Professional Voice-Over Talent Debbie Grattan chats with Marketing Exec Cheril Hendry of Brandtailers in Irvine, California, on how marketing has changed in the past few years, the newest trends for social media and viral advertising, and how voice-over talent marketing will benefit from those changes.
Part 1 of an Interview with Voice-Over Talent Marketing Expert Cheril Hendry of Brandtailers
Debbie Grattan, Voice-Over Talent: Cheril, can you give us an overview of how marketing has changed over the past 5 to 10 years?
Cheril Hendry: It has changed quite dramatically. I love to tell this story because I think it really explains a lot. When you look at the world that existed before advertising, you will make your purchase decisions by talking to your friends and neighbors. For example, you’ve got John and Joe, who are farmers, and they’re talking over their mutual fence about where John got his tractor, and John tells Joe, “You gotta go down to the local place in town and buy there because they have the best tractors, they take good care of you, have great service, etc.” So, Joe buys his tractor primarily based on John’s opinion and recommendation.
Then the world of advertising comes along, and you have ads in newspapers, radio, television, and now the internet that are all trying to tell you where to go, how to buy, and what you should buy. But, with the internet and the way that social media especially has changed things in the last few years, it’s really come full circle. Advertising as we know it is almost no longer in existence. It’s very weak in terms of its being able to influence people. And, really, what’s happened is we’ve gone back to John and Joe talking to each other over the fence and asking for opinions of who you can trust and who has the best services or products. The only difference is, instead of it being one John and one Joe, John can ask ALL of his friends, and all of his friends can respond to him. So, that’s been a very interesting shift to watch happen over the past several years.
Debbie Grattan: Does that shift concern you, given the business you are in?
Cheril Hendry: As much as that reality might sound frightening for the owner of an advertising agency, I actually think it’s wonderful because there are still opportunities for smart marketers. This trend feeds into the whole “truthfulness, trust, and transparency” approach that businesses can use for marketing themselves more effectively in today’s environment.
Debbie Grattan: How does that change the way you do business then? If you’re looking at broadcast advertising (newspaper, radio, tv), are you now moving more to social media forms of advertising?
Cheril Hendry: We are doing a lot of social media, but it’s beyond that. Actually, my agency doesn’t like the term “social media” we call it “online brand management” – I think that gives a better picture of what it’s really about. Everybody is going online now to get information about products and services before they make a decision, so the online world is really where marketing exists these days. You need to be able to manage, protect and grow your brand online just as businesses have always had to do offline.
I’ll give you an example from a class I was teaching last night. We were looking at the top ten most shared commercials online in 2011, and most of them were very virally oriented and were something that people would want to share with a friend because it was something that they believed in or it was something that they thought was funny, or something they thought was very truthful and open and trustworthy. Many commercials were more than 30 seconds long, which is a refreshing thing for the voiceover business and for advertising, where you don’t have to be limited to 30 or 60 seconds anymore. Some of the production quality was not nearly what you would see in a Super Bowl commercial, but that almost added to its credibility.
The shares were huge! When you look at the numbers and the way these types of messages are going around online… To pay for that kind of viewership on television these days would be hundreds of thousands of dollars, but with viral videos, there’s no media cost in doing that right now.
So, it is a huge shift still in its infancy as far as I’m concerned. I think right now we’re probably the equivalent of when television first came out, and people are trying to figure out “how do we advertise on this new medium?” We’re still trying to figure that out with the online world. There is a lot of opportunity for our agency and for our clients.
Read Part 2 of this interview, “How a Voice Over Actress Can Approach New Producers”, in which Cheril gives some specific voice over talent marketing tips and talks about market positioning for voice talent.