How to Take Your Brand Strategy to the Next Level in 2020

At the beginning of the new decade, we are poised on the precipice of big changes when it comes to driving brand strategy for your company.

Looking to expand your company’s brand outreach over 2020 and into the new decade? Here are just a few tips to stay ahead of the pack in a rapidly evolving marketing environment.

1. Diversify your outreach

Diversification has been a sector buzzword for quite some time, but as we progress into 2020, the advantages of spreading your brand outreach through a range of marketing channels have never been more pronounced. The bottom line is this: if you want to grow your brand and attract more customers, you must reach targeted and general customers where they are. Although social media remains a vital piece of the modern branding puzzle, if growth is your goal, you simply can’t place too much emphasis on social media alone.

The leading United Kingdom business magazine Business Matters recommends a varied branding outreach strategy, bolstered by elements that include “a well-designed website, great social media across multiple platforms, digital PR, in-person networking and email marketing.” Plus, for most companies seeking to grow its brand, traditional media outlets such as print, broadcasting, and cable channels, still play a major role.

2. Integrate consumer-facing IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) — the vast and diverse network of interrelated digital devices and smart machines that not only interact with but learn from one another — is ready to “revolutionize branding.” Or so says no less an authority than Forbes Magazine, which points to the data and control of IoT technology as a key tool for companies that have “blurred the lines between digital and brand strategy, effectively making them function as one, in many cases.”

In short, the IoT not only gives companies ample opportunity to grow and expand their branding operations, but it can be instrumental in boosting the brand unity and overall cohesion that is so key to success in the modern consumer sector.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the tech-driven retail giant Amazon is positioned at the cutting edge of IoT-driven branding with network and product unifying devices such as the Amazon Echo. This year, Amazon announced three new wearable technology products (Echo Frames, Echo Loop, and Echo Buds) that promise to draw the average consumer even deeper into the IoT world.

3. Learn to use the full potential of Google to drive traffic to your virtual doorstep

Your online branding strategy may have be ambling forward with an official website and a few relatively well-managed social media pages. You may even have launched a basic search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. But if you really want connect with existing and prospective customers online, you must remain up to date with the ongoing developments of Google.

Facilitating over 90 percent of all online searches, Google is, essentially, the only search engine that truly matters. In order to make the most of Google’s tremendous potential, companies should engage a brand strategy agency with the expertise to use the search engine’s rapidly evolving policies and particular idiosyncrasies in order to optimize online content and drive SEO. 

4. Leverage the power of branded apps

Branded digital applications are also a great way to expand and solidify brand loyalty. Industry giants such as McDonald’s and Starbucks have already learned the tremendous value of these apps, which can provide tremendous insights into the buying habits of customers. On the consumer side, Forbes identifies

“incentivization and gamification” as “two tried-and-true carrots” that can make branded apps irresistible.

Starbucks’ branded app, for example, offers discounts for devoted customers, provides an easy payment method for in-store purchases, and allows for the storage of gift card credit. In short, the Starbucks app has largely replaced Starbucks loyalty cards and similar physical branding outreach products.

No matter what form your branded app takes, it can serve as a powerful centerpiece for much of your brand strategy. After all, what can identify a loyal customer faster than an app on his or her smartphone?

To learn more

For more information about managing and growing your brand over 2020 and for years to come, you should consider contacting a brand strategy agency that can address the specific needs and unique attributes of your company and the business sector in which it operates. A forward-thinking marketing firm, Bigeye can help you chart a brand strategy that can take you through the new decade.

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How to Create Environmental Branding for a Bank

If you’re not embracing environmental branding for your financial institution, you’re missing out on a key piece of the overall marketing puzzle.

Companies in the retail sector have long leveraged the power of the branded environment (incorporating an organization’s brand and the distinctive characteristics of that brand into the interior and/or exterior design of its brick-and-mortar stores). Whether it means liberally integrating the retailer’s name into physical location signage or imbuing in-store displays with the unique charm and appeal of the retailer’s brand identity, environmental branding can work wonders when it comes to driving customer loyalty and on-site sales.

The banking industry, however, has traditionally lagged far behind top retailers when it comes to leveraging the power of branded environments. This makes perfect sense considering the history of banks in the United States and elsewhere. In most communities, there was only one bank in operation. Effective branding and marketing operations in general were completely unnecessary. Customers banked with a specific organization because it was their only option, not because they preferred it over any available alternatives.

