Marketing isn’t just about dazzling people with your products. It even goes beyond making your services shine. To achieve your full outreach potential, you also need to portray your corporate values, culture, and goals appealingly. Recording a young voice over could make this task far more doable.
A young voice over breaks the traditional mold by portraying your branded content in a youthful way. A great deal of contemporary marketing content strives for the learned authority of a mature persona. Young voices can help you connect with specific demographics more naturally — as if you’re speaking to them instead of at them.
How do your voice overs sound, and are they missing a certain youthful vibrancy? While we here at Bunny Studios love all kinds of voices, we know the importance of getting on your audience’s good side. Here’s what we’ve discovered about making a lasting impact.
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This post was updated in May 2021
What Is a Young Voice Over?
When creating content, marketers typically go to great lengths to specify the kind of tone they want to take. With young voice-overs, the goal is to adopt a perspective that communicates youthful energy or a fresh outlook on life.
Imagine that your donut shop has been spending problematic sums of money on marketing to senior citizens. Although these consumers love your product, they also tend to watch their dietary intake. Younger adults and teenagers, however, can’t get enough of your doughy rings. In this kind of situation, you might benefit from creating a commercial whose narrator represents a younger person.
Classifying Young Voice Over Talent
There are a few different categories of young voices — each with their own best-practice usage cases. Although there aren’t any hard-and-fast advertising rules for deciding when to speak a certain way, you can bet that adopting one of these perspectives will dramatically change how people perceive you:
- Child voices, such as those of character actors in advertisements like toy commercials, are the classic example of youth portrayals in marketing. Even though these voices don’t always take on narrator roles, they make it natural to address youthful audiences directly and establish the desirability of products.
- Teen voices are critical for capturing massive amounts of market share. Considering that this group spends some 41 percent of its disposable income on things like food and clothing, it’s easy to see why many businesses invest heavily in grabbing their attention. These voices also represent a dominant force on social media and other platforms, making it wise to master their jargon.
- Young adult voices haven’t lost their joie de vivre, but they tend to be a bit more serious and mature. Interestingly, these voices can still appeal to younger groups since minors may be less averse to listening to those who appear closer to their age group or taking famous talent at face value.
Influencers and Young Voice Overs
One of the most intriguing aspects of marketing is the role of the influencer. Influencers help brands build credence by demonstrating how their products and services might benefit people. They can also humanize companies that might otherwise find it difficult to break into markets.
Why are influencer-backed young voice-overs so effective? While there are probably many distinct factors, the answer may be more straightforward than you think. Research has shown that among adolescents, peer cliques play essential roles in social and mental development. Although such grouping behavior continues into adulthood, youthful audiences are a bit more open to it. Influencer marketing plays into this reality by making young voices feel a bit more genuine than many traditional outreach campaigns can manage.
True, not every young-sounding voice over needs or benefits from having a big social media influencer onboard. On the other hand, the advent of virtual influencers — totally simulated digital advertisers — points to the value of fine-tuning your vocal marketing practices. For instance, some virtual influencers, their creators, and the brands that use them have been accused of cultural appropriation and other social ills. Knowing what your audience values is vital to getting them on board, so your young voices need to sound incredibly authentic no matter who your influencer is. Finding real human spokespeople may ultimately be the best option.
Using Young Voice Overs for the Greater Good
Marketing to younger audiences raises some important ethical and questions. When creating young voice overs to attract younger audiences, it’s important to remember that
- Entities like the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and other regulatory bodies have specific rules regarding marketing to children and adolescents,
- Creating advertising that gives the impression of using young voice overs to mislead or take advantage of children can be PR suicide — even after you apologize, and
- Certain companies, such as vape makers, simply shouldn’t target young people no matter how lucrative it seems.
Making the most of a young voice is a lot easier for those who take a proactive stance on corporate responsibility and content oversight. Although anyone can make an honest mistake, setting the tone by creating a comprehensive content strategy from the start can help you avoid bad footing.
What Makes a Voice Over Sound Youthful?
