• Eli Collins

Why Augmented Reality is Important in Experiential Marketing

Last summer, the world went crazy for Pokemon Go. Truthfully, people lost their composure over it. People died chasing augmented reality Pokemon off actual real cliffs and bridges. The game was absorbing, to say the least.

What was it about Pokemon Go that was so addictive? After all, we’ve had virtual reality games for years. We’ve had smartphones for a decade, and we are certainly no strangers to immersive games like Farmville. The fact is, there was something different about Pokemon Go. There was something so exciting about this game that it got couch potatoes off the sofa and into local parks and public spaces for hours after work and on weekends. What was the difference? We got to interact, in real time, with both our surroundings and the characters in the game.

Instead of taking a picture of a Pokemon sitting on a virtual reality sidewalk, you could take a picture of one sitting next to your dog on the couch. Participants could catch Pokemon in coffee cups and snap pictures of them perched atop the heads of their significant others.

Pokemon Go put augmented reality (a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world) on the map, but it’s not the first time we’ve come in contact with the technology. Snapchat uses AR to create fun, and playful filters and Covergirl uses AR to allow users to try on different shades of lipstick.

We are moving toward a future where AR is more important than ever for marketers. The benefits or potential of AR aren’t 100% known yet, but if Pokemon Go is any indication of our desire to interact with the digital world in real time, then the financial potential of AR on marketing cannot be overstated.

Thinking of incorporating AR into your marketing plans? Follow these tips to make the most out of the technology.

Make it shareable: Most people want to share their experiences with their friends and family via social media. Making your AR experience shareable makes it more likely that your customers will spread the word about your brand and product. It also increases exposure and allows other people to learn about your event, brand, and AR technology.

Allow customers to try products on: If you have a product that can be “tried on” virtually, like makeup, hair color, or accessories, then an AR app will make it much easier for customers to interact with your product. Imagine not having to dye your hair purple to see what it would look like! Or imagine being able to try on a pair of sunglasses or a new kind of eyeliner with your phone.

Ignite the imagination: If your product allows it, use AR to take customers on a journey. If you sell vacation packages, use AR to enable customers to see themselves in their favorite destinations. If you own a restaurant, let people sit down to a five-course, beautifully presented meal. AR takes away the middle-man that’s usually present in advertising experiences and lets customers immerse themselves in the experience of your product.

Make a Snapchat filter: Snapchat is well known for its fun AR filters. On any given day, you can morph into a chipmunk or other woodland creature, a deer, and a dog who licks the screen when prompted. New filters are always being added. Some filters are sponsored by brands as a way to increase brand awareness or to promote a particular event. If you have an upcoming experiential marketing event or product launch, consider creating a sponsored filter.

Integrate it into your ongoing marketing efforts: In a study posted in the Harvard Business Review, it was discovered that when people are exposed to AR technology once or twice as part of a sales and marketing campaign, they are typically impressed with the technology, but not necessarily the brand or product. However, if AR technology is well integrated into ongoing marketing efforts, it can positively impact purchase activities, brand awareness, and brand perception. As an example of this in action, Sephora uses Modiface mirrors in their stores to allow customers to try on makeup at the point of purchase. Find a way to incorporate AR into your entire marketing strategy, not just one promotional push.

Be unpredictable: One of the things that keep people coming back to Snapchat time and time again is the fact that filters expire. If you miss a 24-hour filter, it may never come back around. This perception of scarcity lends itself well to the short attention spans of most consumers. Use it to your advantage by incorporating surprise and unpredictability into your campaigns.

Augmented reality is a relatively new concept, but we’ve been speculating about the possibility of augmented reality ever since Star Trek officers first stepped into a Holodeck. As humans, we are understandably fascinated with anything that allows us to bend our imaginations and escape our reality, even if only to try on a new shade of lipstick. AR technology has massive potential in the coming years. As a marketing executive, it’s time to start taking it seriously.

For more information about AR and how you can use it in your experiential marketing campaigns, contact Modern Promos.

#brandmessaging #experientialmarketing #consumerengagement #augmentedreality #brandawareness

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