At the start of the 21st century, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and immersive technology were still science fiction. Though high-tech fields like medicine had developed a few rudimentary applications, the technology was simply not available for most industries.
Today, AR and VR are approaching a tipping point. While they still represent a new and innovative phenomenon, organisations in every market are planning and implementing AR and VR technology for a variety of purposes. Most consumers have been exposed to immersive experiences in one form or another, and adoption rates are increasing rapidly.
As with any new technology, companies that lead the transition also outperform their competitors. Some sectors and disciplines have been particularly enthusiastic when it comes to leveraging AR and VR tools. However, very few marketing departments have created a strategy that incorporates these new channels to engage. AR and VR technology is here to stay, and brands must begin to consider how it can be used to create high-quality, meaningful content.
The basics of AR vs VR
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are often discussed together, but they are actually quite different. Understanding the features of each makes it easier to create and implement campaigns using the technology.
Augmented reality adds digital elements to the users existing surroundings. For example, Snapchat lenses digitally enhance photos. Virtual reality visually transports the user to another world. Existing surroundings are completely eradicated, and participants live in an alternate reality.
The benefits of embracing AR/VR in marketing
Brands that are first in the AR/VR marketing space have little to lose – and a lot to gain. Standard marketing tactics are facing an increasingly crowded landscape. While it is critical to maintain a social media presence, this area is saturated. Even the most creative videos and crowdsourcing campaigns are drowned out in a sea of equally impressive offerings.
The time to make your mark with AR and VR is now, before your competitors seize the opportunity. If this technology continues to grow at its current rate, brands that maximize success early will make the biggest impression on consumers. This could translate to a veritable windfall when it comes to catching the attention of potential customers and capturing their business.
Unique opportunities available through AR/VR
Marketing professionals know that the most memorable campaigns tell a story. AR and VR take storytelling to an entirely new level. Using immersive technology, you have an opportunity to offer exclusive experiences to your current and prospective customers. You have a chance to tell your story in a dramatic new way.
Consider transporting people to places they have never been. Even better, give them the chance to explore places they are unlikely to visit in person. Take viewers inside a volcano, to Mars, or under the ocean. You can even take them to places that only exist in the imagination. Test out worlds where the laws of physics don’t apply, or mashup ideas that wouldn’t work in the real world. Stretch minds and experiment with one-of-a-kind stories.
Storytelling is still the most powerful tool available to marketers and telling stories in new ways is a key differentiator for brands. Make your mark in this space with an innovative AR or VR branding campaign.