Only a short handful of years ago, areas of technology such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) were scoffed at as mere fantasies with only a slim chance of success.
However, advances in technology are occurring at a near exponential pace today as a growing number of high-tech products and projects utilize these platforms and taking industries by storm (the Pokemon phenomenon is a great example). Industries like sport, retail, and even small business are reaping the benefits.
In the case of AR (the ability to overlay digital objects onto a surrounding real-life environment through a computer or smart device), and VR (the ability to delve into a completely computer-generated environment), these platforms meet all key customer-engagement strategies.
Seeing the benefit, my augmented reality company has partnered with Candy Lab (another AR company), and disruptive company Fluffr (http://fluffar.com), to provide users the ability to earn real money by interacting with our AR experiences, which prompts multi-sensory engagement, provides intellectual experience and establishes an emotional connection to the desired brand.
An augmented and virtual experience is especially effective with the group of Generation Z (or post-millennials) shoppers who are coming of age. They have grown up in a world dominated by technological devices and their searching and buying habits reflect that influence.
Unlike millennials that tend to weigh the differences between traditional and technological choices and then select the most advantageous option, post-millennials expect companies to offer computerized forms of reviewing, informing and purchasing their products and services. Also, as the digital and mobile markets expand in global influence, growing numbers of technologically hungry consumers are expecting similar venues.
Let's take a look at how AR and VR can be used to more successfully tap these markets and effectively expose your brand to a newly engaged audience.
The senses - sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste - are our links through which we interact with the world. When it comes to marketing brands, there are ample studies revealing how engaging the senses directly affects how consumers respond - the more senses engaged and the more pleasant the experience, the better the response.
Both AR and VR technologies more deeply engage customer senses by immersing them in enhanced environments via digitally altered venues particularly involving visual, auditory and touch. However, these platforms are poised to include the senses of smell and taste as scent generating technologies create odors which, in turn, manipulate and influence the sense of taste.
Involving our mental facilities in routine activities and choices works to greatly enhance the overall outcome and experience. Greater involvement of our intellectual process is even more important when faced with difficult choices such as making critical insurance selections or major high-ticket item purchases.
VR and AR enhanced systems provide intellectual experience for consumers in spades. Waves of marketing success have been established on such platforms that give computer and mobile device users a plethora of sources from which to browse, glean and review information on people, places, and things.
Linking the emotions of customers to a brand is a top priority in most marketing departments. Creating a strong emotional tie to a company, product, service, promotion and the overall brand has been said to be even more important than customer satisfaction.
Of course, emotional bonds are important on every level and at every point where the business touches the customer, but strategies designed around AR and VR platforms deepen and strengthen those bonds by more fully engaging the entire person. The result is a better and more pleasurable customer experience that will produce positive and far-reaching results.
In order to achieve organic growth, competitiveness, and profitability, marketers must implement VR and AR tech into their marketing plans. Customers that have their senses, intellect, and emotions more fully engaged with your brand experience will demonstrate a stronger loyalty through both promotion and pocketbook.