Now increasingly savvy about branding practices, the financial institutions of today are finally beginning to reverse this trend, realizing that effective branding is absolutely essential if they want to get a leg up on the competition in the modern marketplace. The creation and maintenance of branded environments should be an absolutely essential component of any banking organization’s greater marketing efforts.

If you are looking for ways to develop effective branded environments for your bank location(s), you will want to employ a marketing agency with the established expertise to address the specific wants and needs of your particular institution. The following four guidelines can get you headed in the right direction. 

1. Concentrate on relationship building in the lobby area

When it comes to building a new bank branch or remodeling an existing bank location, the design masterminds at HTG Architects suggest rethinking the fundamental purpose of your lobby area. As HTG puts it, “Co-branding can change your space from “transaction-based” to “relationship-based.” And in today’s banking world, this shift can make all the difference.”

In addition to incorporating ample on-brand elements into your lobby, HTG suggests reducing the size of banking transaction areas if it can make lobby space feel more comfortable and inviting.

2. Reflect evolving technology

Different banking organizations will inevitably target different consumer demographics, but the vast majority of todays’ customer base will respond favorably to technological innovation. This is particularly true of consumers in the modern banking sector, who tend to expect the companies with which they partner to be on the cutting edge in terms of state-of-the-art financial operations and security measures.

In order to reinforce strong technological ties, the physical design of brick-and-mortar bank branches must reflect high-tech engagement in a variety of ways. This might mean the inclusion of advanced ATM machines and smart kiosks or it might mean simply crafting on-site sign imagery and typography that is compatible with technological themes.

3. Emphasize convenience and public responsibility

Smart financial institutions will also design their buildings to not only deliver optimum customer convenience, but reinforce their commitment to public service through effective on-site messaging. Two great examples of this emphasis on respect and responsibility are ADA compliance and environmental sustainability.

All bank locations should go far beyond the mandated regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure that all customers have equal access to banking processes regardless of physical or mental disability. Furthermore, bank locations should offer the latest in recycling amenities, responsible resourcing, paperless technology, and other green modalities. Remember, your physical location speaks volumes about your company’s priorities and values.

4. Consider environmental co-branding

If you really want to boost consumer convenience while engendering considerable lobby cross-traffic, you may want to look into partnering with a well-known brand from another business sector and welcoming that partner into the physical space of your bank branch(es). While traditional environmental co-branding partnerships in the banking sector have included insurance agencies, accountants, and title companies, more and more banks are incorporating comfort-inducing retail organizations such as coffee shops into their lobby areas.

For more information

To guide them through the considerable intricacies of the environmental branding process, wise companies seek out the assistance of highly trained and specialized marketing professionals. An environmental branding agency that is both forward thinking and rooted in current best practices, Bigeye can answer any questions that you might have about your bank’s practical environmental branding options.

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Can You Benefit from Rebrand Apartment Marketing?

How can you tell when your existing apartment brand is no longer working, and if you should pursue rebrand apartment marketing? These tips can help you decide.

The importance of a strong apartment brand

Every good apartment marketer is well aware of the value attached to touting the key features and amenities of their units and complexes. Establishing a key fundamental apartment brand, however, may be even more important.

In short, a brand that is both psychologically/emotionally compelling and relevant to the rental properties under your purview can do wonders when it comes to driving traffic online and leading customers to your door. The Independent business news resource Small Biz Genius reinforces this fact by citing studies from multiple research authorities.

Circle Research, for example, has shown that 24 percent of business-to-business marketers regard branding as crucial for growth. Furthermore, Fundra has determined that 56 percent of consumers remain loyal to brands that “get them,” and 89 percent of customers remain loyal to brands that “share their values.”

Knowing when rebrand apartment marketing becomes beneficial

Regardless of how much care you initially put into your apartment brand, if you have had that brand for any significant period of time, you have certainly built up a good amount of brand equity. Even if your brand is struggling to connect positively with a large audience, it has value, both online (in terms of domain authority with search engines such as Google) and in the hearts and minds of at least certain segments of the general public.

By launching a completed rebrand, you must unfortunately forfeit all of the brand equity that you have previously accrued. In other words, you have to be ready to start entirely from scratch when it comes to building consumer name recognition and brand loyalty. So ultimately choosing to pursue rebrand your apartment complex is certainly nothing to be taken lightly.

