Branding Bots Part 4: Improve Conversational Branding
This post is part four of my series on branding bots. Throughout the series, I explore the most important conversational branding elements and how conversation designers and teams can apply those elements to their voice and chat apps.
In Branding Bots Part 1, Branding Bots Part 2, and Branding Bots Part 3, I review what voice, tone, and persona are, how they can be used to represent brands, and how they can be applied to conversational apps. In this post, I cover how to improve and iterate on conversational branding to enrich user experience.
Review & Update Conversational Branding
Once the conversational brand is established, documented, and applied to the conversational app, it’s time to review and reflect on the effectiveness of the bot’s branding. You can accomplish this through usability testing as well as reviewing the bot’s analytics platforms and chat logs. Similar to how the bot’s infrastructure requires frequent maintenance and iteration, the bot’s branding should evolve to improve usability. Keep users and user experience in mind as you make updates to the conversational brand guide.
Many companies create their first bot on a chat platform and then want to extend that bot to a voice platform. In that case, it’s necessary to review the conversational brand elements to ensure they work for a voice app. As companies add more features and functionality to their conversational technology stack, the conversational brand elements should be systematized and the conversational brand guide should be expanded to address each app and use case.
Test Conversational Brand Elements
Conversational brand elements shouldn’t be static; they should evolve to align with users’ needs, business direction, and wider cultural trends (especially those concerning language). Due to the constant iteration voice and chat apps require, frequent usability testing is necessary. This testing should occur in the environments where users are interacting with the bot. Usability tests reflect not only how well the bot’s features and functionality meet users' needs, but also whether the brand elements add to or detract from the user experience. For instance, it’s easy to add too many sound effects to voice apps that distract users rather than drive conversations forward.
In addition to running usability tests, consider employing an analytics platform for insight into how the branding affects usability. Regularly review chat logs, especially of the most important interactions, to identify issues. Integrating customer satisfaction surveys into the conversational app can also help you assess usability. Monitor how both established and newly-defined conversational brand elements impact the bot’s user experience and how they affect marketing, support, and other aspects of the business.
Systematize Conversational Brand Elements
Creating a conversation design system is the easiest way to maintain consistency across voice and chat apps as the conversational brand scales. The design system and brand guide should serve as the foundation for every instance of the brand’s conversational expression—broad enough to give teams the flexibility to choose the appropriate solutions for each use case. Check out the conversational brand systems for IBM, Salesforce, BBC, and Spokestack.
The conversation design system should specify how brand elements vary based on conversational channel and platform. Each channel and platform has unique affordances and constraints. As conversational apps become more complex, the conversation design system promotes conversational brand consistency across each experience.
Explore conversational channels and platforms to understand their unique affordances and constraints, then document how the affordances and constraints affect the established conversational brand elements. Define what brand elements can be shared across various conversational interfaces and create a repository for these assets. Even if interfaces have completely different use cases, they may share common functionality and can share the same brand elements. A conversation design system enables teams to spend more time improving user experience and expanding functionality instead of doing work that’s already been done before.
Consider integrating the design system into the codebase to make conversation design and development more efficient and consistent. A design system facilitates more effective conversation design collaboration by helping designers and developers share common patterns. Document the principles that drive the conversation design system as well as provide design and development examples.
We created Voxable to streamline conversation design. We want to make it easier for teams to focus and collaborate on branding bots as it's an essential part of creating a great user experience. Now, you can add sound effects and UI elements directly to your script using Voxable. No matter your process, you should think about how to incorporate voice, tone, and persona into every voice or chat app you build then work to improve the conversational brand over time. We’re excited to see how Voxable helps you brand bots.
Check out the entire Branding Bots series: