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Developing voice-based branding: insights from the Mercedes case

Maria Vernuccio (Department of Management, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy)
Michela Patrizi (Department of Management, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy)
Alberto Pastore (Department of Management, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 6 July 2020

Issue publication date: 21 May 2021




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.


A 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.


In 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/implications

Although 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 implications

The results may be a useful conceptual reference for managers involved in designing brand voice and brand experience based on NBVAs.


This 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.



We would like to express our gratitude to the Editor, Prof. Cleopatra Veloutsou, and each of the Reviewers, whose comments encouraged us to improve the quality of our article. We would also like to extend a warm thanks to all the managers of Mercedes-Benz, CELI and the other technology partners, who supported us during the research.


Vernuccio, M., Patrizi, M. and Pastore, A. (2021), "Developing voice-based branding: insights from the Mercedes case", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 726-739.



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