Voice is the oldest and arguably most natural form of human communication. This opens up opportunities for brands to connect on a personal level. But it’s important to remember that no one likes to be interrupted.
Neuroscience research shows that voice interactions spark lower levels of brain activity than touch or typing. This supports the idea that voice is more intuitive than other forms of communication. Making it an obvious choice for people looking to reduce effort (all of us) and a good fit for brands looking to provide utility.
Apart from making things easier, voice has the ability to create deeper connections. Conversation is fundamental to our closest relationships. According to Google, 41% of people who own a voice-activated speaker say it feels like talking to a friend or another person. We’re saying “please”, “thank you” and even “sorry” when speaking to voice assistants.
As speech recognition and natural language processing continue to improve rapidly, our voice assistants will seem even more human. We expect people will grow closer to their assistants … and that Alexa, Siri, Google and Bixby will become increasingly powerful gatekeepers.
Brands wishing to enter this space, will need to find a way to join the conversation, without interrupting. As a starting point, we’d suggest viewing smart speakers as a way to provide useful or entertaining brand skills or services, rather than as another marketing tool.