Creating a Fluid Conversational Experience
When Meredith Corporation came to RAIN seeking to create a health and wellness experience driven by conversational AI, they needed a solution that could leverage their vast trove of expert-backed content and make it engaging for an on-the-go audience. Armed with some of the most trusted publisher brands and editorial experts, Meredith knew they had enough content to provide high-quality tips and education to their audience. However, they wanted to do more for their audience than just provide a new distribution channel for content. Meredith sought to use conversational experiences to support their audience throughout their busy lifestyles, tracking progress and facilitating a way for them to engage whenever they want and wherever they are.
In order to create a connected experience and ensure that users could pick up where they left off on Alexa and vice versa, we needed to build a custom solution. Our VOXA framework powered that custom solution.
Using Health as the lynchpin brand for the experience, RAIN created Balance by Health. The experience provides users daily health, fitness, nutrition and beauty tips along with corresponding ‘Balance Booster’ challenges drawn from brands including Health, Shape, Eating Well, and Cooking Light. Users can choose to accept the challenges and log their completion when they return to the experience. By completing a challenge, users gain points to signify progress and help them stay on track. Each week, if users opt-in, the experience also sends an email to users summarizing their achievements for the week and encouraging them to continue.
While Balance by Health initially launched on Alexa, it became clear that we needed to provide an additional channel for users to engage away from home. With an audience of over 6MM fans on Facebook, we decided to create a Messenger Bot to give our Balance by Health audience a way to continue their experience on a computer or mobile phone. In order to create a connected experience and ensure that users could pick up where they left off on Alexa and vice versa, we needed to build a custom solution. Our VOXA framework powered that custom solution.
VOXA, RAIN’s development framework that supports building on all conversational AI platforms, allowed us to create a connection between Alexa and Facebook Messenger that would enable users to be recognized and seamlessly transition one experience across both services. The following are three key elements facilitated by the use of VOXA.
- Central Content Repository. Building on VOXA made it possible for our team to keep all the experience’s content in one database. This creates an easy and efficient way for teams to make updates across both platforms. Once a change is made, it can be deployed across both channels in near real-time.
- Account Linking. In order for users to be identifiable across both channels, we needed to create a way for them to be recognized on the back-end of the experience. Using Login with Amazon, users can account link to their Amazon accounts on both Alexa and Facebook and VOXA’s user management syncs the user activity between both platforms.
- Platform-Specific Feature Implementation. Integrating a platform like Facebook Messenger, which allows for the use of many platform-specific features in a bot environment, meant that VOXA had to support its unique components. Using our framework, we were able to have control over these features— from conversational elements such as emojis and pre-populated reply buttons to more technical pieces such as ‘pass thread control’ which allows the bot to hand-off the conversation to a human social channel manager when necessary.
Our VOXA framework enabled us to create one of the first ever voice and messenger bot cross-platform experiences. This channel mix helps Meredith to take advantage of the rapid adoption of smart speakers and voice-enabled devices while leveraging a well established social and mobile activation strategy on Messenger. Now Meredith’s audience has a way to not only consume content, but take action on it utilizing Balance by Health as a conversational utility to keep them on track toward health and wellness success.
If you want to try Balance by Health out for yourself, please find links to the Alexa skill and Facebook Messenger bot below.
For Balance by Health on Alexa, just say “Alexa, enable Balance by Health” or enable the skill here: https://rain.re/balanceskill
For Balance by Health on Facebook Messenger, chat with the Bot here: http://m.me/health