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The Critical Role of Voice Personas in Actions and Skills

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Voice search is a hot topic right now, but building an Alexa Skill or an Actions on Google App is not enough. You have to build a compelling persona that reflects your brand values, and that connects with your target audience. This deck was presented by Duane Forrester and I at SMX Advanced in June of 2018.

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The Critical Role of Voice Personas in Actions and Skills

  1. 1. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester You. In Control. Everywhere. Digital Marketing Excellence
  2. 2. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Your Presenters Duane Forrester VP, Industry Insights | Yext Eric Enge CEO | Stone Temple
  3. 3. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester The Reality Today
  4. 4. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester The current voice search landscape o There is no paid option in voice today o No one really has a lead as it’s so new o Not much sexy here other than the interface – the work is already known o The age of shortcuts ended several years ago o Building for voice search and building Actions and Skills are very different activities o Branding now must include a persona for your business o Success comes from a combined investment across areas
  5. 5. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester The current voice search landscape
  6. 6. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Voice is the next generation of interface
  7. 7. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester By 2020, 50% of searches will be voice search
  8. 8. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Google Assistant: Support across 18 categories Can now book appointments FOR you
  9. 9. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Amazon Alexa Supports 22 categories Has integrations with auto manufacturers like Ford Partners with Lennar to build Alexa-controlled smart-homes
  10. 10. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Here’s how a Skill/Action works “Alexa, where is the nearest taco?” Ask Connect Recognize Fact Skill Answer > 2 seconds
  11. 11. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Public stigma with using voice declining fast
  12. 12. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester One Assistant, Available Everywhere
  13. 13. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester One Assistant, Every Need
  14. 14. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester What Makes Speech So Special?
  15. 15. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Voice is Inherently Social Research performed at Harvard suggests that: “Language evolved primarily to exchange social information rather than information about the environment.”
  16. 16. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Babies Can Recognize their Mother’s Voice Even when they are still in the womb Research performed by Joseph F Kess at the University of Victoria …
  17. 17. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester “As a Result of Human Evolution, Humans Are Automatic Experts at Extracting the Social Aspects of Speech” Nass and Gong Stanford University
  18. 18. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester
  19. 19. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester
  20. 20. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Basic Dilemma Posted in the Study John’s Bedroom Amy’s Bedroom
  21. 21. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Basic Dilemma Posed in the Study John’s Bedroom Amy’s Bedroom Amy’s Parents think Amy is living with another woman.
  22. 22. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Basic Dilemma Posted in the Study Amy’s Parents are coming to visit
  23. 23. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Basic Dilemma Posted in the Study Amy’s Parents are coming to visit Should Amy ask John to move out?
  24. 24. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Leverage Machines with “Gender Voices” Uses a MaleVoice Uses a FemaleVoice Argues John should move out Argues John should stay Argues John should move out Argues John should stay
  25. 25. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Male Arguing Stay Male Arguing Move Female Arguing Stay Female Arguing Move
  26. 26. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Same Splits for Women Male Arguing Stay Male Arguing Move Female Arguing Stay Female Arguing Move
  27. 27. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester The Research Showed That People Identified More With Machine Voices of Their Own Gender
  28. 28. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester The Role of Social Identification “Social Identification leads to greater trust, liking, perceived intelligence, and other positive judgments.”
  29. 29. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Can Computers Have Personality?
