By Stephanie Ciccarelli
May 6, 2010
It may appear that we're beating a dead horse, but perceived value is everything.
Everything is relative, right?
The question is posed and the floor is yours: Is it possible to overvalue your voice?
Let the debate begin!
A comment received to yesterdays article about perceived value has prompted me to write a follow up on whether or not it is possible to overvalue your voice. If you'd like to read it, you can click here.
In short, what the commenter was saying was that overvaluing your voice was the worst way to make a living in this business. The recommendation was that talent focus instead on forty $100 reads per week to reach their goals.
This topic is always a sensitive one and there are countless feelings and opinions on the subject. Drawing attention to this comment and specific business strategy allows us to acknowledge that there is more than one option when it comes to valuing your services.
When people ask me what my opinion on the matter of pricing is, I encourage them to take all factors into consideration when they quote, including:
à¹ The time it takes to prepare, record, edit and produce
à¹ The value of your time in general
à¹ Training you've invested in
à¹ Your studio equipment
à¹ The purpose of the voice over
à¹ Its use
à¹ The size of the target audience or market that the voice over will be heard by
à¹ Any special requirements (technical difficulty, exclusivity, etc.)
Your voice and ability to interpret a script have value. Those aspects aside, even something like your studio and any training you have adds to the value you are able to provide to your customers.
Don't feel guilty for valuing your voice and pricing yourself as you see fit. This is a decision each person makes for themselves, which leads me to this question:
How can one overvalue their voice if they feel that the worth of their voice and services is equivalent to what they are charging?
If a client will pay a premium or simply pay the rate a talent asks without question, they also believe in the value being offered.
What people charge can also be relative to what they feel their voice is worth to that particular client and their brand.
If you were the primary voice of an organization and are associated closely with the brand, your voice means more to the client than words can describe... the voice is at the heart of their company and connects with their customers. I would also expect that your voice is also distinct to their company and is different from the voices of their competitors.
Obtaining or retaining that voice is of the utmost importance for a company whose public identity is shaped in part by the voice that is heard in their marketing and communications with their customers.
For instance, if you were to be the voice of an airline and they required your voice to be exclusive to their company, you'd want to charge a premium for that exclusivity as it means that you would have to turn down work from any other airline, and possibly other companies who may do business with competing airlines, out of respect for your one client.
Should this come to pass, wouldn't you expect that you'd be compensated very well for giving up other opportunities that might come your way?
The actor Morgan Freeman is the voice of Visa. Freeman's voice is strongly associated with Visa and one of the reasons why some people trust the company, or trust their messaging, is because Morgan Freeman's voice is the voice of their brand.
Something we should note is that this particular relationship is exclusive. Freeman could not work for MasterCard or American Express because it would be a conflict of interest and run contrary to his professional objective to help shape public perception that Visa is the best credit card to have and that more people go with Visa.
To give you an idea of just how important Morgan Freeman's voice is to Visa, the company had him brought in each day of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games to record the voice overs. As sponsors of one of the most prestigious international events on earth, Visa wanted their main man close by and part of the action.
In terms of this article as it relates to valuing your voice, Morgan Freeman is a prime example of how important a brand voice is to a company, and you can be certain that Visa pays handsomely for the ability to work with Freeman in this capacity.
Given what you've read, what do you think?
I'm interested to hear your thoughts on this.
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