the everyday advertiser that will help you gain more traction with your brand messaging.

1) Hire a professional voice-over artist

Refrain from voicing the ad yourself, or letting Chris the Sales Guy do it inhouse. Hire professional voice-over talent. There are many, many online resources with voice-over actor demos available to listen to (we’ve provided a list at the bottom of this post). 

You can always ask the voice artist to do a test read of part of your spot so that you can hear if they’re a good fit for the copy and the brand. 

Going the cheap/fast/easy route and having your local radio station announcer read your copy is a mistake if you want your brand to stand out and have an audible identity of its own. 

When a radio station announcer reads your copy, it is highly likely your ad will run up against another ad that the same person voiced, which can diminish brand distinction and recall. 

Don’t miss out on the goal of building your brand by skimping when selecting your voice-over talent. Instead choose a professional that best represents and distinguishes your message in your target market. 

Keep in mind developing a relationship with your voice-over actors will help them partner with you even better. As they get to know you and your brand that affinity will come through in their vocal performance. 

2) Select voice-over talent that represents your brand

Since audio production is so much more affordable than video don’t be afraid to invest in a voice-over actor who’s timbre and tone uniquely embodies your brand. 

When you find that special voice actor who captures the essence of your brand, use them consistently within your audio and video creatives. A memorable voice artist is well worth their price tag. 

When listeners hear that voice, it should lay the groundwork for your brand. The more frequency of play your VO has, the easier your brand will be recalled. 

When listeners hear that voice, it should lay the groundwork for your brand. The more frequency of play your VO has, the easier your brand will be recalled. 

6 Key Brand Voice Considerations:

EMOTION 

Think about what emotion your brand conveys (or the emotions you WANT your brand to convey) and make a list. Most voice-over artists can provide several different reads of the same copy, portraying different emotions.

PERSONA & TONE

What is your brand’s persona? This will help you guide tone. Your brand’s tone and persona should be part of your brand guidelines. As marketers, you’re (hopefully) developing personas for your target market. Don’t forget to develop one for your brand! 

Think of your voice-over talent as being literally the voice of your brand. Is your brand personality warm and welcoming? Or is your brand fun and edgy? 

Making a list in advance of listening to any voice-over demos will help you narrow down your options and direct your talent.

Your voice-over talent will define your brand for your listeners. Make sure they fit your brand’s culture and image (persona!).

MALE OR FEMALE

Will your brand benefit from a more authoritative read (eh-hem, Sam?) or a nurturing read (a-la-Jen?)? Consider if a male or female voice will better deliver the tone you are going for. 

Research has shown authority is associated with male voices while nurturing is associated with female voices. This is not to say one quality can’t be found in the other, but mainly to remind you to think about how well the actor’s voice will fit the desired tone of your messaging.

DIRECTION

You should assume that you’ll direct your voiceover talent, providing sample reads (you can even record your own voice on most smartphones). 

Some artists have ways for you to call into the recording so that you can hear them read it as it’s happening and give feedback in real time. 

Don’t expect your VO talent to get it right the first time or assume because they are a professional that they will be instantly successful at portraying your brand (or reading your mind). Remember…they read copy, not minds.

APPEARANCE

Will you ever use the talent as a spokesperson in a video ad? If not, don’t worry about appearances, just listen. How does the voice make you feel? It’s best to ignore any visuals associated with the voice-over talent and just listen, unless you plan to use this person as a spokesperson. 

AVAILABILITY

You found your favorite voice! Only to find out they work a full-time job and only do voice work on the weekends – or they live in Australia and are only available when you are in REM sleep. 

Identifying the availability of your preferred voice-over talent in advance will help you with setting expectations and know that your voice actor will work for your organization logistically. Audio and video production are hard enough to schedule as it is. Make sure you’re selecting voice-over talent that will be there when you need them.

Female voice artist laughing as she listens to her performance.
When listeners hear that voice, it should lay the groundwork for your brand. The more frequency of play your VO has, the easier your brand will be recalled. 

It may take a few tries to get it right

We’re not saying always reject the first offer, but you’ll likely need to try a few voices on before you really lock in the one that really makes your brand sing.

So it’s good to know that most voice-over talent will typically read a few lines of your copy at no charge and supply a few different takes so you can get an good feel for their style and range before committing. 

Don’t be afraid to move on if it’s not working. Not all voice-over talent live up to their demos. 

They may have been highly produced by another person and not replicable. Demos can sometimes be like a dating site – with a potential match portrayed one way online, and then when you meet that person in real life, you realize how many filters they were using!

Once you find “The Voice”, be consistent with your investment. Every time your audio ad plays with that voice, you’re training your audience. The more they hear it and identify your brand with that voice, the more impactful your messaging will be. 

For Capital One, they have a clear advantage with budget, but people do actually google “Jennifer Garner credit card” to find them online now. 

So, now that you’ve…

  • Identified your brand persona and tone
  • Figured out what emotion your brand should convey
  • Decided who you’re talking to with your brand voice
  • Selected your voice-over talent

…it’s time to dive into more of the logistics of working with a voice-over artist in our final two tips.

