Agencies and consultants increasingly recommend setting up marketing projects on Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant & Co. Such activities and the effort for them (in the form of money and working time) only make sense if they also contribute to the success of the brand and company. Whether this is even possible and how exactly to proceed is shown in this article based on scientific findings, and practical recommendations for language assistant marketing are given. Those responsible for well-known branded products will find inspiration here as well as e-commerce retailers who (should) see themselves as retailer brands.
The thousandth quiz on collective knowledge and the next language application that can tell jokes are certainly not sensible marketing approaches for language assistants. But what is the right path for brands and companies that see themselves as such? To answer that, it is first essential to know how brands succeed in the first place. If you know this, you can easily deduce from it how Alexa and the Google Assistant can also be used successfully for this goal.
Factors influencing brand success
So what is “a brand’s success”? First of all, it is very plausible that success is reflected in the number of purchases – be it the number of branded products purchased or, in the case of retail brands, the total number of purchases made. This number of investments can now be increased in three ways: by gaining as many first-time buyers as possible, making as high a proportion of them as likely repeat buyers of the brand and finally increasing their purchase frequency.
Fortunately, scientific research on brands has done a lot of research on how brand success and regular brand purchases are made. The brand image, brand sympathy and brand awareness have emerged as central factors. Figure 1 shows a rough summary of the mechanisms of action. First purchases result in particular from a high level of brand awareness (but also through brand sympathy). In contrast, repeat purchases resulting from brand loyalty, which in turn is influenced by brand sympathy and a positive brand image.
If you want to make a product, dealer or corporate brands successful, you need to strengthen brand sympathy, build a suitable brand image and increase brand awareness. And voice assistant marketing can contribute to all three of these success factors. How this works in practice will be shown later in this article.
Daily customer contact is becoming the norm.
How often does a customer usually say your brand name (product or retailer name)? Probably rarely or not at all on many days. People don’t say “Milka”, “Persil”, “Bosch”, “Aldi” or “Zalando” all day long. At best, brands like Tempo (paper tissues) or Google have made it into the everyday life of consumers. But that is precisely what good voice assistant marketing can achieve: that customers often (perhaps even several times a day) pronounce their brand names. What’s more, there is also a dialogue with the brand that can ultimately lead to a more stable relationship.
This is achieved on voice assistants with voice apps (which are referred to as skills on Amazon and actions on Google). Like smartphone apps on cell phones, they allow companies to integrate their functionalities in voice assistants. These voice apps are used on Amazon with the phrase “Alexa, ask (app name) …” or on the Google Assistant with “O. k. Google, talk to (app name).
If the brand name is now used for a voice app call, it is referred to as a brand voice app or a brand voice app. The brand name is pronounced aloud by the customer in every dialogue, and there is contact between the customer and the brand every time the Brand Voice app is used.
The first major retail brands are already present: For example, an “Alexa, ask Aldi (Real, Thalia, …)” is just as possible as an “O. k. Google, talk to Otto (Rewe, Kaufland, MediaMarkt … “. The first product brands can also be found (e.g.”, Alexa, ask Ariel / Persil / …”), albeit much less often.
Voice app use creates sympathy.
The sympathy research now shows the great importance of such regular brand contacts: A high frequency of contact alone creates sympathy (which, as stated above, is a critical success factor for brands and companies).
The aim in marketing must, therefore, be to motivate voice assistant users to use their brand voice app frequently. Ideally, a branded voice app is so attractive that it becomes a natural part of customers’ everyday lives. However, this cannot be achieved with a private company and product-related advertising dialogue content. Instead, dialogue content must be offered in the sense of voice content marketing, which is helpful, informative and entertaining and motivates regular use.
How could that look in practice? A supplier of gardening supplies (be it a manufacturer of gardening tools, a dealer of garden plants or the like) is to serve as an example; Customers would use this voice app with “Alexa, ask Dehnhorn …” or “O. k. Google, talk to Dehnhorn … “addressed. It would not only offer information about the products on offer but also voice content marketing content in particular: You can ask them when the best time to plant roses is, whether chrysanthemums need sunny or shady locations, how often a palm tree is watered in the tub and how often houseplants need to be repotted. In short: The Voice App literally turns the voice assistant into a gardening assistant that provides information in this common area, helps and supports explicitly. Similarly, the voice app of a home accessories provider could offer tips on everything to do with beautiful and pleasant living, or a B2B provider could help its customers with a voice assistant in their everyday work.
Suppose a brand voice app manages to be consulted again and again with voice content marketing and customer services in this way. In that case, this leads to brand sympathy, which increases brand loyalty among brand buyers and thus ultimately leads to repeat purchases or an increase in purchase frequency – both stationary and online.
Similarity through correct choice of words
However, the frequency of contact is not the only factor that leads to sympathy. The similarity of the communication partners also plays an important role. Voice assistants and voice apps are not visually similar to humans. Linguistic similarity can also promote sympathy (think of how quickly people with the same regional dialect come together on vacation). Developers of branded voice apps must, therefore, deal with a tonality that suits the target group. Whether a fitness voice app recommends “turning the bike up a gear” or “riding a bike a little faster” makes it appear more or less likeable depending on the target group, although it says the same in both cases.
