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  • Writer's pictureRon Jaworski

Beyond media: how companies are using audio AI to engage with their workforce and customers

Among publishers, content creators, and advertisers of all shapes and sizes, the war for attention these days is all about audio.

But beyond the medium’s traditional playground, there’s an entire range of brands who are realizing that audio is a powerful tool to not only reach customers in a more personal manner but also to increase productivity and engagement within their ranks.

In other words, it’s a new frontier to explore in the never-ending battle for the attention real estate.

Driving this change is audio AI tech that transforms any text into audio content with life-like narration. With synthesized speech in the mix, large companies get content that is:

  • Affordable, yet high-quality with no production needed - content creation is more cost-effective and quicker compared to live voice narration as there is no need for additional time in the studio and post-production.

  • Scalable - real-time audio conversion and a virtually limitless source of content that can be audiofied make everything easily scalable for future use cases.

  • Accessible and easy to consume - from smart watches to wireless headphones, almost any device can be used to listen in.

  • Easily packaged and distributed in various formats and platforms - a variety of digital formats and broad distribution via top streaming audio platforms and voice assistants make audio AI content readily available a few taps or a voice command away.

As a result, organizations from across the business landscape are finding it easy to incorporate audio into their day-to-day operations.

What does this mean in practice?

Here are three examples of companies from different industries embracing this new, yet familiar method for customers, employees, and team members to engage with content.

PwC Israel - audio news, newsletters, and internal documents

The world’s leading assurance, tax, and advisory services company is no stranger to innovative concepts. When it comes to incorporating audio, the Israel branch is all-in.

For starters, it employs customized playlists on its website through a dedicated unit. Visitors can enjoy industry-related news and receive smart content recommendations based on contextual data. Basically, it’s a radio station-like experience for those who have more time for their ears than they do for their eyes.

Furthermore, the company is sending an audio version of its newsletter to their employees and partners. It’s a format that is less time-exhausting as recipients can listen while working out, driving, or doing something else that doesn’t require eyeballs to be zeroed in. As such, an audio newsletter helps the audience stay updated and engaged with a brand in a more manageable manner.

To top things off, the PwC Israel team is sharing updates via eardrums internally. The idea is to have employees and team members consume company documents, reports, and whatnot more conveniently, particularly in times and places where reading is not the best intake mode.

In terms of productivity, this is a major boost as audio eliminates one of the biggest obstacles to being productive - internal stimuli. The way we feel, how stressed and tired we are, and all kinds of distractions often stand in the way of better work output. Listening to something generally helps focus, tune out the noise, and enter a specific mind space that is conducive to work.

It’s just the nature of audio: our brain tends to process aural signals anywhere between 20 and 100 times faster than other senses. Hence, sound has a major impact in shaping an experience as it’s an element that our brain understands first and ties to an emotional response.

Thanks to audio AI, there is a variety of speaking styles to choose from. This makes it possible to leverage styles specifically developed for long-form audio content, thus creating more engaging content.

APM & Co - curated playlists and flash briefings

Another company ushering in this golden age of digital audio is APM & Co, one of the finest Israeli law firms.

Through custom-designed CMS, the company is distributing its content to streaming audio platforms such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and the like. In doing so, it’s referring its users to curated playlists containing the latest stories and updates from the world of law.

Going a step further, APM & Co is also extending its reach to voice assistants, where Alexa and Google Assistant act as new engagement channels. Through voice commands, the company’s audience can invoke flash briefings - voice-enabled short bursts of information typically a few minutes long - on a smart speaker or any other smart device that supports voice assistants.

Flash briefings offer numerous possibilities to create custom and portable content, as well as have it easily updatable to stay fresh and relevant. It’s a great format for daily or weekly updates and summaries.

Once again, synthesized speech uses a specific newscaster speaking style, which emphasizes certain words for a more realistic delivery of the content. Due to its unique flow and said emphasis, the AI voice makes the listening more memorable by helping highlight key points, divide the information into blocks, and express everything clearly. The listener knows they are hearing a news report, for instance, and that makes the experience all the better.

S&P Global - audio articles of financial information and analytics

In a more straightforward approach, S&P Global is offering an audio experience to its audience in the form of audio articles on its website.

As a leading provider of transparent and independent ratings, benchmarks, analytics, and data to the capital and commodity markets worldwide, the company has a treasure trove of content it audiofies every day. By making everything available via audio too, S&P Global’s site becomes a permanent destination where users will linger and browse more financial information.

This is because brand engagement is far stronger when au­dio is treated as an equal and vital aspect of the brand. As previously mentioned, sound has a direct influence over our decision-making, even subconsciously. As such, it helps shape the customer experience and build recall and loyalty over time and with repetition.

Final thoughts

Today’s digital age has created a wide array of touch points through which companies can interact with their customers, with audio becoming an important part of the brand’s voice. Simply put, people enjoy the ease and convenience of self-directed listening as they continue to find time for it.

From a workplace performance perspective, the pull of audio means there’s more multitasking than ever before. It’s a productivity booster that, for many, is the essential ingredient to success during productive moments.

All in all, the opportunity is massive for companies that want to be at a place where they can leverage free ear attention to productivity, engagement, and a whole lot of other use cases. The means are already there.

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