Colgate-Palmolive Testing 'Social Care' ChatBot On Instagram


With a pilot program in the Asia Pacific region, Colgate-Palmolive is reportedly one of the first brands to launch a ChatBot on Instagram.

Social Care is a text- and video-based initiative that could make its way to the United States.

People in APAC countries have a high incidence of ecommerce and social media use. But they don’t always have access to the best oral care information, products and treatment, according to Colgate APAC director William Ferrell.

Colgate is working with the digital agency M.Y.N. Group to better engage with consumers by providing the most relevant content and offers on a 24/7 basis.

In this interview, edited for brevity and clarity, Ferrell and Michelle Ng, who is lead customer experience and strategy at M.Y.N., discuss the ChatBot initiative, also active on Facebook.

CPG FYI: What had Colgate done on Instagram in the APAC region before this pilot program?

Ferrell: We had Instagram profiles in some markets but not others. At the end of the day, Colgate is a B2B company. We sell to distributors, wholesalers, supermarket chains, and those are our customers. Because that’s been our business model for past 200 years, there hasn’t been a need for one-on-one consumer engagement.

CPG FYI: What do you hope to achieve going forward?

Ferrell: One of the big things that we’re trying to do is build relationships and our consumer database so we can get to know our consumers better. It allows us to get a lot of key information about who they are so that we can give them the right offers, the right content, and solve the right problems for them. We can send them coupons. We can understand if they have children and what life stage they’re in.

CPG FYI: Do people who engage with the ChatBot get responses from humans, or is it all powered by artificial intelligence?

NG: There is AI, but there is also an opportunity for users to engage with humans depending on where they are in the flow and if they’re able to get the answers that they want. We want to provide instantaneous information rather than having to wait for someone to engage.

CPG FYI: What kind of first-party data are you collecting?

Ferrell: It’s very basic stuff. First name, last name—or they can just give us initials if they like. But we need at least one point of contact, either email or phone, to give them the correct types of offers and content for their needs.

CPG FYI: How would you describe the value exchange involved?

Ferrell: Part of it is a 24/7 source for any type of oral care needs. For example, if you have a toothache or bleeding gums. However, we can also help people get to the right information. We can send them to ecommerce for the correct products or provide information about home remedies.

It’s not only about selling products. It’s about giving consumers the information they need, and an experience that will make their life better.

CPG FYI: Is there a way to do focus groups with the ChatBot?

Ng: We’re able to ask consumers questions about what they would prefer in terms of information about products or discounts, as well as about oral care.

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