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The VO Boss podcast blends business advice with inspiration & motivation for today's voice talent. Each week, host Anne Ganguzza shares guest interviews + voice over industry insights to help you grow your business and stay focused on what matters...

Feb 21, 2023

Your vocal brand is the key to getting noticed in this world of noise. It’s much more than just the sound of your voice. It's who you are, what you believe in and what matters to you. Anne & Lau discuss what goes into a vocal brand & what you can do to develop yours. Vocal branding is all about uncovering your uniqueness in order to let it shine through in every project you take on. Take time to get to know yourself. What matters to you? Why are you a voice actor? A voice is like a fingerprint: no two are exactly alike. Once you've figured out what makes your vocal brand stand out, it's time to learn how to harness it. The key here is authenticity. And it's not just what you say—it's how you say it. Figuring out how to combine all these elements into one cohesive brand can seem overwhelming, but don’t worry! Anne & Lau are here to show you how it’s done. 
It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premiere Business Owner Strategies and Successes being utilized by the industry’s top talent today. Rock your business like a BOSS, a VO BOSS! Now let’s welcome your host, Anne Ganguzza.
Anne: Hey everyone. Welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I'm your host, Anne Ganguzza. Welcome to the VO BOSS superpower series with the one and only Lau Lapides. Yay.
Lau: Yay. Hey Anne.
Anne: Hey, Lau.
Lau: Love being back as always. Love it.
Anne: Superpowers, superpowers. I love that we named our series Superpowers.
Lau: Because we have so many of them.
Anne: Yes.
Lau: Like we can't even uncover, identify all of them.
Anne: Business superpowers. And I think that our superpowers, it's in all aspects of our business, right? So including our superpowers to be able to stand out from the crowd. And to be unique. All businesses have competition. And I know that people talk about VO -- VO is so cool because there's competition like technically speaking, but not really, because every single one of us has such a unique product. And I think it's important that we know how to bring out that unique product and not just know how to bring that out. Also, to be able to market that. And that goes right into our brand. And so a lot of what I do with students is I will tell them that I am going to not only brand them in terms of what genre should I be in, but vocally brand them, right? And that really is something that's not just a visual brand on a website, but something that it is absolutely related to their product. Right? A vocal branding.
Lau: Absolutely.
Anne: So what does vocal branding mean to you, Lau?
Lau: Oh gosh. It's such a big umbrella. It really is. I mean, the first thing that comes to my mind, Anne, is just having the knowledge of knowing as a coach, that no one in the world has the voice you have. Everyone has a unique sound, distinctively unique sound. Okay? They may have similar qualities, but they're distinctively unique. So number one, uncovering that uniqueness in your voice through specific qualities that you could maybe even poll, like pull your group, poll your team, poll your family and say, give me qualities that describe my voice. Because when I'm gonna look at specs of a breakdown for an audition, the client's gonna break it down for you. they're gonna give you vocal qualities. So that's one of the big ones I feel that really distinguishes your vocal branding from someone else's and says, oh, I know that. That's Deb. That's Susan.
Anne: Oh, I know that voice.
Lau: Yeah, I know that voice.
Anne: And you know what's so interesting to me is I find that there's a lot of people who come to me who will try to perform and sound like they think everybody wants them to sound like, and not enough about sounding like themselves. Because I truly believe, and I say this all the time, I truly believe that we are human. We wanna connect. We want to understand who you are. And that comes through, that shines through in your voice, that very unique voice. So unless you're doing a soundalike for someone, or even a character where you're trying to sound a particular way, I think that your vocal brand needs to be brought right up there, front and center, because I think that's what truly makes you unique. And it brings the acting out.
So it's not about the sound, right? It's about how do I bring the acting out? And that becomes a vocal brand for you because the personality is intermixed. I think personality has a lot to do with creating a unique vocal sound. Right? Your personality, your, your heart, your essence. I don't know, Lau, you always have great words for this. What would you say your ethos, I dunno, the ethos of your vocal branding?
Lau: The ethos of your vocal branding.
Anne: Yeah.