4) Pronunciation and Regional Accents: MOZZ-dah vs MAZZ-dah

Make sure your voice-over talent can pronounce your brand name accurately. Believe it or not, there have been times when the actor just can’t say the name of the company correctly, which will come across as confusing to the audience, damaging trust with the listener.

Additionally, make sure that your VO actor doesn’t have a distinct accent that could conflict with your brand. 

For example, if you are a Pacific Northwest-based company and your voice-over talent has a midwestern accent it could hurt your brand’s local appeal as well as your authenticity and credibility.

There are of course exceptions to be made…

For example, if you want to show inclusiveness in your marketing messaging and demonstrate how your brand values diversity, consider hiring a voice actor who is obviously not an English-first speaker. 

This will likely still capture your English as a first language audience very effectively, while also achieving the goal of having a memorable voice actor. Plus, anyone who speaks the same language as your voice actor will pick up on the effort to show inclusiveness in your marketing messaging immediately. 

We did this recently at Edge for a multilingual campaign we produced and ran in the Portland DMA for a local credit union client.

Video still from Unitus Community Credit Union Familia campaign of young Hispanic family walking down a sunny Portland street.
Video still from Unitus Community Credit Union’s ‘Familia’ campaign. Watch the full 30-second spot

Don’t underestimate the power of the right voice

There are times where it might make sense to use someone with an accent that is outside of your region. For example, a spa might use a female with a british accent to portray luxury.

Take a listen (or watch) this ad So, God Made a Farmer Dodge Truck commercial made for the SuperBowl in 2013. 

Video still from the Dodge Ram God Made a Farmer campaign of black Dodge Ram in front of farm buildings.
Video still from Dodge Ram’s ‘God Made a Farmer’ campaign. Watch the full video

It is considered by some to be the best SuperBowl commercial of all time and it’s become an iconic example of the power of a voiceover, a well written script and simple visuals. Note, there is no moving video in this spot – it’s all about the voice.

The voiceover makes you think of a prairie preacher from the dust bowl. He’s Paul Harvey, the most iconic radio broadcaster of all time, known as the “Apostle of Main Street” and the “Voice of Middle America”.

Review the comments on YouTube and you’ll see that tough farmers cried when this commercial aired and entire bars became silent once they heard Paul Harvey’s voice. Do not underestimate the power of the right voice with the right message targeted to the right audience.

5) Expediting the creative process

Spell out exactly what you need said

It can help to mimic out loud what you want it to sound like and then describe the sounds in your copy direction. 

For example, in your copywriting:

  • Use “dot” instead of a period: best buy dot com, not bestbuy.com 
  • Use “dash” instead of a dash: kingston dash charcoal dot com, not kingston-charcoal.com
  • Spell words if necessary: that’s R-E-V-I-V-E spa dot com, not revivespa.com 

Give your voiceover talent specific direction

For example:

  • Spoken softly and with mystery
  • Spoken confidently, with authority
  • End this sentence with your voice inflecting up like it’s a question
  • Talk like a valley girl
  • Mimic a monster truck announcer

Many professional voiceover actors have in-home studios and use a system (phone patch) where you can call in and listen to them do their reads and ensure that the tracks you are sent will fit what you are looking for.

You can provide direction and feedback during the session to help expedite the creative process and minimize frustration on all sides.

Communicate how you want the audio delivered

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Do you expect your voice-over talent to deliver more than one read? If so, let them know. For example, please provide at least three reads and a few variations of how you say our website tag at the end. 
  • Share your expectations regarding if you need their breaths removed and the read edited down to fit your format length. 
  • Share the format you need the file delivered in, as well as any technical specs. 

Don’t assume the voice talent is as good at recording as they are at reading copy 

We’ve been delivered everything from tightly edited reads that fit our time allowance perfectly, with breaths removed – to reads that have to be heavily edited and have multiple reads of the same sentence perhaps right in the middle of the read so that the editor can select the version they like best and edit the final deliverable together. 

Ask good questions up front, like: what format do you typically deliver your voiceover in? Do you edit it to fit the length? Can you remove any breaths? If there are alternate reads of any sentences or tags, can you add them at the end after an appropriate amount of space? 

Ask about their recording space. What equipment are they using? Do they travel to a studio to record or do they have a home setup? Most professional VOs have a home setup, just make sure they can deliver the professionalism and quality you require for your brand.

“You aren’t just selecting a voice to read a script. You’re aligning your brand with an idea, an image, a feeling, an emotion, a lifestyle, a value system.”

Summary and Resources

Remember that when it comes to selecting voice-over talent to represent your brand, you have an opportunity to leverage that talent into helping you meet your brand’s goals. 

And, you aren’t just selecting a voice to read a script. You’re aligning your brand with an idea, an image, a feeling, an emotion, a lifestyle, a value system…to convey important messaging around your organization.

You can always work with your ad agency or a local talent agency to help you select the perfect voice for your brand. 

