The Sound of Business -Part IV

Steps to Creating Your Sonic Personality©

1. List all the human attributes inherent in your business personality. An
accounting firm may want to project stability, reliability, and a
conventional outlook – think the avuncular voice of Walter Cronkite. An
advertising agency might want to deliver a hip, cutting edge, in your face
creative personality – think the edgy delivery of Chris Rock or Dennis
Leary. Now before you get all excited and start shouting, ‘how I am I
going to afford these guys?’ the answer is you don’t. There are great
voice actors available at very reasonable prices that can project the
desired style and delivery.

2. What are the audio qualities of the Signature Voice? Do you want a
man or a woman, or a combination of both? Do you want a deep base
voice full of conviction, a snooty British accent dripping in
condescension, or a comic rapid-fire patter aimed to amuse and
entertain? When we created the MassiveRecordProductions.com (http://
http://www.massiverecordproductions.com) project, we required a smart-alec
wise-guy approach, in the vain of Dennis Miller. In this case, the actual
accent of the voice was less important than the delivery.

3. What kind of language, phrasing, and cadence is required to give the
Signature Voice its personality? When we were looking for a Signature
Voice for a DVD that was to be used at the Winter Baseball Meetings,
we decided on a combination of Dizzy Dean and Mel Allen. The key was
that ‘good ole boy’ southern charm conveyed through a combination of
baseball jargon, phrasing, and dialect. We weren’t looking for someone
to imitate Dizzy Dean, just someone who could deliver the essence of
Dizzy’s love for the game.

4. Wet or Dry? Have you ever watched one of those ‘The Making of …’
documentaries on a how a movie was made? Sometimes they will show
you a scene with dialog but no music or sound effects. It’s really very flat,
even with the actors doing their dramatic best. Voice without music or
sound effects is called a ‘Dry’ delivery. When the effects and the music
are added in postproduction, the scene delivers real emotional impact.
The music and f/x provide emotional clues and memory hooks.

5. Write the script. I find having the voice in my head is a great help in
writing the script. Whether you’re shooting for Sidney Greenstreet or Rod
Serling, the cadence, phrasing, and language are what makes the script
come alive, and creates the Sonic Personality© that will represent your
company. Unrelated to the actual voice but definitely of importance to
the script, is the point of view. The script should not be about you, it
should be about how your audience can benefit from knowing you. Don’t
fall into the trap of focusing on you and listing a bunch of product or
service features. Talk about what you can do for your audience, and in
that way you will make a real connection.

6. Audition the talent. Once you have a script, it’s time to audition a
number of voices to find the one that fits the Sonic Personality© you are
looking for, and of course the price you are willing to pay. We generally
have 50 to 100 people audition for each script. We then narrow the
search down to the two or three best voices that fit the audio and budget
requirements and present them to our client.

7. Implement on the Web. Once the voice audio is complete, music and
sound effects can be added as needed. The audio tracks are then cut
into digestible clips, compressed, and converted into appropriate
implementible files. The Sonic Personality© program can be delivered
on a website, or a DVD or CD presentation.

The Proof Is In The Toaster

In a world of mental clutter, ‘information anxiety’, and low attention
spans, Sonic Personality© will become the next big weapon in
webmedia presentation and marketing. But let’s say you’re still not
convinced even after reading the four installments of ‘The Sound of
Business.’ Let me show you exactly how Sonic Personality© can work in
a practical example, but you have to promise to participate.

Take a sticky note or a plain piece of paper and place a big question
mark on it. Under the question mark draw a line. Now place the piece of
paper in your daily agenda two weeks from today. In two weeks, I want
you to write down on that piece of paper the name of the fictitious
product in the example we are going to create. If you can remember the
product’s name, Sonic Personality© has done its job.

Here’s the setup. There are certain things in life that are very personal,
the way you dress, how you comb your hair, the way you take your
coffee, and how you like your toast. There is nothing worse (well of
course there is) than waking up on a Saturday morning, taking the last
two slices of bread, placing them in the toaster, and in several minutes
find you have what can best be described as a ‘burnt offering.’ There is
definitely a need here that needs to be filled.

Our made-up client is a small appliance company who has created a
toaster that audibly warns you what setting your toaster is on as soon as
you put your bread in it. This product has appeal for anyone who has
been irritated by ruined toast. The client isn’t sure what kind of Sonic
Personality© they want to present, so we create a series of Sonic Demo
Spots.

Click on the link below to hear the various sonic demo spots, each with
its own Sonic Personality©. Don’t forget to create your two-week
reminder and if you remember the name of the product, you should start
thinking about how to implement your own Sonic Personality©
campaign.

Imagine a Super Sonic Business Jet, But Don’t Wait Too Long for That Thought – Almost Here

Supersonic transportation has come a long way since the 1970s. The SST and Concorde were ahead of their time, but were a logical next step. It takes a lot of energy to overcome the coefficients of drag to reach supersonic speeds, and it also takes a superior aerospace design, one which also takes advantage of the changes in both high and low speeds. Is it possible to build a supersonic business jet? Absolutely, the question is; is it possible to build an efficient one? Gulfstream believes the answer is yes, and they are rapidly making that happen.

In fact, Flight Global Magazine noted at the NBAA Convention (October 30, 2012) that the future of Business and Corporate Aviation will be supersonic in an article titled “NBAA: Gulfstream “very close” to supersonic business jet design,” by Stephan Trimble out of Orlando. The article stated;

“Due to R&D Technology done at Gulfstream and NASA, the engineers and designers as Gulfstream now can decrease sonic booms and supersonic shockwaves,” and they have also stated that they have the power plant technology to operate these aircraft without limitation.”