Increase brand awareness through voice apps
However, the frequency of contact not only leads to the development of sympathy described above: it also triggers psychological learning processes. Frequent mention of the brand name (every time the brand voice app is addressed) anchors the name more deeply in mind and makes the brand more present to the consumer.
A distinction must be made between “aided awareness” and “unsupported awareness”. The former would be the case if a consumer answered “Yes” to the question “Do you know the Dehnhorn garden center?” (I.e. mentioning the brand name in the subject). On the other hand, there is unsupported awareness if the item does not contain the brand name, e.g. B .: “Which suppliers of garden supplies do you know?”
It is precisely this unsupported awareness that is significantly strengthened among consumers who regularly use a brand voice app. The entry in the memory intensifies, and the brand name continually remains up-to-date and present. So if the need for garden products arises at some point, such a consumer will quickly think of the retailer or manufacturer’s brand that he or she regularly addresses as a voice app.
Consumers sometimes skip the information phase of the purchase process and initially only take a single product or only one Provider into the Choice Set. Competitors, therefore, have fewer chances, since voice assistant marketing creates a counterpole to Google search, to price comparison portals and binds customers even before such searches.
From the voice app to new customers
So far, it has always been implicitly assumed that consumers already know a brand before they become users of the Brand Voice app. The brand then strengthened its sympathy and awareness. But what about potential customers who don’t even know the brand in question (who don’t also have aided awareness)? In this case, customers have to become aware of the brand voice app in another way and thus find their way to the brand. Strategically, this is again achieved in particular by the content of voice content marketing.
Voice assistant users do not become aware of such content-driven voice apps because of the provider name, but rather because of the strongly customer-oriented services offered by the voice app. For example, a user could search for voice apps for vocabulary training in the skill store. At the same time, magazines or weblogs tell other consumers about voice apps that support amateur photographers or (as in the example above) assist hobby gardeners. In a variety of ways, customers come across brand voice apps from brands and providers that they were previously unfamiliar with – simply because of the helpful, informative or entertaining voice app functions. In the first step, the brand does not become known to the customer because of the actual products, but through assistance in everyday life.
Voice app content creates a brand image.
The image of a brand is just as crucial for differentiation from the competition (brand uniqueness) as it is the basis for human action (i.e. in the end of the purchase). From a psychological point of view, this brand image can be understood as the totality of all beliefs and attitudes regarding a brand. Associations often shape such images and attitudesions (e.g. Marlboro -> Cowboy -> Adventure, freedom).
Does voice assistant marketing influence whether a brand or a retailer is perceived as sporty, outdated, ostentatious, young, high-quality, reliable, annoying, competent, sustainable, etc.? Can voice apps influence whether customers perceive the brand as “suitable for families”, as an “innovative provider” or as a “specialist”?
Brand voice apps provide valuable services to voice assistants at this point. Because through the (correct) dialogues, diverse attitudes and associations with the brand arise. A voice app that can not only answer superficial questions, but (in the example of the gardening provider) also offers helpful and high-quality answers for rare plant species, is quickly perceived as “competent in gardening questions”. While this branded voice app with information on 1000 plants is recognized as an expert, another, quickly made voice app with answers to only 50 plants will immediately evoke the opposite conviction, as it often has to say: “I can’t help you help”, or: “I don’t know this plant.” Another voice app could behave in the same way as “very familiar” (e.g. the voice app of a provider for baby and children’s needs), it could prove to be a “connoisseur of the beautiful and pleasant” (e.g. suitable for providers of home accessories as well as pleasure products) or it could convey “pure joy of life” ( e.g. wellness or fitness providers). The content and nature of the dialogues will evoke these impressions, e.g. B. through technical language / specialist knowledge vs. entertaining content, e.g. B. Detailed instruction vs. Small talk,) as well as through choice of words, sentence structure, tonality etc. through technical language / specialist knowledge vs. entertaining content, e.g. B. Detailed knowledge vs. Small talk,) as well as through choice of words, sentence structure, tonality etc. through technical language / specialist knowledge vs. entertaining content, e.g. B. Detailed knowledge vs. Small talk,) as well as through choice of words, sentence structure, tonality etc.
The critical point of all such considerations: The beliefs generated by brand voice apps are transferred directly to the brand from the consumer. This is particularly the case because voice apps are often perceived as a personification of the respective brands through human dialogues. For example, the influence of a voice app on the brand image with very regular use can even be of great importance for the brand image among consumers (which is like right in the positive as it is, unfortunately, in the negative for poorly designed brand voice apps).
The bottom line: good voice content
In summary, it can be said: A voice app can contribute a great deal to the success of both product brands and retailer brands. The prerequisite, however, is that the users are motivated to use the brand voice app as regularly as possible and, on the other hand, a positive experience can be created during use that fits the desired brand image. The decisive factor here is well-thought-out dialogue content in the sense of voice content marketing, which supports customers and potential customers in a selected area of everyday life. Brand voice apps must, therefore, be designed with a healthy customer perspective and be helpful, supportive, informative and entertaining – a personal (voice) assistant in the most real sense of the word.