If that is out of reach, here are some websites for sourcing voice-over talent, as well as a few for selecting music.

Voice-Over Talent

Music

Need help producing and placing brand-boosting digital audio and video content? That’s where we come in.

Find Your Edge

How to Write a Goal-Driven Audio Ad Script and CTA that Really Move the Needle [Examples Included]

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”

Bill Copeland, American Historian, Poet, and Author

Knowing the goal of your audio ad script will help you shape the structure with purpose; prioritizing copy that sticks with your audience and drives action.

Let’s jump right in and take a look at two audio advertising examples, starting with the goal in mind, and unpack some effective approaches for both.

Example #1: The Beer Festival

Goal: Sell Tickets to a Time-Sensitive Event

Tactics: Grab Attention, Use Repetition & Be Specific

Grab attention right away in this script and create a sense of urgency to sell tickets. Be repetitive and specific to push listeners to act immediately and secure tickets. Sell the experience of the event with the remainder of the ad copy. 

Consider using text messaging to track what ad placements are most successful at generating sales and adjust ad creative or ad placements as needed leading up to the event. The voiceover should be strong and talk a bit fast.

Audio Ad Example Copy:

Beer, beer and more beer! This weekend only, don’t miss the craft beer festival happening on the waterfront from 12 noon to 10pm. That’s THIS WEEKEND. Get your tickets online at craft beer fest dot com. That’s craft beer fest dot com OR text BEER to 5678 that’s BEER to 5678 for a link to buy your tickets. You don’t want to miss it – beer will be flowing from all of your favorite local breweries, plus enjoy yummy food and live music. Get your tickets at craft beer fest dot com OR text BEER to 5678. See you there!

Example #2: The Luxury Spa

Goal: Grow Name/Brand Awareness; Increase Appointments

Tactics: Repetition & Tone

Make it sticky. Repeat the name of the brand as much as possible, while also selling the brand experience in the audio ad via your voiceover selection, delivery and services offered. 

For this type of brand (luxury spa), the voiceover should be slower and more relaxed. Don’t be afraid to spell out a harder word to ensure the listener goes to the right place. 

Include your brand’s tagline when appropriate. In the example ad copy below, a version of the brand name is repeated a total of 8 times, making the brand name more sticky.

Audio Ad Example Copy:

Now open, your home for relaxation awaits at Revive Luxury Spa. Revive your body, mind and spirit with a shiatsu massage, pedicure, CBD facial and more. Enjoy complimentary beverages, a steam room and valet parking. Melt your stress away and revive at Revive Luxury Spa. Now open in Northwest Portland. Visit revive spa dot com, that’s R-E-V-I-V-E Spa dot com and take advantage of our grand opening offers. That’s Revive Spa dot com. Revive Luxury Spa. Unwind. Renew. Revive

Include a call to action or special offer (if it exists)

A call to action, or CTA, is the one thing you hope the listener will do upon hearing your ad. There might be several actions you hope your audience takes, but in your audio commercial script it’s best to highlight just one call to action. Only consider adding a secondary CTA option if you have time and it fits the vibe of the brand or event.

Audio Ad CTA Examples:

  • Call a phone number
  • Text a number
  • Visit a website or landing page
  • Fill out a form
  • Go to a location at a specific time

Keep your CTAs simple and singular

It’s imperative in the limited amount of time you have available in your audio advertising spot that you don’t clutter the airwaves with too many ideas and actions that could cause the listener confusion. 

Remember, audio ads, like digital display, are a disruptive medium. You are interrupting the listener’s moment, their podcast, their music, with something they didn’t ask for or maybe know existed until just then. Keep the CTA straightforward and be ready on your end to make it as simple as possible for them to respond. 

Make responding to the audio ad easy 

Ask the listener to click on a companion asset (like a banner ad) or text a code or phrase to a number, or visit a landing page. These actions are trackable, so you can also remarket to them for a period of time if they don’t convert right away. 

Think of it as offering an opportunity for them to bookmark the ad for themselves so they can check it out at a time that is more convenient for them.

Remember, audio is an intrusive form of advertising. We don’t mean this in a bad way, but audio advertisements break into the listener’s programming (and fund it), so make it easy for them to respond when they are ready. 

Have a special offer in your ad? Make sure it’s clear.

Special offers, or promotions, are a great way to drive more immediate action, however they often necessitate the addition of a disclaimer or disclosure somewhere in the creative.

One way to handle this is to incorporate the required discloser language within the promo, like in these two examples:

“Check out our special rates online at website dot com. That’s website dot com. Special rates available only through the end of this month.”

“When [your team] scores 100 points or more, stop by [Pet Shop Brand Name] the next day and get a free toy for your favorite cat or dog in your life with an eligible purchase.”

In order to end strong, start with your goal

Audio advertising is a viable medium to reach your target market and achieve provable ROI – IF you have a clear goal in mind before you get started. 

