Best marketing techniques using virtual reality and augmented reality for brands
In this blog we will learn how to use virtual reality for brands to connect with their customers in more better and immersive way. We will know different new ways to use VR for marketing, several pioneers have found creative ways to do it well and support their unique value propositions.Your company has probably mastered Twitter and Facebook and possibly even experimented with ephemeral platforms such as Periscope or Snapchat. The new trend, however, has been to create a more immersive, aesthetic experience for users through augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR), and then allow them to share their experiences through social media.
VR is being strategically used as a tactic to:
- Demonstrate product attributes, features, functionality (Samsung Gear VR)
- Communicate the brand’s mission at point of sale (Tom’s)
- Immerse users in a branded entertainment experience and add excitement at pop-up events for social media sharing (Game of Thrones)
- Help consumers make more informed choices so they’ll be happier with their purchases (Lowe’s)
- Add a new, more immersive and exhilarating dimension to traditional print and video story-telling (The New York Times)
- Show how a brand can fit into an aspirational lifestyle (Mercedes)
The household penetration of VR headsets is in its infancy, the impact of VR based marketing programs can be far-reaching because of the viral response they can generate. Some brands have opted for providing the experience in-store or at special events through more durable, higher quality gear, while others have opted to let broader audiences experience VR at home, on cell phones, with Google Cardboard and on computers.
Imagine being able to see how a couch would fit in your living room before actually buying it — or being able to see which sunglasses suit your face or which lipstick looks good on you without physically trying anything on.
Each of these scenarios is already possible. These are real examples from Ikea, Ray-Ban, and Cover Girl of how companies are currently using augmented reality (AR). AR has been piquing marketers’ interest in recent years, as it has the potential to change a range of consumer experiences, from how people find new products to how they decide which ones to buy. AR technology enhances the physical environment you see by overlaying virtual elements, such as information or images over it, either through displays such as HoloLens and Google Glass or through the camera view on your smartphone.
In order for the potential of AR to be realized, though, companies have to resist the urge to hastily create AR apps (that risk appearing gimmicky), and instead focus on better understanding how consumers will interact with the technology. Based on research I have been conducting on consumer responses to AR over the past four years, I have found that designing and implementing valuable AR apps requires the following: a better idea of how consumers would use such technology; more collaboration among computer scientists, designers, and marketers; and a strategy for integrating the applications into the existing consumer journey.
Marketers should remember that AR is not about creating a completely new reality; it’s about enhancing what already exists. When the virtual is well fitted with the physical and interacts with it, that’s when AR magic happens. As opposed to virtual reality, which immerses you into a different world (e.g. Oculus Rift), AR intertwines virtual elements that might be missing in a specific situation within physical reality (the latest best example being HoloLens’ holoportation feature). This is one of the reasons why people like Snapchat’s AR feature, where users can play with different visual effects to transform ordinary videos into shareable stories.
Lowe’s Virtual Room Designer effectively uses AR to let customers design a new room using the home-improvement company’s products and then experience virtually how it will look and feel in real life. Lowe’s takes it a step further by letting customers adjust their perspectives, so they can experience the room from others’ viewpoints, such as their children’s. However, at present, the feature only allows users to email and print their designs instead of sharing them on social media. By adding social media–sharing buttons, Lowe’s could help their customers elicit additional feedback from friends, as well as gain greater exposure for the company’s products and the Virtual Room Designer.
Your first step into this new reality As a marketer, it’s easy to be attracted to shiny emerging technologies, and it’s also tempting to jump in too quickly. Joel advises that brands need to be strategic and have a clear goal in mind as they experiment with it.
“Right now many companies are using virtual reality and augmented reality in social media as a PR opportunity because it makes sense for their customers,” . AR and VR with audiences that already exist and that are active on the social component instead of trying to create new audiences.
Selecting the right content to pilot on AR and VR platforms is a challenge for companies, according to the 2016 Augmented and Virtual Reality Survey Report by Perkins Coie and Upload. So, instead of focusing on what to create, think about your customers’ greatest problems. While aspirational VR and AR definitely have a place, such as in Jaguar’s #FeelWimbledon VR campaign, which dramatically increased car sales, the sweet spot is using this technology to overcome pressing issues that arise. By integrating social media marketing into your campaign, so that customers can share their personalized experiences, you’re spreading the word about your brand as well as the new AR experience.
While integrating VR and AR into your social media marketing strategy is something your brand should definitely consider, the prize doesn’t go to companies that implement it the fastest. The real payoff comes when you create experiences that are authentic to your brand and meaningful to your customers.
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Reference Links from HBR,Forbes and IBM.