Naomi Martin is a senior copywriter and social lead at AnalogFolk.
Whether it’s Alexa, Siri or Google, it’s likely that you’re right at home with voice technology. Since Siri launched on iPhones in 2011, we’ve taken to talking to our technology to help us solve day-to-day problems. Twenty nine percent of Australian adults have voice technology in their homes, and it’s integrated into everything from washing machines to cars. In addition, 78% of people see voice technology becoming an even bigger part of their lives.
How people use it is only going to grow, so how do brands find their voice?
First, let’s look at how are people actually using it:
- Texting or making calls
- Listening to music
- Asking for the weather
- Checking directions
- Setting reminders
- Checking email
- Checking news or blogs
- Making payments or activating coupons
- Smarthome use.
The obvious takeaway is that people turn to voice when their hands are busy; so in the kitchen, lounge, office or when driving.
Here are three ways that brands can become a bigger part of people’s lives through voice.
1. Get smart with search
More than 50% of searches are now done by voice search, and if someone is asking a question, your brand will want to be the answer. But simply topping search isn’t the answer, here are some tips to tweak your content for voice.
Write as you’d speak
People may ask ‘Who won the game last night?’ but they’ll type ‘finals winner’. Your website and content copy needs to be tailored to work with the difference.
When asking for ‘the best Thai food,’ voice technology will recommend the best Thai food close by. So making sure your Google information, website and content features your location, means that you’ll be relevant in those searches (if you make really good Thai food).
Then there’s the matter of being recommended enough to be recommended by voice technology. Ratings and recommendations count, so use them to your advantage.
2. Create voice skills and actions
Someone finding your brand is one thing, interacting with it through voice is another. Alexa Skills and Google Actions are built-in voice capabilities that can perform tasks from booking a trip to giving nutrition tips.
From food brands helping people cook dinner, to skincare brands giving advice on daily routines and all in-between, there’s room for brands to be useful in people’s lives, exactly when they need it.
3. Create a voice for your brand
Voice technology isn’t just a way to find your brand, it can also give your brand a voice, literally. It’s possible that how your brand sounds could be as important as how it looks – and just as memorable.
‘Earcons’ such as ‘Ok, Google’ have become ways to speak with brands, but earcons could be developed to create branded sounds when news breaks, a delivery has been made or when it’s time to perform a task.
Giving brands a voice doesn’t come without challenges. For example does the brand use a male or female voice? Project Q is already working to create a genderless voice, promoting inclusion with technology. But with new opportunities come new considerations.
As voice technology evolves and people can speak to a brand, exciting new challenges emerge to refine how your brand is heard, and it could transform the way you interact with people in their homes and beyond.
Voice technology is well and truly at the heart of people’s homes and routines. It’s growing year on year as people get used to talking to technology and using it to fulfill tasks. For brands, using it doesn’t need to be a big shift, but rather simple changes that make a big difference.