Put yourself in the shoes of your listener and practice empathy when writing copy for audio ads. Visualize your target market during their busy day – what are they doing? Are they in a minivan full of kids? Are they working on their laptop in a busy coffee shop? Are they walking around the block listening to a podcast after work? How would you receive your own message if you were in their place? 

Asking yourself these questions and having an empathetic mindset will help your next audio ad script connect with your target audience and achieve your desired goals – instead of just running up and down the field. 

Wanna make sure your next digital audio campaign really sings?

Get In Tune with Edge

How to Identify Your Target Audience, Create Personas and Write ROI-Boosting Ad Copy

Identify your target audience so you can matter to them

We don’t all take our coffee the same way – and some of us don’t even drink coffee. To assume your whole audience first, drinks coffee, and second, wants a nonfat vanilla latte, would be a mistake. Some people prefer green tea with a splash of oat milk.

So before you write your next set of ads, think about who you hope will be on the receiving end of your copy by identifying your target audience. If you don’t, it’s very likely they won’t get the message – or worse, it will be received in a misconstrued and unintended way, potentially damaging your brand.

In order to achieve the goal of engaging your target audience while they are moving through life in a world constantly competing for their attention, you must first identify your target audience.

And, once you know your target audience, it is important to demonstrate your connection to them by creating personalized experiences that show empathy for who they are, where they’re at and what matters to them.

What is a persona?

Different people have different needs, concerns and expectations. Creating a persona can help your marketing team step outside of their own natural biases and brand blinders and thus craft copy that will appeal to the people who will be using the product or service you are marketing. This is marketing with empathy.

A persona is a character sketch of your target audience. This is not a real person. A persona is a written representation of your ideal user that reflects the characteristics and represents the needs and desires of a larger group of people. In short, a persona is a representative of your target audience.

Creating a persona

The goal is to identify to whom you are trying to convey your message. Imagine your target audience and then focus your message in a way that will best reach them. To do this effectively, it is helpful to go through the exercise of creating your persona, or personas. Let’s take a look at some of the key elements that make up a persona.

For example, if you are trying to reach existing credit union members or potential new credit union members, jot down:

  • Age range of your target audience
  • Lifestyle choices or habits
  • Stage of life
  • Typical family makeup
  • Preferred language
  • Cultural background(s)
  • Personality and disposition
  • What motivates them
  • Goals and frustrations
  • Brand affinities
  • Media consumption habits and trends 

Ensure your ad copy appeals to your target audience by placing yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer – your target persona. Then ask yourself, “Do I like what I hear?” “Does this ad make me want to take the action I want my target audience to take?”

If you find yourself at a loss, put yourself in an environment that attracts the archetypical consumer you want to target and then take some notes. This might mean attending an MLS soccer game, going to a mall food court, or sitting in the parking lot of a credit union. 

Take that real-life experience and couple it with the data your marketing team already has, and then tap into a tool like xtensio to help you flesh out your persona.

There is a lot to consider, this is why an effective marketing strategy often doesn’t have just one creative message in the mix. If you talk to a single, 25 year old woman like she’s a married 45 year old, it could be counterproductive and hurt your brand. 

It’s important to meet your listeners where they are at and show empathy. 

Spaghetti duct taped to wall, creative way to think outside the norm
Identifying your target audience and creating personas can get your team out of the habit of throwing creative spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. Instead you’ll be able to create messaging that sticks specifically for people who prefer wall spaghetti over the plate kind.

Applying creative to distinct personas

This exercise may help you identify the need for multiple creative sets to effectively target more than one persona. In this example, we’ll be looking at three distinct personas that are being marketed the same product.

Let’s say a credit union wants to grow membership by offering products that appeal to their key personas. The same product may be marketed in several different ways.

For example, if the credit union wants to grow deposits (i.e. cash in the bank via savings or money market accounts) they could consider marketing a Certificate of Deposit to these three distinct personas in three distinct ways:

1) The 28 year old single man persona

A young adult age 24-30 getting established in life, unmarried, college graduate, career focused, active socially and always on the go. Listens to podcasts, rents an apartment, leases a newer model car, goes to concerts and restaurants regularly.

Copy approach:

Focus on what your product will deliver to this persona – paint an attractive picture in their mind of how they can put the results to use. For example, do the math for them and demonstrate how their earnings will pay for a weekend getaway with friends and help provide them with a memorable experience.

2) 45 year old married working mom persona

A busy mom in her mid-40’s with 2+ children. Married, both she and her partner work full time, homeowner, actively saving for her kids’ college and for retirement. She rarely watches TV (no time). Doesn’t listen to anything when driving alone (that’s the only time she has enough quiet to think). Avid reader, gets recipes online via blogs. Pursues home design, gardening and fashion. Broadway season ticket holder.

Copy approach:

Showcase your product’s flexibility (no fees for early withdrawal?) and your products ease to sign up (this person has very little time!). Things for this demographic can change dramatically (job loss, divorce, unexpected medical bills, aging parents, etc) but this group still wants to be diligent and active when it comes to protecting their resources and having a smart safety net that is going to work for them and at last resort can be available if it’s needed.

3) 65 year old married, active retired couple with grandchildren

Married couple age 60+. Both are retired and living off of their investments and their grown children have produced a handful of grandchildren. They enjoy gardening, watching cable news, traveling in their RV and taking their grandkids on trips. They are active in their local community, giving of their time and volunteering.

Copy approach:

Focus on the rate of your product as this audience has been known to take the time to shop around. Features and benefits of your product that help you stand out from the competition will help them keep their money with you OR move their money from another institution over to yours. 

Additionally, consider how this product could benefit the listeners’ grandchildren and market it in that way instead (open a certificate of deposit for your grandchild this holiday season and watch it grow while you watch them grow!)

The work is worth it

The effectiveness of your marketing dollars will be demonstrated by how well you know your target audience, and thus how well you can effectively engage them. This means that you know how to speak to them and where to reach them.

There are a lot of ways this can work out, depending on your success in getting the right message tailored to the right audience on the right media platforms. 

  • Right Message + Target Audience + Right Media = Positive ROI and Brand Experience 
  • Right Message + General Audience + Wrong Media  = Depleted Results and Confusion
  • Wrong Message + General Audience + Right Media = Brand Damage
  • Wrong Message + General Audience + Wrong Media = Wasted Budget

Message. Audience. Media.

Getting any of these three things wrong can be anywhere from costly to detrimental. The work is worth it. 

An audience-centric approach minimizes waste and improves performance

In 2021, $296.4 Billion was spent on advertising in the United States alone. In 2020, McDonalds alone spent approximately $1.8 Million per day on advertising. That’s a lot of potentially undercooked marketing cheeseburgers, if brands like these don’t invest in target audience research. 

According to AdWeek, not putting the energy into researching and personalizing ads comes across as lazy to consumers. That’s bad for the brand and for your ROI – and marketers are feeling the failure, with only 12% saying that they feel their strategies are performing well. 

Imagine the waste of advertising dollars happening across the board because the work isn’t done on the front end to identify the target audience, develop a buyer persona and tailor the message to the medium being used. Now, imagine you are one of the few putting the work into researching and personalizing ads to fit your target audience and buyer persona! 

Creating a buyer persona seems like a lot of work – but stats clearly demonstrate the work is indeed worth it. For example, MarketingSherpa found that using personas increased:

  • Website traffic by 210%
  • Website generated leads by 97%
  • Website generated sales by 124%
  • Organic search traffic by 55%

Revisit, revise, re-release

It’s key to revisit your messaging and media placements as consumption habits and trends change over time. For example, Podcasts did not exist until late 2004 (fun piece of trivia for you – the New Oxford American Dictionary declared the word Podcast as the “word of the year” in 2005) and now 28% of the U.S. population over 12 years old listens to podcasts on a weekly basis. 80% of marketers who leverage audio content and podcasts plan to invest the same amount or more budget in 2022. 

Imagine if marketers had just set their marketing on cruise control for the past 10 years and just kept running traditional radio spots… 

Fast forward to 2021 and there’s another new thing – the recently emerged social audio chat rooms like Clubhouse which has in turn spurred the development of more social apps. Already 16% of marketers say they’ve invested in audio chat rooms like Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces. 

And don’t get me started on streaming services and traditional TV media consumption. As a marketer, it is imperative to revisit your marketing strategy, revise it and re-release your creative to fit what is happening now and not rely on dated tactics to get the job done.

Key Takeaways: don’t leave it at one and done

  • Know your target audience
  • Develop & document your buyer persona
  • More than one persona? Consider more than one approach to your creative
  • Get the advertising medium right – consider customizing your creative even further to maximize each platform 
  • Lots to say? Consider unpacking your story in multiple ads
  • Revisit, revise, re-release

Summary

In this article, we’ve covered the importance of identifying your target audience and creating personas so you can write advertising copy that reflects empathy, builds brand loyalty and meets your ROI goals. While it can be a hefty undertaking, the end result is worth it – a happy customer, engaged with your brand.

One Mom’s Flexible Approach To Working from Home with Kids

Make More Room For The Life Part of Your Work-Life Balance

At Edge, we put family first. We have incredible flexibility and are so grateful for the opportunity to approach work-life balance in this way.

What this means to me in the day-to-day of working from home is that we’ve had to develop a more flexible or fluid approach to our work-life balance.

One of the primary reasons we started Edge was so that we could work from home and have a lifestyle that supported family.

Changing pace to make room for real life

In my previous career, I saw my stressed-out friends trying to pass their sick kids through to daycare so that they didn’t miss work at their office.

For one newly-minted dad on parental leave, I saw my boss dramatically exclaim, “Is he EVER coming back to work?!”

We had yet to start a family, but I saw a pretty clear picture of what life would be like with a one-hour commute each way and the pressure mounting to not put family first.

What is a flexible work-life approach?

A flexible work-life approach might mean I start the workday earlier and end it later, often putting a few hours in before kids are awake in the morning and after the kids are asleep at night.