So how can you tell when your apartment complex needs to cut its losses and start over with a whole new image? Industry experts have identified the four following circumstances as key progenitors of an valuable and/or essential apartment marketing rebrand:

  • Property Under New Ownership – If you’re a multi-property owner who has recently acquired a new property, you will want to conduct a thorough professional assessment of its existing brand to ensure that it is effectively connecting with your key demographic and/or the general public at large. Even if the existing brand of your new apartment complex happens to past muster, you will still want to consider an apartment marketing rebrand in order to bring that complex’s branding more in line with that of your other complexes.
  • New Capital Improvements – As we have previously discussed, your brand should reflect the unique value that your apartment complex provides and presents. For this reason, planned complex remodeling and other new capital improvements offer an excellent opportunity for a beneficial apartment marketing rebrand. Just make sure that your property upgrades are thoroughly reflected in your new overall brand image.
  • Overcoming a Poor Reputation – If you are forced to rebrand due to bad online reviews or a foundering reputation in the public sphere, you must ensure that your new brand makes a clear and distinct break from your old brand. This type of rebrand will be particularly tricky to plan and execute because you must concurrently build a new brand while “doing damage control” and dealing with fallout from your previous brand.
  • Expanding Your Audience Base – A desire or need to grow or shift your current target demographic may coincide with one or more of the situations outlined above. No matter what factors happen to precipitate your audience expansion plans, comprehensive demographic research and analysis must be undertaken to identify the specific characteristics and desires of your new target demographic.

For more information

If you’re unsure if an apartment rebrand is right for you or are ready to take the first step toward a new and better brand for your complex, contact a specialized rebrand apartment marketing agency today. The professionals at Bigeye have the tools and experience that you need to get a fresh start in a highly competitive industry.

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Why More Cities and Towns are Taking on Place Branding

Read why place branding has become a key differentiation strategy for cities and towns seeking to compete for a larger share of tourism dollars.

Corporations have long known the value of branding — and in the age of social media influencers, personal branding has also become routine. Yet there’s another branding category that often flies beneath the radar: Place branding.

Let’s take a closer look at how smart place branding works and why more cities and towns are engaging in the practice.

Why place branding has become a critical differentiator

Great branding tells a story and helps establish an identity. Companies use it to connect with consumers; people brand themselves for competitive positioning and places use branding to help generate tourism revenue.

Travel is now the second-fastest growing industry in the world. The travel and tourism sector generated a staggering $8.8 trillion in global revenue in 2018, generated 319 million jobs and was responsible for roughly 10% of all worldwide economic activity.

Why is the travel and tourism sector growing with such rapidity? Two reasons: First, globalization has lifted tens of millions of people into the middle class over the last decade. These people now have the resources to travel.

Second, travel has become ever more desirable. Instagram and other social media platforms have made documenting vacations a global obsession. Millennials and Gen Z prize experiences over items, and few experiences can compare with travel.

This means there is a massive – and ever growing — tourist revenue pie for cities to split. Barcelona and other major tourist hubs are dealing with an epidemic of overtourism, which has created a market opportunity for other cities and town to pursue some of these tourist dollars.

So how do these locations best compete for travelers? In most cases, through smart and well executed place branding.

How Place Branding Works

Years ago, cities and towns were competing against other regional municipalities for tourist money. Today, they have the power to market themselves globally.

There’s a problem, however: Most of the information in guidebooks and online resources is outdated and superficial. In order to draw tourists in significant numbers, cities and towns need to take a strategic and creative approach to creating a brand narrative — something that can be done by partnering with a place branding agency.

What does an example of well-executed place branding look like? Consider the case of Austin, Texas. For most of its existence, Austin was a sleepy college town with no national profile — a very junior brother to Houston and Dallas.

Austin had something that larger Texas cities lacked, however: An incredibly diverse and eclectic music and arts scene. City officials leaned into this, promoting Austin as a world capital of live music and reinforcing the city’s status as a creative hub for talented misfits. “Keep Austin Weird” became a civic mantra and rallying cry during this period.

Today, Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the US. It hosts the massive South By Southwest festival and draws more than 50 million visitors annually.

This kind of strategic push and creative thinking eclipses the limited, catch phrase and logo-based place branding of a few decades ago — think “I Love NY” or “Virginia is for Lovers.” It shows that cities and towns need to determine what makes them special and then engage their own people, places and institutions in an effort to tell that story to the wider world. They need to go beyond the guidebook — and really think about the singular experiences that only their community can offer visitors.

In a travel-crazed world, that’s a brand story that a lot of people will want to hear.

