Fri, Oct 18, 2019
Read in 4 minutes
For brands diving into AI-voice enabled branding, tone and architecture may be more important than the language used to reach consumers.
As we’ve said before, the question of AI-voice in commerce is not whether, but when.
Which means those entrusted with branding for retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) are now figuring out the where, how, and why of this increasingly important technology.
Meet Jasmine Tanasy. She’s the Executive Director of Naming and Verbal Identity at Landor, the global brand consultancy within WPP’s array of advertising and marketing firms. Based in New York, Jasmine’s focus is verbal identity, creative direction, and strategy that makes connections: brand to people, people to brand, and brand to brand. She’s been telling strategic brand stories for over fifteen years, most of which have been delivered to a Landor client list of A-list corporations that includes clients such as Apple, Barclays, Bayer, BP, Dow, FedEx, Google, J.P. Morgan, Kellogg’s, P&G, the NFL, Squarespace, and Tata.
And now she’s combining branding with artificial intelligence-enabled voice.
For brand strategists like Jasmine, working with voice is a tangible extension of all she’s been doing for the past fifteen years.
And yet, it’s new.
In a recent interview, she told us that the issue of voice for brands is about much more than what a voice sounds like—male or female, sophisticated or cheeky.
“When we begin to pull apart voice,” she said, “we have to understand that there’s a tremendous amount of information that’s being communicated, information that allows a listener to understand the brand in some very deep ways.”
“Yes, of course, the words matter,” Jasmine said. “But the words may matter less than the tone and style that the brand uses—and that’s determined by the strategic role a brand plays and their business strategy. Once we establish the brand foundation, and what we want to achieve, then we can start making big decisions about the language, relationships, and then voice.”
Ultimately, it’s all about what Jasmine and the Landor firm describe as “brand architecture.”
AI-voice interactions happen for reason. Voice is the medium, not the message. With that in mind, these questions rise to the surface: For what and when will the consumer connect using a voice assistant? Where will the voice interaction go? What data and services must support it?
A brand’s decisions about voice are much larger and more important than “what will it sound like?”
How do the other parts of the brand interact? What are the relationships within the larger brand ecosystem? Or the relationship with the customer? And in all these places—dozens, even hundreds of places—will the content, tone, and style of the brand’s voice ring true?
“Done well,” said Jasmine, “the convenience of AI-communication, a robust architecture, and the authenticity of a brand voice will combine to form critical ‘habit loops.’”
In her own home, she uses Amazon’s Echo with Alexa to turn on the lights and cue her favorite music.
It’s easy. Almost without thought. Definitely habit-forming.
Creating the same ease and convenience for business is ultimately the goal for any brand-marketing leader now working in voice. According to Jasmine, it gets back to the issue of architecture. “You have to think about where that customer relationship will ultimately land and what it says about the brand as a whole.”
So if you’re a brand that’s new to the world of AI-voice—be it the efficiency and believably of chatbots or the instant connection and ever-deepening relationship of voice assistants—where do you start?
Jasmine’s advice: What do you have in the pipeline? Perhaps it’s something simpler—a chatbot, perhaps, that provides frequently-asked information as a part of the customer service call center.
How does it reflect your brand? How does it fit into your overall brand architecture?
And where could it be extended in time? Where, given the ultimate convenience of voice assistants, could it be used to create one or more habit loops to cement loyalty and understanding with a brand overall?
Where is it right for your brand to create a voice-centric path to saying “yes?”
What do you want your customer interaction to be?
You can reach Jasmine at firstname.lastname@example.org or through one of the twenty-five global offices of Landor.
Voice. For brands, and in commerce.
Can you hear it coming?
#Landor #OpenVoiceNetwork #ConversationalCommerce