Monday, January 14, 2008

More Cereal, Please!

I have a brand of cereal I eat every single morning. Yes, every morning. I've even been known to travel with a box or two. The brand is called Nature's Path and the type is Pumpkin Flax. It is a healthy, organic, but oh-so-tasty kind of cereal and I love it! In fact, I've been known to scare my fellow shoppers by screaming "NO!" when I discover the local grocer is sold out of my beloved cereal.

I've gone store to store throughout town to discover which locations carry my cereal for the lowest price (that would be Trader Joe's). I buy several boxes at a time to ensure I never run out.

You may be wondering to yourself why I am writing a love letter on a public site to a box of cereal. It has nothing to do with a box of cereal, and everything to do with your client's expectations of your product.

You see, one day (a few months back), I decided to try a different type of cereal from the same manufacturer. It was in a larger box than my pumpkin flax, so I expected to get more cereal for my money.

When I arrived home and opened the box, I was shocked to discover that this large box contained half the amount of product in relation to the packaging! I felt I had been ripped off!

I immediately contacted the company with my complaint. I didn't honestly expect them to respond or to care...but they did! A response came within hours. They explained that the package's large size was due to shipping concerns (I'm sure it's a valid reason, though I was unable to fully grasp the explanation). She explained to me that the cost of the larger box was actually less than my smaller pumpkin flax because of the ingredients used. The company followed up on this conversation by sending me a coupon for one free box of their product.

Needless to say, I was impressed! Because of their professionalism (and outstanding product) I continue to use them to this day.

How does this relate to your business in voice over? Part of being a voice actor is creating your own packaging. From your demos, to your website, to the way you treat your clients. It is all part of the overall impression you put out every day.

The question you need to ask yourself is if your product matches your packaging? Can you back up that slick website? Is your talent properly showcased in your demos? Most importantly, is your product something your clients will want to use again and again?

While you consider these questions...here are a couple of links I strongly recommend checking out:

First, a post on VoiceOverSavvy in which Bob Bergen discusses the need to develop your own individual brand. Second, a post from my friend Mary McKitrick about all the things one must consider when setting their voice over rates.

4 comments:

Jeffrey Kafer said...

Interesting post, Kara. I'm glad the company was so responsive.

So the question you pose is "can you match your packaging?" Good question to ponder.

But how about the opposite? Does your packaging live up to your voice? If you are a stellar talent, are you doing yourself any favors by having a cruddy website and demo CDs written in Sharpie pen?

Kara Edwards said...

Jeff-

You are absolutely correct! Sometimes people get into this business, but don't take the steps necessary...in the order they are necessary!

Training first, then demo, then website and marketing. Otherwise you may spend all your money and see little return!

Thanks for commenting, and keep up the great work!

Kara

Nancy Wolfson said...

Branding Branding Branding.
Been barkin about it for years - so glad to see you pointing at it here.
When you're cooking up a cereal from scratch, inventing something in a lab to take market, you can CONCOCT a brand.
However, as I know you have come to realize, a person's brand is not something that can be CREATED.
A person's brand just IS.
The secret is in working with professionals who can help you see and hear yourself as others see and hear you.
A person's brand is not concocted but rather realized.

Kara Edwards said...

Nancy-

As always, you remain my branding guru! Seriously, you have taught me more about branding (and voice over) than I could have ever imagined I would ever grasp in this lifetime!

Thank you for your comment, I hope folks take it to heart!

Kara