Does this mean the 1% crowd can get to their destinations even faster? Yes, and although a supersonic business jet will cost quite a bit of money, it will also save a huge amount of time. It means that traveling across the pond, or very large distances, such as halfway around the world can easily be done in the same business day without missing a beat. Although Gulfstream has not announced what the price might be, they have proven that it is feasible, and that they can do it.

Most of the individuals in the market for a supersonic business jet are probably not so concerned with the price as they are all about saving time – because in their world time is money. That’s how it works in the business world, especially at the upper levels. Although most CFOs of large companies might disagree these aircraft are a worthy investment, those who are the movers and shakers in the global dynamic will see them as indispensable business tools.

It’s good to see that these will be made in the United States, utilizing US technology, and will not be sacrificing the public peace, as they will remain quiet even as they accelerate to supersonic speeds to cruising altitude and to then off to their intended destination. I have no doubt whatsoever that once these become available there will be waiting lists to buy them. Maybe this next generation of high-performance supersonic corporate business jets is just what the US aviation sector needs. Please consider all this and think on it.

The Sound of Business – Part III

How to Give Good Sonic Personality©

We live in an age of metrics. Traditional and new media advertising
agencies often substitute metrics for understanding. Mathematical
models create the appearance of scientific analysis, when in fact they
are often manipulated to support a preselected agenda. We all know
data can be massaged to conform to almost any conclusion. Besides,
most small owner-managed companies can’t afford the expense of
these agency-driven number crunching solutions. The real question is,
do these metrics actually help us connect to our customers, who just
happen to be people?

Emotions Win Over Rationality

After all, we are dealing with people, and people react to information on
both a rational and an emotional level. If everyone bought goods and
services based on a strictly rational basis, we would all be driving Smart
Cars and wearing Old Navy jeans. People make decisions based on a
perception of reality, rather than a rational analysis. Without getting too
metaphysical, in business there is no reality, only perception. We
believe what we think is true, or what is presented to us as true.
Information is colored by who and how, the message is delivered.

Trying to Make ‘Senses’ Out of Life

We experience our lives through our senses. We see, hear, touch, and
smell. It is through these senses that we create what passes for reality,
and on that perceived reality we make our so-called rational decisions.

Left on their own, people will interpret what they sense in very individual
ways. What tastes good to you makes me gag. The woman I think is
beautiful you think is ugly. That is until we our told in some convincing
communication, what we should think.

Skinny, shapeless, superior super models are beautiful because we are
told over and over that they are, and ultimately we mostly learn to agree.
So what does this all mean: reality is a managed state of mind. We are
either the managers or the managed. Sounds pretty icky, doesn’t it, but
there it is, and I for one rather be one of the managers than one of the
managed.

Managing Perception

We have all been told from early on that ‘a picture is worth a thousand
words.’ How many times have you quoted this famous saying? And you
actually believe it, after all Confucius wouldn’t lie, would he? According
to Jack Trout, in his book ‘The New Positioning,’ what Confucius actually
said was, “a picture is worth a thousand pieces of gold.” Not the same
thing at all is it? There is actually no evidence that Confucius made
either remark.

The documented origin of the famous expression has been traced back
to a guy named Fred Barnard who sold tram advertising in the 1920s by
stating the claim in his advertisements. Originally he claimed it was an
old Japanese proverb, but later changed his story and issued Chinese
lettering with a translation in his ads. Who knows what the truth is,
maybe old Fred invented the expression himself, but most people
believe Confucius said it, and that’s reality, even if the damn thing was
made up.

What You See is Nice, But What You Hear You Remember.

People want to believe what they see is the most important element in
delivering a message, but I would argue that what you hear outweighs
even what you see. Think about it. Companies spend millions of dollars
on attractive logos and pithy corporate names, and I have no argument
with developing a proper logo or a great name. But successful company
names and logos have an element inherent in their design that goes
beyond how they look. It is how they sound. When you see a visual
brand representation, a signal goes off in your head and a little voice
whispers that company name. Try to think of a popular corporate logo
without the name of that company sounding silently in your head.
Sound, and more specifically the human voice, is the most under utilized
marketing tool we have at our disposal. And it’s ready to hit The Web,
big time.

The Web is Made for Sound

The Web is a multimedia platform and your website should utilize every
possible tool available to create your reality and to deliver your
marketing message. No one was able to stop the flood of images from
overtaking the Web, and soon audio will follow. Now I hear the screams
of some crying out against the multimedia pollution on the Web, and I’ll
agree that it will surely come. But here’s the thing, agreed most
companies will implement sound on the Web all wrong and it will be just
more noise, but if YOU do it right, you’ll be the winner. Your message
will get through the noise, and you will define reality, and manage the
perception of your audience. The question then is how do you effectively
implement voice-audio on the Web?

Audio – The Human Connection

I started this series of articles by stating that the way to break through the
liquid crystal barrier was with a human voice that delivers a Sonic
Personality© for your business. We’ve talked about how you must create
the basis for a business personality by first defining who you are, what
you do, and why you do it better than the competition. We’ve also talked
about focusing on the core values of what you want to do for your
audience, and not confusing them with all the things you can do. So now
we are ready to craft your Signature Voice – your Sonic Personality©.