The New Role of Voice in Brand Storytelling

The New Role of Voice
in Brand Storytelling

MICHELE J MARTIN

Historically when the term voice has been used in business, we have talked about the overall tone and thread of messages across channels. Voice wasn’t literal, it was figurative. The voice-first explosion has changed that.

Until now, it was enough for a brand to consider their words and how they would be perceived and whether they seemed to complement and reflect who the company is. While storytelling is a buzzword that is often overused, when done well, it is a way of taking your audience on a journey with your brand. Each piece of copy and content was a paragraph or a chapter - coming together to make up the larger narrative of the brand story. Over time, with thanks to the advances in different converging technologies, storytelling left the page and went to video, went to music, and now… it has come to voice.

Voice AI is the application of state-of-the-art machine learning to speech blending algorithms to transform human voice recordings into the digital voices brands need today. VocaliD's digital, or ‘synthetic’ voices, have their roots in traditional text-to-speech, but Voice AI isn't yesterday's text-to-speech. Today's voices are expressive and diverse. No longer the robotic speech we’d come to associate with a synthesized voice.

The cutting-edge quality of today’s synthesized digital voices allows brands to extend their reach and be present and voice-consistent in every customer audio touch point... seamlessly.

"Voice AI is not a replacement of voice talent, in fact, it is a way to empower brands and talent to augment their current capabilities in order to meet the changing demands of the voice-first revolution and provide consumers with better Voice Experiences (VX)."

Graphic of sound wave which takes on the shape of a heart before turning back into a regular sound wave patterns

No matter where your brand is, you want your customer to associate positively with each touch point, whether that is written, visual, or auditory. If the digital voice you are using across voice-first devices, in your automated call centers, or in your marketing campaigns doesn’t denote unity, if it creates cognitive dissonance in your audience, you risk losing the attention of your consumer at a vital time in their customer journey.

Many brands today have their spokesperson - Flo, Mayhem, “Do you hear me now?”, and even Poo-Pouri… these brands have all incorporated very specific talent personas for their brands. Voice AI is not a replacement of this talent, in fact, it is a way to empower brands and talent to augment their current capabilities in order to meet the changing demands of the voice-first revolution and provide consumers with better Voice Experiences (VX).

The Possibilities of Voice AI

Imagine having Mayhem deliver real-time dynamic messaging to Allstate customers? Predicting every short script that the actor portraying Mayhem would need to record would be challenging and the delays in recording and delivery of the files would eliminate the ability to make on-the-fly changes. With licensing and royalty agreements in place, brands could now ensure that their spokesperson was available both in human and digital form, ensuring full omni-channel residency and voice consistency.

These technological advances and new products and applications have created both challenges and amazing opportunities for brands today. New roles are being created - Voice Experience Designers and Voice Strategists are two that we’ve seen emerge in the last year. More and more CMOs and other executives are talking about the need for their brand to develop an extensive Voice Strategy. The brands that choose to take control now and design their Vocal Personas to complement their overall story will rise above, their message amplified above the noise as others quickly get in line to join the voice-first movement.

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Voice AI and an Introduction to VocaliD

Advances in voice synthesis technology have spurred the explosive growth of voice interfaces in our everyday lives. This growth has everyone curious about the future of Voice AI. On December 16, 2018, our founder Rupal Patel sat down with Jeffrey Davis, founder, and host, of the Radio Entrepreneurs Podcast for a short podcast about the history of VocaliD and the future of voice. Have a look at the promotional video for Rupal’s appearance below:

Potential of Voice Technology

As a speech scientist turned entrepreneur, Rupal discusses VocaliD’s social good mission, voice moonshot, and the future of voice technology. While we can’t be certain where Voice will ultimately take us, the potential benefits of voice technology are boundless.

Click below to listen to Rupal Patel’s appearance on Radio Entrepreneurs:

About Radio Entrepreneurs: 

Hosted by Jeffrey Davis, Radio Entrepreneur is a daily podcast focused on entrepreneurs. The conversation is their story: the story of who they are and how they became an entrepreneur. 

VOICE AI MOONSHOT

The Ethics & Opportunities of Voice AI

VOICE AI MOONSHOT

VOCALiD

In the past few decades, we have seen an explosion of voice interfaces. There are 500M speaking devices today and by 2021 they outnumber us. We are using voice to access financial accounts, health records, and other personal information. All of this is exists today because of a wild idea, a moonshot. Voice is changing, evolving, exploding and the opportunities and risks are limitless. Before we share our founder Rupal Patel’s vision for the Voice AI Moonshot, let’s have a look at the future of Voice AI.

