LONDON: The use of voice technology is growing as it is a more intuitive and efficient way to interact with a device, and marketers will have to consider a new set of variables as they develop voice user interfaces and build a consistent tone of voice for brands.

In a WARC Best Practice paper, How to develop a voice strategy for your brand, Elizabeth Cherian, UK Director of JWT’s The Innovation Group, and Jeremy Pounder, Futures Director at Mindshare, argue that voice has “the potential … to become consumers’ primary means of interaction with technology over the coming years”.

Consumers want things made easy for them and the recent Speak Easy research from Mindshare and JWT identified the top three reasons for use amongst regular voice users globally as “it’s convenient” (52%), “I don’t have to type” (48%), and “it’s simple to use” (46%).

And neuroscience research demonstrated that voice interactions showed consistently lower levels of brain activity than their touch equivalent, indicating that voice response is less taxing than its screen-based equivalent. “This helps explain why efficiency is such an important motivation for using voice technology,” the authors note.

They put forward two main ways in which marketers can take advantage of this trend: building voice experiences that are accessed through voice assistants such as Alexa; and developing voice capabilities within their owned assets – which could include, for example, the products themselves or interactive audio ads.

“Irrespective of the type of voice interaction a brand builds, there are a series of core principles that need to be applied when designing any voice experience,” they advise.

These include finding those moments where voice interaction adds genuine utility and reduces pain points or friction. “As the primary motivation for using voice is efficiency, the focus should be on designing an experience which is faster, simpler or easier”.

Speaking a brand name out loud produces a stronger emotional response than simply typing it, so “there is also a great opportunity to convey brand value by building a sound experience that projects personality and effectively utilises tone of the voice”.

The rules on designing for a voice user interface are still being written, but think “conversation first” is the mantra – with appropriate amounts of questions with the chance for the user to respond and refine.

Finally, surfacing a brand via voice search will become more important, requiring a rethink of paid search spend to put more focus on conversational phrases and things like FAQs.

Data sourced from WARC