The State of Voice in the Marketing / Creative / PR Industry

A deep-dive report with case studies

John Campbell

Managing Director & Co founder

Last Updated : 13/08/2020

Page contents

 

Introduction to voice in the Marketing / Creative / PR Industry

As the number of smart speakers have grown in the UK (more than 20% of households) many marketing, creative and PR teams have leveraged smart speakers as a way to promote products and services. We’ve seen some great success in this vertical early on thanks to a number of high profile Alexa Skills and Google Actions (showcase further down this page).

As a result, many brands are looking at ways a voice app can be used as a promotional tool. Often brands are looking for innovative marketing options and voice ticks the innovation box. There is also the added benefit of the digital nature of voice allowing for performance to be tracked in analytics, something that other media (TV, Radio, Print) can often struggle with.

 


 

Key challenges for the Marketing / Creative / PR Industry:

  • The amount of adverts and content that people see on a daily basis is at an all time high, therefore any campaign needs to stand out to gain traction
  • “Simpsons Already did it” problem is that most creative and PR ideas have already been done in the past, so even if you think your idea is new and creative someone has probably already done it.
  • Advertising spend on certain channels has increased making marketing even harder
  • Fraud has become and increasing problem for mobile,  social and influencer channels, resulting in the over hyping of results

 


 

Actions & Skills

Actions (on the Google Assistant) and skills (on Alexa) are voice-enabled apps which extend the built-in functionality of these voice assistants. While optimising your website for voice can provide a one-way snippet of information, actions and skills can allow brands to create two-way conversations with their consumers and can help them to perform tasks and activities.

What makes voice apps great for Marketing / Creative / PR use cases is the conversational nature. Most campaigns are a one-way interaction with the user, with voice apps this can be a two-way conversation with the user conversing the the brand, something that not exactly been possible before for many campaign mediums.

What makes for a great Voice app in the Marketing / Creative / PR Industry

Focus area 1: Rich Audio

Many of the case studies below use rich audio, this is when voice over artists are used along with a soundtrack and sound effects. This combination creates a richer and engaging experience for the user compared to using Alexa’s or Google’s default voices.

Using such rich audio does require more effort, time and cost to the building of your skill. Design needs to be on point as you don’t want to be re-recording audio later, you have to pay for voice-over artists, recording studio time and sound editing. However many of the case studies we’ve seen below there are some efficiencies using audio from the thing being promoted.

 

Focus area 2: Promotion 

Build it and they will come isn’t exactly true for voice apps. Anything you build needs to be promoted and this is one of the benefits of working in the marketing, creative and PR industry is those teams often have access and the know how to create a successful promotional campaign. 

It’s also the case that these types of voice apps will be backed by large companies or be made in combination with actors or celebrities who in turn can help promote the app to drive awareness.

 

Focus area 3: Timing

Timing with any marketing, creativity, or PR idea is important and it’s exactly the same for launching a voice app. Do you launch before your products are available to build interest or launch at the same time?

As all voice apps go through a submission process it’s important that this is all done ahead of that all-important launch day and most importantly, that your app has been tested thoroughly before going live so when the peak of the traffic comes through users are not encountering any problems.

Amazon / Google 1st party

There are some examples of companies working on a first-party level with Alexa to promote a product. So rather than a Skill you open, it’s a feature that works for all Alexa owners.

One example of this is the Ed Sheeran and Alexa duet for the singer’s new album. To open, the user just needed to say “Alexa, sing a duet with Ed Sheeran”.

 


 

Existing Alexa Skills & Google Actions

As mentioned there are numerous examples of Google Actions and Alexa skills in this industry, we’ve picked out a few to highlight.

 

Case Studies

Stranger Things – Google Action

To promote the second season of Netflix’s sci-fi show Stranger Things, a Google Action was created which would feature characters from the show and a side story splitting from the main TV series. 

Due to the cult following of the TV show,  expanding from the main story works effectively giving fans of the show exclusive content to access via the Google Assistant. 

Using the voice over of Dustin, one of the characters from the show, and the same sound effects worked really well for an immersive experience.

 

The Maze – Alexa Skill

Again, a skill to promote a TV show, the Maze from HBO. This skill has a huge amount of content and combinations for a voice adventures game. Using the scriptwriters and the same actors for the show meant the experience was true to the TV show.

As part of the marketing campaign to promote the skill, they also include special Easter egg content, specifically for journalists. This example has some amazing stats…(sorry for the pun).

  • 36 voice actors
  • 11,000 lines of script
  • 60 player generated paths
  • 32 ways to die
  • 2 hours of unique game play
  • 500 million earned media impressions
  • Won 14 awards including the Grand Prix in Radio and Audio at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

Nike Sneakers Trainers Drop – Google Action

This case study brings together above the line TV advertising and voice. To promote the new Nike Adapt BB, a self-tying smart speaker, Nike decided to give away the new trainers via the Google Assistant.

To promote the wake word “Ask Nike”, a Television ad spot ran at the half time of a basketball game. Users were then able to “Ask Nike” to win a pair of trainers whilst also posing questions to Google about the trainers.

  • Shoes sold out in 6 minutes
  • 335,150 clicks
  • 51,555,470 impressions
  • Won three Cannes Lions awards.

 

The Tick Housework Hero

The Tick's Housework Hero

To promote the new Amazon Prime Video TV Series, the team at Amazon Prime Video created a Skill which featured the voice of The Tick, Peter Serafinowicz.

Spider-Man

Spider-Man
To promote the new Spider-Man: Far From Home & Spider-Man: Homecoming movie Sony Pictures Entertainment created a skill which featured behind the scenes interviews, quiz and jokes.

Little Mix AA

Little Mix AAA

To promote the new Little Mix album LM5 this skill had back stage news, interviews and quiz. The skill used recorded audio from the band members.

 

Gruffalo Move

Gruffalo Move

This Alexa Skill from Magic Light Pictures promoted the 2009 Gruffalo film, an interactive voice game used the voice over artists from the film to bring the game to life.

Disney Hits

Disney Hits Challenge

Testing your knowledge of the biggest Disney hits, there have been over 500,000 unique plays, 15% of users asked to hear the Disney Hits Playlist (the product being promoted), 550 reviews with a 4.3 rating and 90% of customers used the Skill again.

Send Me A Sample

Send Me a Sample

Send me a sample allows you to ask Alexa for a sample to be sent to your house. A one time account link adds your address to the Skill. Offline advertising drives awareness of which products are on offer.

Policy Restrictions

Alexa:

None beyond standard content restrictions, e.g. profanity, promotion of illegal goods, etc.

Google:

None beyond standard content restrictions.

Main Takeaways

  • A high quality voice app is required to gain value out of the campaign
  • Voice lends itself really well to promotion of TV, Music and Films
  • You need a strong PR and marketing plan to promote the skill, timing is key as well to ensure maximum exposure
  • An incentive to use is key, such as exclusive content or a prize

 


 

Want to learn more? Get in contact with the Rabbit & Pork team about voice strategy, workshops or building a voice app

 

Get in contact

John Campbell

Managing Director & Co founder

John founded Rabbit & Pork as the fourth agency and Voice Experience arm of TIPi Group. John has developed and launched several Google Actions and Skills, presented at several voice events around the UK, spoken on the VUX podcast and authored multiple whitepapers.
Rabbit & Pork

+44 (0)20 8102 8500

[email protected]

2nd Floor,
33 Foley Street,
London,
W1W 7TL

Rabbit & Pork are part of TIPi Group