Voice represents the logical next step in the evolution of how we interact with information. It’s more natural than using a touchpad or keyboard, takes less brain power, and creates even more opportunity for tech to move further into the background and reduce our reliance on screens.

Marketing imperatives

  • Focus on how you can use voice to genuinely help users.
  • Respect users’ privacy and foster their trust.
  • Make your voice experiences friendly and fun, but above all smoothly functioning.
  • The more human you can make your voice actions, the more warmly users will respond to them

This shift to zero interface computing will change the way people do things, the way they think about brands and how they make purchasing decisions – expanding and shrinking marketing touchpoints along the way.

According to eMarketer, 14% of internet users in the UK own a smart speaker. In 2017 global shipments hit 56 million. Our proprietary research has also shown us that smart speakers – despite only being on market for two years – boost unaided recall at a rate that is two times greater than TV.

The effect that the growing popularity of voice has on the marketplace is far-reaching, but how can marketers seamlessly integrate their brand stories and reach people on this new platform at a time where consumer privacy is top of mind?

Be authentic, provide purpose

Smart speakers are an intimate part of people’s lives. When it comes to brand experiences, they are looking for utility, discovery, entertainment and enjoyment. Don’t just use voice for the sake of it, determine how your brand can authentically and purposefully help people. Finally, be sure to match your and tone to what people expect and trust.

Personalise, but respect privacy

People expect that voice assistants will anticipate their needs and tailor responses based on preferences, but are reluctant to provide data that would enable that level of personalisation. Users are clear: they want an opt-in approach that doesn’t invade their privacy but is highly personalised, anticipating needs and – again – providing utility. Brands that want to be successful must avoid the hard sell and instead focus on establishing trust and inspiring more brand-use occasions.

Put the fun in function

The best-loved smart speaker skills are the ones that help everyday tasks easier. Smart speakers are putting the fun in function by letting you clean dishes to a favourite song or allowing you to voice your grocery shopping list have Alexa repeat it back. Being able to personalise daily routine and add levity to mundane tasks increases, efficiency and organisation of daily routines.

Emphasise humanity

People become disappointed when voice assistants don’t properly anticipate their needs, but users are extremely forgiving – often recasting these disappointments as temporary glitches bound to be fixed with the next iteration of the technology or that ‘he or she’ will get smarter with time. Where possible, emphasise the humanity in voice experiences by investing in cues that support relationship building, but above all make sure that the technology ‘just works’. Don’t assume that users’ forgiveness of device glitches will transfer to brand interactions.

Hopefully, you’re starting to see a trend here. While smart speakers and voice assistants are today’s hottest tech, consumers still require a human touch. Brands that want to get started in voice need to think about how they can create connections that are authentic and provide value exchange. How can your brand make life easier for the consumer?

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