Several aspects distinguish young voice overs from those created by older talent. Many of these elements are easy to characterize thanks to our shared human experience, but gut feelings don’t translate to good marketing. As you describe your ideal tone, stay on track with these pointers:
Pay Attention to Your Use of Slang and Idioms
Although every age group prefers its unique turns of phrase, these linguistic tendencies are more pronounced in younger speakers. Using slang that makes you sound “old” is a dead giveaway that your marketing lacks authenticity. This infamous clip from 30 Rock is an excellent example of what not to do:
Hire a Speaker With a Broad Range
Youthful voices see heavy use in the marketing world, so it’s crucial to stand out. Whether you’re working with an actual teenager or an extremely talented professional adult voice actor, you should find someone who can differentiate your content. In other words, don’t just go for the most typical sounding youth voice you can get. Explore the options to identify talent that gives your branding a unique tone.
Don’t Dumb It Down
Even though a youthful audience might not care about the technical details of your business model, you shouldn’t treat people like they’re unintelligent. No matter what their average age is, people hate being “talked down” to, so take a respectful tone. Also, remember that when it comes to certain trending topics, such as social awareness, teens may be even more astute than their adult counterparts. Before hitting the recording booth, do the necessary research to join in on the conversation without appearing to condescend.
Identify a Constructive Attitude
As any parent knows, teens and kids aren’t always cheerful and chipper. Nonetheless, their voices tend to sound less worn out than older ones. Again, the importance of age- and topic-appropriate phrasing and vocabulary can’t be overstated, but maintaining a fresh tone is usually wisest. Write your narrators and characters to reflect the type of zestfulness you want people to associate with your brand.
Pick Content Topics That Appeal to Younger Audiences
The previous point aside, there’s definitely a way to frame advertisements so that they seem youthful. Imagine that you’ve begun rethinking your donut factory outreach demographic. You’ve recorded a few young voice-overs, and things seem to be going well. The problem is that people on social media keep making fun of your health-centric ad content, which still sounds kind of awkward. Perhaps it’s time for another change?
Even if you’re not outright marketing to young adults or children, your storytellers still need to sound genuine. Having a child actor or narrator in a commercial start spouting off nutrition facts isn’t very realistic. It’s vital to pick age-appropriate content for each portrayal, which brings us nicely to the next topic…
Who Do Young Voice Overs Target?
Young voice overs help bridge the gap between brands and their target audiences. When used effectively, they can help you gain enhanced traction in treacherous market landscapes.
Remember that young voices aren’t just for addressing young audiences. Parents, teachers, and other guardians are also listening in, and they’re often paying much closer attention. Going back to the confectionery business example, a commercial that includes a young voice over might also feature older people enjoying donuts alongside their youthful family members.
Many commercials make efforts to target adults in almost the same breath as they address children. Phrases like “Moms and dads love it too,” “Fits in a school lunchbox,” and others exemplify this trend. Although these promotional tidbits aren’t the main focus, they’re still relevant. When dubbing or recording, it’s worth thinking about the fact that parents may be more prone to accepting young voices that evince audible excitement.
How Do Audiences Respond to Young Voice Overs?
Young voice-overs are such an accepted marketing force that they’ve been the standard for decades. On television, in radio, and online, youthful voices often serve as the representatives of major brands and forward-thinking enterprises. The effect works even better with influencers, who tend to enjoy significantly more trust than those outside of peer groups do.
Audiences of all ages respond well to young voice overs. This might be because society generally values young people. For instance, voice-over listeners may inherently be more trusting of narrators that aren’t irritable and bitter. On the other hand, it’s important to remember the big picture. If you haven’t devised a content plan that gives your young voices a realistic conceptual environment to occupy, they’ll sound out of place and disingenuous.
Should You Record a Young Voice Over?
Young voice-overs aren’t appropriate for all kinds of products or outreach, but that doesn’t dull their immense power. If you want your marketing to appeal to general audiences, then consider speaking to them in the way they might expect their peers to address them. By doing so in good faith and creating content to match, you’ll make the conversation far more lively.
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