Gerber, a brand that specializes in baby food and products, has effectively built one-to-one consumer engagement via a human-powered digital service that can answer parents’ questions around the clock.

Claudia Ciciliano, the director/consumer engagement for North America at Nestlé Infant Nutrition – the owner of Gerber – discussed this subject at the Digital Marketing World Forum North America.

More specifically, she highlighted the success of Dotti, a 24/7 text-based service that lets parents who join the MyGerber membership program grab their devices and ask for expert advice on subjects like infant nutrition, lactation, and sleep.

“Dotti is our one-to-one baby specialist,” said Ciciliano. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Meet Dotti, Gerber’s tool for building one-to-one consumer relationships.)

“We truly are turning relationships into revenue, because this is all based on engagement. And we’re doing that by changing the way we interact with consumers.”

If chatbots have become a popular solution for marketers to interact directly with their target audience, Dotti is powered by a team of in-house (and very human) experts. “Dotti is not a bot,” said Ciciliano. “It is entirely backed by humans.”

The human-hands-on-digital approach gave the 90-year-old brand an authentic, tangible point of connection at a time when many consumers are switching to newer, smaller rivals that could draw on enticing startup stories.

Indeed, ensuring that Dotti was fuelled by real people – not artificial intelligence – allowed Gerber to utilise its history and scale in a truly advantageous manner.

“Not only do we have the longest infant nutrition-feeding study in the world, we also have experts on staff, from registered dietitians to pediatricians to lactation consultants to sleep consultants,” Ciciliano said.

“And guess what? That was our best kept secret for a really long time. And we were like, ‘Well, what the hell are we doing? We should be telling people about this’ … That was a big ‘aha’ moment for us.”

Dotti is accessible via Facebook, SMS and the brand’s official website, and offers personalised advice, content recommendations and even the ability to schedule appointments with experts.

“That feels very concierge-like. For us, as a 90-year-old brand that was pretty stodgy, it was kind of cool,” Ciciliano said in describing the last of these features.

Sourced from WARC