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Voice activated devices are powering brands digital strategies

Claire T

Voice-enabled virtual assistants are shaping an increasingly large part of consumers’ everyday lives. The biggest and most well-known is Amazon’s Alexa which through its “skills” connects consumers’ to thousands of useful apps. They can order a takeaway, cook along with Jamie Oliver hands-free or even check their bank balance simply by speaking to the voice-operated device. The fascination with voice is not expected to end anytime soon with ComScore predicting that 50% of all internet searches will be voice by 2020. Brands are also watching with interest – Unilever envisions that every home will have an Alexa device in a few years which they hope will provide them with the perfect medium to deliver to consumers what they need, when they need it.

So how can voice promoted interfaces become a trusted intermediary between brands and consumers?

Brands need to think about how they provide a valuable consumer experience by solving real consumer problems and encouraging repeat use and discovery. Take Ford who recently partnered with Alexa to allow its consumers to start their car by talking to Alexa, check vehicle data, activate garage doors and security systems and more – useful and what a great time-saving tool. Other areas Alexa currently excels in is simple tasks such as finding out how many calories you have burned (via the Fitbit app), dimming your household lights (via Hive), ordering a minicab (via Uber) or getting a pizza delivery (via Dominos).

However, the real opportunity for brands is how they use the platform to create engaging content using voice to bring their brand stories to life in innovative and interesting ways. Some have tried to do this, for example Johnnie Walker who’s “Skill” provides product information and personalised cocktail recipes/ product recommendations based on individual tastes and budget. I am excited to see the innovation that comes out in this space and how brands use this technology to find out more about their consumers buying behaviour and preferences through creating unique experiences with high repeat use potential.

With Amazon’s new Echo Show device – that comes with an integrated touchscreen to play video content and more –  being released in the UK next month I will be watching closely to see how brands utilise this opportunity to bring their content to life and engage with consumers.

Claire Twohill
Head of Digital

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