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Discussing the importance of voice and audio and how they enhance your brand.

The sound of brand

Voice, audio and new audio-based social media platforms – how do they enhance brand?

Since 27% of the global online population is using voice search on mobile, how important is sound to brand overall? Are brands taking advantage of the full spectrum of benefits that sound and audio can bring? Are partnerships important? Maybe we should ask Alexa! 

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Recorded on March 18th, 2021

Transcript

Brad Breininger: 0:00

Hi everyone, and welcome to this week’s Everything is Brand. This week, we want to talk about the sound of brand. So listen up, here we go. So the sound of brand really touches on a bunch of different topics that we’re going to cover today. And primarily, the two big ones are voice which has become very important to brand, you know, whether you’re talking about, hey, Google, or Hey, Alexa, or any of the voice activated elements, so we definitely want to talk about that. Then the other part of it is also the audio side of things, whether it’s a little kick at the end of a commercial with a logo like Rogers does, or a whole bunch of different brands do or whether it’s even looking at some of the new social media platforms, particularly Clubhouse, which is all very audio based or even podcasting itself. So guys, what do you think how important is sound to brand overall?

Jeremy Linskill:

remYeah, I mean, I think it’s super important. It’s, it’s really only been a few years since Alexa, Siri and Google assistantd have been introduced to the world, you know, along with the other ones, as well. But in that time, we’ve seen voice growth and become one of the biggest opportunities in digital marketing. I mean, it’s even fielding further today with the popularity of like wireless headphones, the Internet of Things, etc. One of the stats that I found was 27%, of global online population is using voice search on mobile. So there is there’s a shift really happening in technology, from using our eyes to see things into using our ears to hear things. And not to mention that saying something is much faster than typing it or reading it. This means that brands need to be thinking about how they’re going to go out and interact with their current or potential clients in their homes, their cars at the gym, in the way that people can listen and interact with brand voice without seeing visuals in many cases. And one of the examples is really how organizations are building their brand voice through Voice Search. If you think about traditional web based searches, they lead to 1000s of answers to a single question. Whereas with voice search, consumers usually just get one answer. So brands are quickly partnering with Amazon, Apple and Google to become that voice. Let’s noodle on that for a minute.

Gabi Gomes:

babSo you’re right, I don’t know that anybody’s kind of really thought about it, or brands really have taken a thought on the search part of it. The fact that when we type something into our Google, we get a plethora of results. And it’s all about being on page one versus page two, or page three. But yet with voice when you query a voice, and you ask Siri or any buddy else, something like that, and dammit, I shouldn’t have said that. Because now everything’s going off, you only get the one result, you are the expert, or you are perceived as the expert, and you get one result. Now that may change down the road. But that is the way it is right now and how advantageous it is for a brand to be that one search result on the voice.

Jeremy Linskill:

Yeah. And that’s where I was sort of going with this was like, if you think about it, these brands have the opportunity to partner with Alexa or Siri or Google Assistant. And I don’t know if you guys are that familiar, but the Alexa skills that we’re seeing out there that are being launched, the interactions that Siri is having, where you can add things to Siri. And really, that’s the opportunity that’s out there right now for these brands to build those skills or build those apps that then partner with Siri and become those voices. Some of the examples that I’ve seen out there is, for instance, with Alexa, if if you’re want to order a pizza, Alexa’s partnered with Domino’s, and it’s basically Hey, Alexa asked Dom to order me two pepperoni pizzas. And so you’re seeing that these skills are almost developing their personalities and becoming like the best friend of the main one, whether it’s Alexa or Siri. So they’re the go to people that are partnered with through voice. So there’s a huge opportunity there for brands to become those people. In that sense.

Marko Zonta:

Do you think that this is just an opportunity for very big brands? And is this kind of cutting out some of the smaller brands that don’t have that same opportunity to see in terms of partnership and the money to back it up? So do you think that there is a bit of a disadvantage to smaller brands in terms of voice branding?

