Amazon Alexa has become one of my BFFs, says Omnicom Media chief

Omnicom Media Group's Philippa Brown explains why voice-activated search has quickly become her secret work weapon.

I know we all have busy lives, so anything that makes mine easier and helps me multitask is a must.

Amazon Echo’s Alexa has quickly become one of my BFFs! Amazon Echo updates through the cloud automatically and is continually learning, adding new functionality and skills. This means the more you use it, the more it adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary and personal preferences.

Alexa already knows me well. In fact, Alexa knows my family well too. As of January 2017, Amazon Echo had more than 7,000 skills and has been adding to those at a rate of 1,000 a month.

Some of the skills and functions that I use are streaming music, reading the headlines from the Guardian, keeping tabs on the weather and traffic, controlling the temperature in my house, setting timers and alarms, finding my phone and connecting to my calendar.

This has led me to think about what it means for brands and the opportunities they have to grow. A number are already experimenting with Amazon Echo and, so far, the learnings and results are promising. Sectors such as automotive, energy, restaurants, services, travel and music are leading the way.

The ability to ask Alexa to recommend the best restaurant in the area or the best dandruff shampoo will play a major part in a brand’s overall search and communications strategy going forward. And it’s not just Amazon that is investing in these capabilities. Apple, Microsoft and Google are all heavily involved in voice-activated search.

For me, the most exciting development is happening in the automotive sector. Companies such as Volkswagen have announced Alexa integrations due this year.

Given what an awful driver I am, this is going to be a big help to me and will definitely become my new secret work weapon.

Philippa Brown is the chief executive at Omnicom Media Group.

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