Unless you have kids you probably have
no idea what a fidget spinner is but you may have used voice
search. The reason for the connection will become clear soon
enough. I am a Dad of two, a 7 year old and 10 month baby.
Being a child of the 80's I am acutely aware of how quickly things
can change. I remember my first Walkman, my first Discman and
even when Netflix used to send you DVDs in the post.
The one constant is change and
technology has advanced so much that we get more impatient every
day. Something new is always around the corner but how long
it stays depends on how well it can meet a functional need whilst
also being able to continually innovate and adapt. Ultimately
this boils down to how people interact with it and how much of
their attention it can grab again and again, but spotting the
difference between a fad and a trend isn't easy.
So, the first time I heard about
fidget spinners was when my 7 year old Struan simply asked for one.
The conversation went something like this:
Struan: "Dad, can you get me a
fidget spinner, order it online so it can come tomorrow, I need it
Me: "What's a fidget spinner and
why do you need it for school?"
Struan: "It's a thing you spin
in your hand, look, I'll show you. Sam has one"
Me: "Ok, show me"
He quickly opened YouTube for kids,
tapped the voice search icon and quietly asked for the best fidget
spinners. This showed me how easily voice search worked for
him, and how he had no need to type, just simply swipe and choose a
video. Before I bought one I did my own research, I went old
school and typed in my search query. Once I filtered out the
adverts and other noise on the search page I discovered that this
isn't really a new product, it all started in 1993 as a tool to
help children with autism and ADHD focus.
concept has been around for a while the resurgence is really
down to product innovation. The decision as to whether or not these
new versions of the toy stick around is still up for debate but
there are hundreds if not thousands of variants. 17 out of
the top 20 toys on Amazon
are fidget spinners. The toy also goes beyond children, with
Forbes claiming these are the must have office toy for
2017. Meetings will have already been held by marketers on
how they can piggy back on this fidget spinner craze. Mostly
around how they can have their own
branded version or develop a digital version and sell it in the
Meeting the functional need
So how does this connect to voice
search other than my 7 year old son? Speaking aloud comes
naturally so it is no surprise that adoption is on the increase, it
is most definitely a trend. Changing people's behaviour through
products such as Siri, Alexa and OK Google as well as in the latest
TVs. Google stated recently that 20% of searches are now
voice. This will continue to grow especially as over 50% of total
searches are on a mobile device. Brands need to figure out
how to operate simply in the present whilst also having the
foresight to understand how consumers will behave in the
When it comes to brand success and
voice search I believe this lies in how they can use it to engage
with people in a natural way. At the moment my son is my
reference point, I look to see how he interacts with different
forms of media and products. The way he shifts from playing
online to playing in the physical world is seamless. Voice
search is all about making that natural connection immediately with
a contextually relevant, useful and trustworthy answer. The
important thing in all of this is to remember the user, at the end
of the day they ask the question and they choose the answer most
relevant to them.