Imagine living in a world where you can talk to a small electronic device no bigger than a water bottle. This device can order pizza for you, play your favorite music, or give you the day’s weather forecast. Well, there’s actually no need to use your imagination for this scenario, as thousands of people all over the world live this life every day thanks to their own personal smart speaker. Amazon was the first to move into the smart speaker space, creating the Amazon Echo. Google has since followed with their own smart speaker: Google Home. And now, Apple is throwing its name into the ring by announcing its upcoming Apple HomePod.
These devices are all relatively similar in terms of functionality and features, so what exactly is the difference between all three smart speakers? The difference is the Brand behind each device.
Most consumers are already well aware of these three companies, and most likely interact with all three on a weekly or even daily basis. However, while these brands don’t compete in their core competencies, consumers still tend to support one Brand more loyally than another, based on how the Brand interacts with them and its reputation in the marketplace. For example, when the Apple HomePod hits stores, thousands of Apple supporters will flock to purchase it, even though that need didn’t previously exist with the Amazon Echo and Google Home options released months earlier. Consumers will buy solely because of the Apple Brand and the fact that “Siri” – a trusted and known voice to loyal Apple users – will be the voice speaking to them. Brand recognition and Brand loyalty carry significant weight in the eyes of consumers. People support brands that they like and are going to choose to spend their money on those brands over others.
Achieving Brand recognition is the ultimate goal, it means that your Company, product, or service is on the minds of your target audience when they go to make a purchase. Better yet, Brand recognition can help extend a Brand into another category or offering, just as Amazon, Google, and Apple are now doing. While each of the smart speaker products are similar, the brands behind each product carry a sense of uniqueness and a loyal following for their core offering, propelling them into this new market.
For Amazon, people associate their Brand with shopping. Consumers interested in having a device that makes online shopping easier will gravitate toward the Echo. Even though the Echo can do much more than just assist with shopping, people associate this particular product with shopping because of the Brand name behind it. For Google, people think about the search engine’s seemingly limitless container of knowledge. Consumers interested in having a know-it-all talking robot will gravitate toward Google Home. With the Apple HomePod coming next, consumers already using Apple products such as Apple Music, iPhone, iPad, or MacBook will seek this product for its integration with their existing line of products.
All three of these brands have been around for years, first created and then continuously developed to present themselves as innovators within their market. Over the years they have all consistently utilized their Brand across product-lines, while penetrating new markets. This consistency is paramount in building Brand recognition and loyalty. Customers need to have confidence in a Brand in order to re-purchase or purchase something that is not a core product or service. While consumers are unfamiliar with the idea of a smart speaker, Amazon, Google, and Apple are brands they trust and thus they are willing to purchase regardless of product knowledge. Brand knowledge is what drives the sale.