Augment reality is defined as “the live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.” While technically accurate, to a consumer, AR is about something utterly different — something intangible, utilitarian, and evocative.
Because of this, the marketer who views AR as a technology is missing the point. Instead, brands and marketers who want to leverage AR must look at it through the consumer lens. When a client expresses interest in integrating AR in their platforms and campaigns, I walk them through my version of augmented reality 101. With it, any brand or advertiser can determine whether AR is right for them, and if so, how best to integrate it.
What to Consider
- Innovation: Innovation is a loaded word. Who doesn’t want to be innovative, right? But as with any new tactic, the smart marketer must question whether it’s the right tactic, and the right time. There are essentially two kinds of AR marketing out there: the type that aims to be long-term and platform-supported, and the kind that intends to be a one-off, an earned-media generator, a campaign.
A fragrance brand, for example, might benefit more from an AR campaign in the fourth quarter that drives in-store holiday sales, while an automotive brand may see a better ROI if they build an AR platform that touts the features of their new models year-round and year-to-year. Any brand or marketer first needs to decide what kind of AR tactic suits their goal. Only then can they move on to the next consideration.
- Cost Versus Engagement: Comparatively speaking, the cost of deploying an AR campaign or platform can be substantially cheaper than other forms of marketing. More importantly, it can also result in priceless earned media. For example, when Burberry celebrated its Beijing store opening with an AR fashion show in which holographic models appeared to walk next to the real-life ones, Burberry received top coverage in countless major publications including The New York Times. The AR elements cost Burberry substantially less than buying advertising would have, and they enjoyed the cache of maintaining their reign as the luxury fashion digital leader.
However, the Burberry AR example is a one-off, and long-term AR platforms can be a great deal more expensive. That’s why the cost-benefit analysis for marketers boils down to this: Is the goal to create awareness and to generate innovative cache, or is the goal continued engagement and sales conversions? In either case, AR is a viable tactic, but a smart marketer must build the AR experience from the goal up.
How to Do it Right
If a marketer decides that AR is the right move, then here’s how to do it effectively.
- Immediacy: The nature of AR as a technology poses a significant time hurdle to marketers trying to engage hurried audiences. For AR to work, it must be fast and easy. Take, for example, a Red Bull AR campaign that required the user to first purchase and collect a series of cans, then line them up, then download the Red Bull app, and only then could they enjoy the augmented experience. That’s a lot of work for a time-pressed audience, and the Red Bull campaign was ultimately unsuccessful.
One solution is to skip the app. Countless successful AR campaigns have lived inside live events that don’t require a device at all. In March 2011, Axe deodorant put signs in London’s Victoria railway stations asking travelers to look up at a giant LCD screen. On the screen the travelers saw themselves with angels, who were a centerpiece of both the U.K. and U.S. Axe campaigns [http://mashable.com/2011/03/17/unilevers-angels-ar/]. Whether a brand chooses to remove the need for devices all together, or simply to make the barriers to use minimal, any successful AR tactic must provide easy and immediate gratification.
- Content: For AR to work, audiences have to be willing to purposefully request a brand’s content. Therefore, the content has to be exponentially more compelling than that of other channels and more useful. The Stella Artois Le Bar Guide is successful because it requires only the download of the branded app, and offers real-world payoff. It combines GPS tracking with directions and user interaction. By locking into your physical location, the app recognizes if the bars you are walking toward serve Stella Artois. If not, it directs you to those that do. It’s just more proof that low barriers to use and high utility are keys to successful long-term AR.
- Emotion or Entertainment: This approach to AR is best suited for marketing strategies that demand a more evocative and sensory connection with customers. Categories like automotive, luxury, and travel often see great success with emotion or entertainment based AR, since their products tend not to be about function or utility, but rather about how they make a consumer feel.
The goal of AR in this case is to create an emotional connection between what the buyer is searching for and what the product can offer. In short, it gives the product a personal feel when consumers can picture it in their own world. Take for example the Volvo AR campaign that promoted the launch of the new S60 model, and gamified AR for entertainment value. The user activated the AR function by scanning a YouTube video that allowed him or her to drive a virtual Volvo S60 around a track by tilting their smartphone left and right. By connecting their brand to the fun of driving a racetrack, Volvo reported an almost 300% leap in traffic to their homepage.
Keen use of emotional AR comes most frequently from the luxury category. Dunhill, for example, is leveraging the London Olympics with the latest iteration of its “Voice” campaign. The campaign connects the Dunhill brand with a series of iconic British Olympians. This means that when a user scans a print ad or billboard, they can watch a video of one of the Olympian luminaries talking about what inspires him or her, while dressed to the nines in Dunhill. The AR experience makes the link between incredible accomplishment and the Dunhill brand all the more poignant, and it brings the brand values and emotions to life.
View the full article from Mashable.com - http://mashable.com/2012/06/11/augmented-reality-marketing-brand/