Finding the right brand identity design company

Effective place marketing isn’t easy — it helps to have the services of a truly top drawer neighborhood marketing firm. The right agency can help your city or town develop a marketing plan that goes beyond routine local attractions and delivers the unique experiences that travelers are seeking.

Call Bigeye today to learn more about what inspired place branding can do for you.

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The Top Questions About Place Branding

Place branding has become a critical tool for municipalities seeking to draw tourist dollars. Here’s what you need to know about how it works and how to implement it.

Do you live in a city — or a destination?

If the answer is the latter, then there is an excellent change that your environment has been “place branded.” Sometimes also called “destination marketing,” place branding follows many of the same rules seen with product marketing and can help nations, states and cities develop a public identity and connect with travelers (or even prospective residents) seeking fresh experiences.

How Place Branding Works

Travel is a critically important industry for municipalities, who must strive to earn their share of a market that’s worth nearly $8 trillion — or 10% of global GDP. Given the enormity of those numbers, it’s no small wonder that cities are hiring marketing agencies that specialize in place branding to help capture their piece of the market.

The truth facing these places is simple: Just as businesses must compete for consumers, locations must compete for people, businesses and the resources they bring.

The core of place branding is the creation of an identity that articulates the unique characteristics and sense of place connecting to a nation, state or city. This identity encapsulates the way a place looks and feels, its attributes and features and the people who live and work within its borders. These elements are then rendered using the usual marketing and advertising toolbox: Slogans, logos, campaigns etc.

Let’s distill that down to a famous example: “Keep Austin Weird,” a slogan adopted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance. The slogan, which arose organically based on a comment made on a community radio show, is the perfect distillation of the ethos of Austin — a city known for its love of the off-kilter and original within a state that exhibits more traditional values.

“Keep Austin Weird” became enormously popular because it articulated the essence of the place; somewhere you can find independent film and music festivals, outsider artists and mavericks of every stripe. That place branding has helped Austin become the fastest-growing city in the United States.

Tips for Smart Place Branding

Place branding, when executed well, is a self-reinforcing process that provides sustainable benefits. When a place develops a favorable identity, tourists are drawn to visit, and their economic activity helps boost that city’s bottom line, allowing it to pay for infrastructure improvements, amenities, schools etc. In turn, better living conditions create a draw for not only more new residents, but also new businesses. When cities become larger, healthier and more vibrant, they become even more attractive to tourists, and the cycle of positive results continues. 

Creating a campaign that can kickstart that cycle, however, is no small task. When developing a new place branding campaign, it’s important to consider the following:

  •  Create a tagline and logo that can distill the essence of your location into a few short words and images. In most cases, your tagline should gesture toward a fundamental truth about the location you’re describing. If it doesn’t, then your tagline is going to be superficial and won’t resonate. Once you’ve settled on a tagline, it must be formulated in a pithy and memorable fashion.
  • While taglines and logos are important and perhaps the most high-profile elements of a place branding campaign, you also need to think deeply about the fundamental nature of the place you’re branding. Think about the location’s existing public identity. How does people current view the area? Do they think about it at all? How would you like them to think about the area?
  • Place branding should be more than an inventory of the features and attributes of your location. If you’re surrounding by green space and mountains, think about how this environment makes people feel, rather than dwelling on superficial physical characteristics.
  • Once you’ve settled on some branding ideas, interrogate them rigorously. Are your ideas going to resonate with a large and diverse group of people? Is your branding concept original and compelling enough to truly create a fixed identity within the public’s consciousness?
  • Once you’ve settled on a place branding concept, you’ll need to market and advertise through various channels and create a tailored plan to reach the audiences you’re targeting. Yet it’s imperative to view place branding within a larger strategic context. This shouldn’t be a task solely for marketing people. Place branding should be top of mind for urban planners, city managers, architects, officials — everyone who plays a significant role in the operation and promotion of a jurisdiction.

Finding the Right Place Branding Partner

At Bigeye, we’re domain experts in place branding –– and we have the full stack of advertising and marketing tools you need to reach the largest audience possible. Contact us today for more information about how we can help turn your location into a destination.

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Audio Branding and the Spoken Word

In Clear Focus this week: audio branding and the rising popularity of spoken word audio entertainment. Twenty-two percent of the US population now listens to an average of seven different podcasts each week, but what lies behind the growing numbers of podcasts and listeners? Voice artist Jodi Krangle believes the medium itself may hold the answer. In this episode, we hear why Jodi considers audio branding the hidden gem of marketing, and how she launched her own podcast.  

