You probably arrived at this particular webpage by clicking it, either with the help of a mouse or a tap of your finger. The act of clicking is now so commonplace that it’s become second nature, but soon, even this most basic gesture will become obsolete. In the future, we won’t navigate the web with clicks, but with our voices instead.
Voice-enabled technologies have already reached the market in the form of products like the Google Home, and users have wasted no time speaking up with questions and instructions for their new gadgets. While users will undoubtedly be the biggest winners of the voice revolution, it’s also an incredible victory—or, more accurately, an incredible opportunity—for any brand that’s ever wanted to have a conversation with its audience.
As voice technology spreads and its use becomes ubiquitous, consumers’ conversations with phones, virtual assistants, and other devices will come to represent an essential component of the brand experience. Brands can use conversations to distinguish themselves from the pack, and brands that do so effectively will reap the rewards.
The first step in a successful brand interaction via voice technology will be whether or not the consumer feels comfortable holding a conversation with their device. One potential answer to this issue is to employ “mirroring” in such conversations. In human behavior, people “mirror” others that they want to impress or that they like by matching their body language and their speech cadence. Brands can take a page from this playbook by developing voice platforms to act like the specific user interacting with it; as a result, brand experiences will become infinitely personalized to reflect the user’s tastes and even mannerisms.
Certain brands—particularly those with well-defined and unique identities—may shy away from the intense consumer-to-consumer differentiation that artificial intelligence and voice technology make possible, preferring instead to let their existing brands speak for themselves. On the other hand, large institutions, like banks and utility companies, will embrace voice technology to help them engage with consumers on their own terms and using their own behaviors as a model for those conversations.
Although millions of consumers already have voice-enabled devices in their homes or in their pockets, it could be years before this technology fully matures. Until then, brands should waste no time developing voice platforms and strategies so they can deliver consumers personalized, unrivaled experiences.