Alexa, does my brand need a voice?

Here at Spyglass, we talk a lot about brand voice. Usually, we’re referring to the tone of your communication, and your point of view as a brand. But now that we’ve entered the age of “Hey Siri”, “Ok Google,” and “Alexa,” the term “brand voice” just might be literally referring to your brand’s actual voice.

Not that long ago, talking computers only existed in science fiction. Today, effective verbal interfaces and meaningful voice recognition experiences are here… in our phones, our watches, our appliances, our everything. Voice control is weaving its way into the fabric of our lives. And perhaps even onto your holiday gift wish list!

Verbal interfaces have the potential for saving time, enhancing experiences, and enriching lives. Industry leaders such as Apple, Google, and Amazon have embraced voice control. World-class brands like Honeywell, Samsung, and Whirlpool are already shipping products with advanced verbal interfaces.

But before you jump into this new and exciting direction for your business, you should start with the most important question: Is voice control a fit? Should your brand have a verbal interface? Would your customers/users benefit from a voice-controlled app or product?

What questions should you be asking? What challenges will any company encounter when integrating voice recognition into their products, applications, and brands. We recommend this article from Telepathy as a great primer.

For some brands, the answer will be an enthusiastic yes. For others, it might not be the right time. For everyone, it’s something to keep an eye (or ear) on in the coming months and years.

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2018 marketing predictions from the C-suite

Forbes recently interviewed top CEOs, CMOs, authors and other experts from a variety of industries on their marketing predictions for 2018. Here are a few we found interesting:

  1. 2018 will be the year of AI: Actual Intelligence, not Artificial Intelligence (yet)
  2. Traditional marketing campaigns will die as marketers move to modular marketing
  3. Employees will be the new influencers
  4. Move Over, Millennials: 2018 will be the year of Gen Z for marketers
  5. Companies will voice social and environmental issues


Read more about the C-Suite’s predictions for 2018 at Forbes.

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Take off your brand mask


As the season of the witch tempts us to put on our Halloween costumes, we tempt you to think about taking off your brand mask.

Authenticity has become a big buzzword in marketing—and rightfully so!  Customers—and all of us, frankly—are tired of the airbrushing, spinning and all around smoke and mirrors that’s being used to sell us an endless bill of goods. We want the real deal. We want substance.

At a recent marketing conference, a large national bank shared how they tested their social media content to see what approaches outperformed. In the case of a recent credit card promotion, the clear winner that converted customers was the version that used a straightforward image of the card itself… not the shiny happy people who were optimizing the benefits of said piece of plastic. Hmmmm.

Using “lifestyle” to sell everything from widgets to warlocks isn’t always the way to go. Yes, people have a place in your brand story (let’s face it, stories are ALWAYS about people), but it is time to think beyond stock images. (Unless it’s one of cute kids in Halloween costumes.)

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Just the treats, no tricks

Trick-or-treating is a tried and true tradition that brings neighbors together and provides us with the perfect reason to welcome sugary snacks into our lives. But what candy will people be handing out in your neighborhood this year? Well, if this map is any indication, it depends exactly where you call home. TIME gave us a recap of the top candy for each state, and we here at Spyglass were surprised by some of the winners – what do you think of the top candy in your state? Never hurts to go raid your kid’s pillowcase stash to do a little “market research” of your own. After all, we are all now well aware of how unhealthy it is to consume too much sugar, so sparing our children from that toxic overload is the least we can do… right?

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Don’t be afraid of the dark (post)

Though the term sounds a bit ominous, “dark social” is a descriptor for social media posts that are highly targeted… and thus seen only by those who truly apply to your brand message. This is the brave, not-so-new world of paid social, where you get microscopic about your customers and leverage the heck out of analytics to reach them. Dark posts may seem to fly in the face of the “keep it real” transparency / authenticity mantra we’ve been chanting, but the fact is, for many businesses they make a ton of sense and give you useful cover for low-risk learning. What does all this darkness mean for you and your social strategy? Let’s get together and shed some light on it!