Jeremy Linskill:

I think that there’s a first to market opportunity here still, I mean, I know we’re a few years into it. But I still think that a lot of brands aren’t fully using it. But at the same time, at the end of the day, you the owner of the elector or whatever it gets to build those relationships, like you get to add those skills. That’s where it comes in. And it’s like you’re adding a skill or you’re adding something to theory, you build that. So it’s not just about the big ones. In that sense. It’s about your relationship, your ongoing relationship with the customer and then invoking that into their voice technology. Really,

Brad Breininger:

It almost feels like brands have to be aware that voice branding is a thing and they need to build into their process, right like and not take it out of the mix, make sure that it’s in the mix, make sure they’re considering it, make sure that they’re having those discussions.

Gabi Gomes:

Again, I think I think I’ve made this point in an earlier podcast, you got to be where your audience is. You got to be wherever your audience is and to limit yourself to say, Oh, my audience is only on a laptop on Google, or my audience is only here like, we really have to think about the audience’s day to day activities, how they go about their daily lives and embed ourselves in it, whether it is on an Apple TV, whether it is with their earbuds in connected to their phone, whether it is somehow walking down the street, seeing billboards, whatever it is, right, it really is about being worthy audiences.

Marko Zonta:

And to that point, as we’re kind of working on one brand for for one of our clients. That I mean, I can’t really say much more about it at this point. But this voice control or being able to order something that way, it will definitely be something advantageous for that particular brand, and potentially a lot of other brands that are, you know, in a similar type of situation, so, so it’s definitely an opportunity for our brand.

Jeremy Linskill:

Yeah, I mean, I think it’s all about efficiency. It’s making the customers life easier. It’s making everyone’s life easier. And it’s not just happening with b2c, it’s also happening with b2b, you’re seeing voice tech being used in meetings, and things like that, like, you know, having a theory or a Google in a meeting and being able to ask it a question or record the meeting, or do all of that other stuff that it that it can do, you’re seeing it building everywhere and start to be combined across the board. So there’s just a lot of potential out there for it, I think. And even one of the examples that I’m thinking of, I think was Virgin Trains or something to do with booking a train ticket, and they went, they invoke an Amazon skill, and it cuts their ordering time of ordering a train ticket down from seven minutes to two minutes. So you’re seeing that that kind of stuff is becoming easier as well. So there’s a huge amount of potential here. It’s just I think, to Gaby’s point, it’s getting to where the customer is coming from a family perspective as well. Like, I watch my kids and using their devices, they don’t take anything in. They do everything through voice, whether it’s call so and so or texting, somebody wants not even texting the message, but it’s reciting a message that then center text, it’s it’s everywhere. for them. They’re always a great example of where the world is going. Because they’re always five steps ahead of their parents.

Gabi Gomes:

Yeah, they’re the YouTube generation. Right? They will first go to YouTube to learn about something before they need to.

Brad Breininger:

Yeah, I think one of the key things is that voice is not only through the devices, but it’s also filtering into a whole bunch of different things that are kind of supporting this trend even more like if you look at social media clubhouse is probably one of the hottest social media channels right now. And it is all voice based. If you look at podcasting, how popular podcasting has become by reference of everything brand, but podcasting has become popular as well. So I think that the trend is not just in marketing and advertising or search or but it’s coming into social media, it’s coming into how people operate and interact with their devices. It’s a it’s a whole thing based around sound and voice and audio and all of those elements coming together.

Marko Zonta:

To that point, I would just add like it’s even down to converting some of content that would traditionally be a publication of some sort on specific topics, converting those to sound bites, so people can actually listen to it almost like a podcast type of thing, but very specific topics in a much shorter format. Yeah, I mean, I think the reality too, is like, with voice, you can be doing something else while you’re listening. And I think that that’s very appealing to everyone, like whether you’re driving your car, or you’re walking down the street or whatever, or you’re working frankly, you could be working on your keyboard and listening to something. So there’s a lot of opportunity there as well. And people recognize that it allows people to multitask. And I think that that’s a huge thing. We are a generation or generations of multitaskers nobody’s really content to do one thing at a time anymore. Right? You’re gonna people have six tablets in front of them while they’re watching a television show.

