Chatbots as Brand Touch Points

Susann Pocha
1 February 2022

This past year, we have designed and refined a wide range of chatbots. One project was particularly challenging because it required a chatbot with more than 400 intents, multiple audiences, multiple languages, and multiple touch points.

In the process, we had the opportunity to try out and learn a lot, which we would like to share with you in this post. You will find out what’s involved in developing chatbots and why it’s so important to keep enhancing them.

Get to Know The Business, Brand, and Users

When starting to work with a customer, it is essential to get to know and understand them: Who is the customer? What does their brand stand for and what problem needs to be solved? What is the business model? What do we want and what can we achieve with a chatbot? And for whom? Which challenges are significant for which target groups?

Any such questions help to gain a profound understanding of the users’ needs and the customer’s demands. In the process, we analyze possible interactions and synergies. The goal is to define what the chatbot should be capable of and how it can make a contribution.

For this purpose, we usually conduct workshops with the customer. Such joint development is important not only to clarify expectations, but above all to see what is feasible. In addition to defining the goals of the chatbot development, this serves as the basis for later collaboration. For the aforementioned chatbot, this specifically meant to:minimize the volume of inquiries to the service centerlive up to the promise of high-quality serviceengage with customers at all timealign the user experience with the brand and its values

In addition, it is useful to develop a common basic understanding of the chatbot personality because, in our experience, it is essential for further decisions and developments.

Develop a Distinct Personality for the Bot

It’s much like us humans: the more unique a bot is, the more memorable it is.

For chatbots, the brand personality equals the user experience. We therefore attach particular importance to designing the chatbot to match the brand. If the behavior of the chatbot does not correspond to the expected brand behavior, it does not contribute to an authentic brand perception.

To understand the brand of our customer described here, we first developed a brand personality from which we later derived important attributes for the chatbot. We start by asking what type of person the brand might be. What makes them tick? What are their specific characteristics, interests, and traits? How and where do they live? It’s okay to be creative! At the same time, it helps to also keep in mind what you spontaneously associate with the brand.

Later, when the bot personality is created, an array of associations with the brand are incorporated, helping to create a strong, distinct character that responds appropriately to its users and — while potentially different from the brand personality — is still consistent with the brand. Just as the service staff at Apple stores represent the Apple brand, but are still distinct personalities.

Our sample bot personality has the following core attributes that make it stand out as a character, being:humanfocusedvisionary

It may help to match such attributes with so-called archetypes in order to gain an even clearer understanding of the personality. These archetypes are models from psychology that categorize certain personality attributes and ur-forms of human beings. We use the 12 archetypes by Carol S. Pearson as a guide, with our sample bot corresponding to the protector and the hero. Accordingly, it strives to support its users, to help them, but also to act competently and courageously as a “rock in the surf”.

From this preliminary work we later deduced design principles, which we transferred to the look and feel of the chatbot, its tone of voice, as well as its user guidance and navigation.

Defining the Tone of Voice

As a next step, the bot personality is to be experienced linguistically. This involves defining the way the chatbot writes or speaks. The tone of voice (read more about it in our article), also called text tonality or brand voice, is crucial for this.

It should always be clearly communicated to the user that he or she is talking to a chatbot — and not a human being. Doing so avoids irritation, creates transparency, and sets a clear expectation. The chatbot from our example clarifies this by introducing itself as a “virtual assistant”. Still, a name for a chatbot can make perfect sense because it can strengthen the connection to the brand and also underline its individual personality.

Designing a Chatbot-Human Dialog Structure

In order to simulate the possible conversation flows, it helps to script ideal dialog sequences and to map them in flows. Using methods from UX design, a good user experience with the chatbot is laid out. Decision trees are used to outline how the dialog between user and chatbot might unfold. What we know is that a natural conversation usually does not run in a linear fashion.

The chatbot from our example was to provide a wide range of information about our customer’s product. It was supposed to know the answer to a large number of questions from different user groups. However, depending on each user group, the contexts of the conversation were completely different. For example, a salesperson has different questions than a consumer and a press representative has different questions than a sponsor. To adapt the UX of the chatbot to the needs of the different groups, we optimized the start of the conversation with an initial query.

In addition, we have anticipated other likely dialogs that can be summarized as “small talk”. Indeed, our experience shows that people also use empty phrases or ask follow-up questions about the weather when talking to a chatbot. Be it to challenge the bot or because certain manners in natural language are standardized and run partly subconsciously.

In any case, it is important to present as many conversation scenarios as possible. The more the bot knows and the more versatile it reacts, the greater the added value for the brand and the user.

Embracing the Chatbot as a Living Brand Experience

Chatbots are living creatures that can and even must adapt to user and brand needs. Only with real user input can the bot personality and user guidance, so carefully crafted beforehand, be tested. Does the chatbot correctly recognize user intents, does it provide the appropriate answers, is it used actively and on a recurring basis, or does it often get stuck?

Based on our projects in the areas of branded conversations and conversational AI, we know that users sometimes find it difficult to articulate questions and concerns. In such cases, the potential and benefits of the bot can only be exploited to a limited extent. In this project, too, such a trend became apparent quite quickly in the monitoring. Therefore, we adjusted our user guidance concept: We clustered all topics and knowledge domains to transfer them into a scheme for suggestions. Depending on the previous answer, the chatbot would propose further questions. By doing so, our chatbot was able to live up to the “hero” archetype and provide competent assistance to those seeking information. We quickly saw that this customization brought significant benefits to the chatbot’s users.


Interested in learning more about chatbots? Feel free to visit our website or contact us at We are happy to help you!