Your video spokesperson is the face of your brand. Choose carefully, because viewers will make assumptions about your brand based on who is presenting your video. Your video presenter needs to embody your message and connect with your audience.
We spoke to industry experts to get their insight on how to cast a video spokesperson for your next video production. Combining all of their advice with our experience in casting for videos, we’ve mapped the four steps you need to follow to recruit a spokesperson.
Keep in mind that we’re talking about external actors and influencers. These tips may not apply to spokespeople from within your organization.
Step 1: Know Who You’re Looking For In A Video Spokesperson
Ideally, you’ve at least planned out the script before you start casting for a spokesperson. In that case you should have a good idea of the kind of person who can best deliver your message. It should be someone your audience can trust or identify with.
Think about the tone you want them to convey. Are you looking for cheerful and friendly, authoritative and trustworthy, silly, somber, or something in between?
Does their accent matter? Do they need to be able to perform some physical action beyond just talking to the camera? Do you want someone your audience may already know or a new face?
Once you’re clear on who you’re looking for, you’re almost ready to create your casting call. But first, consider your budget.
A Note On Budgeting: Union vs. Non-Union Actors
Before you send out your casting call, determine whether you’re going to recruit Union or Non-Union actors.
Union actors belong to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). To work with them, you need to be in compliance with Union regulations. They’re typically more expensive to hire and you may need to fill out some time-consuming paperwork so start the process 5-6 weeks in advance. Hiring union members creates expectations around professionalism and you may get access to more experienced talent.
Non-union actors are often less expensive, and have more freedom to work on non-union projects. However, each one is like an independent contractor. They may have different professional standards than you expect. Make sure you thoroughly vet non-union actors.
Step 2: Create Your Casting Call
Your video casting call needs to be detailed enough to attract the right person. Travis Johansen, a video producer/cinematographer from Provid Films, recommends that you “be really narrow with what you’re looking for.” This saves you from wading through dozens of applications from actors who don’t fit the project.
Your casting call should mention:
- The type of video you’re creating (an explainer video, a trade show video, a commercial, a video voiceover, etc.)
- The roles you’re casting for. This can include specifics like age, gender, ethnicity, etc., depending on your narrative and needs
- Timelines and location of the video shoot. Mention whether you can provide transportation or accommodations.
- A brief overview of your company and mission
- Request for examples of prior work
- Whether you’re looking for Union or Non-Union actors
- Payment details and contact information
Step 3: Advertise the Opportunity
There are several ways to publicize your casting needs. Treat it like any other advertisement and try to get it in front of as many of the right people as possible. You can do this through:
Casting Directors/Agencies. A casting agent can help zero in on the right talent and streamline the vetting process. They can also coordinate in-person casting calls so you don’t have to.
Casting Publications, Forums, And Websites. Post to a casting call website like Backstage or NYCastings. Some websites charge a fee for listings, but others are free.
Social Media. Seek out casting groups on Facebook, tweet out your announcement, and cast a wide net. Don’t forget to publish the casting notice on your blog or website.
Video spokesperson services do exist, but they lack the personal touch of picking out your own spokesperson. Don’t even get us started on virtual spokespeople. That’s a case where an animated character might be a better choice.
Step 4: Audition Video Spokespeople
Once you have a pool of applicants, it’s time to choose a spokesperson. Johansen suggests asking actors to send in video examples of prior work. That way, you can narrow your options. Once you’ve found your top picks, invite them in for a screen test with your script.
Emily Fritz, marketing manager at dio, says a good spokesperson needs to have empathy with your brand, and the audience you’re trying to reach.
“Whether it’s through a video screen or in a brand activation setting, the spokesperson’s job is to engage. It may even be helpful if the spokesperson shares the same personal struggles as the audience, as that will affect the delivery of their message,” Fritz said. “While we can teach them about the brand, their personal connection is a knowledge that dives deeper than we can ever script.”
Should You Use a Celebrity or Influencer as A Video Spokesperson?
A celebrity or influencer endorsement can go a long way for boosting brand awareness. But don’t just go for the biggest name you can afford.
“The key is authenticity, whether they embody the values of the brand,” Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, said. “Their look and feel matter, but the main thing is do they live the brand and is it consistent with their own life choices? Consumers are savvy and know when it is a good match. Especially now with social media, you know what celebrities eat, drink, wear, have in the real world so it should be consistent with their endorsements for the best results.”
When choosing an influencer, take a look at their previous content. Consider how it has performed (likes/comments) and whether their persona aligns with your brand.
Brian Carter, CEO of Brian Carter Group, recommends using social media tools to get a better view of a celebrity or influencer.
“You can actually do data research on this using Facebook advertising tools, which will tell you how many of someone’s fans are also your brand’s fans,” Carter said. “You can also use Facebook ads to do small video tests of small groups of consumers- 10,000 or less- to validate brand resonance before launching a full campaign.”
More famous celebrities and bigger influencers bring along heavier fees and more complex contracts. Keep in mind that in the world of influencers bigger isn’t always better.
The Right Video Spokesperson Just Fits
Your video spokesperson needs to be a good fit for your brand. They should speak confidently about your product or service and connect with your audience. Take your time to find the best fit.
Don’t forget that before you put out a casting call, you need a script. The video experts at IdeaRocket can help you plan, cast, and produce your next video. Contact us to get started.