Creating a meaningful connection with customers, fans, and followers is a major key for any successful brand. Nike has it, Apple has it, even Twitter has one, and no two brands are the same.
In a chatbot, it’s essential to create an experience that connects to the audience in a relatable and useful way. A few of the unique strengths of chatbots as a medium is that you can be personalized, state aware, and engage with your audience in an active way, instead of a passive, one sided push notification, website, or social update they’re used to seeing.
Creating a powerful, unique personality is one of the most important tasks in designing a conversational bot aimed at acquiring a specific audience.
When thinking of your bot’s personality, you can start with the following questions:
Now, here’s 5 tips to help you make it real:
1. Get Into Character.
Your brand’s personality is what helps you stand out. The way you sound, look, and feel identifies you, makes you “human” to the user, and helps customers relate to you. Creating these ties builds an engaging experience, but even further, let’s you build trust to sell to your customer, which is the ultimate goal of an acquisition bot. You get them, now they want what you have.
Here is an example of a brand persona:
She has 100k followers on her vaporwave aesthetic Tumblr, is well versed in every meme, has an etsy slime store, goes to EDC, and is only 17. Talking to her might make you feel old, but she has thousands of friends online that are just like her. From the inside, intricately crafted fandoms rule all and “weird” translates to good.
With this character, you’d have a lot of room to be flexible creatively, and the direction is clearly more like a cool, young cosmetics brand than a luxury skincare product with an older target. It’s the Milk Makeup to their Mary Kay Cosmetics.
2. Know Your People.
To sound authentic to your audience, you need to know them. If you don’t, they’ll move on. Evaluate how they talk, and what they’re interested in to help you craft your character. A customer of Spirit Airlines is different than one from Virgin Airlines.
Spirit knew that, which is why they created the funny (and relatable) campaign “cheap flights for cheap asses.” To truly know your people, do a bit of research. Look at the interests and brands that your customers like aside from yours.
Find subcultures. Know the influencers they trust, and why. Knowing the underlying interests of your audience can help build a stronger connection with them through your voice, and your bot’s copy.
3. Tone It Up.
Tone is a subset of voice, that shades based on the audience and where they are in your flow. Tone changes depending on the emotional state of the person you’re addressing. As part of creating your voice, establish multiple scenarios that your tone will shift, and what that will sound like.
For example, when a user is going through your on-boarding flow in a predictable way, they stay on the story line. When they enter the fail state, the tone changes to a more apologetic one (oops, we messed up), but the real way you’ll flex your tone muscle, is by staying on brand, and using that fail opportunity to say something creative that they aren’t expecting (like BarkBox exclaiming — Sorry I didn’t understand, but I’m just a dog…). You may have different tones for different flows, like the on-boarding, fail state, customer support, etc.
4. Crush Your Competition.
Why do people care about your brand, more than your competitors? Identifying the voices of your competitors or other bots you like can help you take your own to the next level. Why are you different? How is this experience different for your customer? How can you deepen the experience? See where you can contrast them, or create stronger niche ties where they lack. Establish ways to be more creative, more unique, and crush them.
5. Document Everything.
Your brand is nothing without your process. Keeping your character in your head, or having only one person be responsible for knowing and writing with the brand voice will only grow inconsistencies.
The best way to use (and constantly refine) your voice is to document it. If you have a team, have everyone write down how they would describe your brand voice, then go through each of the tips above, and document who your brand is, and how that relates to your bot.
Thinking of your brand first before you jump in to conversation design will set you up for success, both in the design itself, and in the actual bot. For more on how to design the conversation of your bot, check out this post.