POV: Speak Easy Voice Research


A new report titled Speak Easy jointly created by Mindshare and the J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group, has found that 45% of regular voice users globally say they use voice technology because it’s faster whilst 35% use it when they are feeling lazy and can’t be bothered to type.

Details and Implications:

Not only will voice technology make our lives easier, but it will also deliver a more meaningful connection between people and the brands they love. Working with the neuroscience market research firm, Neuro-Insight, Speak Easy investigated the brain’s responses to voice compared with touch or typing and found that voice interactions showed consistently lower levels of brain activity than their touch equivalent, indicating voice response is less taxing than using screens.

The study also found that when people asked a question involving a brand name, their brain activity showed a significantly stronger emotional response compared to people typing that same brand question. So the act of saying a brand name appears to strengthen the pre-existing emotional associations to a greater degree than typing it.

Five key trends were uncovered:

  1. Craving intimacy with their voice assistants: 74% of global smartphone users agree that “if voice assistants could understand me properly and speak back to me as well as a human can, I’d use them all the time.”
  2. Voice eases the cognitive load: The research found that voice interactions showed consistently lower levels of brain activity than their touch equivalent indicating that voice response is less taxing cognitively.
  3. Voice will liberate consumers from the screen: 53% of global smartphone users agreed with the statement - “voice technology will help people interact more with each other as they won’t be always looking down at a screen”. Brands will have to ensure content can be easily accessed through voice and how to capture the attention of consumers using content accessible through the Internet of Things.
  4. Consumers want to give up control to ‘Digital Butlers’: For brands, the key challenge will be to ensure that they are recommended by the “digital butler” ahead of the competition.
  5. Privacy concerns: Guarantees around personal data security ranks number one in five of the nine markets (UK, Germany, Spain, China, Australia) surveyed when non-users were asked what would encourage them to use voice technology.


Jeremy Pounder, Futures Director, Mindshare UK and co-author of the Speak Easy report, said:  ‘Voice is set to take off because it’s a fundamentally more intuitive way for us to interact with technology. People love it because the tech gets out of their way and delivers what they want more quickly and with less effort – ‘it feels like magic’ as one of our respondents put it. As relationships with voice assistants become deeper, the challenge for brands will be ensuring they are the ones chosen by these increasingly powerful gatekeepers of the consumer.’

Further Reading:

Speak Easy Report