The Power of Branding: Considerations when building an AI Assistant brand for your council
Updated: Jul 6
As we continue to see rapid advances in technology, local government councils are increasingly exploring the potential benefits of AI. AI assistants offer an exciting opportunity to enhance the delivery of public services and improve interactions with the community, harnessing the power of AI to foster trust, identity, and engagement.
When you think of Siri or Alexa, what comes to mind? Exceptional AI technology, of course, but equally, strong branding and memorable names. The tech giants behind these AI assistants understood the importance of branding and naming from the start, ensuring their creations became household names.
This blog post explores why branding and naming matter, why it’s important to engage communities early and gives practical advice to help drive user adoption.
Why Branding and Naming Matter:
Branding and naming should not be afterthoughts when launching an AI assistant; they're cornerstones. Here's why:
Crafting Identity and Recognition: Imagine launching your AI assistant without a distinctive name or brand. It risks blending into the background among the array of services your council offers. A distinctive brand and name carve out a unique identity, making your AI assistant easily recognisable among users. Importantly, a name can give your assistant a story. Names that link to something local, such as a famous person or landmark, can generate engaging conversations that enhance the user experience
Communicating Purpose: A name isn't just a name. It can embody the essence of your AI assistant, communicating its function and purpose at a glance. Words associated with 'assistance', 'support', or 'guidance' will telegraph the AI’s role as a helper in navigating services or answering questions. Names can also help associate to specific use cases, like differentiating between an external resident assistant from an internal assistant, helping keep the messaging consistent
Building Trust and Reliability: Public sector interactions hinge on trust. An AI assistant with a solid brand and thoughtful name is not just a tool; it becomes a reliable and trusted companion endorsed by the council
Boosting User Engagement: Would you rather interact with a nameless, faceless program or a branded assistant with a memorable name? Your community members probably feel the same way. An appealing brand hooks users, encouraging them to engage more readily with the AI assistant
Channel Shifting: Successful channel shifting can lead to significant savings in resources, offering the same or better levels of service while reducing the demand on more traditional, often more costly, methods of communication. A memorable name and identity make it easier to channel shift, but often requires robust marketing plan. Phrases like 'speak to X' or using a specific hashtag in posts can make your AI assistant more accessible and engaging
Mapping the Branding Journey:
Understanding the significance of branding and naming is the first step; executing them effectively is next. Here are some guiding principles to help navigate this journey:
Reflect Council Values: Your AI assistant is an ambassador for your council. Make sure the branding and naming resonate with the council's values and goals
Brand Consistency: Visual cues matter. Ensure that the branding of the AI assistant, including colours, typography, and style, aligns with your overall brand guidelines. This will make the assistant feel like part of the 'brand family', enhancing recognition and reinforcing the association between the AI assistant and the council. In some cases, varying from the standard corporate colour scheme or inverting the standard primary / secondary colour palette can help provide a distinct identity to the assistant
Embrace Simplicity and Inclusivity: The beauty of names like 'Siri' or 'Alexa' is their simplicity. Choose a name that is easy to pronounce, spell, and remember, and avoid complex jargon or hard-to-grasp concepts. Consider gender-neutral names, reflecting inclusivity and political correctness
Avoid Negative Connotations: Some words can carry the baggage of less successful or outdated technologies. Avoid terms like “bot” which might associate your AI assistant with less efficient models from the past
Know Your Audience: Your users will span a wide spectrum - from council workers to everyday residents. Your branding should speak to this diverse audience, appearing appealing and approachable to all
Personify Your AI, Responsibly: While it's important not to mislead the public into thinking they are interacting with a human, experience shows that giving your AI assistant a name adds a layer of personality. This persona can drive user adoption as people often feel more comfortable interacting with an entity that has a 'name' and 'character'. It's about creating relatability without fostering deception
Future-proof Your Brand: Trends come and go, but your AI assistant is here to stay. Ensure the name and brand will remain relevant and meaningful as time passes
Stay in the Clear, Legally: The last thing you want is a legal tussle over your brand. Always check for existing trademarks or services using the name you have chosen
Engaging Residents Early – test, refine, repeat
With resident adoption so pivotal to a successful launch, encouraging residents to get involved in naming the assistant is a great place to start to help boost user adoption further down the line. A naming ‘contest’ can foster a sense of community ownership and engagement, increasing the likelihood that residents will utilise the tool they feel they’ve had a hand in creating.
Furthermore, a naming competition can serve as a dynamic marketing strategy, amplifying awareness and encouraging discussion about the AI assistant. It also establishes trust and transparency between you and your residents, deepens residents understanding of the AI’s purpose and capabilities, and creates a personal connection to the tool.
Don't hesitate to test potential names with a representative group of users. Their feedback can be instrumental in fine-tuning the brand and name before the grand launch.
Effective branding and naming demands careful thought, creativity, and an understanding of your community's needs and expectations. But once it's done right, you will have more than an AI assistant. You'll have a trusted, distinctive, and accessible entity that's recognised and respected by your community, helping you drive forward in your mission to serve. The future of AI in public service is here, and it's got your name on it.
We’re here to support
Start planning your AI assistant’s brand today. Our marketing team is here to support you, ensuring you create a brand that resonates with your community and stands the test of time. Reach out to our marketing team (firstname.lastname@example.org) as early as you can in the process to start the discussion.