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- Apr 19, 2020
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Voicebot Research has found that not only do consumers prefer human voices over synthetic in their voice experiences, but the difference is 71.6% more.

That is one of the findings in the newly published report What Consumers Want in Voice App Design. From what we can tell, no one has published results from a study looking to measure the preference between the two approaches. And, this was just one of the many questions that have remained unexplored in voice user experience.

However, the existence of actual data measuring preferences enables discussions about voice app design to suddenly become informed by more than mere opinion. “Smart marketers know that people prefer listening to people that sound like them. With this new research, it’s further evidence that the voice—a human quality full of emotion—is not easily replicated,” says David Ciccarelli, co-founder and CEO of Voices.com. “While there’s a time and place for synthetic voices to provide navigational prompts or brief instructions, communicating important messages with the intent to inform, educate, and inspire audiences should be left strictly to professional voice actors.”


The rapid proliferation of voice assistants and voice user interfaces has led to debates about how to define a good voice user experience. Until today, those debates have been devoid of data and founded solely on individual opinions.

Voicebot would frequently receive questions such as “how long is optimal for a voice assistant response?” and “will using voice actors increase the user ratings for my Alexa skill?” Again, there were plenty of opinions such as “keep it short except when your experience needs a longer response” and “use a voice actor if you have time and budget.” Most voice app developers didn’t find these answers very helpful. We wondered why there was no research attempting to answer these basic questions, but could not locate any.

So, Voicebot collaborated with Voices.com and Pulse Labs to see if we could design an empirical study that would put some data behind answering a series of questions. Along the way, we were also supported by Meredith Corporation and Skilled Creative that also expressed interest in whether there was some empirical guidance for voice experience optimization.

The full report includes 17 charts in 19 pages of analysis and addresses questions such as:

Do voice assistant users prefer human voices over synthetic voices and if so, by how much?

Do users prefer male or female voices? Is that preference the same when considering human or synthetic voices?

How does the age of the user impact these preferences?

How long is too long when delivering content through a voice assistant?

Is there a difference in tolerance for the length of voice assistant content delivered by a human compared to a synthetic voice?


Consumer preference for human voices also showed up clearly in voice favorability ratings by our panel of 249 testers. While 70.8% had a favorable view of human voices and only 12.5% unfavorable, ratings for synthetic voices were reversed with 12.3% favorable and 60.1% unfavorable.

“When designing for voice, there’s a great opportunity for brands and serious developers to determine and guide what their voice will be. What this work exemplifies is how important it is to take that voice seriously and to get it right, as it can make the difference between whether a consumer remembers what you’ve built or not,” said Dylan Zwick, Pulse Labs, co-founder and chief product officer.

Brandon Kaplan, CEO of Skilled Creative added, “While we weren’t surprised by the overall result, we were a bit surprised at the size of the discrepancy. It’s clear that if you’re building an application that speaks for longer than a few words, you should really look into using recorded voices. We would, however, recommend using synthetic voices during development and testing, and only adding recorded voices when you know you’ve got the interaction right, because once recordings are made it’s hard to make modifications.”


Source:Voicebot Research

Monday, 11 November 2019 00:00

Sanil Jain, Co-Founder, CupShup

"Customers today prefer brands that are environment friendly. The paper cups eliminated plastic cups and provided a recyclable alternative. Also, we have partnered with two of the largest paper manufacturers in India to endure that we get only high-quality food-grade cups which our customers prefer, and this has helped us access many new offices. No brand would like to see the cups with its branding being littered on the sides of the road. For this, we decided to supply garbage bins to all of the tea vendors wherever we run campaigns. This not only helped us in addressing the concern of littering but also helped tea vendors in keeping their stalls clean as people used our dustbins to dispose the used cups." Said Sanil Jain, Co-Founder, CupShup

In an interaction with MediAvataar India, Sanil shares insights into making of this, one of a kind marketing innovation which is slowly turning into a fun and effective way to stretch out to the end user.

Here is the complete Q&A....

Tell us more about your unique form of advertising?

CupShup aims to convert the teatime in this country into a conversation corner for brands by leveraging the paper cups as an advertising media and medium. This medium is clutter-free, provides 5-7 minutes of exposure time and triggers a conversation over chai time which makes a deeper impression in the customer’s mind.

We have built a network of 10,000+ touchpoints, which includes 2000+ corporates, 1000+ Colleges, 8000+ tea Stalls and partnership with all the Leading Airlines of the country. Our unique model is helping brands gain access to cubicles and classroom of this country.

How are marketers looking at it?

