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Raise your voice

Audrey Rouzies

Strategic Planner

J. Walter Thompson

Audrey.Rouzies@jwt.com

Raise your voice

Brands have long been using celebrities in their advertising to give them a voice that speaks on their behalf. What’s new now is that brands are “speaking” to consumers through voice-activated assistants.

Successful examples of this in action so far include Colgate’s “Chompers” for Alexa, the crocodile accompanying children throughout their toothbrushing ritual with a story, and Mastercard’s “Fortune favors the Bolds”, a free podcast discussing the future of money and imagining a cash-free world, hosted by author Ashley C. Ford. In the beauty sector, Sephora has launched a Google Home app that allows users to book a treatment directly through an interactive voice command, and gives them access to some of the brand’s influencers’ tutorials.

The vocal branding market has a bright future ahead, but only if it’s designed effectively, voice pathologist Wendy LeBorgne said in her TEDxCincinnati talk in February 2018. “Your voice is the most important element in your personal brand,” she said. This is especially the case when addressing people in their private space. “How far can you go?” is still a pending question.

What’s encouraging is this: a J. Walter Thompson study among users of voice-activated assistants found 72 percent expect brands to have their own, specific voice - and not use the generic Amazon or Google voice. Brands should therefore start working on their “voice branding” as soon as they can.