Brands and marketers are in the best possible position to take advantage of chatbots. They have accessible stories to tell, and a license to have fun with a powerful communication tool. According to chatbot platform SnatchBot, brands and marketers represent the sixth most common business use case. Certainly, they are the most exciting, with plenty of buzz around chatbot launches and most likely to generate any press or positive vibe. 

What most brands aren’t saying is how well their bots perform, either in terms of meeting general expectations or hitting a set business goal. This lack of knowledge may hold back many brands from going beyond experiments, but it should not be too long before breakout cases highlight distinct value and benefits that others will wish to replicate.

Where The Brands’ Bots Are!

From Facebook to Twitter and other touchpoints, bots represent the perfect host. With 24-hour availability, access to much of a company’s knowledge and, if crafted properly, the ability to represent the brand with humour, awareness and skill across a brand’s fan base. From the likes of Nike (create a style of sneaker) to Heineken (a big sports fan), the BBC to Vogue and Starbucks to LIDL, they show various successful ways to run a bot.

Starbucks’ bot helps you order coffee, keeping things simple. LIDL’s can help recommend a suitable wine for your meat choice, while the others offering varying levels of insight and information into what the brand is doing, with a range of interactions.

British bank TSB doesn’t have a chatbot, which is a shame as their customer support people could use a break. Thanks to their catastrophic IT failure and customers complaining and supporting each other across social media, a chatbot could help the business solve a few of the many queries and reduce some of the angst! Imagine how many other brands wish they’d have a bot to handle some reputation management issues in a crisis.

Telling Stories & Making Friends

While most businesses will limit their chatbot to answering basic queries, making bookings or attempting some sales, brands have stories to tell. Brands can use chatbots to highlight the origin of a product, how it is enriching the lives of other customers or devotees, all from a “do you want to know more” perspective that can entice and entertain users, certainly the millennials who follow brands more slavishly than other age groups.

This freedom creates ways to improve engagement, people don’t just want to know about the products the brand sells, but the lifestyle and events that surround or relate to it. Brands are used to telling these stories in advert form, but how many more times must fake aviators flog watches, busy housewives revel in a new cleaning or sanitary product, or plastic travellers revel in an off-the-beaten-track experience.

Chatbots enable brands to talk to the consumer and tailor or concoct a story that will resonate with them. Chatbots can present images and video to help tell the story, and invite the customer to share in the story, both in the social media sense, and adding their own content to build new stories to share with others.

That level of relationship building takes some skill, both in chatbot design and use of language, but will appeal to marketers looking to build something organic, rather than plant fake coconuts around another Photoshop fruit juice image.

Bots For The Smarter Brand

Most brands will have already understood the value of chatbots, but been reticent about launching into a full campaign. So many brands file these projects as beta-tests, experiments or trials. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before all brands are committing to fully-realised campaigns, with marketing and awareness campaigns to help ensure a fair chance of success.

For any brand or story-focused company, the time is right to build a bot now. Bot design services like SnatchBot put the onus on a good story and not the need to understand complex technology.

They come with built-in deployment to many social media and communications services, cloud analytics for an instant understanding of engagement and the ability to identify any flaws in the bot. They also provide Natural Language Processing to better understand customer comments, with AI the next step in helping bots learn how to offer the best experience and provide greater brand knowledge without extensive training.

Bots are here, and helping brands innovate compared to their usual marketing. Is your brand ready to embrace the power of the chatbot?