The acoustic appearance of brands is becoming increasingly relevant against the background of the development of Amazon and Alexa and a generally increasingly voice-controlled world. So far, only a few brands have considered the usability of language assistants.
Own brand XY instead of branded articles?
With Alexa, Amazon's influence on our lives is growing. According to a representative survey by NIM (formerly GfK Verein) from 2019, 87 percent of users say: "My life has become more comfortable with Alexa." 77 percent can also imagine having Alexa organize their purchases on a regular basis in the near future. So far, so good. However, if you order via Alexa, you cannot announce the many different brand offers, but often simply buy according to the category: "Alexa, order toothpaste." This in turn takes advantage of Amazon and then supplies, instead of, for example, Colgate or blend-a-med toothpaste, it's their own brand Amazon Basic.
This has long since not only happened in isolated product categories, Amazon is also preparing a comprehensive attack on the branded products. According to TJI Research, an independent service dedicated to capturing Amazon's own brands, the e-commerce giant now has 146 of their own brands and 640 brands from other providers exclusively on offer in November 2019. And counting. And now? How can other brands survive in the future?
What can consumers do?
Imagine that you are in your car and have time to do some shopping by voice. Would you say: "Alexa, buy blend-a-med Complete Protect Expert deep cleaning toothpaste"? Honestly, who can remember that? The acoustic order should work much more intuitively, for example: "Buy: toothpaste, blend-a-med, test winner." Because you may still be aware that this dental care took first place at Stiftung Warentest.
Or there is a kind of sales talk in which one approaches the exact properties of the product. What might work for a neutral language assistance system, but may be somewhat more difficult with Alexa:
Consumer: "Alexa, buy blend-a-med toothpaste." And hopes that a question will follow regarding the more precise specification of the product. Instead:
Alexa: "I don't know this brand."
Consumer clearly repeats: "blend-a-med."
Alexa insisted: "I don't know this brand, but I have toothpaste from the Amazon Basic own brand on offer."
Did you know that? – In the next step, you find yourself discussing with a machine without realizing that there can be no discussion at all. You only have the choice to buy the toothpaste that Alexa suggests, or to stop at the nearest drug store and hope that you can get the toothpaste you want there.
What can brands do?
One way of making brands non-interchangeable would be a kind of acoustic code for individual products, which can either be saved on the packaging in the smartphone using a QR code or automatically stored when the product is purchased. (For example, all products purchased with Apple Pay are stored in a virtual shopping list archive.) If you then place the order: "Buy toothpaste", the acoustic signal for the preferred product is automatically transmitted and thus the exact product information.
Another option would be an acoustic QR code that can be sent out by brands and triggers a direct purchase link. This can work on a radio frequency level without being noticed by the human ear or on a perceptible level.
What is certain is that the acoustic appearance of brands and products will play a greater role in an increasingly auditory communication world than has been the case previously. And this has a digitally function