To really look at the importance of finding your unique brand voice, we must first understand what voice is and why it’s important. American Poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow famously said, “The human voice is the organ of the soul.”
And he was right…
Voice is far more than just the sound produced by a person’s larynx. Our voice forms part of our identity and personality. It has been said that our voice is the microphone for our soul and is responsible for the expression of our passions and desires. Voice is connected to our emotional and intellectual needs and has the power to move people to take action.
We all have a unique voice which is integral to our personal identity; we form perceptions, opinions and make judgements about people based on how they sound. How often have you hung up from a call and thought, “they sound nice” or something not so flattering?
We interpret more from the way people speak than from their actual words. So it makes sense that you can tell a lot about how someone is feeling by listening to their voice because humans have the ability to capture small nuances in voice. One phrase can be expressed and perceived in many different ways. An example might be: “did you remember the coffee?” - this could be a simple to-do requiring no emotion, or it could be perceived as presumptuous, angry, knowing, anticipated or even disapproving. Particularly where coffee is concerned!
So what does this mean and how does it relate to brand voice?
Voice is not a new thing - it is already integrated into our every-day lives: in our homes, our cars, our phones and workplaces. Voice assistants are on the rise and we find ourselves increasingly reliant on them to save us time, with 25% of Voice Assistant owners in Australia having made a payment via a Voice Assistant.
We are engaging with them multiple times everyday building emotional connections and creating personalities for them like we do with many of our prized possessions (cars, boats, campers). Whether we realise it or not, Voice Assistants are becoming part of our families! Think about how you interact with Google or Siri on a daily basis. Do you call on them to play your music, ask them to phone your friend or have them find the answers to random questions you have? How many of you travel with Waze, the GPS navigation app in the car, or are regularly connected to and engaging with Apple Carplay?
Voice allows brands to take a more holistic approach to their consumer’s journey, providing brands with the opportunity to talk to customers in a more natural way, harnessing empathy and emotional expression resulting in stronger connections and better brand engagement. Take the Huggies voice experience, for example. Designed for children with parents in mind, Kimberley Clarke have developed an Alexa Skill with bespoke content aimed at developing children’s communication and listening skills in a fun and engaging way. Through this unique personalised hands-free experience Huggies are building trust and meaningful connections with its consumer base through play and learning in the most intimate of spaces, the private family home.
If you think about the people you connect with and respect, what do they sound like? What is it about their voice that resonates with you?
As we move into the era of conversational business, brand voice will become increasingly important as we navigate a future with voice technologies at the fore. A unique brand voice and a sonic identifier will become key elements of a brand’s identity.
What does the future of voice look like?
Good question! We are really only at the beginning of our journey with voice so we can only imagine what the future will look like. My favourite representation of the fun possibilities of voice are reflected in the Mercedes 2019 Superbowl commercial.
What we do know is that voice is hands-free and can be communicably clear. A conversational experience which liberates us from our screens and cognitively puts significantly less load on our brain than text. How often have you found yourself with a problem or issue that needs solving and decided that it’s just easier to jump on a call and have a conversation about it?
As technology develops, voice assistants are becoming more human. They will get to know us personally and react to our emotions. Our voice assistants will also become more mobile, transforming how we experience daily life and more secure, as each will be equipped with a unique voice identifier providing increased security during purchases, similar to a finger-print.
Consumers are already using voice at every stage of the consumer journey. and in the future, voice will convey the personality of a brand. Because of this, brands will need to secure their real estate in this space., voice domain invocation phrase - whatever you prefer to call it. You will want to ensure you’re ahead of the game here!
That all sounds great but what is the ROI on Voice?
User behaviour is still very simple, with the extent of most users’ activities here in Australia limited to obtaining information on the weather, playing music, searching for a product, setting alarms, making to-do lists and controlling smart home devices. It’s an emerging technology and we are still in the experimental phase of the media.
Your investment in voice is a long-term one.
Originally published on The Casting Chambers.