The concept of augmented reality (AR) has been around for longer than you would think. L. Frank Baum, the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, thought up the “character marker,” electronic display/spectacles that could overlay data onto real life (and specifically in this case, people). Since the beginning of the 21st century, innovations to the field have been made in leaps and bounds, culminating in Google Glass, which perhaps is the best-known recent example of augmented reality.
Google Glass showcases the opportunities that augmented reality can provide, but the product is not readily accessible and has been controversial from the get-go. And if your company is interested in using augmented reality for marketing, you’re going to want a larger audience.
As of 2013, two-thirds of Australians owned a smartphone, and we can only expect that number to increase. Mobile phones have become the go-to device for augmented reality marketing, and that isn’t looking to change any time soon. By focusing AR marketing efforts on mobile phone apps, your business can begin creating a 3D immersive experience for your customers.
AR Marketing Successes So Far
The purpose of using augmented reality for marketing can be as simple as a way to get your company’s name out there. However, the more useful, interesting and entertaining the technology is, and the more your customers can get from the experience, the more reward you will see from its implementation. Augmented reality doesn’t just have to be able pushing a product – ultimately, it can and should be about connectivity.
For a consumer, AR technology can help them make a decision during the buying process. A major appeal of AR is the “try-before-you-buy” setup. This can be used with any product a consumer can “try on” (and no, it isn’t limited to just clothes!).
To promote their Forevermark diamond brand, De Beers introduced the “Forevermark Fitting” AR technology to its customers in 2011. The download allows shoppers to try on the collection through a webcam, showing the potential buyer how certain pieces of jewellery would like in different lighting and skin tones. This example is a little more intensive than some, as the consumer would need to print and cut out images to use to interact with the AR technology.
IKEA’s AR catalogue technology is even simpler. When the company released their catalogues in the middle of the year of 2013 and 2014, the magazine included the ability to enable shoppers to visualise how certain pieces of furniture could look inside their homes. Once the consumer’s free IKEA Catalogue App for iOS or Android was downloaded, they could use a smartphone or tablet to select certain products from the magazine. Once the app recognizes the product, consumers were told to place the catalogue where they wanted to see the piece of furniture. A virtual version of the furniture pops up on the screen, allowing the user to see the product in their home.
AR marketing has several other uses. One of the more helpful apps is IBM’s Augmented Reality Shopping Advisor. IBM has found that 58 percent of consumers want product information in-store before they purchase, and that nearly 20 percent of customers will browse their mobile devices whilst shopping. IBM Research developed the app to give in-store shoppers instant product details and promotions through their mobile device. The app captures images and uses its advanced processing technologies to quickly identify the product. Details and display information pop up on the screen, providing the shopper with the price and nutritional value.
An AR Marketing Campaign for You
If you want to implement your own AR marketing campaign, consider how you want to do so first. Do you want to develop the technology in house? Your company will need to invest development resources, potentially hire developers and have a dedicated team of professionals to get it up and running.
The other option partners you with a company specialising in the technology. If the price is right, this would be the easier of the two options. These companies already employ experts in the field of augmented reality – all you’d need to do is break down exactly what you want from the app for your consumers. Creating apps has turned into a multi-million dollar venture in Australia, and there are several companies out there that can help you develop the best product.
Pixel Natives brings their AR expertise to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. With home bases in Australia and Germany, Pixel Natives employs professionals with backgrounds in an array of digital disciplines. Their AR mobile app expertise is grounded in iOS and Android. For architecture projects, Pixel Natives can simulate planned construction projects, which would show how buildings in their surroundings would look once built. For companies with upcoming product launches, they can help your business unveil new products through virtual Easter egg hunts that lead consumers throughout the city.
Only Augmented is another specialized AR technology company, based in Sydney. The company collaborates specifically with media groups, brands and PR agencies to deliver innovative and interesting AR marketing options for companies worldwide. With several high-profile clients like Audi, Coca Cola and Maxim Magazine, Only Augmented has created game-changing marketing campaigns for some of the world’s leading businesses.
By using augmented reality technology in your marketing campaigns, your company can bring product awareness and create a fun company culture and experience for its consumers. Whether your marketing department plans to use AR to superimpose points of reality onto your brand, is looking to improve customer experience via an AR mobile app or wants to create a 360-degree immersive experience for a product or your business in general, they know the technology will definitely create a splash in your respective industry, and give your brand a potential leg up over the competition.