How can you bring your brand and brand values to life online in an innovative way? In the run-up to BATIBOUW, bathroom and kitchen specialists Van Marcke took the test with a genuine chat bot: Bath Bot – or BadBot or RoboBain for our Dutch and French-speaking friends, respectively. The icing on the cake? This campaign won a Cuckoo Award for ‘Best Innovative Ideas’.
Duke & Grace supplied the analysis and strategy, concept and design, development, traffic and conversion optimisation.
Every year around two weeks before BATIBOUW, the questions start pouring in on social media. As a brand it’s no mean feat to stand out amongst the competition, let alone pinpoint your true prospect in a sea of potential customers.
Nevertheless, Van Marcke wants to claim that moment to give fans a taste of what they can expect from Van Marcke at BATIBOUW: intelligent, personalised solutions custom-tailored to the new (digital native) consumer.
The Van Marcke Bath Bot - or BadBot or RoboBain - is actually an example of this type of solution. This AI chat bot with a healthy dose of dry wit was released exactly one week before the start of BATIBOUW.
Objective? Provide interested prospects with proof of concept of Van Marcke’s intelligent, one-to-one solutions prior to their visit to BATIBOUW.
A real chatterbox
Since no one enjoys talking to a computer, Bath Bot received a crash course in character building. As a result, it has its own personality and voice.
What’s more, every conversation is fuelled by a clever combination of scripting and artificial intelligence. In this way our hero is able to formulate fitting answers to off-script questions. It’s a system that constantly enriches itself.
The naval battle for the largest chat channel is yet undecided. However, at the moment Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular chat channels and it allows advertisers to add ‘Send message’ to advertisements as a call to action. It’s easy to see why Bath Bot instantly felt like a fish in water here. A clever mix of paid, owned and earned media stimulate its growth.
Social stream of consciousness
Via Facebook and Instagram ads, Bath Bot is inserted into the social streams of carefully selected target groups. The sneak preview is reserved for those interested in building or renovations, people with connections who like Van Marcke, and those who frequently like design-related topics. We also support the organic growth of the campaign through emailings to the fans of Van Marcke and Livios, sponsored content on livios.be and Ik ga bouwen. A strong employee ambassadorship does the rest.
The result? Bath Bot is a smash hit. In just 7 days Bath Bot engaged in 1,212 conversations. 75% of those people stuck it out to the conclusion and answered all the questions to stand a chance to win free tickets. Bath Bot’s playful humour strikes the right nerve and people immediately adopt an amical attitude towards ‘their little Bath Bot’, even when it is not able to instantly answer their questions.
A source of market research
In addition to the instantly measurable results, Bath Bot also proved a source of valuable insights. These insights will serve us well in Van Marcke’s subsequent creative campaigns. For instance, the fact that ⅔ of Belgians prefer a shower to a bath. And that they easily use up 80 litres of water per shower. This is proof positive that there is indeed a sizable market for Van Marcke’s eco shower in Belgium.
Modest experiment, major consequences
Conversational interfaces are becoming more established in consumer circles and as a result, they are becoming part and parcel of the marketing mix and customer service offered by brands. The reactions to Bath Bot were so heartwarming (and the results were so convincing) that Van Marcke aims to integrate chat technology into its customer service on a permanent basis. The benefits of a 24/7 personal interaction option with the consumer speak for themselves. And the icing on the cake? Our Bath Bot bagged a Cuckoo Award for ‘Best Innovative Ideas’.