The first ever augmented reality and virtual reality experiment took place in the 60’s, conducted by Ivan Sutherland, who invented the first AR/VR device called ‘Sword of Damocles’. This started a revolution. Albeit, it took more than 50 years for the market to groom with this technology, today it wows us but no longer overwhelms us. We had Pokemon Go and then some more AR which is a perfect demonstration of how it is gradually trending and marking its presence beyond entertainment.
It is finally being recognized as a potential tool by brands. Many big brands and large enterprises, as of present, are already using this technology to jack up their sales and increase conversion rates.
AR brands have been transforming the way we view the real world, literally augmenting reality to forge their vision on top of it, whether the medium’s an application or a marketing campaign.
Many have marked their place in this domain and many are working on something new. Besides, who doesn’t want to experience AR?
Coming towards the burning question:
‘Why does your brand needs AR?’
Because content may be king but AR-based content is an emperor!
Everything you read or see regardless of the medium, from billboards to video ads, is content. Sometimes, you see but you forget. By leveraging AR, you can generate immersive content that bounds the user into giving attention. We can all agree on how AR is ‘still a novelty’ in marketing and retail. Most people have experienced it in the form of Snapchat or Pokemon Go. Now big brands like IKEA incorporating AR is stirring the desire in people to experience AR in areas beyond entertainment. Now is a good time to leverage this superpower to stay ahead of your competitors.
This superpower, however, means putting your customers’ needs ahead of everything else. It means doing an extensive research because you cannot create a meaningful experience in AR without a thorough and intimate knowledge of your customers. Your approach and content needs to be customer-centric. By incorporating AR in your product or content you can provide key insights to potential audience.
1: To Take your Marketing and Ad Campaigns to the Next Level
AR turns your brand from Clark Kent to Superman
People are no longer susceptible to the conventional advertisements and the typical monotonous messages they convey. Ads are no longer compelling or wanted. The moment an advertisement hinders the show they’re watching, they skip it and change the channel.
An average print ad, poster or an in-store signage can be taken to the next level with a more tech-forward approach. With the 3D poster or object, you’re not just looking at an object, you’re actually interacting with it.
Pepsi, a global food and beverage brand infused AR in their marketing campaigns to drive brand awareness. To promote the Pepsi Max drink, they displayed poster ads at a bus stop in London. They weren’t your typical poster ads. They were AR-powered immersive ads which created a sci-fi illusion for people, entertaining them while marketing their product. Which proved to be a lot more interesting and interactive than normal ads.
The video on YouTube alone received more than 8 million views and was covered by Forbes and The Verge.
2: For Increased Conversion Rates
People know what AR is and they want to experience it. At present, AR-based Snapchat filters or Sephora is the closest people have been to AR and they love the undying experience. It’s a novelty compared to conventional advertisements, retail strategies or shopping. To put it in another way, AR is more than enough to garner attention to your brand as well as traffic to your website. How?
Much like those makeover games, except that AR is all about people and not dressing up a Barbie or Ken for a beauty pageant. AR lets users virtually try on clothes, makeup, shoes or furniture, thus adding interaction. The more they interact with products, the more immersed they become. Trying on a gazillion products without any manual effort of dragging it in their homes or trying on clothes on loop in the try-rooms, if it isn’t a boon then what is? By default, the longer time they spend in the store, the more likely they are to spend at a store.
One of the plusses of AR is that it has taken gobs of bad decisions and purchases out of the picture. Most people who aren’t filthy rich prefer spending smart hence, it’s a win-win for both the brand and the potential customers.
Nike and Foot Locker, Unilever, Universal Pictures and Verizon are some giants who leveraged this treasure to promote their products over the recent years. Have we not discussed IKEA yet?
Furniture shopping was never this easier before.
3. For Brand Activation & Increasing Customer Engagement
We already discussed how people are no longer receptive to advertisements, seeing the same message in the same manner being played on loop lessens the impact. Casting the trite methods aside, in order to make your brand distinguishable in a crowd of likely dressed people, AR lets your brand and product interact with your consumers and potential customers. People love it when you make them the centre of your universe. Having the necessary information at their disposal about the brand and product they are interested in, they feel important and empowered. This increases the chances of consumer engagement and this push down the purchase tunnel is the prized catch.
It’s a brand strategy…
Brands like IKEA, Sephora and many other famous brands have already incorporated AR in their businesses one way or another. Not only has it made the shopping experience better and immersive but also taken a lot of bad decisions and guess work off a user’s plate.
Moreover, seeing a brand or product providing an AR experience, users instantly build a good brand perception and are more inclined towards checking the product out.
People are always on their mobile phones, surfing through the internet. Brands can leverage this habit by incorporating AR through mobile apps to overlay product information on products.
Or simply let them experience the product through AR through multi-channel experience thereby, saving quite a number of consumers from making a bad wardrobe decision!
…not a fashion statement.
According to a report published by Global Market Insights, the international market for AR products will experience an 80% upsurge, and reach $165 billion by 2024.
Another stat states the global market for AR is expected to generate $70.01 billion by 2023.
Another market estimate indicates that 69% of the consumers aged between 18 to 39 make a search about the product on their personal devices before making a purchase. This figure is not limited to the States. It applies to people all over the globe making it the untapped ‘fish in the sea’.
Or You can Team Up with an AR-Tech Business (Build Co-Branding Partnerships)
This is when two brands partner up to introduce a product or expand their reach in the market and there is no better platform than AR to build new partnerships. Co-branding partnerships can be mutually advantageous. If you co-brand, not only will it help you reach out to a completely new audience and a new market but depending on your partnership level, it may also garner your brand the press attention and the recognition.
You must be familiar with certain brands using partnerships and AR to create awareness. Snapchat filters for-instance are AR-powered and many famous brands pay to advertise on the social media platform through self-sponsored filters.
Starbucks often teams up with Snapchat to sponsor filters to create brand awareness.
Volvo teaming up with Microsoft HoloLens to use AR to design their products is another perfect example. The partnership created a hype and was largely covered by Engadget, The Verge and CNET. Who knows, you could be next.
Should You Embrace AR?
Should you dip your toes in the AR’s proverbial pool? A question you must ponder over before you make an investment. Use of technology has to be strategic otherwise people see it as nothing more than a gimmick. The answer depends on a number of factors such as cost, the size of your brand and the market.
Will it greatly benefit your brand? Expand your reach? Will your customers like it? The real-world behaviors must be your first consideration. You must also ask yourself if it’s something your audience will want to experience and share with their friends, loved ones and family. When used in the right manner, it propels your customers to share their experiences with your brand, products or styles with family and friends, while introducing it to potential new customers.