Chatbots: A race to refine | POV: People vs. Machines

By Amanda Hechinger: Manager, Strategic Innovation, Life+, Mindshare North America

Tuesday in Cannes started much like the last few days – a sunny stroll down the Croissette with a buttery baguette in hand!

Chatbots and messaging were big themes today with sessions like Speak Easy – The Rise of Voice Technology as well as Digital Voice, Human Conversations. That said, there weren’t any groundbreaking takeaways. Much of the conversation was a bit redundant and centered around best practices that I feel the industry is already aware of. They emphasized that bots need to have utility for the consumer by offering contextually relevant experiences that will keep them coming back. Messaging is scientifically proven to be addictive with bots presenting a new, intimate way for brands to not only directly connect with their audience, but also gain invaluable insights to leverage for future initiatives. In the next five years, it’s Life+’s prediction that every brand will have a chatbot in the market. This means that consumers will be flooded and overwhelmed with the thousands of chatbot options, so they’ll be extremely picky which brands ultimately get their attention. It will pay off to be an early adopter as users are more likely to become loyal to a branded chatbot when they receive immediate value. For advertisers, it’s truly a race to refine!

After knocking back a cappuccino or two, I stopped by the Facebook beach lounge and boy, did they ever do it right. As you approach their tent, they placed an extra-large Facebook Messenger code at the entrance, so that once you scan within the app, a chatbot experience helps you navigate the Cannes Lions event schedule. You could checkout virtual reality at the Oculus booth or scan to explore some of Facebook’s promoted partner chatbots like Spotify and McDonald’s, all while munching on some mini ham and cheese sandwiches. It’s a hungry, tech girl’s dream!

Chatbots weren’t the only technology we came in contact with today. We ended with a yacht excursion sponsored by MMS on the picturesque Mediterranean and they brought along a drone! It captured amazing footage of all of us jumping off the boat and swimming in the Sea, showcasing how tech can be equal parts utility and entertainment.

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