  30. 30. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Introverted Participants Extroverted Participants Survey Said: DependantVariables IntrovertedVoice ExtrovertedVoice IntrovertedVoice ExtrovertedVoice Voice extrovertedness 3.41 (1.02) 4.43 (1.73) 3.28 (.81) 5.30 (1.53) Liking of the voice 2.82 (1.26) 2.21 (.92) 1.69 (.96) 3.08 (1.32) Quality of the review 5.44 (0.96) 4.96 (1.31) 4.06 (1.35) 4.79 (1.66) Credibility of the review 6.43 (1.46) 5.06 (2.55) 4.18 (1.60) 5.46 (1.18) Buying intention 3.68 (0.98) 3.10 (1.24) 2.93 (1.08) 3.59 (1.17) liking of the reviewer 5.06 (2.07) 4.74 (2.37) 2.89 (1.27) 5.24 (1.88) Credibility of the reviewer 4.98 (0.55) 4.52 (0.89) 4.40 (0.70) 5.02 (0.57) Reviewer extrovertedness 4.68 (1.39) 5.56 (1.37) 4.22 (1.66) 5.77 (1.42)
  31. 31. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Pitch/Pitch Range Women: 100 to 525 Hz Men: 65 to 260 Hz
  32. 32. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Speech Rate
  33. 33. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Affiliation Control Distant Friendly ExtrovertCritic Submissive Dominant SidekickIntrovert
  34. 34. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Affiliation Control Distant Friendly ExtrovertCritic Submissive Dominant Highpitch,Widepitchrange, Rapidspeech Low pitch, Limited pitch range, LoudnessLowpitch,Narrowpitchrange, Slowspeech High pitch, Wide pitch range, Soft, QuietVoice SidekickIntrovert
  35. 35. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Affiliation Control Distant Friendly ExtrovertCritic Submissive Dominant Highpitch,Widepitchrange, Rapidspeech Low pitch, Limited pitch range, LoudnessLowpitch,Narrowpitchrange, Slowspeech High pitch, Wide pitch range, Soft, QuietVoice SidekickIntrovert
  36. 36. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Understanding how we learn helps determine HOW “AI” LEARNS
  37. 37. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Quick Answers vs. Thoughtful Dialogue Thinking Fast Habitual (Croc Brain) Highly Structured Facts for Instant Processing Quick response, digestion, and reaction Answers, almost instinctually delivered
  38. 38. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Quick Answers vs. Thoughtful Dialogue Thinking Fast Habitual (Croc Brain) Highly Structured Facts for Instant Processing Quick response, digestion, and reaction Answers, almost instinctually delivered Thinking Slow Non-habitual (Neo-cortex) Unstructured Data Slow processing, significant thought Slow response, additional questions Thoughtful dialogue, meaningful exchange
  39. 39. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester For example: What do you see? Ellen Langer, Mindfulness
  40. 40. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester By adding the slightest definition, the pattern becomes confident Hello, Structure!
  41. 41. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester The Five Tribes of Machine Learning Businesses are embracing machine learning because they have no choice. The Symbolists The Connectionists The Evolutionaries The Bayesians The Analogizers linguistics & analytic philosophy neural network & brain science probabilistic inference & statistics evolving structures & biology mapping situations & psychology ALL NEED ACCURATE DATA AND KNOWLEDGE TO LEARN
  42. 42. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester ”“ ”“ What is a Persona? The aspect of someone’s character that is Presented to or perceived by others. Her public persona.
  43. 43. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester We all Know Flo But How Big A Deal Is She?
  44. 44. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester In 2011: • Named #1 brand icon by EW.com • A Flo Halloween costume became the #1 selling costume on Amazon.com.
  45. 45. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Flo’s Profile Quirky Human Loveable Everpresent Easy to IdentifyWith
  46. 46. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Personas One of the most critical areas of investment in Voice But what IS a persona? Its the aspect of someone's character that's seen by others 3 types of Personas today: Customer personas AI persona Business personas “Alexa, Google, Microsoft and Apple have invested a lot in building unique personas for their digital assistants for a reason.”
  47. 47. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Steps in Designing Your Brand Persona 1 - Understand the Brand • Who have you been over the last decade?These actions help define your persona. • Interview stakeholders (Marketing, brand, customer experience teams) • Review your style guide & brand book, your traditional ad material - print,TV, etc. • Use the product yourself to understand the experience of using it and visit your contact center and speak to people talking to customers • Watch social media to see what surfaces in relation to your brand/product/service • Visit the retail locations selling your product
  48. 48. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Steps in Designing Your Brand Persona 2 - Understand the Customer • Review the entire customer journey and understand context along the way • Detail the customer demographics - attempt to understand who they are • Map the frequency of their engagements with you • If frequent - keep voice prompts short • If infrequent - include deeper/longer prompts • Define/understand customer requirements, expectations and needs Understand the Brand
  49. 49. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Steps in Designing Your Brand Persona 3 - Understand the task What are the discrete elements of information needed to accomplish the task at hand 1. Understand the Brand 2. Understand the Customer
  50. 50. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Steps in Designing Your Brand Persona 4 - Choose the medium for the audio • Text to speech or custom recording (voice-actor) • Pros and Cons for each choice here • TTS scales well, sounds robotic, cheaper • Real Voice doesn’t scale, expensive, much more professional 1. Understand the Brand 2. Understand the Customer 3. Understand the Task
  51. 51. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Designing Customer Personas
  52. 52. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Who is our target audience & what makes them tick?
