Spoilt for voice: our pick of the best branded Alexa skills

Written by Alan Black

Amazon’s Alexa skills store is awash with trivia and flash briefings. But some have taken a more interesting route. Like these companies – who all use scripted content to bring the best of their brand to audiences in a new, more vocal way.

Some are aspirational. Others are relatively simple and show that in voice, content that mirrors your audience’s intent is the secret sauce.

Practical skills

Some skills platforms are focused on pure function. You can emergency-order some dishwasher tablets or check if you’re about to freefall into your overdraft. All without a twitch of your thumb.  For brands like these that already provide a service to customers, voice is a way to ramp up the convenience factor.

Doncaster council

Which bin do you need to put out? Ask Alexa. It’s more accurate than spying on number 33, and is totally doable while wrestling a fit-to-burst bin liner across the kitchen. Yes it’s simple. Doesn’t stop it being life-changing.

Uber

Plenty of companies let you book stuff using voice. Uber does it best – because they’ve been steadfast in focusing on audience intent. Summoning a driver with a few sentences? It’s got us feeling like Lady Penelope. We’re holding out for the day our allocated car is a pink Rolls, registration FAB 1.

Foodie skills

Alexa's often live in the kitchen, so food and drink brands have more opportunity than most. The challenge here is standing out  – by knowing what you mean to your audience and delivering a skill that plays on that. 

Domino’s

What do we want? Pizza. When do we want it? Doesn’t matter, as long as we don’t have to move. Hooray for Domino’s, who gave us the power to order without lifting a finger. What we love most about this one: they managed to translate their tone of voice into the skill without complicating the user experience. Harder than it sounds.


Talisker Tasting

Turn our kitchen into a tasting room? Yes please. Talisker’s Alexa skill talks you through all the subtleties of the whisky. It’s like having a dram with the Master Distiller. Through voice, they’ve turned regular tasting notes into something altogether more special. 

Fun for the kids

Alexa is the perfect medium to weave wild tales and lead your audience on a flight of fancy. Why? Because audio interactions are limited only by your audience’s imagination. Just look at the wild ride we created for Channel 4's Human Test Alexa Skill. Take that, CGI.

PAC-MAN Stories

If Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch revived your love of choose-your-own-adventure tales, you’ll definitely want to share this (somewhat less dystopian) version with your kids. Touted as a way to keep PacMan relevant to younger generations, it’s a great example of what a bit of clever scripting can do.

LEGO Duplo Stories

Little bricks that let you build anything? Yep, LEGO’s been trading on imagination forever. So it makes sense that the Duplo Alexa skill is all about make-believe – giving you charming stories to act out in Duplo pieces. It’s authentic. And it’s smart marketing – if your kid is missing an animal from one of the stories, guess what’ll be on their birthday list.

Voice: the new frontier

Voice is the best opportunity for businesses since our phones became mini internet machines. But don’t get distracted by the trend – staying authentic and delivering what your customers want is more important than creating a skill for the sake of it. 

Oh, and get someone who knows what they’re doing to tackle the copywriting. Trust us, crafting half of a loosely defined conversation is even harder than it sounds.

Talk to us 

Rather aptly, we love to discuss all things voice. Get in touch for a chat about your voice project.