NEW YORK: The Campbell Soup Co., the food manufacturer, believes that voice-activated technologies such as Amazon Echo present opportunities ranging from increased consumer engagement to driving product replenishment.

Matt Pritchard, VP/Digital Acceleration at Campbell Soup Co., discussed this subject during a session at the 2017 Ad Age Next conference.

And beyond providing “another avenue to talk, and engage, with your consumer”, he suggested that voice-activated platforms give brands the power to assist consumers in contextual, targeted ways.

“We have got a big opportunity to increase our relevance with today’s consumers,” Pritchard said. (For more details, read WARC’s in-depth report: How Campbell’s uses AI to increase its everyday kitchen presence.)

Indeed, since 2015, some 50,000-plus unique users of Amazon’s Echo devices have started their meal preparations with the command, “Alexa, open Campbell’s Kitchen” – and Campbell’s has also tapped into Amazon’s Echo Show touchscreen.

“I get excited by [the technology] because it gives you an opportunity to do things for a food brand and engage in a new way in the kitchen,” said Pritchard.

Obtaining this goal, however, will depend upon re-imagining many areas of brand activity, as shown by updating how Campbell’s produces recipes so they are “machine-readable” and reflect actual behaviour in the kitchen.

“A recipe is a recipe is a recipe – and it’s been like it [at Campbell’s] for 50 years, and we’ve done nothing other than change how we display that. Now, all of a sudden, we need to take each step of that process and make that work with the machine,” said Pritchard.

“We believe it will become much more about the step-by-step instruction so that everybody can be a chef for a night if they want to be.”

The wider benefits of voice-activated systems include their ability to provide not only utility but a new kind of entertainment. And, going forwards, tools like Amazon’s Echo will also become key drivers of insight and even purchases.

“It comes down to the fact that it isn't too much of a leap to go from ‘Alexa, I want to cook a green-bean casserole’, to, ‘Alexa, please will you order me cream-of-mushroom soup’,” said Pritchard. “That’s where we see AI moving, to order replenishment and engagement.”

Sourced from WARC