Gabi Gomes:

We’re not getting any more time as life goes on. So what you do with that time how you consume entertainment or other forms of content is is key. So what Marco was talking about just there was what we recently did for a law firm what was basically offer up a bunch of content that they have on their subject, and just offer it to them in an audio format so that they can listen to it as they go either driving or walking around because we all need exercise and it’s pandemic etc. So just offering it in an in an alternative method rather than just printed publication or even reading it on the website, right, give it to them in another form. And I think that’s probably one of the easiest steps for brands to adopt, start turning your content into an audio format that your audience can consume.

Marko Zonta:

And it also offers or opens an opportunity to actually become a subject expert, and provide those kind of sound bites some of that information in a consumable way that way, like sound bites, that can then lead to additional information. So obviously, if you’re driving, you’re not taking notes, you’re not you’re not able to study a specific topic, if it’s related to your profession, or you’re doing some research or whatever it may be even research for shopping. But it allows you to have general information that then you can, that particular topic can then lead you to additional pages or additional sources of info.

Gabi Gomes:

While you’re driving, you can actually tell your voice assistant over there to make a note on bla bla bla bla bla that you just learned, right?

Brad Breininger:

Yeah. And that’s why the integration of all of these elements is really the key here. And I think that, you know, for a lot of people, they think of voice or audio as being a different element. But actually, for a lot of people like your kids, Jeremy, it’s the only element. Yeah, exactly. You know, it’s how they interact with their devices. Now, you know, I mean, it’s all well, and good to say that we, as humans, we want to be able to multitask and do several things at once. And I think that that’s true to some degree. But at our core, we’re also a little bit lazy. And quite frankly, it’s much easier to interact with the devices and do all those things with audio just to say, hey, Siri, write this text, or Hey, Siri, do this, as opposed to having to pick up the phone, type it out, check the spelling, all that kind of stuff, things like ongoing research, or spelling, or those things don’t matter as much anymore as much as the quickness and the speed and the ease of being able to interact and integrate with our devices.

Gabi Gomes:

So the one that intrigues me the most is voice commerce. So the ability to order items, products, whatever online. So with that, the question that I have around it is, are we going to see a bit of a distance between the consumer and the brand, right? Is there still an opposite because now you’ve got basically bots, ordering your groceries or whatever and picking the brand rather than you as a consumer picking a brand. Now, as Jeremy said, you can have your favorites and whatever, and Amazon. So hey, Amazon order laundry detergent, and it’s automatically going to order the tide. But what if there isn’t those things in place, like who gets it, and is there a further distance of brand and consumer because of voice in these automation processes?

Brad Breininger:

Yeah. And it might even get to the point where it’s not necessarily the consumer, choosing what the brand is going to be like, you might not say order Amazon order the tide, it might be like Amazon order me some dish so and with whatever Amazon determines is the best deal is the dish soap that comes to you. So I mean, I think that there’s the door is now open for some of the control to go in a bit of a different way. And maybe it’s just about looking at things in a different way than we have in the past where it’s not where I don’t need to be a consumer of the brand. But I’m a consumer of the main brand, like the voice brands, like Amazon, or Google or whatever. And then I’m relying on them to give me the best deal at the time, the best price, what’s gonna get to me the quickest, maybe the issues are changing at the same time that the technology is changing.

Marko Zonta:

It’s interesting, because I would actually argue that this is, it’s now even more important for brands to be in front of our faces and be recognized and connect with us. Because if it is, if it comes down to those devices, basically ordering detergent, or milk or whatever it may be, then really, you have to control that. So. So you will ask for a specific brand. If it’s not top of mind, you just won’t do it. So then it’s the device basically, that’s deciding for you. So I think that brands will actually be even more important.

