Wendy Glavin, Founder & CEO, Wendy Glavin Agency
In 2017, I attended FoST, The Future of Storytelling at Staten Island’s Botanical Gardens. It was two jam-packed days, full of workshops, team exercises and panel discussions with guests from varying sectors, including, corporate, agency, government, academia, entertainment, technology, futurists, and more. Walking amidst 83-acres felt like a retreat.
Prior to the event, we chose workshops and events we wanted to attend. Having covered many events about fake news, Russian bots impacting the election, and knowing people’s fear about losing their jobs to AI and robots, I chose to attend “Building with Chatbots” to learn more.
Hosted by Klasien van de Zandsculp, Co-Founder of Lava Labs Design and Technology, based in Amsterdam, she explained chatbots:
- Non-linear storytelling
- Dialogue designed to make your audience feel part of the story
- First-person storytelling
- Daily usage via chat, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, and WeChat
- Integrates easily with social media
As an example, Arjan Scherpenisse, Founder of Botsquad illustrated a use of chatbots with a curated museum guide for visitors at the Amsterdam Museum. “We are just at the start of chatbot usage within the museum world. The real-world examples we found illustrate how chatbots are a great way to engage with people,” ChatBot Magazines, 2017: https://chatbotsmagazine.com/how-museums-are-using-chatbots-5-real-world-examples-34e9d4858dd9
Klasien and Anton Lamberg, graphic designer for Lava Design, asked us to create a chatbot using Cleopatra’s life story as the basis of their workshop. They divided the audience into groups of two, handed us a 12-scene script, with three lines per scene, and a laptop.
When my teammate, Nick started typing, I asked if he was a coder. When he said, “Yes” I thought, Thank God, because I have no idea what to do.
Our scene was #12 with this description: Cleopatra heard that Antony was killed. Cleopatra decided to commit suicide. Cleopatra was bitten by a cobra. Our first “prompt” was, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”
Nick typed: Cleopatra heard Antony was killed. I said, we need to make this funny. Let’s add more engaging text and visuals: Was he held captive? No, but he had a gun, with emojis.
Nick typed, Cleopatra decided to commit suicide. I added several yes, and no responses: Let’s talk it through, what about your jewels? and, you have other reasons to live, with more emojis. For the last scene, we added a gif of a cobra, RIP, and more emojis.
When all the teams completed their chatbots, Klasien, Anton, and Arjan streamed our bots together which generated new storylines based on the information teams provided. The overall narrative was hilarious. The chatbot was created in Facebook Messenger.
After, I spoke with Klasien, Anton, and Arjan and told them I was surprised I could contribute. Arjan said, “If you can create narrative you don’t need sophisticated programming knowledge.” As a content marketer, I can create storylines. Anton said, “It’s like bridges on a tree. All the branches need to tie back to the trunk, or core.”
With content overload, chatbots are personalized, immediate, interactive, and engaging. A content strategy for chatbots incorporates the same questions content marketing asks: Who is the target audience? What do they need or want? What is the call-to-action? How can I get them to participate or purchase?
“Bots that are designed to segment and engage customers throughout the entire conversation drive higher metrics than chatbots that do not personalize the conversation. For example, in our testing, personalized results yielded the highest click-through to website, up to 74 percent in some cases” – Venture Beat, 2018: https://venturebeat.com/2018/01/05/4-things-i-learned-building-chatbots-for-major-brands-in-2017/
In 2018, conversational APIs will create standardization and minimize friction as businesses engage with customers with application-person messaging chatbots. In branding, creating a story with the right messaging is important. Just as I did with Nick for our 12th-scene in Cleopatra’s story, writers and developers can work together to create the character, and the language.
As marketers get more used to integrating chatbots into the customer experience experts say the focus may evolve beyond merely service-related issues and driving sales. “It’s really about the guest interaction or engagement, and [being] able to serve up relevant answers with a series of interactions that are positive-feeling and with the actual answer they were looking for,” said Justine Santa Cruz, vice-president at Satisfi Labs. – Mobile Marketer, 2018: https://www.mobilemarketer.com/news/how-marketers-can-sharpen-their-chatbot-strategies-in-2018/513781/
Santa Cruz suggested that even if chatbots still seem like complicated technology, the underlying needs are not.
“It’s like conducting a Google search — consumers just want quality answers, no matter where they ask that question,” she said.