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Future Proof Ideas since 2005, by Erwin van Lun

Don’t even TRY to relevant in Facebook Messenger!

Bots in Facebook MessengerAs you know, I've been working with chatbots since 2005. It has been silent for years but with the introduction of the Facebook #Chatbot platform we've entered another hype. It seems that every innovative company now wants to be in the friend list of a consumers. Well, let me tell you what to take care for.

So, I've added quite a few Facebook messenger chatbots in order to test them (they want to be added to the directory). The first thing these bots do is to start sending. After a few days I can't find the messages of my friends anymore. The first thing I did is to remove them again.

What chatbots are really about is to answer questions, to be relevant in time. How can you possibly know when you're relevant as a single brand? You've possible attended many workshops with that theme but the true answer is: you can't. That what we see right now. You can't, you simply can't. Let me explain.

In my predictions in 2004, I wrote about the rise of ‘transaction brands’. Well, that is what your company or product brand probably is. Make sure you’ll stay with it. Make the best possible products you can ever imagine, provide the best possible service and trust consumers will spread the word (you can help them of course).

Aside to transaction brands, I also wrote about the rise of ‘personal brands’ (I’ve renamed them later in coaching brands). These are specialised in a theme, for example: ‘travel’. As a consumer, you’ve given them access to your diary, your previous trips, to your, Uber- and AirBnB- accounts. They know whether you have a driving license, what the expiry date is, how experienced you are as a driver in which countries, and they know your fluency in languages and whether you have the guts to go to an area that is not so safe. Based on all this input (and more) they can be relevant in the area of travel. And THEN then can show up in messenger. They don’t earn money with a single brand or items, but they commission per item you buy in their domain OR you simply pay them a monthly subscription because they are so relevant.

Most single brands of today are transaction brands. Don’t even try to be relevant, but stay with service only. ‘hey, it is time to clean your coffeemachine’. Or: ‘don’t want to bother you, but just wanna know whether the machine is working (actually each coffeemachine maker should see this with the Internet of Things). So if you don’t want to destroy your brand, stay humble and as silent as possible if you have gained a position in the friends list of your customer.

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