Brad Breininger:

Yeah, it’s almost as if brands need to figure out instead of just selling to the consumer, they have to sell to the distributor as well. I mean, that’s always important, but whether it’s a grocery store and getting the right shelf space and paying a fee for that, and I think that that whole way of doing things is being transferred over and the name or the voice is becoming real estate before where it used to be a shelf. Now it’s a name now it’s a voice now it’s an ordering mechanism of some sort. So I think it’s it’s gonna be one of those situations, like you said earlier, Jeremy, like dominoes becomes DOM and we’re almost personifying the brand and maybe you’ll say, hey, Alexa, tell Dom to order me to pepperoni pizzas, that’s now the brand relationship as opposed to Hey, Alexa, order. To pizzas and then Alexa decides who they’re going to order from. So it’s it kind of covers both of those areas like you were saying Marco, but it also really emboldens the brand to be present in the technology in a way that they might not be ready for, they might not be used to. And this goes back to the earlier issue, which is, how do small and medium businesses compete with these large brands? And how do you kind of get your name and your brand involved in this new technology?

Gabi Gomes:

To that point to what Jeremy said earlier, it is moving the brand in the direction of humanization, right, it’s making a brand less and less about a logo and more and more in a boat, a human, whether it be human characteristics of the voice, the the persona, the everything else that goes with it, right, we’re now seeing a bit of a shift where a brand is becoming more of a human and like whether it be the Domino’s Pizza, whether it be through what they stand for, and their position, and they’re giving back to the environment and whatnot. We’re really touching on human qualities of a brand. Whereas if you turned back the clock However, many years ago, it was really about, I would say the look right, but we are really seeing a shift, I think, in the humanization of a brand, whether it be whatever since

Christian Rosenthal | ZYNC:

To answer your question, Brad, I guess what can small and medium businesses do? Right? Because I’m pretty sure they don’t have hundreds of millions of dollars to pay Amazon to be called Dom right. They can start with small things, small things like SEO for their websites, keeping up their websites in terms of SEO optimization. Most of the users do have Google assistants, right?. So updating their Google My Business listings, those kinds of small things can help. Even search campaigns can help them be relevant, Also with voice, right?

Gabi Gomes:

Christian, even looking for longtail keywords, right, exactly. longtail, longtail keywords are often speech, right? If we think about it,

Christian Rosenthal | ZYNC:

Yeah, exactly. Using Google Maps, search ads, those kinds of small things can also help be relevant and be present with the voice searches.

Brad Breininger:

Yeah, it’s interesting, because it’s like the expansion of the brand personality. So when we talk about brand personality all the time, and before, the brand was pretty much judged on how it looks. Now we’re saying the brand is being judged on how it looks, it’s being judged on how it sounds, it’s being judged on how it presents itself to the world. Again, you’re right, Gabi, it’s this personification of what people expect, brands are expected to have ethics. Now they’re expected to have morals, they’re expected to have a whole range of elements that makes them more humanistic. And people want to interact with those kinds of brands and the brands who aren’t willing to enter into these agreements and say, you know, what, we recognize what’s going on here, and we want to be part of it are going to be left by the wayside, just like any other brands in the past that refuse to move with the technology.

Jeremy Linskill:

I think at the end of all that you’ve been, everyone’s still trying to figure it all out. I mean, I think that looking at voice right now, and what’s going on this whole skill thing that and everything that’s going on is that’s what they’re trying, they’re trying to figure out a way to involve the brand and allow the brand to kind of rule themselves as opposed to Amazon and they’re dictating who and what product gets ordered. When somebody says order laundry detergent. I think there’s a lot of unknown still, at this time, I really do. But I think at the same time, it’s still interesting for brands to get into the game and start and start to play. Because there are huge opportunities right now to be first to market in those spaces, I have to go back and do a little bit of research on this. But I don’t know if there’s a cost involved with putting a skill into this, I’m going to call the skill store but into that store other than I think it’s treated the same way that apps are, whereas like you pay probably the app membership or whatever, to be part of the Apple Store. But other than that, it’s on you to how you build that skill and the and put that together. So I don’t know that it’s a huge cost for a brand other than I mean, the amount of functionality and things that you want to involve with your skill. But I still think that even small businesses and things can get in there and start to think about how they can best be a part of that. Because again, it comes down to me in my opinion efficiency. Like if, if you’re a brand and there is an opportunity you look at whatever you offer, and if there’s an opportunity to introduce voice into that to make your service more efficient, then that’s definitely somewhere you can you should be jumping on to for sure.

