5 Ways Brands Can Use Augmented Reality

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It took Candy Crush 15 months to reach 100 million daily and active users. Pokémon Go achieved that in six days. From a user acquisition standpoint, it’s a tremendous feat. That said, as a franchise, Pokémon has had a legacy following and with Nintendo’s endorsement, fans were quick to jump in and catch em all. But as Professor Mark Ritson of the Melbourne Business School notes, just because an app is popular, doesn’t mean it’s right for your brand.

Thankfully, alternatives exist.

  1. Generating Footfall
    For instance, brands can also capitalize on the legacy trust of Strayboots, an app that was one of the pioneers of driving footfall to tourist hotspots. Co-founded in 2008 by Avi Millman, the app started out as an “Amazing Race” type game for tourists to take part in, find clues and get prizes. Clues were often found in hidden landmarks and corners of a tourist destination. Just like the lures used by Pokémon Go today and the sponsored questions used by QuizUp, the owners of bars, restaurants, cafe’s and the like sponsored their locations as iconic destinations filled with history related to the city. And while visiting the sponsored location, players of Strayboots, exhausted in finding the place would in turn make a purchase, share their information or sign up for an event. Since then, the app scaled content from one scavenger hunt in NYC to over 100 hunts across 40 cities in the US and abroad. It diversified revenue streams into viable B2C (e-commerce), B2B (corporate events), and B2B2C (licensing) channels. Brands involves in the hospitality, footwear, fine dining and tourism space will find synergies with this app, one that appeals to customer segments that frequently travel to iconic cities like Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.

  2. Location Based Engagement
    The National Geographic Channel wanted to gain mindshare among its target audience. In an era of sharing memorable experience and amplifying reach through networks, they sought to create an experience unlike anything attempted before. This is why an in-mall activation would prompt everything from virtual astronauts, thunderstorms, dinosaurs and the animal kingdom to appear and interact with the shoppers standing at the right place at the right time. In the span of a day, prospective viewers and advertisers got a chance to live the excitement that comes the content National Geographic Channel produces.

  3. Enhancing Packaging
    Heineken wanted to give its fans the opportunity to win a trip to Las Vegas for the 2013 Latin Grammy Awards. So it launched a decoder app which would launch a 3D video from the star logo on Heineken’s bottle. Augmented reality around the product packaging drives world of mouth with existing customers and attracts new one’s too. It results in bursts of retail lift and campaign participation. Marketers can structure these around existing activations to create entertaining and memorable experiences worthy of being shared. Stronger memories may even be saved on Snapchat story. Add on’s can include digital coupons and pop quizzes.

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  4. Location Based Marketing
    Pokemon offers brick & mortar retailers the chance to set up ‘lures’ that place virtual pokemon within your outlet. In doing so, participating stores have experience significant uplift in their foot traffic and sales, with some accounting for a 75% lift overall for just US$ 10 (MYR 41). As early adopters take advantage of the new platform and risk averse marketers stay behind to watch, the cost of lures may steadily rise to a point out of reach for testers.

  5. Employer Branding
    Brands also turn to Strayboots for designing employer branding activities, with the objective of raising employee engagement in the workplace. Iconic brands like ESPN, Bloomberg and even Harvard University have invested time & energy working with the mobilizing app to tell new stories and realign internal stakeholders with business purpose. So for companies telling their employees that they matter more than end customers, augmented reality works here too.

We recommend all brand marketers take a step back and look at data that backs the business value of augmented reality as it relates to their target segment. As promising as augmented reality is, as a medium it may simply not work for all manner of brands at this stage of its journey. But when it does, it works well. We also recommend brand marketers take on initiatives that break away from the clutter of what their counterparts are partaking in. Brands that stand out, make a longer lasting positive impression.

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Usman Khalid

About the Author Usman Khalid

Usman Khalid is the founder & CEO of Centric DXB. He excels in taking the point of view of both our clients and our internal teams - expressing those perspectives, concerns and requirements to the other side. Aspiring clients & partners can reach him on usman.khalid@centric.ae

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