It’s only been a few short years since Alexa, Siri, and Google Now were introduced to the world, but in that time, voice has grown to become one of the biggest opportunities in digital marketing.
Twenty percent of mobile searches now are voice-initiated, with voice technology users most likely to ask about business addresses, directions, and hours, followed by whether stores carry specific items. Whereas other technologies have already reached their zenith, voice search is still in its early days. Brands that have an interest in being on the cutting edge of digital marketing have already started getting creative with how they take advantage of voice, hoping that putting a stake in the space early will cement their reputation as innovators.
Let’s look at how five of these brands are taking advantage of voice search, and what other industry players could be learning from their approaches.
Alexa skills have been a popular point of entry for brands looking to get into voice, as tens of thousands of developers build skills using Amazon’s collection of self-service APIs, tools, and documentation. The pet brand Purina, a subsidiary of Nestlé, became a leader in the space when it launched Ask Purina, an Alexa skill that people can use to find dog breed information. For example, a user can ask, “Tell me about dogs that are hypoallergenic” to hear a list of dogs that fit the bill. By getting involved in people’s lives at the point when they’re deciding which type of dog to adopt, Purina is solidifying itself as the de facto provider of pet food and supplies before families have had an opportunity to consider any other brands.
2. Esteé Lauder
Traditional Google searches lead to thousands of answers to a single basic question. With voice search, consumers usually get just one answer. When it comes to beauty, Esteé Lauder wants to make sure its voice is the one being heard. The global makeup and skincare company partnered with Google Home to create a voice-activated skincare expert name “Liv,” who answers people’s questions about all things beauty related. People can ask Liv about the best skincare routines and what products should be a part of their pre-bedtime rituals. Rather than being inundated with thousands of results, as would be the case with traditional web searches, Liv gives consumers just one answer, and often recommends Esteé Lauder products in her replies.
A major player in the voice space, Domino’s first launched its skill on Amazon Echo back in 2017. With that skill, users with Echo and Dot devices can interact with the pizza company’s “personality,” a character named Dom, who responds to queries in fun ways. They can also place orders via voice, as long as they first set up an Easy Order profile in the Domino’s app. More recently, Domino’s has invested in its own voice recognition technology to take telephone orders coming into its brick-and-mortar locations.
A longtime player in the voice search space, Diageo launched its first skill for the Echo Show two years ago. “The Bar” skill allows consumers to master certain mixology techniques and shop for ingredients through their voice-controlled devices. The company went on to launch another skill, the “Talisker Tasting Experience” to educate consumers about the history of whisky. But in its most recent bid for voice search innovation, Diageo worked with M&C Saatchi Shop on a campaign that ships a free bottle of Bailey’s Almande to UK users who link their Amazon or Google accounts and verify their shipping addresses.
5. Burger King
Because innovation is the name of the game here, Burger King has to be included on this list. The company made headlines when it launched a 15-second television spot that included the phrase, “OK, Google, what is the Whopper burger?” Unable to differentiate between consumer voice and the television audio, Google Home devices started telling listeners about Burger King’s Whopper burger. While clearly a stunt, Burger King’s strategy worked and the campaign went viral, as the company found a completely new way to capitalize on voice search technology.
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.