Lau: It's like the height. Like what is the apex of what someone is thinking about when they think about you? It's like they think about you with this word, with this adjective, with this action verb. Your name comes up. That's like, to me, that's the zenith of it all, is like, when they think of this, Anne Ganguzza comes up. When they think of that, this one comes up. And that to me is amazing. And in no way should that feel limiting to people. Like, oh, does that mean that's all I can do? Or that's all they think of me as. Well, they think of you as, as a product, as an incredible product that has this vocal branding. And that's the first and foremost that you want them to think about. You don't want them to be confused. You never want your audience to be confused. You always want them to think of you for doing the best thing. And with your vocal quality as a vocal talent, they wanna know you as something, whatever that something is.
Anne: And then whatever that something is, learn how to define that also in words because that words can translate to words on a page or words in an email that you are submitting with a demo to an agent, something that sets you apart. And it can also be different unique aspects of your voice. Like let's say an accent, right? A tone, if you have that really beautiful bass, baritone or that bright mom sound or whatever that might be. Bilingual, right? Can you sing? Like, those are all vocal qualities that can really help distinguish you from the competition. And so know what those vocal qualities are and be ready to be able to explain them to a potential client. Also showcase them. I think it's so important that these vocal brandings are basically shown or in a demo, right? So that people can hear that vocal quality. And if you have a good producer, they're going to know that and they're gonna know how to bring those vocal qualities out.
Lau: And you know, it's having a visual now of like a performer, a theater actor, a professional speaker who's in front of a crowd live, they're in front of a crowd. What's the first and foremost thing we see visually is their visual branding. So that might be a costume or wardrobe or particular visuals that we're getting on camera or on a stage. Right? Well, that's a big part of the kinds of roles they play, but that's not everything. We have to know what's underneath it. We have to know what's the internal process that they're using to bring out their personality, their persona, their humanity, the thing that we connect to. But that covering, so to speak, that like coming in and saying, I can sound like this. I can put this on, is great to have, it's just not the whole job. It's not the whole thing. You have to be able to do the internal work to really have the authentic connections to the process and then put the wardrobe on it, and then put the schmaltz as we say on it, the frosting on it. Right? But you have to have the cake first. You can't just have the frosting, even though we'd like to, you gotta build a cake first.
Anne: I'm always astounded when I work with different voices. Now, there are some voices who tonally, right, will have varying degrees of range tonally. But sometimes I think when students are just beginning, they think that that's what range is all about. And I beg to differ because range is not just a tone or I have a high pitch, I have a low pitch. I think really range for an artist an artist really comprises the tone mixed with the personality, mixed with the performance, mixed with the acting.
And so whenever people say, I want range in my demo, right, I will actually focus more on the acting first, rather than, oh, can you pitch your voice up? Can you pitch your voice down? It's so hard for people to do that because then they get so consumed with, I'm going to sound very low, or maybe I'm just gonna sound very high and I'll just do this for the rest of the copy. And so Lau, I know you've had lots of experience working with students do that.
Lau: Oh, oh my goodness, ton. And it's that what I call the over management, the maneuvering, every M word you can think of, the manipulation of sound, which of course, technically if you're a singer, if you're a rapper, if you're a speaker, if you're a vocalist of any kind, we do have to learn mechanics. We have to have a vocabulary that we can rely upon that helps with repeatability so that we can repeat deliveries for sure. But that still does not do that internalized work of understanding the language, the syntax, the cadence, the rhythm, all of that, which I believe is --
Anne: The story.
Lau: Yes. The story.
Anne: The story.
Lau: And whether you are religious or not, religious is irrelevant. There's a spirituality, there's something that we can't quite put our finger on that is larger than us. It's bigger than us that we can connect to, which creates a universal internal connection to your audience that they can't put their finger on either. It's just, it's real, it's authentic. Our friend Jim from Lotas talks about that all the time, authenticity. What is authenticity? What is that honest connectedness that we have? I'd like to think it's partly psychological, but it's also partly from the heart and the soul and the gut.
Anne: Oh yeah. Absolutely.
Lau: Right?
Anne: And that's where people, if they're nervous about synthetic voices, this is where we've got them .
Lau: Yeah. Yeah.
