With all the recent hype around voice enabled AI, there’s been a lot written about the UX of VUI or the business of AI. It got me wondering: Imagine if tomorrow, we stopped using screens (as if!) and our main medium was voice activated AI like Alexa, Siri, or Google home? How does a brand’s story and identity come across with just sound and conversation? What are the possibilities for brands?
Firstly, by ‘story’, I don’t necessarily mean a brand’s history, although sometimes that is important. I’m talking about what makes a brand, their values, their mission, what they stand for and offer, their identity. There are many tools to tell that story and branding is one (colours, logo, type, tone of voice, actions, etc…) but when you’re looking at Voice User Interface (VUI) like in Alexa, branding is stripped back to pretty much 3 things: tone of voice, customer experience and the interaction’s outcome.
When you’re looking at VUI like Alexa, branding is stripped back to pretty much 3 things: tone of voice, the customer experience and the interaction’s outcome.
Tone : Do you trust your AI?
Tone of voice and vocabulary are interesting because it’s the two things we can work with right now. But here is another caution — when using something like Alexa you’re not interacting with a brand directly, but primarily with Alexa, and the line between Alexa and that brand can seem blurry.
Some Brands still struggled with social media, and adjusting to being behind someone else’s product and brand can be challenging.
Just like with social media, not every brand will understand the required shift in the way they communicate with their customers, but those that do have the opportunity to stand out.
When Alexa gives feedback on her interaction with your product, there could be an opportunity here to be inventive with getting your values across
If you trust Alexa, It’s almost like having a mate telling you about how good a brand is or witnessing her using a product and see how good that felt. When Alexa gives feedback on her interaction with your product, there could be an opportunity here to be inventive with getting your values across. For example, if you’re getting a free pastry with your coffee order, Alexa could say:
— “That’s nice, the barista is offering us a free pastry, what would you like with your coffee?”
or she could give some extra information about the product:
— “Your fair-trade coffee served in a sustainable cup will be ready in 15mins for pick-up”
or have some random reactions like:
— “Hmmm the smell of freshly grind coffee, I could do with a coffee too, yours will be ready in 15mins for pickup”
There’s obviously a big danger here! I imagine going too far would be a problem. People are getting used to Alexa’s personality and altering it too much would be a messy and confusing experience. It’s like if one of your good friend suddenly behaved like a butler when he gets in the car or pretend to be Jamie Oliver when helping cooking. Same goes with using regional sayings or changing the level of familiarity the AI has with you.
People are getting used to Alexa’s personality and altering it too much would be a messy and confusing experience.