Lysol’s trusted products are a constant in many American homes. But they need to be used in the right way for Lysol to fulfill their mission to help keep families healthy by breaking the chain of infection. It is more so important in today’s world where a healthy hygiene is the key to staying safe from the pandemic.

Lysol needed to help people understand how and where to use their products with practical and empowering tools, without further burdening their already busy days. To address this we decided to build a solution utilizing a voice user interface. This proved genuine innovation as well to keep Lysol’s position as a market leader.

What it does

To bring Lysol into the world of voice we started with creating a limited reach MVP skill, with the aim of adding live data to the rich, qualitative insights we had gained in pre-development surveys. We launched the Lysol Alexa Skill on the Amazon Alexa Store, and built a new way to help keep families healthy and homes clean and disinfected throughout the cold and flu season.

The Lysol Alexa Skill, featuring the Lysol Germ-CastTM is powered by Kinsa flu data. It is your way to track illness in your area and get tips to help protect your family from germs during the cold and flu season.

With this skill you can:

✅ Discover the Lysol Germ-Cast™, powered by Kinsa flu data, and instantly know the level of illness* happening right now, specific to your zipcode

⏰ Help the whole family to wash their hands right with a 20 second ‘happy birthday’ timer

✅ Gather round and listen to the adventure story that's all about making handwashing fun

✅ Access room by room checklists to help make your cleaning routine a breeze

⏰ Set cleaning reminders to keep on top of your household chores

Open the skill by saying "Alexa, open Lysol" and you'll be easily guided through the different sections.

Or go straight to one of the sections with these:

  • For the Germ-Cast, simply say: “Alexa, ask Lysol for my Germ-Cast”

  • For the handwashing timer, say: "Alexa, ask Lysol for Handwashing Timer"

  • For fun, family handwashing story, say: "Alexa, ask Lysol for Handwashing Story"

  • For the cleaning checklists and cleaning reminder set up, say: "Alexa, ask Lysol for Checklists"

  • For information on Lysol products, please say: "Alexa, ask Lysol for Products"

PLEASE NOTE, the Lysol Germ-Cast™, uses your zipcode to tell the level of cold and flu happening right now, near your home. To give the skill access to your zipcode, please follow the directions in the Alexa app, which you can access on your smartphone.

*We assess the Flu Germ-Cast™ rating based on the daily percentage of population reporting influenza-like illness (ILI) in your county. Our data partner, Kinsa, defines ILI as fever over 1000F [37.80C] and gathers these from their network of Smart Thermometers and accompanying mobile apps.

How we built it

There was a fine balance to be struck if we were to deliver something truly useful for Lysol customers. We went through an extensive process to find the answers to -

"How can Alexa provide information without further complicating hectic family lives?" "What would make life easier for parents when teaching kids about healthy habits?" "What helps people feel empowered rather than critiqued when it comes to cleaning routines?"

During the course of development, we also collaborated with Kinsa Health, a health technology company headquartered in San Francisco, California, United States, and through an exclusive data partnership with Kinsa, we developed the Lysol Germ-Cast™, a real-time indicator of the level of illness happening around users, specific to their zip code.  Upon opening the skill, listeners hear their personalized level of illness in their area, empowering them with data-driven knowledge.

Apart from the Germ-Cast™, the other features in the Lysol skill include room-by-room cleaning checklists, which can also be set as reminders. So Alexa can give you top tips to keep your kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom clean and can also remind you at a specific time of the day to clean your room.  Also, the skill was made with families in mind, and the skill also features a 20-second hand-washing timer, which is the minimum amount of time we should wash our hands for, and there is also an adventure story for the little ones to help make handwashing fun for them, along with a Healthy Habits Challenge, which is designed to get everyone working together to think about great hygiene.

Challenges we ran into

As this was Lysol’s first voice activation and as such a test, the go-to-market strategy was focused on maximizing reach among customers who own Alexa-enabled devices.  The focus was on paid promotion through display banners on the home page, with additional reach achieved through social media posts and a dedicated CRM email to the Lysol fanbase.

Accomplishments that we are proud of

Following months of designing, building, and development by the team, the Amazon Alexa Lysol skill became available for the U.S. market. The features of the Lysol skill include:

  • ⏰  the ability to set cleaning reminders
  • 🧼  a 20-second washing hands timer
  • 🏠   room-specific routine checklists
  • 🗓   daily hygiene tips
  • 🦠  the Lysol GermCast

What we learned

Consumers are looking for brands to be helpful in their homes, giving them the information they need without having to turn to a screen to get the answer. And while building any such conversational experience, we have to put special emphasis on the following points -

  1. Reduce Friction - Make any onboarding, such as providing permissions, as friction-free as possible with extremely clear instructions and scripting.

  2. Make the Conversation Interesting - Useful doesn’t mean boring! Bring delight to educational information with storytelling the whole family will love.

  3. Utilize Sonic Branding - Use sound design not only for sonic branding but also as UI elements to help the user's understanding of lists, actions, and confirmations.

What's next for Lysol

For brands like Lysol the focus has to be moved from simply being available on voice assistants to channeling the power of these assistants to deepen their relationships with the users. The increasing integration of voice in wearables, watches, automobiles, and other custom devices is pushing the adoption beyond the smart speakers. The era of scaling is giving way to the era of scope expansion now!

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