Anne: If you can really stand true to your authenticity and bring that out in your acting and in your voice, then that is what is going to surpass any synthetic voice out there. And know that your connection and your vocal brand has very much a place in voiceover now and for the future, absolutely. And I say this after, gosh, close to 40 episodes, talking to people in synthetic voices, knowing that there is a place for that. But there's very much a place for our unique vocal brand and our unique, authentic brand, authentic voice.
Lau: Absolutely.
Anne: Yeah.
Lau: And it's hard, if not impossible, to decipher exactly what it is. It's like when we see a brilliant performance, we hear a brilliant dissertation, we hear something rhetorical that moves us -- it's hard to completely put into words why we are moved to a call to action. Why we are changed, why we are cathartically shifted in a way. It's that beautiful recipe and combination of the visuals, the vocals, the internals, the connectedness to the audience that create that concoction that is so unique, that becomes persona. I mean, that's persona personified , as they say. It's, it's, that's your brand. Like your brand is how do I move you? How do I shift you?
Anne: Yeah. And I think it's one of the hardest things for people first entering into the industry to really accept and recognize. I know, I can't tell you the amount of people who don't really like the sound of their voice. They're true voice--
Lau: But yet they wanna make a living at it .
Anne: And they wanna make a living at it. And yet they're in voiceover and they wanna pursue voiceover because they think what everybody wants to buy is this performed sound that they have heard. I think we're such a product of our experience in listening for years. Right? When voiceover first came onto the scene, it was very much an announcer style. It was very much a, a unique style. And so hearing that, depending on your age, really, this does depend on your age. Kim Herdon actually in one of my workshops mentioned it too. And I thought, yeah, when you are being directed, a lot of times it is a factor how old the person is that is directing you. Because what they hear in their ears as a conversational or authentic read might differ from let's say, somebody that is a millennial that might be directing you.
And so I think no matter who's directing you, if you can bring forth the authenticity and your own unique style, I think that that is the place to absolutely start. And if you can bring that out, I feel like that's, you're at the height of your acting. It's kind of like, how many times have we watched a B movie? And it's so obvious, right, that the actors are maybe not as sincere or maybe they're not connecting with the audience. And so for those of you that are trying to figure out what your sound is, stop because it's not a sound. It's not a sound.
Lau: No, no, it's not. It's the land, what I call the land like how it lands on someone. How is it received? How is it thought of that's the most important? And the second is like great acting like Meisner exercises, like the second I'm thinking about myself -- which is natural. A lot of us will lose focus at times, think about ourself. But that's a really good gauge for us as business owners, as BOSSes, as delivery folks doing vocal delivery. The second I'm thinking about myself is the second I've lost contact with the other, the other.
Anne: Absolutely.
Lau: Whoever that is. It just be an admin. It could be an executive assistant, it could be whatever. But if I lose that level of focus, not only did I lose the information of what they're giving to me, but I also lost the authentic response of how what I'm saying and doing is landing on them.
Anne: Yeah, absolutely.
Lau: And then I don't have authentic queuing anymore. I lost my queuing ability.
Anne: Yeah. And I think even when we're talking about niches -- again, I always talk about people starting out here and you're trying to figure out where you belong in the industry. Like, where do I fit? I think no matter what niche you're pursuing, commercial, corporate, explainer, promo, there is absolutely in every niche, there is a unique you in that. Even if, let's say promos, right? And they sound announcery. right? And oh, great, I get to be an announcer. Sure. But you've still got a whole lot of personality that's put into that announcer, and you're bringing a whole lot of you to that. Like, I'm just, makes me think of Joe Cipriano, like I could pick out his voice in a second because he brings his personality to it. It really is something that you have to be comfortable with. And I think that's a journey for a lot of students to become self-accepting and to allow -- and vulnerability, right -- that to come out in a performance.
Lau: Absolutely. And I think you have to be okay, okay, sometimes more than okay with whatever you're saying and doing, when it does land, and it's being accepted and it's being rewarded, being okay with that being enough. In other words, if I get into that mindset, yeah. But I, they haven't seen me do this and I don't love that as much as I love this da da -- take that out of the situation and say, look, they're seeing one potential within me of value. And they're loving that and they're valuing that. Let that be okay. Let that be enough. Go other places to show other sides of your voice and other sides of what you can do. But if that's okay, if that's what a big part of your branding is, because sometimes it's enough; people don't wanna know you as everything.