You can listen and subscribe to Jodi’s new podcast about audio branding at: http://audiobranding.buzzsprout.com/

In Clear Focus: Audio Branding and the Spoken Word

In Clear Focus this week: audio branding and the rising popularity of spoken word audio entertainment. Twenty-two percent of the US population now listens to an average of seven different podcasts each week, but what lies behind the growing numbers of podcasts and listeners? Voice artist Jodi Krangle believes the medium itself may hold the answer.

Episode Transcript

Adrian Tennant:     You’re listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, a unique perspective on the business of advertising. Produced weekly by Bigeye. Hello, I’m your host, Adrian Tennant, VP of insights at Bigeye. An audience-focused, creative-driven, full-service advertising agency, Bigeye is based in Orlando, Florida, but serves clients across the United States and beyond. Thank you for choosing to spend time with us today. In today’s show, we’re going to talk about an aspect of marketing that’s getting a lot more attention as a consequence of the fragmented media environment and use of digital devices for entertainment. While all marketers are likely familiar with visual branding – the use of images, colors, logos, and typefaces – it’s also possible to create a palette of sounds and music that align perfectly with a brand’s attributes. Now, while jingles immediately come to mind, audio branding – also referred to as sonic branding – can be more than a catchy tune heard on a TV or radio ad. We’re talking about the use of auditory elements to reinforce a brand identity, just as you might use certain colors or words. These auditory elements can extend beyond advertisements and be incorporated within digital apps or interfaces – think of sounds associated with a smart speaker, when a computer starts up, or for different controls in a car. And there’s another aspect of audio branding that is maybe less obvious than music, but no less important. A couple of weeks ago, National Public Radio released their Spoken Word Audio Report. This study, conducted by Edison Research, found that the share of time spent listening to spoken word audio in the US has increased 20 percent since 2014 – while time spent with music across the same time period decreased 5 percent. This shift is led by a dramatic increase in spoken word audio consumption on mobile devices, especially among those aged between 13 and 34. About half of the US population – 51 percent – have listened to a podcast at some point, but 22 percent of the population listen weekly for an average of six hours, 37 minutes – to about seven different shows each week. So it’s in this context that we’re joined today by a guest who has a unique perspective on the business of audio branding for advertising and the growth of spoken word audio. Jodi Krangle has been a voice actor since 2007 and has worked with clients from major brands all over the world in industries including healthcare, charities and nonprofits, and the hospitality and travel market. But it was quite a journey to get there – from selling computers at a time when not many women were doing that, to teaching herself about the Internet and the world it opened up. In 1995, Jodi created an award-winning songwriting resource website called The Muse’s Muse, and began a business of her own, doing SEO and Internet marketing. When Jodi switched to voice-overs, she was well prepared for the new world of online promotions and getting her own work. Jodi is also a singer: in 2015, she put out her own album of jazz, blues and traditional tunes. And over the years, and doing what she does, she’s learned a lot about sound and how it influences people. Fittingly, Jodi is about to launch a new podcast called, “Audio Branding: The Hidden Gem of Marketing.” Now, since this is a podcast, we’re going to take advantage of the medium and listen first to some of Jodi’s work. 

[Audio: Jodi’s commercial demo]

Adrian Tennant:     I love that! Welcome to IN CLEAR FOCUS, Jodi.

Jodi Krangle:       Thanks!

Adrian Tennant:     Quite a bit of variety in that clip reel.

Jodi Krangle:       Thank you.

Adrian Tennant:     What percentage of your work is coming from traditional TV gigs, like voiceover narration for spots and shows versus newer formats such as streaming audio ads?

Jodi Krangle:       You know, it’s, you’d think that it would be skewing towards online a lot more. AndI’m seeing the trend going that way, but I’m still sort of seeing television and I’m still seeing a lot of corporate narration but for internal presentations or for their own website or for their own YouTube channel. So yeah, I guess that’s online. So yeah. It’s, I’d say it’s it’s probably 50/50 right now, but I can see it going really skewed in the other direction. Streaming media particularly, you know, like Pandora and iHeartRadio and that kind of stuff.

Adrian Tennant:     Now you say on your website that, and I’m quoting, “The voice you use for your commercial campaign can either make you sound world-class or have your listeners fleeing,” end quote.

Jodi Krangle:       Uh-Huh.

Adrian Tennant:     Explain why that is. Why is the voice so important?

