Technology never ceases to amaze. With new entrants teeming the markets, technology truly enhances everything it is applied in. And, given that numerous applications and technological developments constantly fill our world, keeping up with the trends and innovative technologies has become a job in its own peculiar way. Here are a few ways how augmented reality and virtual reality can help market products and services.
Brands and services are constantly trying to survive the evolving market and outdo the competition. In their bid to prevail, brands find themselves spending more time trying to get their customer’s attention and be a part of the customer’s life journey.
Thanks to technology, brands, and services can focus more on capturing the imagination of their customers, engaging with them, and entertaining them. This is possible because the world more than ever is drowning in images and interactions through screens. Elements like news, updates, self-expression, CSR are extracted through the media of moving images, stills, and videos. Most of our web and mobile applications are built to exchange and share information through images. We are a group of individuals who are separated and held together by screens.
In the 21st century, screens are our biggest influencers, and through them, visualization has touched an all new level of seamless exchange with virtual reality and augmented reality. The virtual and augmented realities have overwhelmed us enough to consider them as realities of tomorrow. This may be a statement too early to make, but nonetheless, a statement that needs to be made.
Usually, when brands and services start strategizing on design visualization, a fascinating world of possibilities opens up. What this does is provide brands the chance to preview and modify the visual design before it is presented to the customers.
VR and AR enable marketers to present brands and services in real-time to ensure incredible results. To explain, yesterday was when storytelling dominated the marketing trend, currently creating a world in which our (customer) stories take place is the trend. And here is where an effective AR and VR marketing campaign comes into play.
A good example of VR marketing taking charge is when Facebook acquired Oculus and invested billions in it so that developers can create 3600 VR content. This has opened a world of opportunity for content creation. Most of the content that was created using VR tech was trending for the better part of any day. And if something is trending, it obviously means that its customers are being engaged! This is a positive thing for marketers looking to implement AR and VR tech in their marketing efforts. Studies have shown that AR, VR technology is far more compelling than TV.
VR and AR not only engage and influence customers, they also derive empathy and create a more authentic and tangible connection. For marketers, this is a win-win situation. Brands with a medical background can use VR to create environments for specific purposes such as healing or treatment.
Recently, Oreo created an exciting VR campaign. They promoted their cupcake flavored cookies. The customers were treated to a virtual world of Oreo biscuits doors that opened up to chocolate rivers, cream spouts, fountains, etc. The customers later said that the visuals looked very real and were tempted to even touch and eat the biscuits shown in the video. This particular video garnered over three million views.
Similarly, Xfinity created a real NASCAR race for VR. Using a VR headset, the customer could ‘feel and view’ the race very closely. The feeling of being closer is tantalizing – it teases and rewards viewers. Spectators were able to move around in the pits, sit along with the racer, etc.
Even with all this cutting-edge technology and great marketing strategies using AR and VR, experts think that we have only scratched the surface. Currently, brands and services are looking at creating exceptional VR experiences for their customers. They want their customers to be able to travel to exotic destinations, watch a thrilling sporting event up close, or even attend music concerts while sitting half-way around the world.
The human ability to tell compelling stories has changed over the years. In fact, technology is helping us tell better stories than before. Now, the responsibility is with content creators i.e. marketers – to use the power of VR and AR to tell truly compelling and unforgettable stories.
Here are a few examples of VR and AR technology being used to market products and services:
Ikea created, possibly, the best VR experience with the current technology. Structured as a VR kit in their stores, users were able to move about in a kitchen that was stocked with Ikea products. One of the interesting features of the VR app and video, was the child mode. This meant that whoever was wearing the VR gear was, in the app, shrunken to the size of a small child. This was a unique way to spot the difficulties that children face as well as any safety issues that were not apparent. This VR app was able to give a perspective that was unknown in the brick-and-mortar store. VR has enormous potential in almost any industry, it adds on to what still photos and videos offer to the customers. Marketing is leveraging the technology to transform the way it reaches us.
The fast-food giant recently turned their Happy Meal boxes into Google Goggles. They were called the “Happy Goggles” – a combination of the Happy Meal and the Google Goggles. The box could be folded up into a custom branded mobile-based VR headset.
This was the natural step forward for McDonalds. They are the pioneers of using various marketing strategies to increase their market share. We say this was the natural step forward because today’s children are highly tech savvy. Offering a happy meal with virtual experience was the modern replacement of their PlayPlace playgrounds strategy.
During the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Coca-Cola presented to the 3.5 million people in attendance their Casa Coca-Cola VR experience. The experience included a guided tour into a physical replica of a locker room, and from there to the field where the game was played. After the game, a virtual salsa ended the experience.
This type of experience is something that is difficult to replicate using traditional marketing strategies. Coca-Cola leveraged its ability to virtually recreate the locker room and present it to millions of individuals to create an unforgettable experience.
Kaira works as a marketing manager in a leading IT solutions organization. With 10 years of experience in the marketing sector, Kaira spends her free time studying and writing blogs on marketing, technology, and gadgets. In this article, Kaira has shared her thoughts on virtual reality and augmented reality technology, which will definitely make changes in the tech world, in the coming years.