They don't want -- I'm sure we've all had that experience where we see a movie star that we know and love, and we are tracking them, and all of a sudden they're doing a role that they love. That's challenging to them. but we don't wanna see 'em in that role. It's like, it's almost uncomfortable to see them in that role because we don't know them as that. It doesn't seem authentic to us. It seems pushed or it seems weird to us. Does that mean they're not capable of doing the role? ? No, of course not. It just means we've compartmentalized in our brain their branding to us.
Anne: Sure, sure.
Lau: And that means something to us. I think that branding, for some weird reason can have a negative connotation like it's simplistic or superficial when it's not. It has a real lifestyle meaning to people of how they place you Sure. And compartmentalize you within their life, in their lifestyle.
Anne: I wanted to kind of tap into what you're talking about in terms of is there just one brand? Do you just have one brand and maybe not, maybe you can have mult -- I mean, I have multiple brands actually. And so each one of those brands though has a piece of me, has a piece of authentic me in that. And again, I think that that's one of the most important things that we want to emphasize here. And that vocal brand should be something that people can remember you by and then easily come back.
And that's the whole thing, right? Because we're talking about the physical properties of your voice and the physicalities of how we sound and what we can offer as a unique value proposition to our potential clients. Now, how are we going to market that? In my corporate narration world, I have a particular demo that really has my sound, my unique value pro -- I call it my unique value proposition for corporate. And I may sound different when I am doing e-learning, and in reality I am because I'm a different person, right? I am teaching when I'm an e-learning versus corporate, I'm selling, or even commercial, I'm a little bit selling. I'm trying to convince people. So because the context is different, you get a different part of me. And that part of me is still very much me, but it is also a different brand. So I think that for each of your vocal brands, you need to have demonstrations, demos that really showcase yourself in those particular niche 
Lau: Right. You have to have that. That's a necessity. And from my experience, Anne, in my business, people come in, potential clients come in, prospects for a particular specific branding. Once they work with you in that, they start trusting you that yeah, you do that, you do it well. They're getting their value, they're getting what they need. They will open up to cross branding, which I call cross pollination, which means --
Anne: I love that, cross branding.
Lau: I offer, you offer three, four, five, six different services, whatever.
Anne: Hey, could you do this?
Lau: Yes. But they're not unrelated. Like, I'm not gonna clean your curtains, and I'm not gonna babysit your kids. Right? So they're not unrelated, they're all within this sphere. But they're much more open, and rightly so as I would be too, moving into those services once they are educated to understand what they need and what they want, versus coming in off the street for those services because they already came in for a particular brand.
Anne: Sure. And once they do that, I think it's important that you remain consistent in that brand.
Lau: Yes.
Anne: I think branding is just all about consistency, right? I mean, we've spoken about branding before. I mean, obviously look, I've got my headphones, I've got my glasses, I've got the whole red thing for VO BOSS. Visually there's a brand, but also there is that vocal consistency that comes to the show that you and I, we're giving of ourselves. We have our authentic selves. And that is a very important part of the VO BOSS brand. People don't listen to the podcast to look at my headphones. It's about my delivery, our conversation, our heart, our authenticity between the two of us. And that is, again, something that works in conjunction with marketing, maybe a visual. Right? And that has to be consistent for people, to make it memorable for people.
Lau: Yes. I would say it has to be consistent, but not necessarily constant.
Anne: Yeah.
Lau: Like we oftentimes think, oh, I have to be online all the time. I have to be posting on social all the time. I have to -- well, to some degree, yes. But do you need to be constantly doing that? Probably not. But you do have to be consistent in what you're doing so that it's gonna cause the attention that you want.
Anne: I'm glad that you said that, because there's absolutely a thing of being too much into, right?
Lau: Yeah.
Anne: I actually, myself, even when we're talking about marketing and advertising, and I offer workshops, obviously the VO BOSS podcast -- how much am I going to be marketing that brand? And so you don't want it to be so much --
Lau: You're overdoing it.
