Marketing for the future – how emerging technologies can better promote your business
If you haven’t climbed on board the extended reality (XR) marketing trains than you’d better get out of the way… because you’re about to get run over by that speeding train.
Extended reality is the futuristic technology we’ve all been dreaming about. While we aren’t using hovercrafts or lifelike robot servants, XR is pretty close to fulfilling all those other cool ideas. This incredible widespread and accessible technology boasts limitless applications and potential. And here’s what it is in a nutshell.
Extended Reality or XR is simply the catch-all category for all real-and-virtual combined environments generated by computer technology and wearables. There are three primary types of technology: virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR)
- Virtual reality: This experience places the user “in” another world – creating a virtual environment removing you from reality.
- Augmented reality: Projects digital content into a real-world environment. AR technology simply alters your experience of the real world and doesn’t remove you from it completely. A great example of this is Pokémon Go.
- Mixed reality: Combines elements of both VR and AR as an interaction between the physical world and digital objects. It’s like two types of video essentially layered over each other.
The uses of XR technology are limitless. Right now surgeons are using VR and AR games to hone their surgical skills, psychiatrists are using Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET) for phobia treatments and anxiety disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and researchers have found that VR environments can even offer significant pain relief.
And on a more personal level, imagine being able to visit world-famous sites and monuments to help you pick your next vacation spot, or sit on an aeroplane before reserving your seat.
VR and AR, these aren’t just the current buzzwords du jour, instead, it’s revolutionising the way we learn, play, shop – and well – live.
These are huge industries and it’s only going to get larger. VR has been around a little longer and is a concept people are more familiar with as it’s widely used in video gaming, AR is fast catching up.
According to forecasts from the Statista Research Department, the AR market will reach $198 billion in 2025 – that’s a massive increase from roughly 3.5 billion in 2017. AR is set to gain 1 billion users worldwide by 2020, with the number of mobile users projected to hit 3.5 billion by 2022. Statista predicts 5.5 billion consumer downloads of AR apps in 2022, compare this to the slightly over one billion downloads in 2016.
The current global VR gaming market in 2016 was around $ 3.6 billion and given that this has become one of the fastest developing technologies since then, Statista predicts it will reach a market value of $22.9 billion by the end of 2020. Not too shabby considering the AR and VR device market was only worth $1.8 billion in 2018.
And according to Allied Market Research, the global Augmented and Virtual Reality Market is expected to garner $571.42 billion by 2025, witnessing a compound annual growth rate of 63.3% from 2018 to 2025. Making it a sure thing that this is the way to go.
But, not only are VR and AR seriously cool, but it also offers endless marketing applications.
Creating a novel, unexpected or fun extended reality experience can result in significant buzz for a brand when executed properly. AR and VR is set to be one of the driving forces behind sales and marketing innovations over the next decade. Using this technology forward-thinking businesses not only upgrade the experience they offer their customers but can inspire, engage and impact in ways they’ve never imagined.
Here are some cool examples of both AR and VR marketing campaigns that have not only set the bar high but are sure to leave you wishing you’d come up with them
- Shoppers paradise: Many brands are already using AR to transform the shopping experience. Swedish furniture giant, Ikea has a smartphone app that lets you try out their furniture! The simple but genius concept, allows you to swipe through different categories of products and virtually place any type of furniture in your own home so you can see how it looks. Users simply hold their phones up as if they were taking a picture, and then the app “places” the item in the space. This is a great example of how companies can use AR to create entertaining and useful experiences for customers
- Talking up a thirst: A old but an excellent example of an AR marketing done right was a Pepsi campaign at a bus station in London. Pepsi installed an AR virtual window alongside the bus station’s walls. While waiting for the bus, people were treated to rather unexpected sights, like a marauding tiger, UFO’s and robots all running loose within the AR vista. The campaign was done in 2014 but if you haven’t seen it – check it out. This campaign captivated and charmed the audience, all while creating a buzz around their product, generating discussions and strengthening their brand
- Put on a pretty face: A more familiar example is the ModiFace AR Beauty App. Modiface, a hugely popular app trusted by most beauty brands, lets you try on different types of makeup and hairstyles. Thanks to facial recognition technology, users position their phone in front of their face to effortless try out the different features. Then with a simple tap, they can then send their chosen item into their shopping basket! The innovative, accessible app is dominating the market, digitally transforming the beauty industry as customers can personalise their shopping experience
- A whole new world: The Chinese retail chain, Alibaba, with the use of some cutting edge tech has created a virtual shopping mall. Called Buy+, the VR experience also allows customers to “wander” through stores from all around the world. You can now “walk” through the aisles of US stores like Costco and Target and browse their inventory, and then nod your way to checkout. This concept takes internet shopping to a whole new level.
- Tequila shots! Tequila company, Patron’s, clever marketing VR campaign, tells a captivating story about the product. Thanks to the clever use of live-action and computer graphics, they’ve created a 360 journey that follows the lifecycle of a bottle of tequila – starting at an agave field to being served at a glamorous party. Now at Patron events, they bring a virtual reality set up to show audiences their process.
- Driving the brand: Volvo’s, idea to make an app to support the launch of the XC90 SUV, created not a buzz around the vehicle but also the brand itself. The app puts you in the cockpit and takes you on an idyllic ride through the country. While there are some complaints about the execution, this campaign helped Volvo appear more modern and relevant. Not only did this campaign get the public looking at them differently, but they also got props for taking a chance, doing thing differently and garnering an early adapter advantage in the VR marketing industry.