This allows for the normal “disruptions” I encounter everyday with kid-related interruptions, errands, refereeing and the like.

This is just one approach and it might not be for every family, but for ours it has kept this work-from-home family going strong for 20 years.

8 Tips for building more flexibility into your work life

1) Get an early and consistent start

Get up at the same time every day. At our house, we call this hour: Early-Dark-30, but you might call it 6am.

2) Their Nap Time Is Your Work Time

If you have young children, take advantage of their nap time to work. Save the tasks that require more concentrated brain power for this time.

But…have a back up plan because, as every parent knows, nap time is not guaranteed.

3) Take Meaningful Breaks

Give yourself permission to take meaningful breaks and engage with your kids in short spurts, because losing productivity and creative focus to guilt is real.

15-30 minutes of intentional time is better than the 15-30 minutes you’ll waste telling them to stop interrupting you. They will be more content and you will be more productive.

4) Make “Sign Off” or “Start Up” Notes

Have a clear picture of where you’re going to start the next day before “signing off” for the night.

Leave a “start up” note or an ordered task list on your desk.

I find that 15 minutes of prep before I shut my laptop for the day helps me jump in quicker the next day.

It can also help you rest at night. Now you can clear your mind as your fall asleep rather than run through a restless checklist.

5) Hold Walking Meetings

I would do this with my husband every day at 10:30 a.m. We’d walk a mile with our dog and talk business.

Now, I can walk on the treadmill and do a conference call or watch a training video while also getting some exercise. So many good ideas and solutions come when I take my mind off a problem and instead take it for a walk.

I know one team member uses exercise as a sort of punctuation. Between tasks he’ll do push ups, jumping jacks or just walk around his property a few times.

Take advantage of the fact that your co-workers can’t see you doing crunches to celebrate that epic email campaign you just launched.

6) Beds Are For Two Things

I’ll let you imagine what those two things are, but working isn’t one of them. Don’t steal your rest and confuse your body by treating your bed as a lay-to-sit desk.

Instead, as stated above, set your office times and have a designated space where you can concentrate and signal to yourself and everyone else in your home that it’s (quite literally) business time.

7) Make Your Home Office Smarter

Make your home smart and have it do some work for you. Our home has smart switches, lights, Alexa and security cameras in key areas so that we can monitor what’s going on from our desks.

We set up routines with these smart home features to help our kids stay on track during key tipping points: wake up, nap and bedtime.

We can also drop in on our kids’ rooms or make household announcements intercom-style.

8) Let Your Kids Lead

Get your kids engaged in activities that don’t involve you leading them.

We used educational TV programs and apps such as MEL Science, KiwiCrates and Let’s Make Art subscriptions (depending on age).

For older kids, have them make their own daily schedules. This way they can’t blame you if they get bored.

9) Play Parental Tag

Coordinate with your partner when you have an important meeting that takes you out of your home office – or a conference call that requires quiet and concentration.

Don’t be afraid to conduct important calls from the quietest room in your home, even if it’s the master bedroom closet or, as I rebranded mine, the Executive TeleCloset.

When both parents work from home, you can toss the “main parental control” back and forth as needed.

Scheduling work and family – a real life example

There is no doubt that having young children (4 and under) at home is difficult if you’re also trying to work from home and do not have childcare available.

For two working adults, dividing time between the two of you and stretching your 8-hour workday over 12 hours (or more) has worked for our family. Having a laptop is essential.

Here’s an example multi-tasking schedule that’s worked for us:

6 – 8 a.m.Work2 hours worked
8 – 10 a.m.Get kids up, fed and engaged in an activity (during this time, laptop is out and you’re multitasking with emails and research)45 minutes worked
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.Active playtime, inside or out for the kids. Work from your laptop while you supervise them. Then transition to an educational TV program for the kids.1 hour worked
12 – 2 p.m.Prep lunch, serve, clean up – send the kids to their rooms for quiet activities before naptime – or reading/rest time.1 hour worked
3 – 4:30 p.m.Reading/rest time ends, time for 90 minutes of fun TV and a snack – this is a great time to put on a movie and get yourself back to more focused work1 hour 30 minutes worked
4:30 – 6 p.m.Get the kids doing some chores and start your own early dinner prep – multitask while fixing dinner – answer or draft a few emails.30 minutes worked
6 – 8 p.m.Eat dinner and enjoy some family time and playtime. Avoid TV, prep for the next day (dishes, clean up, baths, etc). We typically do not watch TV during the workweek because our kids get enough screen time during the day when we are working.
8 – 9:30 p.m.All our kids are in their rooms. Youngest watch a short PBS show for 20 minutes with lights out at 8:30, older kids read in their rooms with lights out at 9. This is an opportunity to do one last hour or so at work.1 hour 15 minutes worked

There’s your 8-hour flex family work day spread across 15 and a half hours.

During times of peak projects and deadlines, those evening hours can stretch on to midnight.

Not saying it’s always easy, but doable: yes. Worth it? For sure.

And remember, building in more meaningful breaks can help incorporate rest into your day to help you go the distance…even if you never step out the door.