Anne: -- that it becomes an annoyance.
Lau: Right.
Anne: But what's so interesting is -- I listen to Gary Vaynerchuk. I don't know if you do, but Gary is everywhere on social media. And his philosophy is that not everybody's on social media all the time. So therefore, the fact that he pushes it out so consistently and so constantly and everywhere means that at any given moment, somebody's going to be able to know his brand and understand who he is. I think you just need to be consistent in that, but not pushing on any one particular. Right? I think that can be something that's tiresome. It's like performance. Right? Anything that repeats really becomes like white noise and people will not pay attention to it anymore.
Lau: Yeah. Yeah.
Anne: So whatever it is that you are giving vocally in your brand or marketing in your brand, give it authentically, and make sure it's not the same thing every single time. Because then it will become an annoyance.
Lau: Yes. And I would say too, like check your ego at the door. Check it at the door. Because none of us are so big and brash and bold that we can't be learning every moment how to make our branding better, make our value better. Here's a quick example. I do my news blast that I send out, and I'm listening to my people. Am I doing it too much? Am I doing it not enough? Da da da da. I just had someone email me, someone who I've known for a while, and he said, listen, Lau, if you don't mind my saying, he emailed me -- if you don't mind saying there's too much animation in this, things are moving, I'm nauseous. I can't read what you wrote.
Anne: I'm nauseous from your email.
Lau: Right? Like, welcome to the inside of my head. I'm thinking, you know what I'm saying? That's like the inside of my head. And I had to stop and I had to say, right, right. I didn't catch it. I didn't think about it. Da da. By Monday I'm gonna fix it. So that doesn't mean that you're always gonna agree with everything that everyone says. You're not. But if you see it's sound advice, no pun intended, sound advice, you see, it makes sense. And you see it's making someone's world harder to get to know you and get the value --
Anne: Yeah.
Lau: Take out the firewalls.
Anne: Take out the homework. I always say, don't give --
Lau: Get rid of it.
Anne: -- people homework. Yeah.
Lau: Yeah. Don't be egotistical and say, well why? How could he say that to me? He doesn't like my pet -- I don't care about that. I care about him getting value from what I'm sending out.
Anne: Absolutely.
Lau: And if he cared enough to say that to me, I'm gonna care enough to take it under consideration.
Anne: Sure. Absolutely.
Lau: And in this case, case taking action on it.
Anne: Absolutely. I think that that's so important. And I also think it's important to not just be consistent, but also keep the market trends in your back pocket. Research them, understand what they are, and update accordingly. Really vocal trends change over the years, in a grand scheme sort of way. It's gone from announcery to authentic and conversational, mostly. And a lot of that, by the way, is driven by advertising. Right? What sells, right? Again, we don't like being told we're smart consumers. We don't like being told what to do. We like to be able to make our own decisions, and we often ask our peers.
And so that I think is the biggest reason why advertising and the vocal trends changed to a more natural talking like your friend, like, hey, I'd use this product because we don't wanna be told by some loudmouth announcer that we need to buy this product. I mean, we're offended by that. And again, it becomes how can you and this vocal brand service your potential client or your client? It's not about what you sound like. It's not about distributing the vocal noise out there. It's about distributing something that can connect with a listener and move them, inspire them, motivate them.
Lau: Inspire them.
Anne: Yeah.
Lau: Yes. And I would even add in technical, technique-wise over time, add a little hook for yourself in there. Something you may not always do, but you find you're doing consistently that works -- it might be a little glitch in the voice, it might be be a moment of pre-life. it might be a pick up swing on something you do.
Anne: Sure.
Lau: Add something that's yours, that's part of your signature, whatever that is. And just do it consistently. If it works, if it annoys people, they'll let you know. If it doesn't work over time, you'll know.
Anne: Right.
Lau: But do something that's unique to you, authentic to your persona, authentic to your process. And that's something that people will start thinking of you for as well. So many people don't even think, Anne, when they're doing an audition, they want it to be so clean that they don't even think a little, -- is good. Just like a little exclamation, a little moment of vocalization. You know what I mean?
