Intelligent Branding: How to Market in the AI Space
How ZeroShotBot’s Approach to Marketing Can Inform Your Own
Conversational AI is broken.
The market is flooded with competing products, many of which boast no meaningful differentiators. Developers instead hyper-focus on outdoing the competition through feature bloat. If their chatbot has more bells and whistles than other chatbots, they “win.”
This unhealthy paradigm is a large part of the reason we created ZeroShotBot in the first place. Our innovative, no-code approach to chatbot creation sets us apart from the majority of the market. But from the outset, we understood that a unique selling point alone is not enough — no matter how unique it may be.
How a business conveys that USP matters just as much.
This is just as true of the larger AI space as it is in conversational AI. The market is saturated. Every single customer has scores of vendors talking their ear off. In order to differentiate yourself, you need to build a compelling brand — to catch people’s attention and show them what really makes your company special.
Doing so requires the following:
- Core brand values: What matters most to you? On what principles was your brand initially founded?
- Personality traits: If your brand were a person, what would it be like?
- Mapped out value props: The specific reasons a customer should work with you instead of your competitors — what can you do for them?
- Positioning statements: Defines your target market along with how that market should perceive you.
- Pain points: Your customer’s challenges, and how they define success.
- An understanding of your industry: This includes major trends, challenges, recent changes, etc.
- An understanding of your competition: What are they doing wrong, and how can you be different from them?
- Branded language: Common verbiage used throughout your messaging that’s representative of your brand.
- An elevator pitch: A quick summary of what you do, why you do it, and how you operate differently from competitors.
This guide will walk you through what you need to do to define each of the above, alongside examples demonstrating how we achieved this ourselves.
It Starts With the Core
Your brand’s values are the foundation of its identity. They are the DNA behind your brand, and the framework from which you craft each and every marketing message. It not only establishes how employees should leverage and convey your brand’s identity, but also defines what the brand cares about and how staff should respond in a given situation.
More importantly, it shows customers what your brand is about, where you’re going, and why you’re going there. And that, in turn, allows them to determine whether or not yours is a business they want to connect with.
The most important advice we can give you here is to think about what you’re trying to accomplish, and spin your values out from that central point.
Once you’ve done that, for each value, write a list of paired sentiments for each, as we’ve done below. One half of each pair should be positive and supportive, affirming the value. The other should be a contradictory sentiment that represents the value’s opposite.
For example, here are a few snippets of what Zero Shot Bot used for theirs:
- Ahead of the Curve: We have a finger on the pulse of the chatbot industry. We know the trends, we know the challenges, and we know how to best address them. Our company, like our technology, is efficient. We’re focused on providing clients with the most streamlined solution possible. Agility is and always will be a core driver for our business.
- Disrupting a Stagnant Industry: The chatbot industry is broken. Most chatbot technology is cumbersome, complicated, and slow-learning. It’s a field in desperate need of disruption, and we are that disruption. Scale is the biggest issue. As chatbots try to do more, they need more data and training. Our technology provides both, giving companies a disruptive technology that requires ZERO training. The general tone should be forward-looking and forward thinking. Avoid speaking in the past tense. Innovators aren’t mired in the past, they look to the future.
Build Knowledge of Your Industry
Once you’ve defined your brand’s values, it’s time to turn your attention to the bigger picture. You need to understand your industry, where it’s at, what problems you’re trying to solve, and how those solutions and their outcomes might look.
This is also the point at which you should establish your value props. Think briefly about the specific challenges facing each industry. You’ll be taking a deeper dive into those later in the process, but for now, start brainstorming statements that convey how your brand addresses each challenge, as we’ve done below.
For example, when branding Zero Shot Bot, we used some of the following target industry statements:
- Our technology is industry-agnostic. We can help companies in any industry, so long as there is a need for best-in-class customer service.
- Whether you’re a B2B cybersecurity solutions provider, a consumer electronics manufacturer, or anything in between, we can help you enhance your support process and empower your customers by improving visibility into customer pain points and common support issues.
- Most businesses are relying on overly complicated, low-tech, or barely-functional chatbots built using ineffective technology. Not only does this do nothing to differentiate them from the competition, it often frustrates customers.
- Turn your support process into a differentiator rather than a pain point. Provide more effective customer service, technical support, and general information about your business.
- Free your IT department to focus on something other than technical support. Cut down on support costs. All at a fraction of what other solutions cost.
- Empower your marketing teams with fresh insights that improve decision making, customer interactions, and overall user satisfaction.
It’s also helpful to keep a running list of industry-relevant stats. Depending on your industry’s specific landscape, this may be difficult — stats change all the time, some more rapidly than others. Do your best to map out the best evergreen stats you can, and always keep an eye out for new studies, surveys, and briefs.
This will make you come across as informed and knowledgeable about your industry. In that sense, stats are also an incredibly powerful marketing tool. Customers tend to believe someone knows what they’re talking about if they’re able to call up statistics — we’ve included our own stat list so you have an idea of where yours should focus.
Key stats we leveraged for Zero Shot Bot:
- 59% of consumers say they care more about experiences when deciding which businesses to support/spend with in a post-COVID-19 world.
- Online chat and direct messaging is a leading driver for Millennials and GenZ. Interest is expected to increase by 62% in 2019.
- Conversational AI grew by $4.8 billion in 2020, and is expected to reach $13.9 billion by 2025.
56% of companies say conversational AI is driving disruption, with 43% saying their competitors are already implementing it.
- COVID-19 accelerated consumer and business digital adoption by 5 years.
- Conversational AI is expected to see a 100% increase in adoption rates over the next 2-5 years.
