Villing & Company

Amazon Echo Doesn't Need to Be the "Star Trek Computer" to Be Successful

The Amazon Echo is a pretty cool device. You’ll have to excuse my 90's kid lingo there but I'd say anything that can be completely controlled by voice and brings us closer to Star Trek becoming reality can be described as "pretty cool."

But why am I writing about it in this space? I'm sure many of you are, like me, intrigued by the "Internet of Things" and the Echo certainly falls in that category. However, I think there are also some valuable marketing insights here.

Listening to the Customer

As you may have noticed in the video I linked to above, the Echo was not widely released upon its announcement. Amazon decided to first run a beta test available on an invite-only basis to select few Amazon Prime users.

First off, by limiting the release to Amazon Prime users, you already have a loyal audience that will be most willing to offer feedback and assist in the process. On top of that, Amazon listened. Early reviews questioned some functionality aspects. The genius behind their limited release was that Amazon was able to improve the voice recognition as well as add in features during this beta test phase.

Now that the Echo is ready for its wide release, it is instantly being heralded as a gateway to the "Internet of Things" and a real game-changer. This is where Siri comes in…

Hype vs. Reality

Siri, the iconic Apple personal assistant, was met with similar pomp and circumstance back when she debuted in October 2011. Siri is a very useful tool, and her voice is known worldwide. Now, Siri is commonly the butt of jokes, and reality may not have met up to all the hype. However, it is undeniable that Siri is intertwined into the fabric of our culture, and that is no small feat. You see, people bought into the idea that Siri was groundbreaking and futuristic. Whether she has lived up to that is somewhat irrelevant.

So, will the Amazon Echo live up to the hype? Well, I highly doubt that it will truly usher in the Star Trek age. But check out Amazon's introduction video and you will see that the company is making bold claims in its advertising ("It's for everyone"). They obviously view the Echo as an important piece of their ongoing brandscape.

The bottom line is this: it doesn’t really matter whether Amazon Echo meets the lofty expectations. The fact that there are such lofty expectations is a win. This is being billed as a door to the future of the internet – being able to have connected homes. If Amazon can get people to buy into that idea, then I'd have to say that’s a success…even if it doesn’t come with my own, personal Spock.

Filed Under: branding

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