Anne: It's too perfect. It's too voice talent. It's too voice actors, too perfect. Yeah.
Lau: It's too edity.
Anne: I can't tell you the amount of times I would have a student, a lot of times this will happen with a male student who has a beautiful, like lower baritone, and at the end of their sentences they'll land it. And I'm like, you need to only give me that gift once in a while, and when I don't expect it. Because if you give me that gift every single word or every single sentence, it's gonna not be a gift anymore. And so you need to give that to me in an unexpected way that's going to capture my attention and not become the same repetitive. That's really what happens when people try to sound or mimic or imitate, unless of course you're doing an impression. But that's a different thing too. Like a lot of times people will be confused when I say that, but when you're a character, I find sometimes when people like character and they're character actors, they are able to bring authenticity to their characters more than they can bring to their own voice.
Lau: Yeah. No doubt about that. And sometimes their alter ego, if they consider it an alter ego, they're doing it all the time. They do it like a tic, it's great, they love it, whatever. Sometimes it can have more authentic appeal than their daily sound can, because their heart and soul is in it. They're so connected to the success of it.
Anne: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And that's the thing, their heart and soul is connected to it. And so I'm always trying to convince people that like, you may not be a cartoon or a very dynamically changing character, but for everything that you do in voiceover, you are. You are a character. It's a version of you. It's an excited you, it's a passionate you, it's a somewhat confused you or whatever is called for in the copy. Right? It becomes that -- or I always say, you own the company. Right? If you're trying to talk about your product and sell for a company, then you own that company. So you're always a character.
Lau: It's like the argument we have in the acting world for actors who are not vocal actors, they're actors who are, you know, on camera or stage actors. They're saying, am I becoming someone else? Or am I opening the door within myself to other experiences that connect to my real history? Now I'd like to think it's the latter because I think that most people who are in this field, who are successful, can bring that connection, whether they do it through a sense memory, whether they do it through an extreme empathy exercises, they don't have to have experienced it. They have to connect to the experience. And that's a totally different thing. And ironically, a lot of folks who go through the actual experience can't emotionally connect the way you can as a vocal actor.
Anne: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Lau: Right? But you have to have that conduit, whatever that conduit is, to the authentic connection, you have to have it and find it.
Anne: That is what I think so many people, they just, they're coming in to do their auditions, they run into their studio and they're good readers, right? And they read it and then they apply a melody to it that makes it sound like they're in a scene, but they're not really in a scene or acting, reacting, that kind of thing. And so I think for every piece of copy, you've gotta be so in the scene that you're not even thinking about what you sound like.
Lau: Yeah. And then it becomes mono patterned.
Anne: Exactly.
Lau: And we're thinking, why am I feeling sing songy? Why am I feeling in the pattern of this?
Anne: Exactly. Exactly.
Lau: Yeah. Right.
Anne: So vocal branding, it is absolutely a thing. It is absolutely something that I think all BOSSes out there, you need to know. Understand your vocal brand, understand who you are within that vocal brand, and then be able to market that vocal brand. So make sure that it's defined, and it can evolve, by the way. It doesn't have to always be one way. You can evolve that, evolve multiple brands. Make sure that you are able to bring that front and center proudly. And that will help to, I think, get you those gigs. Good discussion.
Lau: And dirty it up. Like, don't be so perfect.
Anne: Don't be perfect.
Lau: You don't need to be so polished and perfect. Because emulating real life is like we do make mistakes, and we do have rough starts. And sometimes that will get you a job. Love it. Great discussion.
Anne: Ah, yeah.
Lau: So good.
Anne: All right. So BOSSes, it may seem difficult to make a huge impact, but as a group, we can contribute to the growth of our communities in ways that we never thought possible. You can find out more. Visit to learn how. And also great, big shout-out to my sponsor, ipDTL. You too, connect and be BOSSes. Find out more at Have an amazing week, guys. We'll see you next week.
Lau: Bye.
Anne: Bye.
Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your host Anne Ganguzza. And take your business to the next level. Sign up for our mailing list at and receive exclusive content, industry revolutionizing tips and strategies, and new ways to rock your business like a BOSS. Redistribution with permission. Coast to coast connectivity via ipDTL.