Jodi Krangle:       Well, I think it has a lot to do with audio branding. So it depends on what your brand is and what kind of voice would fit with that. If your message is different than the voice sounds, people are going to be put off by that and they’re not going to maybe realize why. I don’t necessarily think this is a conscious thing with a lot of people. But if you hear something that is so different from the branding you’re expecting in the voice or the music or even the sounds within a certain advertisement, for some reason it’s going to rub you the wrong way. And you may not even understand why, but you won’t want to listen to it again.

Adrian Tennant:    So you’re saying it’s kind of working at a subconscious level?

Jodi Krangle:       I do think that, yeah.

Adrian Tennant:    So in a previous life I was in network TV production and I regularly had to direct voice artists at sound facilities back in the UK, in London’s Soho district. Now, in those days, voice artists, they had to be at the studio in person. So everyone working on a TV spot really worked in close proximity to each other, collaborating on edits to the script, revising timings based on picture edits, that kind of thing. Jodi, tell us, how does the process typically work today?

Jodi Krangle:       Well I know that in the UK there are people who hire off of the demo a lot more often than they do in North America. So these days, a lot of what I end up doing is auditioning. So once you’re chosen for a project, you know, it really depends. It depends on if you were dealing with the end client or if you are one person in a chain from an ad agency. It really all depends. But generally there’s a lot of emails exchanged. There’s a script passed along. Pricing is figured out, whether that’s through my agent or through me. And then the script is sent my way. I have a look. If there’s anything that I have questions on, I’ll send those questions through. We’ll decide on a day and time. And typically I work out of my own five-by-four booth here and I have things like ISDN and SourceConnect and ipDTL so that I can remotely connect with anyone around the world.

Adrian Tennant:     Now, do you typically speak to a picture edit or do you prefer to record without seeing the contents, so an editor then marries your sound to the picture later? Do you have a preference for the process?

Jodi Krangle:       I really like working what’s called, “wild.” So I guess that’s without having the picture in front of me in the moment, I can watch that video previously to getting in the booth and recording. But seeing it at the same time, hmmm, it’s a little distracting. And in the case of some of my jobs, it can actually make it impossible for me to speak. And I say that because I’ve had to do some really moving commercials PSAs, calls to action for charities and that kind of stuff that are just heartbreaking. And if I watched that video both like while I was doing the job, I’d never be able to complete a sentence. There’s just no way.

Adrian Tennant:     Well, that’s interesting. You know, you work out of a home-based studio these days, which I know is where you’re joining us from today. What are some of the things that you enjoy most about working from home, if I can put it that way?

Jodi Krangle:       Well, I really like the idea of not having to drive anywhere and spend half my day in the car, getting from one place to another.

Adrian Tennant:     Right!

Jodi Krangle:       It just means that I’m more efficient with my time. It means that I can book a session, you know, one after the other instead of having to drive to some other place and leave a buffer of say, two hours. I can go from, you know, with a buffer of a half an hour, I can do more jobs on a day. And that doesn’t always happen. I’m not always going to have five jobs in the same day, but it certainly does make for more efficient working.

Adrian Tennant:     Right. what are some of the challenges about a home-based studio as opposed to say, working in a dedicated facility?

Jodi Krangle:       I think it depends on what type of a worker you are. If you are able to buckle down and get your, your work done in your own space without needing prompting, then I think it can be less of a challenge. If you’re someone who needs someone looking over your shoulder, waiting for you to complete something to get it done, then you may not like the whole home environment thing. I’m lucky enough that I’ve been either telecommuting or self-employed since probably 1999. So I’m a little used to this now,

Adrian Tennant:     Right. I mean, some of us like the interaction with work colleagues in a physical environment and clearly…

Jodi Krangle:       Yeah. And it can get lonely. Yeah. It can definitely get lonely. I’m sitting here talking in a padded room. I mean like that’s what I do all day long, so…

Adrian Tennant:     A little bit of cabin fever there, perhaps?

Jodi Krangle:       Yeah.

Adrian Tennant:     Okay. Well, look, I want to play some more examples of your work and then I want to interrogate you about some of these jobs.

Jodi Krangle:       Okay, sure.

[Audio: Jodi’s TV narration demo]

Adrian Tennant:     Again, a lot of variety in those clips. Jodi, tell us, how do you modulate your performance to match all those different types of content?