We have worked with brands across various industries. Be it FMCG, BFSI, Entertainment, we have worked with them all. Most of the established brands use our medium as part of their 360-degree campaigns focused on grabbing eyeballs and building brand/product awareness.

Many new-age brands and start-ups use our services to acquire new users and drive app downloads, and Transactions as well.

Since a tea break allows a brand exposure time of 5-7 minutes, we also use call-to-action methods like QR codes, Missed Call to SMS and so on for lead generation. Other than Cup Branding, they are also eager to explore our other offerings like Digital Screens and corporate activations.

Share some of your key campaigns with us.

Few months back we concluded an interesting campaign in collaboration with Hotstar for their web-series “The Office” for which we distributed 25 lakhs paper cups with 9 humorously designed creatives, each with a witty designation aimed to drive humour and conversations inside offices.

Campaign resulted in floodgates of memes which people made and shared. With this campaign, we not only reached and made impressions offline but also gained mindshare of office goers online and made them aware of the new show.

Do you consider the whole talk about environment-friendly approach to disposable stuff?

Customers today prefer brands that are environment friendly. The paper cups eliminated plastic cups and provided a recyclable alternative. Also, we have partnered with two of the largest paper manufacturers in India to endure that we get only high-quality food-grade cups which our customers prefer, and this has helped us access many new offices.

No brand would like to see the cups with its branding being littered on the sides of the road. For this, we decided to supply garbage bins to all of the tea vendors wherever we run campaigns. This not only helped us in addressing the concern of littering but also helped tea vendors in keeping their stalls clean as people used our dustbins to dispose the used cups.

What were some of the bigger challenges you faced while starting off?

A) Hiring: Since we were a bootstrapped start-up with limited funds and basic infrastructure, we had a hard time hiring good talent.

Over the years, through our creative work and recognition especially within the start-up community, we have been able to find and retain great talent, and build a rock star team today -- we are proud of it.

B) Partnering with corporates: Initially, offices in corporate parks were reluctant to give us entry into their buildings as they were sceptical about the quality of paper being used by us. However, with time they are aware of the fact that we only use water-based ink on our biodegradable and recyclable paper cups. This helped us understand their concerns and in accessing the office cubicles with ease.

What would be your advice to someone who has a path-breaking idea and wants to start a business?

There is never a right time to start a business, especially if you are a first-time entrepreneur.
If you have a path-breaking idea and you completely believe in it, you should most definitely put all the resources you have and jump into it. It’s always on the way that you will figure out how to manage and scale the things.

Sidharth and I started by putting in Rs. 50,000 each (because that’s all we had that time). It was only once we started-up we figured out ways to manage the limitations, struggles and challenges of running a bootstrapped business.

How do you think advertising has evolved in our country and globally?

The world of traditional communication has rejuvenated itself in numerous ways in order to engage the modern consumer. The digital age did pose some major challenges for the traditional media including print, radio, and television. The paradigms shifted from engaging mass audiences to developing personalized content for like-minded consumers and creating a wide variety of content suited to individuals rather than the masses. The challenge faced by traditional marketing sources was to alter the way they approached the common man and businesses alike.

The recent technological developments have changed the definition of communication. To elaborate, the psychedelic digitalized mediums function at a pace preferred by the new-age audiences – their flickering attention span leaves little to no quantum for creating the requisite brand impression; whereas traditional mediums of communication manage to create receptive leads of their own. This method of brand communication and promotion was used back in the 1990s for basic branding and advertising. However, the digital age has helped add more flair to this method of communication wherein the brand creates the requisite engagement rather than merely attempting to communicate with audiences.

Which global advertising trend you think need to make way into our markets?

Digital— the one word has the power to change the universe of advertising and marketing. Today, you and I are having this conversation over a phone, an email and even virtually face-to-face; the digital revolution is here already. What we must understand and comprehend is that it’s no longer a medium but a way of life. Our whole lives are on our social network, irrespective of who we are, where we come from and what we do; social network is the new society.

That being said, our country is yet to wrap its head around and adapt to the digital revolution at the pace which other countries across the world have.
We are still stuck to our traditional and conventional methods, even in advertising and marketing. If we build a bridge between these two and integrate new-age technology with traditional media, it would bring transparency, efficiency and effectiveness to every campaign we set out to achieve.

We, at CupShup, are also in the process of achieving the same by digitising our network which allows us to reach 2Mn working professionals and that number is growing fast and steady. You will see us rolling out the carpet for it very soon.

Creativity sometimes does not help balance the books, what’s your mantra and how has the agency doing in terms of revenue?

