This week we hosted a special breakfast with The Drum to discuss the latest trends and developments in digital as we celebrated the launch of The Drum Bot created by OgilvyOne.

Kicking off with an exclusive screening of The Drum’s “Bot-umentary” short, exploring the evolution of the chatbot and adtech, the morning included a panel of experts chaired by The Drum's Editor Stephen Lepitak, discussing what’s new in the world of creative, tech and digital.

The key question you should be asking yourself when building a bot, according to OgilvyOne UK’s Experience Planning Partner, James Whatley, is around its usefulness.

“What's the utility?”
- James Whatley, Experience Planning Partner at OgilvyOne UK

We need to be building bots that are useful and the key with this is addressing a need, rather than building a bot for the sake of it. This was a point echoed by Facebook’s Creative Strategist, Elizabeth Valleau, who highlighted the need to “build for people first, always”. And when building for people, she urged brands to build things they won't be embarrassed to look back on in 5 years.

The Stoptober Bot, which Ogilvy UK created for Public Health England, for example, was built with the aim of supporting smokers in their journey to quit. Similarly, James built Room Bot to help the staff at Ogilvy navigate the many meeting rooms once the agency moved from their office in Canary Wharf to the sprawling space of its new home at Sea Containers.

The Drum’s new bot is no exception. It features the ability to deliver via Facebook, the latest news, features, interviews and insights posted to The Drum Website daily, whenever the user needs it.

With utility also comes nourishment when it comes to the customer experience.

“We need to be delivering a nutritious bot experience”
- Elizabeth Valleau, Creative Strategist at Facebook

For LEVEL Airlines’ Head of Brand & Marketing, Chris Brown, the opportunity with bots is about customer experience: creating conversations and building trust with people.  When thinking about travel, Chris believes once bots start to develop empathy they will have a pivotal role in not only informing but crucially, in inspiring consumers.

Once of the ways this inspiration might be achieved is not only through visuals but through voice. Speaking about bots and brand experience, OgilvyOne CEO Jo Coombs believes tone of voice will soon be more important than visuals. An exciting prospect, but it also throws in issues when thinking about tone of voice: do brands use the same voice as in their ads, for example. James admits this is a complicated area.

Perhaps most exciting is looking to the future of bots. For James, the bots we are creating now are only scratching the surface. “We’ll look back in years to come and think ‘how naïve were we’ because where bots and AI is going to go will be so big”.