Despite the sheer number of voice interfaces we have access to today, we are still treating voice as functional modality today → a way to transmit information. Even today’s spherical hardware devices that we refer to as conversational agents are merely for timely and topical information exchange. One monolithic voice – a butler of facts. How can we move past this and harness the true power of Voice AI?

"Our Voice AI Moonshot is a world where voice benefits all, not just some."

Graphic showing a line of color penetrating a sound wave to demonstrate attacks on voice systems

The future of voice AI lies in tapping into the intrinsic, human characteristics of voice as a social connector.

There is an evolutionary reason that we each have a unique voice. Our voice defines us – our age, size, cultural background, habits, sexual orientation, socioeconomic level and more. Specifically, voice is biometric data that can be used to predict and monitor physical and mental health, while also offering a window into cognition and learning readiness. This is the untapped power of voice.

The future of voice AI is about connection. To create contextually adapting voices that can calm or inspire with the flip of a bit.

The future of voice AI is about TRUST. To create relatable, compassionate voices that can engage a toddler and the aging lonely. It is important to note that these voices would not substitute for human contact, they would be an augmentation.

The future of voice AI is not one voice for all. It will be a multitude of vocal persona that capture the full range of human expression. Brands will design vocal persona that speak to their diverse audience, not just a few users. As individuals, will each have our own vocal avatars.

As we harness and emulate this awesome and powerful human trait, we must anticipate the unintended consequences. We must proactively identify and protect against the potential for nefarious use. Voice is identity that cannot be swapped like passwords PINs, it must be secured from the start.

The Voice AI Moonshot

For this reason, as technologists, it is important that we take seriously our role in the creations of new technologies. While our technology provides great social benefit, In every new advance in our technology we are proactively creating measures to ensure that it can not be misused. We are committed to being active in the shaping and realization of the Voice AI future and the Voice AI Moonshot.

To our founder, Rupal Patel, the Voice AI Moonshot is a universe of voices that are convincing without being deceptive. The Voice AI future she envisions is one in which voices connect us rather than divide us, and where these voices will celebrate our diverse yet common humanity. Finally, our Voice AI Moonshot is a world where voice benefits all, not just some.

To learn more about Rupal Patel and VocaliD, please read our company page.

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Voice Experience (VX) and the Voice-First Horizon

Voice Experience (VX)
and the Voice-First Horizon

MICHELE J MARTIN

Voice is our passion.

Founded by acclaimed speech scientist Rupal Patel, VocaliD's team of speech scientists, technologists, and entrepreneurs set out to create a new universe of voices. Voices that felt alive and showcased the identity of the speaker, rather than a random robotic string of words that lacked in personality. Believing that everyone deserved a voice as unique as them, this work profoundly impacted us all and showed us first hand how important the voice experience (VX) is to an individual. Voice experiences didn’t just impact the user experience (UX), it had the power to change lives.

In early 2018, we realized that voice is more complex and layered today than when we first began our mission. With the explosion of voice-first devices and interfaces, voice has become a robust new touch point for businesses to reach their consumers. It has also become a vulnerability requiring a proactive approach to safeguard it against threats. As leaders in the voice synthesis space, we saw opportunities to continue to innovate and impact with our technology by expanding outside the consumer market we first launched in. Now in 2019, we are bringing voice to brands, institutions, and organizations seeking out cutting-edge voice technology as a way to provide better products, services, and experiences for their customers.

"Certainly, voice technology is still fairly young and a lot of questions remain, however, what is becoming quite clear is that voice experience (VX) is the new strategy for marketing and c-suite to embrace.​"

At VocaliD, we foresee voice as a key in the unfolding battle to master and deliver great customer experiences. In a world populated with chatbots, smartphones, voice authentication systems, and smart devices, Voice is everywhere. Voice is impacting UX and making, or breaking, customer experiences.

In order to be heard above the noise in this new arena, brands and organizations will need to become thoughtful in the VX of their customers. It is evolving and becoming a pathway for business development and sales, marketing, research, and operations. Voice is quickly becoming the omni-channel tool businesses must build into their CX strategies. Certainly, voice technology is still fairly young and a lot of questions remain, however, what is becoming quite clear is that VX is the new strategy for marketing and c-suite to embrace.

Voice Matters

Voice is more than a way to express words. Until recently, voice technology has used digital voice merely as an output modality. A means to an end. Consequently, businesses have underestimated the power of the voice experience. Voice is a social connection that brings people together; it empowers stories and bridges the gaps between businesses and consumers in order to enhance all of our lives.

Voice has power, particularly when it is unique and personal. People are diverse, shouldn’t the voice we use to connect with them be as well? Today, custom voice can create a new and vibrant world of opportunities for businesses and individuals. Tomorrow? We haven’t begun to get a glimpse over that horizon yet to fully appreciate the impact voice-first technologies will have. Certainly, what we have heard, we are excited for!

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