AR and VR are the future. That is definitely something to be excited by, not daunted by. Previously thought about as something gimmicky, many brands are yet to realise their full potential using the latest technology.
The challenges when presenting AR technology to our clients is often the fear of the unknown; not understanding the process or the technology behind it can cause innovation paralysis. The assumption is often that, being a relatively new mainstream technology, it’s therefore expensive and time-consuming. KVA would argue against that. In the past, we’ve been able to turn around AR app projects in a short space of time – it’s about finding the right creative application for a set budget.
In the right creative application, AR has the power to dramatically enhance the value proposition on offer to the customer. Market research companies like Mintel and Euromonitor International all concur that consumers, as a rule, are in a phase where brand experience often is more effective in leading to a purchase than utility. Experiential is firmly a part of the customer’s decision-making process, and AR/VR can play a huge part in that. Companies shouldn’t be afraid of trying new platforms, especially when it allows them to be first movers and as market innovators.
Already, brands are using the technology to their advantage. Ikea use AR to show customers how individual pieces of furniture might look in their home, with the item on display extremely responsive to both camera movement and room lighting. Sephora, an international cosmetics store chain, offer customers the chance to try before they buy, with virtual makeup swatches able to be projected onto the customer’s forearm in order to compare products and brands.
The Economist have integrated VR into their films department, in order to create an immersive experience around a given story. One excellent example is a piece on the overfishing of seas and its impact on fishermen, diners, policymakers and the ocean food chain.
There is, of course, some common themes in their successes: they all translate the respective brand’s DNA into these new platforms to great effect; and they all are a part of the consumers’ brand experience. In the case of The Economist, it provides viewers with an immersive experience of the high-quality, in-depth journalistic values they are accustomed to in the print version; for Ikea, their furniture is now being able to be considered and associated with the customers’ home before they’ve ever set foot in store.
Ultimately, AR and VR can’t be the be all and end all of the future of digital marketing, but they have scope to become an integral part of a contemporary brand’s omnichannel mix of marketing communications. Whilst it won’t change the way a revenue model is set up, it may improve the sales & experiential process in the lead-up to purchase.
We’re nonetheless extremely excited to be working in this innovative new field. With limitless possibilities and Apple’s ARKit opening up even more opportunities to make AR more accessible, we’re keen to show clients the power of Augmented and Virtual Reality for their brands. If you’d like a chat about how we can add some panache to your marcomms, why not drop us a line..