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By adopting a managerial perspective, this study aims to deepen how the strategic role of brand voice is conceived in the design of in-car name-brand voice assistants (NBVAs), how the brand experience based on NBVAs is designed and how the NBVA brand experience might influence customer brand engagement (CBE). The ultimate aim is to develop an interpretative theoretical framework for developing voice-based branding through NBVAs.Design/methodology/approachA qualitative research approach with the analysis of a single in-depth case study is followed: the NBVA developed in-house by Mercedes, which was the first NBVA launched in the automotive market.FindingsIn the design of the NBVA, a key role was assigned to the brand voice in developing the brand’s anthropomorphic profile. Driving safety, consistency with the corporate identity, human-like interaction, dynamic personalisation and connectivity emerged as the strategic criteria for designing the NBVA brand experience, which was oriented towards the pursuit of multiple CBE dimensions.Research limitations/implicationsAlthough the qualitative empirical contribution of this study differs from statistical generalisations, the research insights are analytically generalisable. The insights emerging from the study could guide future research on voice-based branding.Practical implicationsThe results may be a useful conceptual reference for managers involved in designing brand voice and brand experience based on NBVAs.Originality/valueThis study is the first empirical contribution to the marketing literature about voice-based branding in an innovative experiential field, a topic that, thus, far has been poorly analysed.
Journal of Product & Brand Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 21, 2021
Keywords: Brand experience; Customer brand engagement; Brand anthropomorphism; Brand voice; Name-brand voice assistant
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