BetterBrand launches chatbot marketing platform for messaging apps

Former agency strategist Asaf Amir discusses his startup and the future of the chatbot

Chatbots are the hottest new tool in digital marketing. Facebook unveiled a new chatbot platform for Messenger this week. And brands such as Microsoft, Taco Bell and KLM are experimenting with how to best use them.

BetterBrand thinks it can help. CEO Asaf Amir launched the London-based startup last week with a new chatbot marketing platform that helps publishers, brands and agencies get their chatbots up and talking.

Amir, a former strategic planner at Saatchi & Saatchi Israel, claims it’s the first of its kind — a company that is dedicated to chatbot marketing and communications for apps. Its technology platform allows clients to set up customized programmed conversations and create chatbots for multiple messaging apps. With an online content editor, clients can select conversation templates within a decision tree layout. Next month, the company will add a self-service system that will allow clients to create bots on their own.

BetterBrand, which also has offices in New York and Tel Aviv, currently supports Facebook Messenger, Kik, Viber, Slack, Telegram and KakaoTalks. It will soon also support WhatsApp, WeChat and QQ. 

Amir spoke to Campaign US about the chatbot revolution, what types of companies are most likely to best use them and why some agencies are already falling behind.

Why are chatbots good for marketing? 
Chatbots are proving to be especially effective for marketing. They successfully mimic the one-on-one interactions people have with their friends and family, offering recommendations and calls-to-action that feel more like word of mouth than advertising.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using chatbots? 
Advantages are reaching a large new audience on chat apps, and being able to automate that conversation whilst providing a more tailored and personalized approach to marketing. One disadvantage (that will only improve as time goes on) is that chatbots are currently dependent on the technological capabilities of each individual chat platform they reside on.  

What kinds of companies are likely to most quickly adopt chatbots?
Publishers will be the fastest to adopt chatbots in their marketing. Next, it will be retailers and everything connected to e-commerce, and then the entertainment and sports industries. Still, I believe the implementation of chatbots will happen faster than it took for social networks.

What's a good example of a brand using a chatbot? 
KLM using a chatbot for flight information and bookings on Facebook Messenger.

Besides messaging apps, where else do you see chatbots popping up?
From Siri and Watson, to advanced Help Centers and pre-recorded telephone customer service, chatbots are already impacting the way we do business. Chatbots will pop up in e-commerce sites, airport check-in stands and grocery store checkout registers.

How tailored should the chatbot be to the brand?
Brand authenticity should never be compromised, therefore it is in your best interests to always keep the brand persona front of mind when creating a bot.

Are creative agencies already falling behind? 
Absolutely. Chatbots are the next frontier — they offer a unique conversational take on marketing that is still very much in its infancy, it's the more niche agencies rather than established ad agencies that are specializing in this. The demand is actually coming from the clients.

Will young people chat with brands as much as they do with their friends? 
Much will depend on how brands maintain engagement and their ability to offer something new and exciting each time. This isn't just limited to young people — although they are the ones driving the revolution. Soon everyone will be engaging with chatbots as chat apps become the new browsers and bots become the new websites.

So, they can be more enjoyable?
When was the last time you called a customer service rep and actually enjoyed the experience? Chatbots will solve this problem.

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