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Gather ’round, it’s story time.

Man looking at his laptop

For ages, stories have brought people together and made us feel connected and part of a tribe.

Stories bring meaning and passion to ordinary life, and the most powerful ones shift thinking and change beliefs. (Exactly what you’re hoping your next marketing and social media campaign will do, right?)

But how do you tell your story in a marketplace filled with clamoring voices and competing claims? How can you be authentic and deliver something that people actually want to hear?

At Spyglass, we’re big believers in story bites: compelling nuggets that give your audience a taste of who you are and why they should care. A good story is told through many touchpoints, using many mediums and a variety of emotional and informational bites. The result? You rely less on paid advertising and generate more memorable, organic mindshare.

To spark your thinking, read this article that shines light on the power of stories and “emotional branding”—both are especially relevant for social media.

And when you want to talk story, we’re ready to listen!

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A new reality, on your iPhone

Hand holding an iPhone

With the release of the iPhone 8, “reality” will now be in the hands of the masses. Apple’s new ARKit framework allows developers to create dynamic Augmented Reality (AR) experiences, faster and much easier than in the past. Check out a few brands that are already starting to get their hands on the software, and are preparing to bring new experiences to their customers.

Check out the next wave of AR

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The fix is in! Google ranks the top how-to searches.

Man fixing a sink

How to fix the toilet? How to play the guitar? How to trap fruit flies? These questions used to be much harder to answer when you didn’t have a device in your pocket to reference a step-by-step how-to video or manual at a moment’s notice. Given this vast resource at our fingertips, Google decided to see exactly what we are looking to get fixed worldwide and country by country. It’s a great example of how to make data more engaging – and aren’t you just a bit curious to see what people in Sweden need fixed? Hint: It’s not that Ikea bookshelf.

Check it out

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Are you tending your Perennials? The people kind.

It’s full-on summer in the Northern Hemisphere and for many of us that means water sports, BBQs and savoring the vibrant blooms in our gardens. Ahhhh…

Meanwhile, back at the office, you’ve probably sat through more than one presentation about how to understand and attract different generational cohorts—especially Millennials, ostensibly a mammoth market. Yet it turns out this mania might actually be misguided.

As Gina Pell, founder of The What, declared: “the age of targeted media and products based on age is over.” In an article in Fast Company, Pell predicted that your obsession with Millennials won’t survive 2017. Say what?

Pell has coined a new term that she sees driving the emerging conversation: Perennials! Brilliant! We here at Spyglass think there is timely wisdom in her word(s)—and feel like we should send her some flowers!

So who are the Perennials?

“We are ever-blooming, relevant people of all ages who live in the present time, know what’s happening in the world, stay current with technology, and have friends of all ages. We get involved, stay curious, mentor others, and are passionate, compassionate, creative, confident, collaborative, global-minded risk takers who continue to push up against our growing edge and know how to hustle. We comprise an inclusive, enduring mind-set, not a divisive demographic.”

Think moms and daughters who go to the same yoga studio or your 70-something neighbor running into your 21 year-old son at the local brewery. You get the idea.

As you look beyond traditional lifecycle analyses and segmentation studies, start to take notice of the Perennials in your midst. You might even be one of them!

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Buzz @ the flower lounge

Social media buzz… Everybody wants it. And most every brand and business have advocates and ambassadors to try to get—and keep—the conversation flowing. Giving your peeps something to talk, blog and tweet about is key. And increasingly, live events and experiences seem to be fertile territory. A beautiful example of this strategy landed in our own backyard earlier this month when the Arizona-based boutique wellness brand Lotus Wei breezed into town for an event designed to inspire their growing tribe of 21k+ followers. We flitted by the Thunder Moon Flower Lounge to see what it was all about.

Here are some snapshots

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