- Companies in banking, insurance, and retail experienced a greater than 20% reduction in customer service cost and customer churn.
Understand Your Audience
Knowing your industry is important. But once you do, it’s crucial to drill down to your target audience. What buyer personas are you targeting with your products and services?
To put it another way, you need to establish the following:
- Who is buying your product?
- Who is using it?
- Who has final say on purchase decisions?
- What does each stakeholder look like?
- What are the specific needs of each individual customer/persona?
- How does your solution meet those needs?
When answering the above questions, dive deep. The more you understand about your audience, the more effectively you can shape your branding. For each persona, map out their key pain points, your key talking points, and how you might address objections and steer them towards a conversion.
Here is an example of a target persona we used for Zero Shot Bot:
Why would they use ZeroShotBot?
- Cut down support requests
- Free up manpower to focus elsewhere
- Eliminate easy questions from support cycle
- Implement disruptive/innovative tech
- Enterprise-grade AI without the cost
- Standardize quality of answers (no bias)
Key talking points
- You’re tired of repeatedly answering the same questions.
- Too many requests for tech support that could be solved in seconds.
- It shouldn’t be the IT department’s job to constantly shoulder support workloads.
- You are the frontrunner for your business’s technological infrastructure. The one who keeps the lights on, the one who drives innovation, etc.
- Free yourself up to fulfill that role through the most disruptive, innovative chatbot solution on the market.
Map Out Core Customer Problems
When it came to Zero Shot Bot, we knew our core problems by heart. These included understanding the importance of experiences, that current chatots are falling short, and admitting that current AI technology and chatbots are complex.
As you can see above, this is where it gets complex. Take the pain points you established in the previous step. It’s time for a deep dive into each one. The idea here is to map out the state of affairs as they currently stand.
To put it another way, you’re looking to establish the core problems your customers currently face. You must also consider how competing solutions are falling short. From there, you need to ask yourself one simple question.
How can I do better?
Knowing the answer to that question is a cornerstone of differentiating your brand. It positions your company as the solution to their problems, rather than another faceless brand in a sea of copycats. Which leads us to our next step.
Evaluate Competitor, Market, and Industry Problems
You know how your competition is failing your customers. But you also need to understand why. What is it about your industry that’s causing your competition to struggle?
You’ll likely find it helpful to refer to industry publications and analysts to help you answer that question, as we did below. In our case, the core issue is that AI, RPA, and automation are all incredibly complex.
Compared to the other content we’ve covered so far, this may not seem particularly relevant at first glance. Your competitors, after all, aren’t necessarily a part of your branding. The reason you’re doing this is to help you better understand how your brand fits into the wider market.
It’s a useful exercise to better inform how you convey your unique selling points and value props. Within the context of conversational AI, it’s important to answer:
- Why is it so hard for companies to get it right?
- Why are chatbots so difficult to develop?
- Why does conversational AI technology require in-house expertise?
- Why does training AI take so long?
Even if you aren’t a chatbot company, the information above may prove valuable, as other AI sectors face similar struggles.
Establish Your Action Statements
Once you’ve finished your market and competitive evaluation, reaffirm that information into your action statements, as we’ve done above. Focus on explaining the precise ways you solve the problems your competitors cannot. Wrap your value statements and unique selling points into this explanation.
For Zero Shot Bot, our action statements revolved around:
- Zero training
- Zero coding
- Zero competition
- Create a powerful differentiator
With that, you’ve crafted the first piece of your brand’s narrative — but we aren’t quite done yet.
Reiterate What Constitutes Customer Success
You know what problems your customers want to solve. Now you must establish what it looks like when they solve them. What does success look like for your core audience?
More importantly, how do they achieve that success through your product, and what is it about your business that makes this possible?
For conversational AI, this may include things like:
- Developing a better understanding of your audience
- Deploy chatbots rapidly with zero coding and training
- Creating interactive FAQs that actually solve customer problems
- Spend less manpower answering common questions
- Removing bias from the support cycle
- Accessing enterprise-grade AI tech
Add A Human Face
Think about how your people fit into your overall brand narrative. Who are they? What made them successful, and how will their unique knowledge, talents, and skillset contribute to the success of your brand?
At minimum, we’d advise you to establish bios for your core leadership — they aren’t a must-have, but they can lend credibility to a project while also humanizing your brand.
Plan your Taglines and Upsells
We’re almost at the finish line. Your second to last step is simple. Take your value propositions, customer success descriptions, and unique selling points.
Use this information to create as many short, catchy slogans as you can come up with.
These will be used throughout your sales and marketing messages. The more unique taglines you can come up with, the more ammunition your brand has to help it build up its reputation.
For Zero Shot Bot, initial taglines included:
- Instant results. Zero training.
- Enterprise-grade AI without the cost
- Build a best-in-class chatbot in under 24 hours
- Best chatbot. No developer required.
- Out of the box integration chatbot
- Production-grade AI that doesn’t cost millions
- Mobilize your non-coding teams
Define Your Language
Lastly, think about the common statements and verbiage you’ll use. While you don’t want to overuse the same language, you do want your brand to seem consistent and cohesive. Brainstorm a list of statements and verbs that describe your company; these can then be leveraged strategically to create a consistent narrative.
You may also find it helpful to create a secondary list of words and statements to stay away from — verbs that convey the opposite of what your brand represents.
And There You Have It: Conversational AI Branding
No one ever said it was easy to brand your conversational AI product, but no matter what you take away from this, it’s essential to map out what makes your product or service unique in the market.
Because in a market that’s full of copycat products, you need to define what makes your product worth using.