Typing and tapping have had their time in the sun. The era of voice interactions with our devices is upon us. 50% of searches will be made by voice within the next three years, and Amazon has revealed that its Echo Dot is its best selling item from its product catalogue. From a product perspective, it’s almost crowded with how many options consumers have for devices they can speak with from the Echo to Apple’s HomePod to Google Home. These devices are winding their ways into consumers homes, and people are turning to them more and more for information.
This means one thing. The brands that have a presence on these devices will be found, discovered, shared and purchased. The brands that aren’t might as well be invisible.
This raises some key questions for brands. They know how they look. They know their brand beliefs. They know a lot, but how does the brand interact with sound in a conversation? That might not be so clear.
Brands are going to need to think about how they come across in conversations when a human isn’t involved. How does the brand address a myriad of customer questions when a person fluent in a brand’s tone isn’t there to take the reigns? It’s an overwhelming challenge, and overcoming that challenge requires focus.
A New Era with New Questions
As brands think about their approach to voice in 2018 a lot of work will need to go into what role their brand can play in voice interactions. Think about the customer and think about how the product is used. Start with considering the most likely questions that might be asked using voice and start there. Think about the role a brand’s voice could play in consumer’s daily lives.
That role may be dictated by scenario. For example, the morning and meal times may be about providing utility, information and productivity. That’s what Campbell’s soup did with its Alexa skill designed to offer hands-free step-by-step recipes for consumers. In the less productive hours, brands that offer a level of entertainment may find their place. Mr. Robot uses its Alexa skill to create an interactive story and game based on the show.
Brands need to dig in and understand the value they can provide through voice. That value may be different than what they currently offer through things like video, social and other executions. The key will be providing a value that is unique and differentiated. The proliferation of voice technology will mean a proliferation of duplicative and less-than-useful executions. The brands that find a unique consumer experience that intersects with a product or brand moment will be a welcome voice when consumers say, “Alexa…"