They say necessity is the mother of all inventions and in today’s ad world —creativity is the need of the hour. We want to disrupt, impact and imprint the brand in the minds of the people for which you need to get creative.
Sometimes creativity comes at a cost which doesn’t help balance the books but then most of the time, it helps us in making the book fatter. That being said, we ensure that we have a growing revenue with campaigns we do, and deliver do creative work too.

We ended the last financial year (FY 2018-19) with Rs.4.5 Cr in revenues and are projected to clock 12 Cr this financial year (FY’2019-20).

For the current financial year, 50% of revenues will come from activation services, 35% from Cup branding and rest 15% from Creative and digital services.

Do you wish to multiply into more verticals, what the future looks like?

We are scaling our network for CupShup and activation services while building new and interesting partnerships. Apart from that, we are ramping our creative services portfolio aggressively. Like I mentioned earlier, we are working on a new digital product with which we aim to revolutionise the way digital marketing is done in India. The product is slated to go live in early next year.

Our mission is to redefine the way brands communicate with their target audience by building unique sets of offline and digital mediums.
Our aim is to build a network reach of 50 Million working professionals wherein we will enable brands to access through our media vehicles of Cup Branding, Activation and Digital Marketing.



Festival of Diwali holds a special significance for people not only in India but also in Mauritius, where Zee Media celebrated the festival of light with great fervour on October 19. The event, Zee Media Diwali Festival Season 2, was attended by thousands at the Bus Terminus, Quatre Bornes showcasing cultural integration of both the nations at its apex. The celebrations were also broadcast on Zee Media's TV & Digital platforms - Zee News and Zee Business channels.

Mauritius has a majority of Indian origin people, of which 80 per cent follow Hinduism. Almost all Hindu festivals are celebrated with great fanfare on the island nation, but Diwali celebration is very special, as residents here mark the occasion remembering Lord Ram’s victorious return. On the day of Diwali, which is pronounced as ‘Divali’ in Mauritian creole, people place clay oil lamps in front of their homes, turning the island into a fairyland of flickering lights.

After morning prayers, Mauritian Hindus share sweets with one and all. The preparations of the festival start well in advance. Like Indian traders, business community in Mauritius also consider this day very auspicious to tally their accounts for the previous year, to step into the new year without any financial burden. Notably, Ministry of Arts and Culture of Mauritius organised several concerts during Diwali for which they invited famous Bollywood singers to perform.

On this day, tourists flock the most popular village Triolet, in North Mauritius to see the celebration, as the place is well known for its elaborate decorations and fireworks.

This year in Mauritius, Zee Media took unique initiative to celebrate "Zee Media Diwali Festival Season 2" and the event was made special by singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya who enthralled the audiences with some of his iconic songs "Chaand Taare" from Yes Boss and the title song from Main Hoon Na. Punjabi sensation Guru Randhawa set the stage on fire with 'High Rated Gabru'. The song has also been part of a recent Bollywood film. Guru Randhawa quoted, “That’s the biggest show in Mauritius last night. Thanks everyone for coming and singing loud with me. Can’t wait to be back.”

Performances from Sanket and Nainika of 'Dance India Dance' stars, and Sugandha Date, winner of 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Little Champ' added further to musical environment of the show. Zee Media Diwali Festival was hosted by Zain Imam, who said, “Happy to be part of ZEE Media Diwali in Mauritius Season 2. 19th of October at Quatre Bornes in the paradise island Mauritius.”

Here are some highlights of Zee Media Diwali in Mauritius - https://www.zeebiz.com/india/news-zee-media-diwali-festival-lights-up-mauritus-guru-randhawa-sets-stage-on-fire-112863

VICE Media Group, the world’s largest independent youth media company, is pleased to announce the appointment of senior media executive Rohit Tugnait as Commercial Director for its India territory.

Tugnait will lead the commercial teams based in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi and will be responsible for growing all lines of business within VICE’s India region, including VICE Digital, Studios, Content Partnerships and VIRTUE, the creative agency borne out of VICE.

With nearly twenty years of experience across youth-oriented and culturally relevant media platforms, Tugnait has deep expertise in business strategy, content solutions and delivering both growth and revenue. As National Head of MTV, Tugnait led the channel’s brand solution wing and was a critical player in the launch and development of marquee properties including Coke Studio at MTV and the acclaimed Royal Stag Unplugged Series. Prior to joining VICE, Tugnait led the business division at 101india.com, a youth-focused digital media site aimed at connecting urban Indian audiences. There, he drove collaborations with television networks and OTT platforms in addition to licensing content on global platforms.

