- Steve Aoki, the star record producer and disc jockey, is promoting his new album titled Kolony with a chatbot on Microsoft’s Skype platform. Chatbot studio Imperson developed the bot that lets fans chat with Aoki and get access to exclusive videos, branded emojis and other interactive experiences, according to a blog post.
- The bot is available for 10 weeks as Aoki travels worldwide to promote the new album. Imperson worked closely with Aoki’s team to capture his tone of voice and personality. The bot was developed with Microsoft’s Bot Framework, which can be used to create rich cards with quick actions and real-time audio and video, according to its website.
- Aoki, who lives and works in Las Vegas, last week introduced a special edition t-shirt from his Vision Street Wear line to benefit victims and families of the Oct. 1 mass shooting in the city. He pledged to donate 100% of the net proceeds to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund, according to Paper magazine.
Chatbots meant to reflect a celebrity's or other well-known person's personality are one way marketers are trying to focus on the conversational skills of a bot. In the case of Steve Aoki’s bot, the conversations are intended to convey his enthusiasm for cake, music and club entertainment. For fans of the DJ, the bot will enable them to follow his day-to-day life as he travels on tour and feel like they are part of the experience. Users can also choose from an array of stickers to try on Aoki's hairstyle or share one of his favorite expressions.
Facebook's Messenger has dominated the conversation about chatbots so far but Microsoft clearly wants young consumers to know that they take advantage of many of the same capabilities with Skype.
Chatbots have been derided for their inability to mimic real human conversation, and tech giants like Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft are developing artificial intelligence capabilities that build on past experience to improve interactions. But conversational platforms should be considered an addition, not a replacement for human-to-human contact, according to a report last month from media agency Mindshare.
Brands need to be honest with consumers and let them know when a machine is handling an interaction and not a real person. Marketers also need to be mindful of the chatbot’s personality and tone to ensure that it reflects the qualities of the brand.
AI systems are capable of monitoring mood and the tone of voice, but they struggle with handling consumer complaints and should give customers more information about resolving any major concerns. Mindshare recommends identifying when a handoff to a human is likely to be needed and to have systems in place to implement the transition quickly and seamlessly. Chatbots also should be limited to handle straightforward and simple tasks, without trying to do everything at once.