Wake Word
Apr 14, 2022

6 Keys to Building a Custom Wake Word that Gives Your Brand a Voice

Custom wake words are the voice of your brand. When users say your brand’s name, sometimes several times a day, to wake up your voice assistant, you are fostering brand recognition, affinity, and loyalty. Having a custom wake word can be the difference between owning your brand and being subordinate to another’s. 

What pieces, though, fit together to create a custom wake word that is not only accurate and fast but also increases customer satisfaction while opening the door to omnichannel experiences? A custom wake word may only be a few syllables long, but it has many parts that work together to elevate the brand, expand device capabilities, and enhance user experiences. Strict attention to specific details is essential during design, and testing in different environments could make or break the experience for your users. 

A branded wake word all your own

A branded wake word differentiates your products and apps from the rapidly growing population of voice assistants, and it can help you make a good first impression—if it is responsive and only wakes up when you want it to and when it’s supposed to. On the other hand, if your wake word doesn’t respond in noisy environments or if it performs inconsistently, then your customers may abandon your voice assistant (and your product or app) in favor of one that delivers what it promises. Open the door to many possibilities for your brand and users with a customized wake word that’s scalable and flexible.

A custom wake word built on an independent voice AI platform allows brands to access the critical data necessary to optimize their wake word’s performance and train it for specific audiences or noisy environments.

Want to give your brand a voice? Here are 6 essential elements of building a custom wake word:

  1. Complete customization
  2. Rapid deployment
  3. Enhanced user experiences
  4. Multi-wake phrase strategy
  5. Robust performance
  6. Hands-free accessibility

1. Custom wake words deepen user engagement

Complete customization is a must-have for your wake word. Being able to choose the wake phrase that best meets the needs of your users and brand is essential for creating brand awareness and fostering brand affinity. Give your customized voice assistant a branded name and identity for a fully hands-free experience for your users.

Give your customized voice assistant a branded name and identity for a fully hands-free experience for your users.

Before the wake word has been deployed, ensure your users will get the best experience by optimizing and fine-tuning your wake word to create the best possible version. By using training data, user testing, and analytics, you’ll be able to determine the words that best resonate with your users. Once you deploy your wake word, it’ll be challenging and disruptive for users to change it, so be certain users can pronounce it, that it’s not too similar to other words, and it doesn’t generate too many false positives or negatives. Access to data will give you the insights needed to deliver a wake word that users have a positive first interaction with and continue to form deep connections with over time. 

2. Rapid wake word prototype deployment offers brand potential

Rapid wake word prototype deployment offers developers a glimpse into the potential of their branded wake word. Robust wake words usually take a few weeks to develop, train, test, and deploy. When developers are looking to test their voice assistant and need the wake word to assess the experience, a rapid prototype deployment solution can be ready in a much shorter time frame—as soon as a few days. 

Robust wake words usually take a few weeks to deploy, but a rapid deployment wake word can be ready in just a few days.

A rapid wake word prototype is perfect for proof of concept and testing. A rapidly deployed wake word prototype allows you to accelerate the data validation time and get your voice assistant to production in your environment sooner.

Want to learn more about the benefits of a custom wake word? Check out the below video:

3. Customized wake words enhance user experiences

We’ve discussed what the wake word can do for the brand: increasing brand loyalty and affinity. Now let’s take a look at the benefits to the user. Customized wake words are a vital part of a fully hands-free, branded user experience. 

customized wake word is perfected in development with robust testing and data analytics to deliver a wake word that’s highly accurate—without false acceptances and rejections. Developers further optimize wake word performance by ensuring high accuracy in noisy environments using training data specific to the users’ unique environment—whether that’s road noise in a car, background chatter in public, or music playing in a home. Only brands that partner with a voice AI platform provider with the essential tools and expertise will have access to the data essential to the customization of the wake word to fit users’ unique needs.

Customized wake words are a vital part of a fully hands-free, branded user experience.

Performance-enhancing technologies, such as biometric speaker ID, allow the voice assistant to understand which individual is talking—delivering greater personalization along with safer, more secure voice experiences. Speaker ID adds a layer of convenience and security when multiple people reside in the same household, use the same device in a work or healthcare setting, or require more privacy and security—like pulling up accounts that have specific filters or personalization features on them.

4. Multi-wake phrase strategies give flexibility

Extend the functionality of your voice assistant with multi-wake phrase strategies and wake words that have multiple voice assistant capabilities. Some users might benefit from being able to say multiple wake words to their voice assistant or being able to access multiple voice assistants on a singular device.

Extend the functionality of your voice assistant with multi-wake phrase strategies and wake words that have multiple voice assistant capabilities. 

For example, on smart home devices, an additional wake word, such as “help, help,” could be programmed so that users in distress could alert emergency services without having to remember the specific wake phrase. In addition, some brands may want to feature multiple voice assistants on one device, giving users the flexibility to use whichever voice assistant best fits their needs. Giving your users these options can provide them with elevated user experiences.

Interested in learning more about the multitude of features available with customized wake words? Explore more on wake words here

5. Customized wake words deliver robust performances

Ensure consistent performances with Edge connectivity solutions and deliver highly accurate responses in a variety of connectivity environments. A locally integrated wake word operates seamlessly, reduces response time significantly, increases accuracy by always processing the wake word, and still works even when the internet isn’t available.

Ensure consistent performances with edge technology that provides high response accuracy and flexible connectivity options.

Locally embedded wake words work seamlessly with any connectivity option, so brands can choose which environment best meets their users’ needs, whether that’s cloud, Edge, or Edge+Cloud. By having a locally integrated wake word, users’ privacy needs are also being met. Even though the wake word is always listening for accuracy, it doesn’t send any data to the cloud. 

6. Wake words increase accessibility

Wake words increase accessibility by offering high levels of accuracy for different types of speech through inclusive training data and hands-free operation. Wake words are inherently more accessible for those with mobility difficulties, allowing users to speak their commands and queries instead of having to push, type, or swipe and thereby removing the barrier of “touch-to-talk.” 

However, accessibility can be further increased to encompass those with speech impediments, older adults, or children by introducing the right training data to the model. For example, young children often haven’t developed the pronunciation of certain sounds, and by adding that data to the model, conversational AI can be taught to understand children’s imprecise speech.

Wake words increase accessibility by offering high levels of accuracy for different types of speech through inclusive training data and hands-free operation. 

Similar to the issues with accuracy involving accented languages, wake words must be able to understand speech impediments or slow rates of speech to avoid excluding large portions of target audiences. When you deploy a custom wake word that has advanced speech-to-text technology and data from specific audiences—including disabled persons, older adults, children, and other groups not represented in commonly used training data—you open up your brands, products, and apps to more potential customers. Users of all capabilities will benefit from the easy, convenient, and hands-free experience. 

Custom wake words have many benefits to users and brands, including complete customization, rapid deployment, enhanced user experiences, multi-wake phrase strategy, robust performance, and hands-free accessibility. When deciding whether to build, rent, or partner for a conversational AI solution, consider these essential elements of an exceptional user experience and whether or not your voice assistant will fall behind without them. 

At SoundHound, our Wake Word technology helps companies around the globe and in every industry enhance brand value with a completely customizable voice experience. Deepen user engagement and inspire loyalty when your customers speak your name every time they interact with your product or application. Explore SoundHound’s independent voice AI platform at SoundHound.com and register for a free account here. Want to learn more? Talk to us about how we can help bring your voice strategy to life.

Arvind is a product marketer with a passion for creating and conveying great, targeted product messaging. When he is not working, he loves to take landscape photos, hike, and play with his dog.

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