Brand Versus Category

Hey, there!

In another issue, I talked about not trying to specialize in VO, but being a generalist.

And I followed it up with further discussion.

Then, I got an email telling me I was crazy, that I didn’t know what I was talking about. Here’s what I got.

The email read:


You are crazy. My brand is squeaky, little-girl voice kids and women. And I know my brand – I do animation. Period. I put all my effort into animation, and completely ignore everything else, because that’s what my voice is good for. I don’t buy your “be a generalist” stuff. I usually think you’re a genius, but seriously, we’re not all amazing in all categories like you apparently are.

— Angel”

Angel, I’m not crazy.

But you’ve made a classic mistake that I hope you’re willing to consider and correct, for your own financial benefit.

You’ve confused brand with category.

It’s as simple as that.

Your brand is what you’ve described as “squeaky, little-girl” and you concentrate on animation because of that.

Do you think there is no work for your type of voice in commercials? Have you heard kid’s toys and cereal commercials lately?

Do you think there is no work for your type of voice in apps? Have you downloaded and played a Disney game in app form lately?

Do you think there is no work for your type of voice in audiobooks? Have you auditioned for a toddler book on ACX lately?

I could go on – but branding is what marketers call “horizontal” – across all forms, or categories, of voiceover.

Categories, on the other hand, are the vertical silos in which we do certain types of work, all of which might someday benefit from our personal brand.

(And I’m not amazing in all categories – I doubt I’d win in an animation or toy voice audition against you.)

My point is this: don’t confuse brand with category of work – and be prepared for and be open to doing all forms of work, when your brand is called for, and don’t arbitrarily decide you’re only right for one category of work, based on your brand.

Hope this helps!


4 Responses to Brand Versus Category

  1. Colette October 29, 2015 at 7:36 am #

    Good morning David,

    I just signed up lasting night and this was my first 60 second lesson.
    The reason I signed up is that one of my hosting instructors suggested that if I worked at it, there could be voice work for me. (I study at BecomeAHost.)
    Also, i listened to “Secrets of Screen Acting” and you are amazing.
    With You Tube and Social Media – branding oneself is pushed pretty hard and
    today’s article opened up my thinking a little and helped me relax a little about developing my brand.
    I look forward to the next 60 second lesson.
    Thanks so much,

    • David H. Lawrence XVII October 29, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

      These aren’t lessons, per se – you may be talking about the Getting Started in VO class. That’s separate. Log in and go to your My Account page to start that.

      I love your enthusiasm, your kind words, and I can’t wait to work with you. And to someday taste those apple danishes you made in that video on !!!!

  2. Veleka Gray August 21, 2018 at 3:22 pm #

    Thanks for this, David. It clarified the distinction. (Still trying to figure out my brand, though)

  3. Marlon Braccia August 21, 2018 at 8:53 pm #

    Once again, Angel, David is spot on & no nonsense about it. It’s easily misunderstood that if u have a “cartoony” voice, you can only do cartoons. It may be the lion’s share of your work now & perhaps always, but it doesn’t need to be.

    If you are union, commercial work’s residuals are well worth pursuing. Maybe your that kid’s voice that’s got with her Mom in Target or u could introduce the new Barbie.

    Alternatively for me, I’ve natually got a female voice with a lower register, but there are some Asian animation co’s that call on me for my 8 yr old voice. It’s a total hoot to record & deliver. Personally, I’d never limit myself. Ok, I don’t hear myself doing a role as a sports announcer, but if a client wanted me, I’d conjure up the best version of it that I could. Suffice to say, when I think of my career, my attitude is “Leeeeet’s play ball!”

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