How brands can get ready for the voice tech explosion


We all remember the explosion of apps on smartphones, choices were endless and overwhelming. Some passed, but most were used once, forgotten about and deleted, ending up in a black hole never to be seen again. Now, include the futuristic craze that is voice technology into the mix and you are left wondering – how do you contend with that? recently published this article by We Are Social’s Innovation Director, Tom Ollerton, where he discussed all things voice tech. It’s not new creative tech that’s interesting here  – it’s ancient habits and a neurological bias that means the rise and rise of voice tech is a marketing inevitability. It ties into the human truth that consumers will always follow the path of least resistance, so if they can talk to a device to do things for them rather than finding the app in their phone then, they will!

So, how can your brand get ready for voice tech?

Define your unmet need/purpose
You need to make sure that the voice tech solution to your audience’s need is compelling and has a strong purpose. Voice tech will only be useful if it solves an unmet need for the user and is easier than using an app or website.

Understand voice tech’s limitations
Once you’ve got the problem you want to solve for your customers using voice tech, then the next step is to attempt to understand the limits of that technology. The best way to understand this is through producing a ‘minimum viable product’ (MVP) to see if it would actually be useful to your customers. We did this with our recent ‘The Defibberator’ experiment with Google Home during our most recent Social Scramble.

Create a Voice Tech Personality
You need to work out how your brand is going to have a conversation with your audience. It’s not about creating content, it’s a new skill, it’s about creating a script. And not only do you have to create a script, or a mini improvised play between you and your audience – you need a tone of voice, not just a list of words like ‘fresh, honest, inspiring’ etc – but an actual TONE. What will be the timbre of your brand? Is it a female voice (if you’re in the reinforcing stereotypes game) or a male voice or have a punt at gender neutrality.

You need to design the Automated Assistant that will represent your brand- Apple has Siri, Amazon has Alexa and so on. When we built the Domino’s Pizza ordering Chatbot we designed Dom, gave him a personality, worked out what kind of posts he’d put on Snapchat, found pictures of him – we created a person. So when we wrote the script for the chatbot it was simple because we knew who he was. It’s the same for voice tech – define your Automated Assistant’s personality and that will be the foundation for your brand’s presence.

Creating the content
A script needs to be created for the voice tech – marketing on voice tech is much more like writing out a full script than writing tweets or short posts. The conversations on voice tech need to be concise, very clear and quick so the end action for consumers is not far from sight. The longer the interaction goes on for between the consumer and voice tech, the more likely it is that they will get bored of it and switch off.

In conclusion, voice tech is the new frontier of user interactions with brands. You need to put the user and not your brand’s ego at the centre of all of your plans. If you stick to these top tip pointers then there are huge opportunities for your brand to create an entertaining or useful skill on Amazon Echo or service on Google Home.