"VICE leads with purpose-driven content" says Rohit Tugnait, Commercial Director, VICE India. “I'm extremely excited to be a part of a global digital media company that is the go-to destination for advertisers who want to be relevant, effective and a part of the youth conversation".

Tugnait’s appointment comes after a string of recent award wins including the Kyoorius Creative Awards and the Digipub Awards in India for both original and branded content.

“India’s dynamic, engaged and outspoken youth make the country a priority market for VICE, whose mission is to amplify youth voices.” said Nilesh Zaveri, COO, VICE Asia Pacific (APAC). “Having someone with the depth of commercial experience that Rohit has, will further bolster our India momentum behind the successful portfolio of partnerships that we have built over the past 18 months with companies such as Budweiser, PepsiCo, Amazon Prime, Myntra and One Plus.”

Tugnait will be based out of VICE’s Mumbai office, where he joins the leadership team led by Samira Kanwar, Head of Content for VICE’s APAC region. His appointment is effective immediately.

With pretty much every industry and every product segment being saturated, standing out as a brand seems like a very tough job. Chances are all your marketing meetings are sprinkled with clichés like “out-of-the-box”, “quirky” to begin the list. Turns out there is a way for a brand to stand out, despite the competition and clutter.

The answer to building a brand that is successful despite clutter and traffic lies in building niche brands. This is precisely where Niche Branding steps in. The brand is one of the most important assets that any company can have. Without it, consumers and buyers are free to opt for businesses/products and services that seem cheaper or in favor of better-known brands.

As global markets tighten, niche markets offer the ability to dominate by taking advantage of the loyal customer base that niche brands can create. While branding should be about the company and the brand, it really isn’t. It’s about how customers perceive the company. Branding should be about the consumers, who eventually become brand loyalists pushing the brand message ahead.

Broad brands versus niche or deep brands

While broad brands appeal to a large base of audience, niche brands go a step extra to create deep relationships with their consumers. Brands that solve a very particular problem/have a unique proposition compared to brands that are more generic and broader in their service offerings, are likely to gain a much stronger base of loyal customers. With more motivated customers, any marketing activity resonates to a much deeper level with higher elements of brand recall and affability. Deep or Niche brands are the ones that appeal to a much narrower set of people, but they create a lot of value for those people.

Take the prominent beauty and bath brand, Lush for instance.

The popular beauty brand, Lush develops eco-friendly and organic bath range, that’s ideally suited for those suffering from sensitive skin. This means that the brand has developed a specific product to suit a defined target audience. This is key to niche branding. The brand goes an extra mile by engaging with their customers as they organize workshops from time to time. This means that the brand has developed a certain loyalty with their customers, as they interact with their customers on one-on-one interaction, through the workshops.

How about the computing brand Apple?

Back in the time, when Apple created a computing contraption, it operated on the Macintosh system. The product came built-in with a sophisticated firewall that would keep viruses at bay. This meant users didn’t have to invest in the anti-virus post the one time spend on the machine. The sophisticated firewall is a problem that addressed the woes of a number of users back then. Especially when they work with high-end confidential data, they couldn’t afford losing the same. So how did Apple penetrate a market that was rife with the competition?

Apple relies on simplicity. They have strapping imagery on all their packaging and advertisements that does all the talking. Their packaging is clean and clutter-free. Simplicity. A total contrast to the flashy imagery incorporated by other brands. This also extends to the Apple packaging.

Niche Branding enables your customers to take your brand ahead

It is essential to run a tooth comb through the market in order to identify your target audience. A narrower niche will not only receive the product better, but will help deliver the product or service to a bigger target audience. By this time the brand was established. Take the Apple iPod for instance. When the gadget was launched it created a wave in the market and converted ardent Discman users to becoming iPod enthusiasts. Your product or service can be termed as ‘unique’ if it duly addresses the problems faced by your target audience, and even foresees issues from a futuristic perspective.
Keeping in touch with your consumers through a number of activities will not only enhance brand loyalty but will help one to comprehend issues with your existing product or service better. It gives you an opportunity to make for a better comeback on the product.

End Note

Niche branding is a key asset to every organization. It is a strategy that can be successfully incorporated for any business variation both online and offline. Entrepreneurs can advantageously use it and aspiring counting houses to further their business. Enhanced brand loyalty proves to serve as a wild card in the long run, that could foster heightened digits and better brand recall. Niche branding is connecting with your audience (customers and prospects) in a targeted way that focuses on their needs and circumstances, and not necessarily on you or your product.


Written by Hiren Panchal,Co-Founder of Litmus Branding

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