Why CMOs Need to Make ‘Brand Voice’ Literal and Make Every Touchpoint a Conversation

Stas Tushinskiy

Author: Stas Tushinskiy, CEO of Instreamatic

The voice technologies brands use to interact with customers are on the cusp of a revolution. The quickly maturing space is increasingly incentivizing brands to venture beyond the confines of established platforms and launch voice infrastructures all their own. Now is the time for CMOs and brand marketing leaders to start paying attention.

There’s no question left that smart speakers and other interactive voice devices have saturated the mainstream. Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant – the voice platforms offered by Amazon, Apple, and Google, respectively – have an accepted and familiar presence in countless households and even more of our pockets. Brands have also begun to utilize these platforms to advertise and communicate with customers via interactive voice, albeit by having Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant speak for them.  This tri-headed ecosystem – and the well-trod roles that customers and brands now play within it – represents Voice 1.0. It is the dawning era of interactive voice experiences, not the pinnacle.

With consumers’ appetite for these experiences now firmly established, brands are eager to pursue voice communication and explore the broader benefits of the medium. However, reliance on the respected capabilities of the three platforms also saddles brands with limitations. For example, customers may be confused when a brand speaks to them directly in a voice that sounds exactly like Siri or Alexa. Brands must also limit their communications to adhere to external guidelines imposed by the major platforms. They also lack direct control over the first-party data and customer feedback required to derive personalization insights, and to properly customize voice experiences for each individual customer. 

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The drive to overcome these limitations and leverage interactive voice to its full potential will precipitate a shift to Voice 2.0. This is where brands themselves can build and control their own voice infrastructure, and deliver customer experiences directly across their own platforms. With Voice 2.0, brands reach customers at every touchpoint (whether digital or physical) using their own flexible and independent voice solutions and, critically, deliver experiences in their own unique and recognizable voices. Voice 1.0 and the three platforms will continue on as popular voice assistants that serve consumers well, but Voice 2.0 provides brands with the specific infrastructural integrations needed to optimize customer experiences across all marketing, support, and feedback channels. 

For brands, the prospect of introducing distinct competitive differentiators and unprecedented customer convenience drives Voice 2.0 adoption. Interactive voice experiences invite customers to complete meaningful interactions simply by speaking aloud in natural language. Backed by Voice 2.0 infrastructure, brands will have broad latitude to demonstrate actual creativity in experiences across their own native apps, websites, in-store interactions launched by scanning QR codes, and other channels. Because speaking is three times quicker than typing (or more), customers are all the more likely and encouraged to speak their minds and share qualitative feedback with brands, knowing they’re heard and will receive meaningful brand responses in return.

Building on Voice 2.0 data and insights, brands will refine experiences that optimize the value customers receive from brand engagement. On the advertising front, that means advertising through a unique and interactive brand voice (literally), and to adapt ad campaigns based on customers’ spoken responses to ad content. In this way, brands will have the power to personalize creative content and offers with more accuracy than ever before. Brands can also prevent customers from hearing any irrelevant or unwanted ad more than once, completely transforming ad experiences and building closer customer-brand relationships through that effective communication. 

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Interactive voice is just as transformative for brand feedback channels, where Voice 2.0 will allow customers to easily communicate at length and express any and all issues with their brand experiences. Today, brands miss out on valuable feedback simply due to the obstacles and wait times associated with contacting a call center or speaking with a manager. With Voice 2.0, customers can capture a brand’s full attention instantly at any touchpoint, and know their comments will be closely considered and incorporated to effect improvements.

Voice 2.0 will change customers and brands into conversation partners, allowing each to leverage the power of speech to achieve their needs more effectively. Brands that adopt Voice 2.0 infrastructure and introduce their own voices early will realize broad advantages over their muted competitors, as this basic human communication becomes essential to how brands can best build customer relationships and loyalty.

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