Why brands need a voice strategy?

At the exchange4media-GroupM Voice Marketing Conference, a panel of industry experts discussed how brands should utilize voice assistance technology to deliver helpful customer experiences

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jul 17, 2021 8:38 AM
voice marketing panel

Consumers in India are increasingly adopting voice technology— and brands must keep up or risk losing out to competitors. At the recently held exchange4media-GroupM Voice Marketing Conference, a panel of industry experts discussed how brands should utilize voice assistance technology to deliver helpful customer experiences.

Anusha Shetty, Chairperson and Group CEO, Grey Group, India; Ajay Dang, Executive President, UltraTechCement (Aditya Birla Group); Gaurav Jeet Singh, General Manager Media -South Asia, Unilever; Mohit Beotra, Co-Founder, Air Pollution, Action Group; and Ravi K Sharma, Vice President, Revenue, Gaana; were the panellists. The session was chaired by Ajay Gupte, CEO South Asia, Wavemaker.

Starting the discussion, Gupte mentioned that voice technology has offered a convenient and intuitive mode of interaction to millions of people across the globe. “It has democratized access for those who cannot read or write. Also, the younger generation seems to depend more on voice. To effectively communicate with consumers, brands need to embrace behavioural changes that consumers are going through, and hence, marketers need to study the impact of voice technology on consumer behaviour and should adopt it to make their efforts more effective. Brands across categories like CPG and travel have already started integrating voice assistance in their consumer service to help the consumers," he said.

Taking the discussion ahead, Singh spoke about the practicality of voice application and how it can diversify across brands and businesses. “More than practicality, it's the necessity of voice that is driving our use case. There is a big move where technology has caught up with the need for audio. The audio-video experience is complete in itself. The video makes us think more about the content and creatives. That’s one practical reason to deploy voice at scale. It's hugely practical and now it has become more practical because of technology.”

Speaking about the importance for brands to have voice integration in today’s world, Dang said, “From our perspective, voice is the preferred medium of communicating to each other and technology is only catching up now. So far, the main medium being used is text, but the two preferred mediums are audio-visual.”

“Only two-third of India has direct access to audio-video on television and about 70% of our market, which is individual home builders, comes from ruler India and that's the market which is growing triple the pace of rest of India. Hence, that's the access point to reach them. India is working on vernacular and the technology hasn't caught up as much, but voice helps bridge that gap across with us. Audio and voice stay with the consumer far more, contrary to the belief that the visual memory stays much more with the consumer."

Sharing his experience with Gaana, Sharma spoke about how consumers are engaging with the platform?

"We found two key aspects of consumer behaviour when they are interacting with our app. The first one is that not everyone is very comfortable typing on mobile when they are watching content. They would not be very conversant in spelling names of artists and songs. The second challenge is how do we keep them engaged during their busy moments? How can we empower our users to search for content when they are busy with some work? We saw an opportunity early on for voice to enable a seamless, human-centered experience for all users to discover content by voice search and launched this feature a year and a half ago. One-third of our searches on Gaana are driven through voice search- 30 million searches a month on an average.” 

Adding to the experience of voice usage, Beotra shared how they used voice in the battle against stubble burning. "We work with the Punjab government and our emphasis is on convincing farmers to adopt non-burning methods. Last year, there were several mass media campaigns to bring about an attitude change among farmers. We, through a research, figured out that there's a bunch of farmers who want to adopt non-burning techniques and have several questions but don't know who to go to. So we deployed a solution called Msambad. It's basically a dialling solution where up to 25,000 people can dial into a number on a pre-assigned time and connect to a central call. The idea that we went with was to connect professors from Punjab Agriculture University or experts with farmers so that the farmers had a chance to get clarifications."

He further added, "Last year, our intention was to actually demonstrate to the government that this is a channel worth pursuing. More than 15,000 farmers actually dialled in over four sessions and listened to a professor giving information. This was significant.

“Second, if you look at Msambad, typically brands use it for brand slugs which are short messages or for interaction less than five minutes. But because ours was about disseminating information, we actually went with 30-minute sessions. And the great news is that the data showed that there was very high retention. Over 50% of the listeners continued beyond the first 10 minutes, which is a big break. About 20-25% of the listeners actually listened to the whole thing. As part of an overall strategy, this voice product plays a crucial role because it's probably the most effective way to disseminate information in an interactive form."




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