24. Apr 2018

Brands in times of Alexa, Siri & Co.

Like hardly any other topic, voice-based services have recently moved more and more into the focus of marketing. While the focus of brand communication has been expanding moving image content, experts predict a shift to audio content in the future.

Many situations in which we have tried a search engine such as Google or an app, will soon be covered by the digital assistant. Several studies predict that in three to five years, 30% to 50% of all searches will be carried out via language.

This creates uncertainty for marketers.

  • How can brands counter this new trend?
  • What do they have to do to be perceived and found in the Alexa confusion?
  • How can a brand still be recognizable in the context of language assistants if learned visual codes of a corporate design no longer play a role?


Can audio branding offer solutions here?

The increasing popularity of language assistants is significantly changing the way brands are staged: away from the visual and towards the auditory. Companies will therefore have to deal with the following issues in a timely manner:

  1. A clear and consistent brand tonality
    If users actively call up a brand via language assistant, they must find the same tonality in the audio channel, that they are familiar with visually from the corresponding homepage. A sound logo or a striking earcon can take over the function of the visual logo and serve as sender identification.
  2. A brand specific Brand Voice
    The dialogue with language assistants is controlled via speech on both sides – input/output. This means that the brand communicates with its customers via voice. In order to establish an independent, memorable brand personality, it is crucial to find one’s own “brand voice” and to distinguish oneself clearly from the Alexa & Co. voices.
  3. Brand Music and Brand Soundscape
    What is communicated on corporate websites via text modules, films, image and product images can also be conveyed emotionally via audio content with language and atmospheric brand music or brand soundscapes.


Brands that have already developed a sound brand identity, have an advantage. They can fall back on learned sound elements and adapt them for the new communication channels.

In the past, audio branding was already a CI element that could be used to position a brand more clearly and make it easier to recognize it. But the implementation often lacked the final consequence, the need was not great enough. Brand management was rarely set up correctly here. That will change in the future. Perhaps we will soon see corporate sound managers in the companies in addition to those responsible for corporate design?

Alexander Wodrich