Dubai-based creative tech house Brndstr has opened what it claims to be the region’s first dedicated bot (social chat robots) studio and VR lab.
Established in June 2013 by ex-Groupon city planner Simon Hudson (pictured above), Brndstr set out to help brands integrate their internal systems into social media platforms allowing audiences to engage with the brand on a deeper level. The agency uses its suite of custom-built technologies to create real time solutions as part of marketing and advertising strategies for brands such as Coca-Cola, UBER, McDonalds, Nakheel and CNN.
In the past three years, Brndstr has worked with over 150 brands across eight countries to generate in excess of half a billion impressions, helping to increase engagement by an average of 3.2 times.
“In 2013, the word ‘bots’ was seen as spammy but this is essentially what we were building. By offering a user immediate gratification increased engagement dramatically and improved overall campaign metrics. People no longer needed to wait days to get a digital voucher for a free burger, they simply just had to retweet,” explains Hudson.
The Brndstr BOT Studio allows brands of any size to build and host a BOT on Facebook Messenger or Twitter Direct Message. Starting at a basic level these BOTS allow a brand to add a digital assistant to its messaging channel. These instant replies can include things such as product details, maps to an office, phone numbers or opening times of a restaurant. Brands with bigger budgets can work with the BOT Studio to integrate their back end systems and offer real time, up to date information such as flight times, hotel room availability and restaurant reservations. “Last year we worked with Emirates NBD and were able to integrate Twitter DM’s into the bank’s mainframe meaning that their customers were able check their balance and credit card statements simply by sending a DM on Twitter,” says Hudson.
In December 2016, British Airways partnered with Brndstr to create the BA BOTler, a digital assistant that sits on the BA messenger page and offers tips and suggestions for visiting London.
Brndstr is also launching a brand new Virtual Reality Lab, which will build 3D, virtual worlds for brands that their audiences can experience using any compatible headsets, such as the Oculus Rift or Samsung Gear VR.
“We are fast moving into an autonomous world where people want access to things instantly and have as little touch points to get things done… these kinds of examples are only just the beginning,” says Hudson.