  53. 53. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester What market are we really in & who are we competing with?
  54. 54. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester What is our brand promise & differentiation?
  55. 55. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester How do we showcase & prove it?
  56. 56. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester What is the experience we want to deliver for prospects and clients? [Personality, Tone of Voice, Visual, Consistency]
  57. 57. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester How to Design a Persona Bio Step 1 Define the degree of formality the social context of who your persona is going to be: peer, boss, advisor (you may create one of each here)
  58. 58. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester How to Design a Persona Bio Step 2 Create a character monologue - a paragraph or two that might be spoken in a casual conversation that gives us a sense of who this character is – with insight into who they are (what they did on the weekend, travel plans, etc.)
  59. 59. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester A B2B Example
  60. 60. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Target Audience Personas By Job Role SMB Owner Product Manager Marketing Exec Web Dev Exec Strategic Entrepreneur
  61. 61. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester CHELSEA: The Web Dev Exec AGE 36 GENDER Female OCCUPATION CTO / Director of Engineering STATUS Single, No children LOCATION Urban (San Jose, CA) EXPERIENCE 15+ years in eComm EDUCATION BS, University of Texas • Mastery in their discipline • The opportunity to innovate MOTIVATIONS • Geeky • Analytical • Skeptical / Cynical • Impatient PERSONALITY TRAITS • Outdoor adventurer • Hi-tech Innovations / robotics • Competitive sports INTERESTS • Succinct & direct • Calculated risk taker • Decisive • Opinionated • Chaotic STRENGTHS / WEAKNESSES • To architect sound and progressive solutions that improve user experience and adoption • To develop advanced technology systems and methodologies that make development more efficient GOALS • Inefficiency • Being bound by outdated processes or rules • Unnecessary complexity PAIN POINTS & FRUSTRATIONS • Progressive thinkers/inventors • Historical leaders INFLUENCERS
  62. 62. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester A B2C Example
  63. 63. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Wally Brill, Google I/O: https://youtu.be/tUbB_FbIqPw
  64. 64. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Persona Example – for “Important Airlines” Wally Brill, Google I/O: https://youtu.be/tUbB_FbIqPw
  65. 65. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Persona Example – for “Important Airlines”
  66. 66. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester What Will Your Hear in Terrence’s Monologue? 1 2 3 4 Attention to Detail Precision Dependability Formal
  67. 67. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester
  68. 68. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Persona Example Build a detailed persona bio "When people hear any voice they automatically and unconsciously assign a personality to it..." - Cliff Nash and Scott Brave -Wired For Speech (1979) We create an image in our mind of who we are listening to - we can infer age, gender, educational level, locale and register (my boss, my employee, my peer, etc.), as well as intelligence, trustworthiness and likability - all within one second.
  69. 69. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester What Will Your Hear in Helen’s Monologue? 1 2 3 4 Fun to be Around Easy to Relate to Adaptable Still Dependable
  70. 70. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester How Does Your Persona Match Your Brand? Your identified brand attributes Identifiable persona attributes
  71. 71. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Next Steps for Voice Assisntants AI will get to know your digital self and eventually, it will know: • What NOT to expose you to • The WAY you want information conveyed to you • HOW you want information explained Humans are an emotional species. Eventually, AI will get to the point where they will be able to sense changes in mood Seamless interactions Doesn’t matter the device or manufacturer, your assistant can work with all to execute your command
  72. 72. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Jarvis
  73. 73. #SMX #21A Eric Enge / Duane Forrester Duane Forrester VP, Industry Insights | Yext @duaneforrester Eric Enge CEO | Stone Temple @stonetemple THANK YOU!

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