Need I say Moores

Brand voice

Amazon and Skyscanner are tipping voice interfaces like Alexa and Siri as the next technology trend, but what does that mean for airline brand identity?

When a technology gets mentioned at multiple industry events, it’s a sign something new may be emerging. Over the last month, I’ve heard voice-interface mentioned twice, along with the same question.

“Voice represents the next major disruptor in computing,” Amazon Web Services Enterprise Solutions architect Paul Armstrong told delegates at FTE Europe in Dublin in June. “When you have a visual logo as your brand, how do you have the same personality in voice interactions?”

Then, a couple of weeks later, I heard similar comments from Skyscanner senior director Hugh Aitken at the ACI Europe and World Congress in Brussels. “We live in a typing world, but our kids are growing up speaking to things,” Aitken said. “Two generations below us are defaulting to voice, rather than typing.”

Aitken said this is a generational shift, which is in its early stages, but he added: “What’s interesting is it’s here to stay.” Like Armstrong, he questioned the implication of this for airline brands.

On the one hand, non-visual branding is not a new thing. Radio has been around for years. However, voice-control isn’t marketing content, with catchy jingles, it’s a practical assistant for getting things done. It’s more like an automated call center, in terms of brand identity, and automated phone lines lack personality.

Then there’s the question of ownership. Is it realistic for airlines to assume that passengers will use their voice skill/service, rather than going to a consolidator like Skyscanner? The danger to airlines is that this silences their brand voice completely.

These are all things to think about as this fledgling technology becomes more commonplace.

“Using voice is transactional at the moment, but it’s all about how you create that personal market place for travellers,” concluded Armstrong.

Victoria Moores victoria.moores@informa.com

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