Alexa and Google Assistant will be duking it out on Mercedes-Benz vehicles, as the German automaker announced on Friday it will be integrating both voice assistants into all of its 2016 and 2017 models in the U.S. Starting today, Mercedes owners can instruct their Google Home or Amazon Echo to remotely start or lock their vehicles, as well as send addresses to their in-car navigation system. Users will need to have an active “Mercedes me” account and link it up to the Google Home or Amazon Alexa app for the integration to work.
What Brands Need To Do
Mercedes is not the only auto brand that are giving consumer options to choose when it comes to digital voice assistants. Hyundai, who just added support for Google Assistant last week, was the first auto brand to roll out Alexa integrations back in November. As more auto brands start actively pursuing the potential of in-car conversational interfaces, more and more consumers will become addressable via these voice assistants, and brands will need to seize the initiative to navigate the emerging opportunities and challenges of shifting from a screen-based interaction to a voice experience.
How We Can Help
The Lab has extensive experience in building Alexa Skills and chatbots to reach consumers on conversational interfaces. So much so that we’ve built a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue. The “Miller Time” Alexa Skill we developed with Drizly for Miller Lite is a good example of how Dialogue can help brands build a conversational customer experience, supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data.
If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively reach consumers on conversational interfaces, or to leverage the Lab’s expertise to take on related client opportunities within the IPG Mediabrands, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Barrett ([email protected]) to schedule a visit to the Lab.
Mercedes-Benz is looking to improve the driving experience with a new health and wellness initiative that taps wearable data to improve a driver’s mood and comfort level. After setting up a Mercedes Me profile, Mercedes drivers can adjust climate control, lighting, seat massagers, entertainment systems in their vehicles. If they wear a fitness tracker, they can connect it to the profile and receive automatic adjustments on the in-car environments according to their stress level and other physiological stats. For example, if the system detects a driver is sleepy, it will play some energizing tunes to keep the driver alert. Moreover, drivers will also receive personalized health and fitness tips from Mercedes’ Fit and Healthy Coach, even when they stepped out of the vehicle. Mercedes says these features will be released “in the near future.”
What Brands Need To Do
This serves as the latest example of how brands may incorporate fitness and biometric data into AI-powered digital experiences and provide added value to their customers. By launching this wellness initiative, Mercedes is adding a new dimension to its driving experience and, because the initiative can reach drivers even when they’re not in the car, establish a holistic brand presence in customers’ daily lives. More brands can benefit from this approach and expand their services by leveraging those customer data to power new services and brand experiences.
Header image courtesy of Mercedes-Benz’s press release
In a bid to reach a younger demographic, Mercedes-Benz has been working with a number of social influencers to promote its brand. With the launch of a content initiative named “MB Photo Pass” earlier this year, the luxury car maker has been working closely with content creators and around 25 influencers to craft branded and sponsored content across various social channels including Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, and YouTube. Besides the usual narrative featuring fancy vehicles and extreme sports, Mercedes also branched out and created its first 360-degree video that featured an emotional storyline.
What Brands Need To Do
As consumer attention becomes increasingly fragmented and the subpar mobile ad experience drives many users to use ad-blockers, it is becoming more and more difficult for brands to reach their desired audience via traditional media channels. Therefore, brands should take a cue from Mercedes’s influencer efforts and be willing to explore new forms of advertising such as sponsored or branded content, as well as new media formats such as VR and 360-degree video, to circumvent consumers’ growing ad aversion and pique their interest.
For more information on how brands should leverage interesting branded content to earn consumer attention, check out the Ad Avoidance section of our Outlook 2016.
Starting last month, Mercedes-Benz has been seeding their ad content to various recruited “Instagram influencers” to market the car on their respective feeds. This effort is part of the #GLApacked campaign for its GLA sports utility vehicle scheduled to launch later this fall. In addition, a GLA cross-country excursion is also being documented on Instagram as native ad content. Since visual storytelling is a really powerful tool for the younger consumer, Instagram seems to be a great fit for this campaign. As brands continue to explore the new and exciting territory of social media marketing, the luxury car company’s move to tap into these influencers’ following is no doubt instrumental. How many impressions would actually turn into purchase though, would a lot harder to measure, and that’s what we marketers need to figure out.
Not to be outdone by Audi’s connected car news from yesterday, Mercedes-Benz heralded its own connected car hub, QNX. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen QNX – indeed it’s an extended version of the technology that Mercedes-Benz debuted in 2013 – but this iteration of the technology features a touch-screen interface that extends across the entire dashboard, from the steering wheel to the passenger’s side above the glove compartment. It’s a simple, visual UI that includes the instrument panel, and supports jellybean apps, most prominently the iHeartRadio app. It also supports phone and tablet Android integration, so the passenger can control the media, phone calls, and more from their mobile device.
QNX is also quite flexible with respect to navigation, and is platform-agnostic. It’s been demonstrated with Elektrobit, Kotei, Navi & Data, Aisin, AW, and Nokia FREE, as proof of the fact that it’s possible to integrate it into many different software interfaces. How many of these it’s actually integrated into, after the buzz of CES, will be worth keeping an eye on.
We all know the value of in-car navigation systems, but a true door-to-door system doesn’t quite exist yet. Mercedes-benz are working with Google on developing Google Glass to continue your turn-by-turn navigation after you park your car. Google already offers walking directions via Google Maps, but the Mercedes app would seamlessly switch between Glass and your vehicle, meaning that directions wouldn’t stop or need to be reset upon exiting the car. The end goal is to have this app available to the public for Glass’s 2014 launch.