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Why Does Alexa Have A Female Voice?

Have you ever stopped to consider why Amazon’s “Alexa” has a female voice… Or Siri for that matter… or the Satellite Navigation device you used to keep in your glove box (unless you’d downloaded that hilarious Mr T version of course)?

In terms of Voice Assistants; Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google have all added a female touch to their digital personalities and it’s not by chance. It also is an interesting example of how important considering the “sound” of our brand can be.

The answer, in Amazon’s case, is fairly simple. There are many studies that conclude that adding a female voice to a computer operated system can make it seem caring, sympathetic and more helpful to its user (in other words more human). It’s simply a way to increase customer satisfaction based on how (most) human brains process voice because, according to a Hanover College study (and many others), heard each sex’s voice automatically triggers certain stereotypical expectations.

Amazon were asking a lot from the consumers when they introduced Alexa into our homes. A new personality would be sitting, and listening, in the corner of our living spaces and trust was an important factor in making that relationship work and adding a female voice would help build that trust.

It wasn’t a decision made lightly according to the head of Amazon’s “Smart Home” division Daniel Rausch:

“We carried out research and found that a woman’s voice is more ‘sympathetic’ and better received.”

He also explained that during their test’s they found that users were more willing to take instruction from female voices – which is in keeping with many trials of a similar nature down the years.

We can learn two clear things from this… One, it looks like the future of Voice Technology will be female fronted and Two, how important it is to consider the “sounds” of your brand.

(READ: ‘What Does Your Brand Sound Like?’).

For Amazon, it was important that their device appeared helpful and trustworthy. Their business model isn’t based on selling ‘Alexa Enabled’ devices but on the commerce they can deliver via those devices and so trust was a key part of that, making us more likely to make purchases via the platform.

For your brand, ‘trust’ may not be a key issue. There may be some other message you want to get across or another emotion you wish to trigger?

Edginess?
Intelligence?
Excitement?

When giving your brand a “voice” presence it’s important to consider how it might sound or what type of voice might best match that core value.

Sure, for certain applications and functions you will need to use Alexa’s inbuilt VOX, indeed in some cases, it’s the best option. Outside of those uses, however, you need to ask the question as to what you want the voice of your brand to sound like and how should it feel.

Business’ spends millions of pounds every year on logos, websites and business cards but very few spend even the time to consider how a medium as powerful as sound can work for them. With the growth and potential of Voice First, that is soon going to change… and you can be ahead of the curve.

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