Jodi Krangle:       I think you kind of need to put your head into the space of where that is happening and what the pictures are going to be. I think you really have to have a good imagination. That’s really key here. Acting is learned. You know, like some people have an innate talent for it and all the power to them. I think a lot of people need to learn it. It’s like a muscle. You need to exercise and a lot of that muscle is exercised by your imagination just by being able to put yourself in a situation that would warrant using that voice. And I think that music helps a lot with that too. As a musician myself, I know that a particular piece of music can get me into the tone that I need to use for a particular spot really quickly. So that has a lot to do with it.

Adrian Tennant:     Jodi, I know that you are also an accomplished singer. You’ve put out your own album and how does that sort of musical background play into your role now as a voice actor?

Jodi Krangle:       It really helps with the musicality of a script and the beats of a script, I guess. So every script that I look at really has notes and beats. You know, you don’t want to be too samey throughout your speaking, but at the same time you don’t want to be too sing-songy, you still want to sound like a real person. So it can, it can be a challenge and it does take coaching. But the musicality of it really helps a lot. I can recognize the downturns and the upturns and where a certain thing should be more staccato or where it should flow. And a lot of those are musical terms and emotions, I guess. So it helps a lot. Yeah.

Adrian Tennant:     I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody describe a script, almost like reading a music score. That’s really fascinating. So I hate to ask this one, but you know, I’m going to, so can you, can you recall a situation, Jodi, when things didn’t quite go to plan?

Jodi Krangle:       Yeah, I totally can. In the very beginning of my career, I was doing a PSA for a company that was asking for donations for a particular program that they had and they were asking me to work to video and it was one of my first jobs and I had never worked to video before and wow, that was definitely a learning experience. And it took a lot longer for everyone concerned than it should have. I mean, nowadays a session, if it goes longer than 20 minutes, it’s usually, you know, that’s 20 minutes. It’s usually 20 minutes to an hour. It depends on how many takes the client wants. Then of course, you give the client what they want, but generally it lasts around 20 minutes for a commercial script. And this probably lasted almost four hours.

Adrian Tennant:     Whoa!

Jodi Krangle:       It was, it was really painful. And I mean for everyone concerned, you know – that’s kind of the first traumatic experience that I had working to video.

Adrian Tennant:     Okay. Now was that working remotely or is that working in a facility in those days?

Jodi Krangle:       That was actually in a studio. Yeah. I was face-to-face with these people and not giving them what they wanted. And that was, that was hard.

Adrian Tennant:     And I do remember the feeling of being on a time crunch and literally time is money and all of those people are there by the hour and you’re paying for them and there’s probably another client waiting to come in right behind you… Oh yes. I can relate!

Jodi Krangle:       It’s hard, yeah. I mean I’ve had experience since, because I’ve done some in-show TV narration and that’s kind of a similar deal, but it’s a lighter atmosphere, I guess, maybe? This was, this was pretty, pretty deep dark. So yeah, it was hard. It was really hard. I mean this business is a complete learning experience from start to finish. Like if there’s just, there’s always something new.

Adrian Tennant:     Well that’s why we love being in the creative industries, right? Because there is always something new,

Jodi Krangle:       Exactly, yes!

Adrian Tennant:     Now I don’t want to go all meta here, but for our more technically-minded listeners can you tell us what equipment you have in your studio?

Jodi Krangle:       My equipment’s pretty simple. I have a five-by-four sound-treated booth and I say sound-treated, not soundproof because soundproof would cost a lot more money and I would need like six-foot concrete all around me to really be soundproof. But it does a great job. It, it produces a nice dead sound so that the person on the other end gets audio that’s clean and they can add whatever color they want to put to it. That’s kind of the point. And I’m using a Sennheiser 416 shotgun mic, which is fantastic for the voice industry because it lets the voice pop a little bit. It’s typically used in film on booms, but many years ago, I guess the promo people in voiceover decided it was a great alternative and started using it and the rest is history. And yeah, it’s just a great mic and it’s a workhorse too. I mean, I could drop this and it would be totally fine. Not that I want to, but yeah!

Adrian Tennant:     I think if listeners have ever seen a film shoot and somebody is holding something oblong, that looks a little bit like a blimp – typically, that mic is inside of that blimp, correct?

Jodi Krangle:       Uh-Huh. Yeah. And other than that, I just have an audio interface. It’s a Motu Microbook. And it’s a pretty simple little interface. I’m actually using PC here, so no Mac stuff.

Adrian Tennant:     No Mac stuff? Oh my gosh. And you’re in the creative industries with no Mac? Tsk tsk!

