Consumers have a stronger emotional connection to brands when using voice technology, according to a new report.

Media agency Mindshare and communications agency J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group teamed up with neuroscience research outfit Neuro Insight to create Speak Easy – a report based on a survey of 1,002 UK smartphone users, as well as in-depth interviews and a brain-imaging technology test of over 100 participants.

The report found that emotional activity was twice as high when consumers voiced a brand question rather than typed it.

This is partly because respondents find voice technology easier to use – 87 percent of those using it said it simplified their life.

However, they added the caveat “when it works properly”.

The report claimed that brain activity is reduced by half when processing an answer delivered by voice.

As a result, voice will become an increasingly attractive proposition for consumers who feel overwhelmed by technology, according to the report.

Telcos are increasingly looking at how voice technology can improve their offerings.

Telefónica has added Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant to its upcoming Aura customer service tool, while Deutsche Telekom has added it to its smart home solution.

Consumer concerns around privacy remain significant, according to the Speak Easy report, with 44 percent of regular voice users saying they were worried about companies listening to the conversations they have with voice assistants.

Nevertheless, 46 percent of potential users would use voice if there were guarantees around personal data and security.

The report also threw up some other worrying findings.

Over a third of regular voice users said that they loved their voice assistant so much that they wish it were a real person, while over a quarter revealed they have had a sexual fantasy about their voice assistant.

In order to take advantage of the benefits that voice technology offers, the report noted that it was vital for brands to get up to speed with algorithm optimisation.

This SEO-like technology enables brands to be discovered by voice assistants.

Elizabeth Cherian, UK Director, J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group, said: "To successfully integrate voice into their offerings, brands need to understand how the technology can simplify everyday tasks by adding value and removing friction from their experience.

“This is not about tech for tech's sake.

“Thoughtful and helpful interactions which genuinely enhance the experience will drive engagement and deeper relationships between consumers and brands."

Jeremy Pounder, Futures Director, Mindshare added: "This study… shows that voice promises a richer and deeper engagement with consumers because of its ability to trigger an emotional response.

“Voice technology will literally give brands a voice for the first time and they will need to craft the sound of their own voice to maximise the impact."

Read more: Deutsche Telekom ranked Europe’s most valuable telco brand

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