Unilever is putting voice control at the heart of its digital transformation, says global VP

By Johan De Mulder

Rahul Welde, Unilever's global vice-president for digital transformation, has revealed voice-powered search will be a significant part of its '5Cs' strategy.

Welde was speaking at last week's Festival of Marketing in London and emphasised how voice-controlled technology, such as the type used in Amazon's Alexa, has a key role to play for consumer-facing businesses.

Recent research from comScore suggests that up to 50% of all search will be voice-powered by 2020, with Silicon Valley leaders ploughing time and money into this area in recent years.

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Unilever's 5C framework - its strategy for navigating the connected landscape by looking at consumers, connecting, content, commerce and community - was officially unveiled last month.

It would use the technology to build closer relationships with customers, with customer interaction being the company's main emphasis going forward.

"In a couple of years’ time Alexa is going to be in every home more or less. The idea is a friction-free customer experience," said Welde.

"Alexa can enable brands to connect with consumers in a unique way. The simplest way to think about it is the same way you thought about mobile a few years back – that is going to happen to voice."

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