How Can We Help You Right Now?

Let’s Talk

Edge Team to Speak at Credit Union Marketers Conference

NWCA-2017-Conference

We are honored to be invited to speak at the 2017 Northwest Credit Union Association Marketers Conference this year. This conference will be the face to face, thought leadership opportunity for Northwest credit unions’ marketing, business development and community outreach professionals – with folks joining us from all over Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Edge’s Senior Digital and Creative Strategist, Zack Stack will be featured as the Keynote Speaker, discussing how Credit Unions can define, focus and multiply their efforts to stay current and leverage limited resources in the ever-changing world of digital. Over the past five years, Zack has developed a knack for helping credit unions empower and extend the capabilities of their marketing teams by identifying and prioritizing business development opportunities in the digital realm.

Edge’s Managing Partner, Stephanie Chadwick and Account Manager Trenton Platt will be teaming up for a break out session to dive deeper into leveraging the digital platforms DoubleClick and Google AdWords for Credit Unions. They’ll share more about helping clients understand and implement successful, first-time digital search and display marketing strategies and nurturing them into core business drivers.

We’re excited to share more with this wonderful group of Credit Union marketers and look forward to sharing more insights after the conference.

https://nwcua.org/event/2017-marketers-conference-spectrum-awards-dinner-and-marketers-trade-show/

ALS #IceBucketChallenge: A Marketer’s Perspective As She Takes The Plunge

 

Just a simple task – fill a bucket full of ice and water, turn your iPhone on “selfie” mode, upload a video to your social media sites, and then challenge a few of your closest friends.

Seems like an odd way to help make a difference, but it is working! According to alsa.org, as of August 20, 2014 the ALS association has received over $31.5 million in donations compared to the $1.9 million that came in during the same time period last year. And what can the organization attribute this year’s success to – the Internet phenomenon known as the #IceBucketChallenge.

In case you’ve been out of the loop for the past month, the Ice Bucket Challenge was started as a way to get donations for the ALS Association by asking for donations of $100 or creating an opt-out that involves filming yourself dumping a bucket of ice-cold water over your head and then requesting three of your friends to follow suit. It’s social media peer pressure at its most noble and philanthropic.

It’s like the old saying “no publicity is bad publicity” – the number one goal among campaigns such as these is to create awareness.

MTV has posted a list of the challenge rules on their website, here you’ll notice that, yes, although you may forego paying $100 by accepting the Ice Bucket Challenge, you still have to donate money to the ALS Association. So not only is EVERY participant donating but they are also keeping the trend alive by nominating three more people and having those three people nominate their own three and so on.

It’s pure genius if you ask me, what does this generation like more than taking photos & videos of themselves, perusing social media sites, and forcing their friends to do silly stunts?

According to Forbes.com there are four main things that every successful viral campaign needs to include:

  • Grabbing People’s Attention
  • Inspiration to a Higher Call
  • A Simple Call-to-Action
  • Some Measure of Controversy

The Ice Bucket Challenge has definitely succeeded in getting our attention; I haven’t gone one-day this past month without seeing a challenge video on my feed.

A majority of recent fads have had no real message behind them other than to entertain. For example, in 2011 it was planking, then in 2012 came the Gangnam Style music video parodies, and in 2013 it was the Harlem Shake. When these trends swept the nation they provided nothing but a great deal of entertainment. The current ALS challenge trend provides entertainment as well as raising a huge amount of money for a good cause; this makes it really hard NOT to participate.

The CTA here couldn’t be much easier. All you need is a bucket, some water, and a smart phone. This challenge can be done either alone or with the help of friends, the video doesn’t need to be high quality, and there is very little organization or planning involved.

It’s like the old saying “no publicity is bad publicity” – the number one goal among campaigns such as these is to create awareness. At the end of the day, if people are talking about your brand then you have successfully done your job. I’d find it hard to imagine that anyone with access to the internet is not now aware of the ALS association – especially after we see our favorite celebrities and public figures take on the challenge.

If you take anything away from this recent fad it should be that no marketing campaign is too ludicrous for consideration; even the craziest of ideas can lend themselves success. And if this doesn’t apply to you then at least enjoy some cheap amusement…including my very own Ice Bucket Challenge video below (note: the ice in my bucket did exist, but it all melted before I started).

 

EdgeMM Project Manager Molly Smith accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Pop over to Edge’s Facebook Page to see more Edgers who have taken to dousing themselves for the cause, or better yet visit ALSA.org and learn more about what you can do.

 

Sources:
http://www.alsa.org/news/media/press-releases/ice-bucket-challenge-082014.html
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimstengel/2014/08/20/four-lessons-brands-ice-bucket-challenge/
http://www.bostern.com/blog/2014/08/15/what-an-als-family-really-thinks-about-the-ice-bucket-challenge/

Is Your Website Working For You?

…Or, are you working for your website?

Your website should be a powerful tool for your business, helping drive leads, increase sales and support your brand – making your life easier and your business more profitable. At Edge Multimedia, we know how to make your website do some heavy lifting for your business.