Brad Breininger:

And Jer, the truth is, is that all of the big organizations, Google, Amazon, Apple all have a voice division. So if you’re a brand and you want to go down this road and find out more you can easily connect. I mean On several projects, I’ve connected in the past with the voice division of Amazon to really explore whether there were opportunities or not to go forward with that. So I think like whatever brand you are, whether you’re a big brand or a medium brand or a small brand, I would say, look up the divisions of these organizations and just have some inquiry and and explore a little bit what is possible for you. Because to your point, it might not be a money issue, it may be a perception issue that if you’re a smaller medium brand, you just might not think that it’s right for you. But turns out when you get to the practical elements of it, yeah, you can participate. So So I would say to my advice to any brand would be to explore that fully, and see where you can land in that area.

Gabi Gomes:

I think the question was asked what can small and medium businesses do? Small and medium businesses are often the most nimble, right, they are not layered in your autocracy and layers of silos and corporations and stuff like that. So they’re actually the most suited to be experimental with any new technology. And to their advantage. You know, if they’re early adopters of clubhouse, or TikTok or anything, they’ve go the best opportunity to rise to the top quickly. So I would en ourage the small to medium bu inesses to experiment to ex eriment with voice to try so ething out to be those first on s on Amazon retailers, or Al xa or whatever, because you ne er know where it will go.

Jeremy Linskill:

Again, it’s a bigger brand. But to me, this wasn’t a high cost thing in terms of for a company, it has commercial Burger King, I don’t know if you guys remember back in, I think it was 2017 when Burger King had that commercial. And in their commercial, they said, Hey, Google, you know what to Whopper. And everybody’s Google assistants went off in their houses that we’re nearby these things. And so that’s to me was just an ingenious thing that they were ahead, it was and jumped on that caused a little chaos and things like that. But I still remember to this day, four years later. So I think there are a lot of opportunities to interject voice in interesting ways, into your promotions into your digital marketing.

Gabi Gomes:

Well, into that point Jer, I will say this, I o ten get frustrated with voice b cause it’s not fully there, r ght? I hate being in the car, t e car never gets my commands, r ght? Whenever I want to make a p one call or do whatever. So a ways opening up something e se, you know, and I think we n ed to keep that in mind that i is early. It’s not that e rly, it continues to evolve. A d with it, hopefully, it’ll c ntinue to perfect itself and g t better and better for sure.

Brad Breininger:

And there’s just so many elements to the whole sound side of things. I mean, you know, we’ve been so focused on visual, we’ve been so focused on how things look, and now how things sound is becoming more and more relevant. I mean, whether it’s a little music kit that people get to know like Rogers is a perfect example of that every time their logo is shown, there’s that little music hit and it creates this memory. And they they actually say that sound and smell are two of the most memorable elements. So I’m not surprised in any way that sound has made such a impact into into the whole branding world. And I think we have to kind of really keep an eye on things and make sure that we’re exploring all elements. When we’re creating our brands or refreshing our brands or evolving our brands, we need to keep the whole sound element into it, whether it’s a simple little hit tied to the logo, whether it’s creating a podcast, whether it is making sure that we’re part of some of the new sound based social media channels, primarily clubhouse, but also looking into voice voice, which is the new frontier of brand and where brands need to be present and understanding what that means for our brands and understanding how we can leverage the efficiency of our brands and the impact of our brands by exploring all of those elements. So that is the sound of branding. It’s no longer just the look. It’s no longer just the field. It’s no longer just the voice meaning the personality of the brand, but it’s the actual voice of the brand, the sound of the brand that we have to make sure that we integrate. So that’s this week’s visioning around Everything is Brand and now everything in brand includes voice but next week we’ll have a new topic and a new direction. So join us then.

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