Jodi Krangle:       You know what? I, like I said, I sold computers when the 386SX was new. And that’s quite a number of years ago. And I remember DOS, so I am so used to PCs that I just can’t consider using anything else.

Adrian Tennant:     I started this show introduction with some statistics from the new NPR/Edison Research study. Talking really about the growth in podcasting, which is really about spoken word. How do you, how do you feel about that growth?

Jodi Krangle:       I think it’s fantastic. Podcasting is not quite like radio because it’s a little more personal. It’s what I love about it and it’s a very creative medium where you can pretty much say anything you want to say. And you know, the only censorship you’re likely to get is people tuning out if they don’t like it. Right? You can’t make something for everyone, but it is a very personal type of way to reach an audience. Even more personal than radio and radio unfortunately, isn’t all that personal anymore. So I think people are just trying to fill that void.

Adrian Tennant:     Yeah. I noticed one of the stats suggested that those people who are listening to podcasts on a regular basis, weekly, I think I subscribed to six podcasts, but actually listen, listen to seven different shows each week. And did that, that number seems sort of in line with your own experience as a podcast listener?

Jodi Krangle:       Yeah, actually it seems pretty similar. I listen to a lot of podcasts that are voice-over-specific and I’m maybe atypical in the fact that I listen on my desktop computer instead of on my phone. Because I don’t tend to be traveling in my car long distances all that often. So I listen at home on my computer and doesn’t mean I don’t listen, but I’m not listening in the way that most listeners seem to be these days.

Adrian Tennant:     Right. And certainly one of the through-lines for that report was that it is actually the obviously use of mobile devices, which seems to be really powering this, this renewed interest in the spoken word for sure.

Jodi Krangle:       Yeah.

Adrian Tennant:     So I also, I also mentioned at the top of the show that you’re about to launch a new podcast of your own called, “Audio Branding: The Hidden Gem of Marketing.”

Jodi Krangle:       I am. Yeah.

Adrian Tennant:     What motivated you to do that?

Jodi Krangle:       I wanted to talk about how audio influences us because that’s what I do every day. It just, it makes more sense to talk about what I know. So yeah, I just thought it was an interesting topic and I’ve come across quite a lot of very interesting examples of this in my own research and it’s really interesting and it’s amazing how much money big companies are spending on this kind of thing too. You’d be really surprised.

Adrian Tennant:     So, you know, the name of our show is IN CLEAR FOCUS. What does having a clear focus mean to you?

Jodi Krangle:       That is a very good question. I almost think of it as having a goal in mind, knowing where you want to be in a certain amount of time and following that path. Not to say that that past can’t change. But knowing what you want I like to equate this to just life in general, knowing what you want in life because if you don’t have some kind of clear focus on what that is, you don’t know what you’re working towards.

Adrian Tennant:     Well said. Jodi, if listeners would like to know more about you and your work, where can they find you?

Jodi Krangle:       They can find me on my website that’s at voiceoversandvocals.com or just JodiKrangle.com will get you there too and if they’re interested in the music then JodiKrangleMusic.com is where the CD is. Well, CD… Album, no one listens to CDs anymore.

Adrian Tennant:     Jodi, thank you so much for taking the time to join us today. I know you are literally a very busy lady and time is money to you, so we appreciate your sharing your insights into the industry. We really appreciate it. Thank you.

Jodi Krangle:       Thanks so much for inviting me. I appreciate it.


Adrian Tennant:     Thank you. So, three things that stood out to me from the conversation with Jodi: it was really interesting to hear Jodi express the idea that, for her, podcasts offer a more personal form of media. I also found it interesting that Jodi was able to talk about the emotional power of the human voice as a kind of counterpoint for very emotionally-engaging visuals, perhaps even distressing visuals. And uniquely, Jodi’s approach to a spoken word script as a music score and being able to perform and adjust her expression accordingly. Thank you to our guest, voice artist Jodi Krangle. You’ve been listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, a unique perspective on the business of advertising, produced by Bigeye. If you have questions or comments about the content of today’s show, or have ideas for topics that you’d like us to cover, please email us at info@bigeyeagency.com. Don’t forget to check out Jodi’s podcast – and you’ll find a link to that in the transcript of today’s show on our website at Bigeyeagency.com under “Insights.” To make sure you never miss an episode, subscribe to IN CLEAR FOCUS on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher, and other top podcast players. And if you like what you hear, please give us a rating. For IN CLEAR FOCUS, I’ve been your host, Adrian Tennant. Thank you for listening. And until next week, goodbye.

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