Some benefits of a new website:

NW Designers Strut Their Wears For Portland Fashion Week & Couve Couture

Couve Couture Fashion Show - Model for Most Everything Vintage
Image courtesy of Oblique Foto. Couve Couture Spring Fashion Show 2014. Designer: Alisa of Most Everything Vintage; Model: Jordan Bontrager; Hair: Ashley Rauch of Ashleycheri Stylist; MUA: Meghan Hamilton of Beauty by Meghan; Photo by: Oblique Foto — with Oblique Foto, Alisa Powell Tetreault and Jordan Bontrager.
 
Couve Couture Fashion Show Poster

From my first job in retail to being a plus-size model for Nordstrom for 10+ years, the world of fashion has always been close to my heart. I love the design and creativity and the outlet for personal expression. In a lot of ways, our work at Edge Multimedia is similar – we get to express ourselves creatively and keep our clients “on trend”.

This year, it was our pleasure at Edge Multimedia to support the creative community surrounding the fashion industry in both Portland and Vancouver. As a media sponsor of the April 12th event Couve Couture in Vancouver, where every seat of the 600 that could fit in the venue were filled – we enjoyed amazing designs by local artists as well as nationally acclaimed designer Seth Aaron (winner of Project Runway), who appeared at the event with some jaw dropping original designs to share with us.

This fun evening with the Edge ladies was a fulfilling way to show not only our community support but also show our support to those we know personally that were a big part of the show (big shout out to Alisa Tetreault of Most Everything Vintage, one of the founders of the show and an old college buddy of mine).

Portland Fashion Week - Noelle Herman, Jessica Kane and Stephanie Chadwick
From left to right: Noelle Herman,
Portland Fashion Week Executive Director
Jessica Kane and Stephanie Chadwick at
Portland Fashion Week.

A few weeks later we dove into the world of Portland Fashion Week – where we sat front row and enjoyed designs by large and small local brands – ranging from Columbia Sportswear to O’Pearl Brands. The event spanned three nights filling 1,100 seats. It was especially fun to see the hair and makeup innovations by the Dosha creative team (shout out to my friend and the matron of honor at my wedding – the gal at the helm, Kimberly Johnson and her Aveda Institute Portland).

To all of you trendsetters involved in our local fashion scene – we at Edge support you – thank you for enhancing the creative culture in this weird hub we call home. We applaud your work and are excited to be a part of it all.

Wondering how you can set the trend with your business? No matter the industry or category, we can help.

Couve Couture Fashion Show - Models
Models course down the runway showcasing designs by local Vancouver designers during the April 12th Couve Couture fashion show in Vancouver, WA.
 

Article by Stephanie Chadwick with contributions by Noelle Herman.

Share’s 1920’s-Themed, Nonprofit Fundraising Gala a Roaring Success

The Edge video crew visited with Share Caseworker Aimee and her client Becky to tell the story of how Becky became self-sufficient and rebuilt her relationship with her children with the help of Share. This video was shared during Share’s nonprofit fundraising special appeal.

The Flapper and Dapper Noelle and Dan Herman
Edge’s ever flapper and ever dapper
Noelle and Dan Herman.

For the second consecutive year, Edge Multimedia planned, shot, edited and produced a short film to help raise funds during an annual, local nonprofit fundraising gala for our client, Share Vancouver. The gala was a ‘roaring’ success, might we say, with a strong showing of not only community support but of classic 1920’s style to boot. Raffles, auctions and special appeals throughout the evening together helped raise over $173,000 to fund Share’s community programs throughout 2014.

Yes, the theme was Flappers and Dappers. With guests arriving in fringe, feathers and fedoras – it was a very festive evening flashing back to the prohibition era, minus the prohibition part, as the fruit of the vine was flowing thanks to sponsor Basel Cellars Estate Winery.

Prior to the big event, our Edge video crew visited with Share Caseworker Aimee and her client Becky to tell the story behind Becky becoming self-sufficient and rebuilding her relationship with her children with the help of Share. We invite you to watch the video above and enjoy this inspiring story.

Edge Team Attends Share's Nonprofit Fundraising Gala
The Edge Crew mugs for the camera before the
silent and live auctions begin.

In addition to providing insight into how Share dramatically benefits the lives of thousands of individuals in our local community through telling Becky’s story, the short film also gives an annual overview of Share Vancouver’s invaluable service to Clark County and the greater community.

Additionally, Edge Multimedia was a platinum sponsor of the event. We brought our crew – all dolled up in 1920’s attire – to enjoy the silent and live auctions, as well as visit with supporters and local community leaders that have a heart for Share.

Once again it was our honor to participate in such a fantastic event and use our skills to help get the word out about the amazing work that Share does every day.

Share's 2014 Flappers and Dappers Nonprofit Fundraising Gala and Auction
A generous, enthusiastic crowd, a great emcee, effective special appeal media and a professional auctioneer combine for a roaring success of a nonprofit fundraising gala for Share Vancouver.