The Drum and Ogilvy PR Creative Tech Breakfast #botumentary

Earlier this week, the Distillery London team headed to @TheDrum and @OgilvyUK to learn more about the launch of The Drum’s very own Facebook Messenger Bot and subsequent film #botumentary, which will allow the popular creative industry news source to deliver content to its readers on a much more personal, relevant and effective level.

 Photo Credit: Sav Evangelou ( @savlondon )

Photo Credit: Sav Evangelou (@savlondon)

Heading up the panel was The Drum’s very own editor Stephen Lepitak (@StephenLepitak) with guest speakers Elizabeth Valleau (@valleau), Creative Strategist for Facebook; Chris Brown, Head of Brand and Marketing for LEVEL Airlines; Jo Coombs (@joc00mbs), CEO of OgilvyOne UK and James Whatley (@Whatleydude), Experience Planning Partner for OgilvyOne UK joining the debate.


The brand new #botumentary film we got to preview, explored how brands can use bots to deliver their content effectively, as well as expand their audience whilst creating a trusted and branded experience for the user. So what does this mean for you and your brand, and what are the benefits? 

Following the screening, Chris Brown, Head of Brand and Marketing for LEVEL Airlines kicked off the debate by succinctly explaining that in order for bots to be really useful for your brand, they must solve a problem and greatly enhance customer experience.  If they don’t do this, then they are pointless. An example of a ‘bad bot’ he provided was the use of bot concierge by Hilton which saw the birth of the ‘Connie’ bot who can navigate guests around the hotel and provide local tourist recommendations. For Chris this was simply a bot built for bots sake - where is the intimate relationship so important to the travel industry and how does this bot add value to a human concierge desk? A quick poll around the Distillery office led to the answer, that in this instance, whilst exciting, the ‘Connie’ bot simply does not improve upon the intimate and trusted relationship which face-to-face human concierge offers.

Key benefits of bots drawn out from the panel, include how they improve customer experience, minimise the mundane and provide customers with a greater sense of inspiration. It is certainly an exciting development amongst brands that the information and content personal to each individual customer, is available at even less than a touch of a button. The future possibility of a ‘superbot’ which amalgamates all your personal information, searches, likes / dislikes, desires and interests to greatly enhance your quality of life is certainly something to look forward to.

But what about privacy? This is something that is a hotly debated topic within the world of bots as well as social media in general. Elizabeth from Facebook assured us that the technology behind their messenger bots is extremely secure and that privacy is at the forefront of Facebook’s continued expansion. Yet Jo raised an interesting point: could bots such as the infamous ‘Alexa’ be called upon in a court of law in the future?  

Elizabeth summarised the future of bots neatly: “the desire for personalisation is the future of bots, they are a knowledgeable entity that can provide the user with recommendations more intimately”. She advised to brands that “nuance and voice is key” and most importantly “try to build bots that you won’t be embarrassed by in 5 years time”.

You can check out the Botumentary film here:

We at The Distillery are excited to see bots expand across our favourite brands and will certainly be checking out The Drum's Facebook Messenger bot - watch this space for the future of bots!