When Amazon released its now-ubiquitous virtual assistant, Alexa, in 2013, marketers pounced. Here was an opportunity to engage with consumers in their kitchens and bedrooms, during their daily lives, at moments when they may be particularly ready to consider a new service, a new product, or a new way of doing things. (In fact, a 2020 survey suggests that more than 45% of smart speaker users put their Echos and Nests in the bedroom; over 43% have them in the living room; and 41.5% place them in the kitchen.)
Things have changed since 2013. Today, brands are devising cool ways to use Alexa that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. So how can you use this leading voice assistant to interact with your audience? Here are three inspiring ideas from some of the top brands using Alexa today.
The Top 3 Brands Using Alexa to Connect with Consumers
The well-known children’s programming network was an early adopter of Alexa, following its key demographic; kids take to voice user interfaces faster than most. The network loaded Alexa with a series of voice games for young users, including The Spongebob Challenge, The Loud House Challenge, word game Watch Your Words, and trivia puzzler No Way That’s True.
These skills allow kids to interact with their favorite on-screen characters. They deepen the bond between Nickelodeon’s intellectual property and its audience. They also provide the network with valuable qualitative data, going way beyond viewing numbers to better understand consumer preferences.
2. Food Network
One of the developing themes in smart speaker apps is multimodality, the combination of voice user interfaces with screens to create a more immersive experience. Perhaps the best example of this trend is the Food Network Kitchen Alexa skill, which uses the audio and video capabilities of the Amazon Echo Show to accompany Food Network viewers in their own kitchens. The voice-first user interface is ideal for hands-free interaction, valuable when you’re up to your elbows in flour and butter.
Users can verbally order up episodes of Food Network shows or even join on-demand cooking classes taught by the Network’s celebrity chefs. They can say, “Amazon, save recipe,” to preserve instructions for the dish they see on-screen. They can also order ingredients for delivery from Amazon, all without wrecking a keyboard with an errant splash of sauce.
Again, this skill is a great source of qualitative marketing data. Through the skill, Food Network gets to know which chefs the audience prefers, which recipes they’re interacting with, and even what they’d like the company to provide next.
Mercedes-Benz leans deep into the voice experience with its in-car information system, MBUX. But it’s also brought voice interactions to its customers outside the driver’s seat, with a branded Alexa skill called Mercedes me. This skill connects Mercedes owners to their cars from a distance, allowing a combination of status checks and remote instructions.
Users can ask Alexa to lock their doors, start the engine, and even control the air conditioning. They can set destinations in the in-vehicle navigation system and locate their car, plus check fuel levels, maintenance schedules, odometer readings, and more. In addition to the qualitative data this sends the company, it maintains a steady brand connection with Mercedes customers—even when they’re not behind the wheel.
Alexa Skills, Marketing, and Your Text-to-Speech Voice
Alexa skills like Nickelodeon’s Spongebob Challenge tend to rely on voice recordings as output, meaning they’re not fully conversational—and dynamic conversational AI is the future of voice engagement. For increased scalability and flexibility, voice experience designers use text to speech, or TTS, which instantly transforms written language into lifelike dialogue.
To drive brand affinity and to keep a voice skill going and growing through Alexa, you need a unique, expressive TTS voice that will make it easy to create consistent content and better user experiences—all while providing instant brand recognition. Your custom TTS voice is a sort of audio logo, an instant indicator of your brand’s individuality. ReadSpeaker AI can help. With more than 20 years at the forefront of synthetic speech technology, ReadSpeaker AI builds custom voices that can easily integrate with your Alexa skill so your voice experience can stand out, scale, and build an audience you can even monetize.
Talk to us today to discuss a custom TTS voice; then join these brands using Alexa for deeper engagement.