The third largest communications group in the world and a global leader in marketing, Publicis is a recognized expert in communication and content. Publicis is also the regional champion and a global runner up of the 2019 Alexa Cup, a global pitch competition for agencies and tool providers. Recently, Ali Amarsy, SVP global product lead and Nicolette Amber, associate director of strategy, shared their view on the importance of voice for brands and their Alexa Cup experience. You can watch the full youtube video as well.
The reach and scale of voice excites both Publicis and the brands they work with. “With voice, you really can be anywhere the consumer is. Alexa lets you place a brand in people's living rooms, their TV, or in their cars. That’s a killer moment for us.” says Amarsy. “Voice strategy is key for brands to continue to evolve and build out their ecosystem. The future of voice and brand is very much intertwined with each other”
Voice strategy will be critical to further ensure the brand is deeply integrated into the consumer’s world. “Brands always talk about what their voice is. Now with Alexa, that actually means something. You can literally bring it to life with Alexa and that’s so exiting”, says Amber.
The company emphasizes the importance of content strategy to drive and maintain customer engagement with brands. That’s one of the key strategies they want to adopt for designing Alexa skills as well. With plenty of fresh, engaging content, there’s always something new to learn and to talk about, creating a richer and more engaging brand experience.
“We use different content ‘buckets’—types of content—to draw the audience back day after day, and week after week,” says Amber. “Voice is an ideal fit in these buckets. With brands, a bucket might facilitate imaginative play which is critical in helping build self-confidence in young girls today. It can be discovery or imagination focused, bringing in educational and STEM content to enrich learning. Or we can offer voice content for family engagement.”
When Amazon announced the Alexa Cup competition, Publicis saw it as an opportunity to go beyond the normal day-to-day interactions with their client and engage with something innovative that offers value on multiple levels. A variety of teams from within the Publicis network came together to work with the client and build out the strategy from a client and brand perspective.
Competing with other top agencies from around the world, the Alexa Cup gave Publicis an opportunity to stretch and think beyond their pre-conceived notions of what Alexa could do. “We had a lot of fun working on this project. With the added credibility of Amazon and the Alexa Cup, the client was open to ideas and we had fewer limitations. Voice technology and the Alexa Cup experience really raised the stakes in what we can do for our clients.”, says Amarsy.
When it was time to record the competition demo, they told a child how to initiate their new voice experience and filmed what happened next. Without any coaching, the child knew exactly how to interact with Alexa and went through the entire experience on her own. It was completely natural and engaging and demonstrated the promising future of brands and voice.
“Imagine a 6- to 12-year-old and their developing mind, full of questions,” says Amarsy. “Who better than Alexa answer those questions—and even provide new questions and answers all the time?”
Publicis’ client was delighted by their innovative pitch that has been vetted through the Alexa Cup process with the help of Alexa team. “The Alexa Cup was a great opportunity for Publicis to showcase the value we bring to our clients and our ability to develop and execute voice strategies” says Amarsy. “With the credibility of Amazon and this competition, clients are more open to these innovative ideas”.
Looking forward, the Alexa Cup also prompted Publicis to look at building a business model around helping brands with voice strategy. “We are looking to build a business around voice that we can sell to brands and help them extend their brands’ reach with Alexa” says Amarsy.
Voice strategy will increasing become more important for brands. In the new year, build Alexa skills and give your brand a voice! Watch the full interview video with Publicis to get inspired.