Brand Strategies for Conversational Interfaces

At Dashbot , we recently hosted a meetup in NYC to discuss brand strategies in conversational interfaces. As the space continues to mature, more brands are getting involved and moving from experimental to production deployments. We assembled a great group of industry experts to share their thoughts and tips for brands looking to build a chatbot or voice skill.
Our panelists included:

Alec Truitt, Global Product Partnerships, Google Assistant

Anamita Guha, Global Lead of Product Management, IBM Q

Antonio Cucciniello, Senior Software Developer, Reprise Digital

Brian Plaskon, Senior Product Manager, Realogy Holdings

What use cases are brands developing for?
Our panelists see a wide variety of use cases from customer service, productivity tools, and information sharing to entertainment and marketing initiatives.
At IBM, they work with everyone from individual developers to Fortune 20 enterprises. The most common use case, though, is customer care. Large enterprises go to IBM given their ability to handle sensitive data across industry and geographic regulations.
Google works with a similar range of users and enterprises. The use cases for Google Assistant Actions depend on the context — in the home (recipes, home automation), mobile (games, local search), or in the car on the go (communication, messaging).
Reprise Digital, a global marketing agency, tends to work with brands looking to experiment on a new platform, market their products, or provide information and FAQs. Given voice is a new platform, there are some set of brands that want to be first on it. We also see this frequently with innovation teams experimenting in voice. On the text chatbot side, Reprise generally sees brands looking to promote their products or answer FAQs.
Realogy, the real estate holding company for Century21, Coldwell Banker, Sotheby’s, and more, developed its own voice skill, AgentX. Agent X is a productivity skill that enables real estate agents to quickly get information, including their appointments, market research, and listing information — all without the need to open their laptop.
Tips from the experts — what works well for conversational interfaces?
Context is key
A common theme throughout the evening was the importance of context. Where is the user? What are they currently doing? What are they looking for or to do? What are the capabilities of the device?
In addition to the three contexts Alec pointed out earlier (in the home, mobile, and in the car), he recommended also considering when will the user interacts with the chatbot and how the user expects to interact with it. If the user is in the car, they cannot use their hands. If they are at home getting a recipe, having something visual can help. If the user wants to play a game, but is on a device without a screen, perhaps a quiz is better.
Whether the...