Just like a logo, name or distinct colour, voice is a key brand asset – and advances in technology mean that the ways companies can incorporate it into their identity are always evolving. Branded audio content rings through more homes and headphones than ever before, and with smart speakers now commonplace, consumers can even use their own voices to directly interact with a business – as Spotify recently proved with a pioneering new ad.
Together with the cosmetic brand NARS, the streaming giant recently launched its first voice-activated campaign. Delivered through Google and Amazon smart speakers, it allowed listeners to order blusher, lipstick and mascara samples in a simple command – all they needed to say was ‘send me a sample for NARS.’ And importantly for NARS, it meant they were able to swiftly get their products into the hands and homes of potential customers who were unable to try them in store. The advert tapped into Spotify’s ad-supported tier of listeners – currently 163 million people across the globe, representing roughly 57% of the total monthly users. Many of these individuals are listening on smart speakers, and this interactive advert creates a seamless buying experience that allowed them to take direct action.
When developing this ad, NARS chose a voice artist who they felt effectively represented their unique brand identity – and this was a hugely important aspect of not just this, but all audio ads. Yet the voice-activated element of this campaign brings another consideration for companies. The voices of Amazon Alexa and Google both represent their own brand, so many businesses may think that developing their own AI voice in this manner could be a good way to assert a vocal identity. However, experts across the industry warn companies that this approach is not only highly costly, but incredibly lengthy – with physical recording of all iterations taking a minimum of a year.
Clearly, crafting an AI voice is a practice reserved for the tech giants of this world – and even a standard, non-voice activated Spotify ad is something that not every business has room in a budget for. Yet something almost all businesses makes use of is the telephone. The caller experience presents multiple opportunities to introduce engaging audio productions, and a brand-congruent voice artist is an essential element of this. By incorporating this key brand asset to this channel, you’ll assert your persona to a captive audience – through accent, age, gender and a host of other vocal qualities. With this in place, you’ll inject real humanity and vitality to your identity.
It’s clear to hear that a voice is a valuable asset to any business. With technology constantly advancing, new avenues for voice identity are always being created. Yet no matter how far smart speakers or voice activation evolves, businesses can always rely on the telephone as a key channel to asset their vocal identity.