Voice – it’s about brand, stupid

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One of the biggest misunderstandings about the Voice First revolution is that it is a pure tech play which revolves around the “user interface” pr being a sales channel.

Voice - it's about brand, stupid
Photo credit: portalgda via Visualhunt.com

Of course voice revolutionizes the way we interact with machines and after decades and decades of the computer industry promising us that these stupid machines would make our lives easier and help us – we always ended up adapting to the machine and not the other way around (keyboards, mouse, touch, gestures and silly desktop metaphors). Since the 1970’s we’ve been promised a computer that understands us on TV (Captain Kirk and his computer) and all the way until now, we had a very rocky path to get “closer” to that promise – and this time the adult industry won’t be the first to champion a technology.

However all the advantages of a hands-free, natural language understanding human to machine communication aside, Voice is so much more than just a new interface and more than just your must-have innovation pet project.

I’ve been lucky to talk to some of the very early preachers of the Voice First movement and I was blown away by their vision of how this “interface” could revolutionize how we get things done and which trove of opportunities would arise from this. This seemed and – now well a year into it – seems like the web revolution all over again, this time however on steroids.

One of the topics that we had in a small circle of people discussing the Voice First vision was funnily enough never ever a tech topic but it was a marketing topic – brand. How will brands evolve and position themselves in a Voice First world?

The longer we discussed and the more we thought about it it became clear to us that we are looking at a once in a generation opportunity for brands to define and extend their brand to a human sense that was rarely addressed – auditory.

Voice - it's about brand, stupid
Photo credit: Shannon K via VisualHunt.com

How does my brand sound? How does it talk?

Some people might think that brands will just adapt their “radio brand strategy” to Voice and Voice First devices. But a radio jingle is only a few seconds long and needs to achieve a different purpose than let’s say a brand-owned voice assistant. When I’m saying voice assistant I don’t mean that each brand will now flock into the space of Amazon Echo, Google Home, etc.. But same as we have storefronts in the big eCommerce platforms you will want to have a “brand voice assistant” when it comes to the brand’s key products / verticals.
A jingle has to “wake you up”, get you to recognize the brand and associate a few “quick” feelings in a few seconds. A voice assistant can lure and seduce you into the world of the brand and show you around. It gives the brand a lot more time than a radio jingle or even a TV spot. You as a consumer can invite the brand into your home and allow it to learn your values and convince you that the brand values are aligned with your value system.

Voice - it's about brand, stupid
Photo credit: tom box via Visual hunt

Sounds crazy?

Well how many of you have seen the movie “Her” with Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson? Now before all of the weird sex stuff happens, how many of you where excited to hear her voice during the movie? Who wouldn’t sympathize with Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix being amazing in playing this role) when his mood would light up when talking to Samantha? Who would come out of the movie and think – that was totally unrealistic I would never fall for a voice assistant as smart, useful, helpful, playful and intriguing as Samantha?
Oh and by the way – Samantha was the product of a brand – the operating system.

Voice gives brands a massive opportunity to redefine their interaction with consumers and the impact they might have in their lives and of course the massive opportunity to get direct feedback from their customers.

There is a reason why some of the biggest brands have started “locking in” voices for their Voice First brand strategies.
Think Apple’s “The Rock vs Siri” was an ad? Think again.
Which brand will use Morgan Freeman’s voice? It will not be Facebook’s assistant – even though Mark Zuckerberg convinced him to be the voice for his Jarvis prototype.

Over the last year we’ve been engaged in a couple of very very interesting Voice First projects but most of the time the clients where approaching it from a innovation, new interface, new channel perspective. Only now we are seeing brands “waking up” and realizing the opportunity that Voice First might be able to offer them.

So heads up, if you are still think about Voice First as a new interface get ready to be rolled over by your brand and marketing people.

Voice - it's about brand, stupid
Photo credit: AndGeorgeMakes4 Studios via Visualhunt
Rafael Otero

Rafael Otero

Rafael Otero ist Unternehmer, Business-Angel und Mentor im Startup- und FinTech-Umfeld. Rafael schaut zurück auf über 10 Jahre Erfahrung im Payment Bereich in denen er in Führungspositionen oder als Co-Founder aktiv war. Aktuell ist er Co-Founder bei der Voice First einer Strategieberatung rund um innovative Voice Solutions.

Zuvor war er Co-Founder von payleven, Co-Founder von Payment Company, Programm Manager bei 1&1, VP bei ClickandBuy.
Rafael Otero

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