PR for People Monthly July 2017 | Page 37

wear a VR headset and negotiate those steps, interact with the characters in that painting, and best of all, figure out where you’re headed and how to get there? The meaning of Relativity would take on greater depths, the experience would be of greater involvement. Relativity as Virtual Reality!

Travel brochures come to life via VR, a natural digital evolutionary step to follow the way they became available 24/7 online, along with hotel and air reservations. Add art to that, and the budding traveler can visit Arles, and see what inspired Vincent Van Gogh to paint The Sower with Setting Sun The shimmering sun, the Sower strewing the seed, the colorful field, all coming alive in a VR experience. The cool blues may mask it, but there’s a searing Arles heat to the scene. Art could come alive in multiple senses in such an experience. Van Gogh in Arles is a traveling art show, the topic of many books, a travel destination. With VR, it could be a personal experience as well, if a VR developer and a travel company could work out an arrangement with the rights holders to Van Gogh’s works.

Extend this line of thinking to the phantasmagorical works of Salvatore Dali, or the subtly psychedelic Magritte. Imagine being behind Magritte’s famous apple, living it virtually,

Digital Strategy also takes a commercial approach to beauty and selling beauty products. Cosmetics company L’Oreal makes brilliant use of ChatBots in its sales efforts. ChatBots are interactive, using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to interact with people. As indicated by the name, ChatBots are conversational in their interactions, unlike sites, that are more one dimensional in user experience. ChatBots interact, and some do so via voice, using conversation. Artificial Intelligence prompts the bot to interact on a more human-like scale, asking and responding to questions, conversing.

The L’Oreal chatbot, Beauty Gifter, operates on Facebook Messenger. It works with the user to help come up with the appropriate gift, using a variety of factors. It asks price range, then how old is the recipient. At that point it enables the gift giver to use the process to send a card to the recipient, saying, “I want to buy you a gift.” The bot then asks the recipient questions about skin type and tone, oily or dry skin, any color combinations preferred.

With this information L’Oreal’s Beauty Gifter bot comes up with customized beauty gift pack options for the recipient, which are sent to the gift giver.

The gift giver decides what to send within their budget, and a perfectly matched beauty or personal care gift package is assembled. It goes to the recipient. The recipient knows it’s coming, and who sent it.

How did L’Oreal develop this? A great deal of research and development went into it. Conversational software startup, Automat Technologies in Montreal, worked with L’Oreal, conducting massive Social Media research, feeding keywords into its AI database, analyzing speech patterns and messaging platforms.

Conversational marketing using AI and ChatBots is the next wave in Customer Service. Art, beauty, fashion, design and customer service will all be beneficiaries of these technologies as they develop and mature. Digital maturity occurs at a rapidly increasing pace. Hold on to your hats.

Or maybe your VR headsets.

Hearty appreciation and thanks to Tery Spataro and Marc Canter for their input on this article. Tery is a leader in digital transformation. Marc has been at the forefront of digital innovation before that was a term, much less a concept. Tery and Marc are leaders in strategic digital thought, and it is my great honor to have had their thoughts grace the preparation of this month’s article.

Dean Landsman is a NYC-based Digital Strategist who writes a monthly column for PR for People “The Connector.”