Nestle’s Orchid Bertelsen on Testing Conversational AI and Failing Forward

2 min readDec 17, 2019

Leading digital innovation across more than 70 brands in the Nestlé USA portfolio, Orchid Bertelsen shares her thoughts on using conversational AI in marketing following recent voice ad campaign on Pandora.

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What innovation are you currently exploring at Nestlé?

We’re working with Pandora on an alpha product that explores conversational AI more deeply. We know that voice search and smart speaker sales are on the rise and yet conversational AI is still experiencing a lot of hype. Voice technology is something that we’ve been working on for the past couple of years and we were excited to partner with Pandora on understanding how consumers are interacting with voice technology while they’re in their daily routines. Conversational AI is certainly something that’s evolving and advancing every day.

How do you encourage a test-and-learn mindset not just within your team but across the entire company?

We talk about “failing forward” when it comes to test-and-learns. We actually have a Phoenix Award internally which is awarded to projects where we stumble but are able to use the experience as a springboard for something better. For Nestlé, instead of asking “why did you fail?” it’s more about “what did you learn?” Failure has such a negative connotation, but there shouldn’t be any shame associated with it. The hardest thing about encouraging failure and the courage to test is the cultural mindset. Our CEO is so great at setting the culture of the company. And the key takeaway for establishing a mindset of testing and learning is that it has to come from the top down

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