In a time of texting and social media scrolling, our human fondness for the spoken word endures, so much so that many now—somewhat ironically—prefer talking to technology rather than typing in it. A report by AdAge states that, in 2017, 28% of Uber users ordered a ride with the help of Google Assistant and other voice-based functions. In addition, AdAge notes that voice-based shopping is predicted to grow into a $40 billion industry within the U.S. and U.K by 2022.
While still nascent, voice-equipped smart technologies have already begun impacting consumer habits. Customer searches via voice produce a keyword combination that is 70% different than a similar search using text. Brand names in particular are included 60% less in voice searches, according to AdAge. When a brand name isn’t stated, Google displays a product list algorithmically. Therefore companies that aren’t 100% comfortable placing their visibility in the hands of complicated equations need to get people talking; they need to establish their brand as a fixture not just in the minds of consumers, but in their daily conversations.
Brands that succeed in becoming a conversation piece are recalled 30% faster than similar brands, according to a Mediacom survey. The survey analyzed 444 million brand-related exchanges, and found that brands which dominate the conversation are recalled even more quickly. Spotify, for example, boasted a 57% higher recall rate than competitors, while Uber managed a 43% rate. The study also revealed that topical brands become a cultural staple, with the most iconic—such as Uber—even earning “verb” status: “We should Uber to the bar,” for example, or “Google it.”
Passing into the cultural lexicon requires a fair amount of visibility, AdAge states; brands must be seen before they are heard of. Their study analyzed results of companies who achieve visibility through various means, such as Nike’s recent venture into activism. While brands should carefully consider how they do so, earning cultural capital undeniably grants a business advantage. According to AdAge, culturally relevant brands are 174% more likely to break into everyday conversation than their less discussed rivals.
Alternatively, brands aiming to be talked about can provide a product that is essential, or non-duplicable. Facebook and Google are prime examples; both provide a service so uniquely useful that it alters daily experience. While brands don’t have to become the world’s largest search engine to build buzz, convincing customers that a product is necessary in creating some form of novel experience makes it 27% more likely to come up in conversation, according to AdAge.