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Immersive marketing

Author: Kevin Dunckley
Man using augmented reality on a mobile phone

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How technology makes the experience possible

What was once science fiction is now science fact. Luddites beware. There can no longer be naysayers. We are living through one of the most transformative periods in human history. The technology experience options are on the development fast track with a massive global market of $18B in 2018 and a predicted market size of $215B by 2021.1

Understanding the options from AR to VR, the potential for business application and effectiveness can be daunting. This series of blog posts provide the basics to understanding what the pieces are and how they fit together to create memorable brand experiences.

Immersive Experiences

An immersive experience is the creation of an all-encompassing illusory environment. That is a storytelling experience that evokes and commands the senses to make the “player” believe that they are inside and part of the story. The creative technology can be from one or a combination of experiences:

Augmented Reality (AR): Technology that superimposes a visual experience over a current real environment

Virtual Reality (VR): Technology that transports users to an environment that is constructed completely outside their current environment, with completely virtual visuals and audio

Mixed Reality: Superimposed visuals onto the real environment allowing interaction between the virtual and real environment

Projection: Technology used to turn objects into a display surface for video projection. From irregularly shaped and as large and complex as buildings to small indoor objects, the object is spatially mapped to mimic the real environment. Images are then projected onto the surface of the static object providing extra dimensions, optical illusions, and notions of movement. Combined with audio, creates an opportunity for an audio-visual narrative.

Why now? The impact of mobile

What drove the ability to even have an immersive experience to become a potential business experience to add to your marketing?

Mobile technology is pervasive - 7.2B mobile devices - more than the population of the planet.2 At an average of close to 2 hours spent on a phone per day, what are people doing? Engaging with apps consists of roughly 90% of time on mobile devices.3

Smartphones have transformed a telephone into a remote control connecting people to each other as well as objects and places around the world. Cloud technology allows for the connection between personal devices and objects which can transform - from shelf-side to buildings  - into a “smart” gadget with the ability to broadcast your marketing message. Augmented Reality capability is in your pocket in the AR-ready operating systems in Apple and Google mobile devices.

This has changed consumer expectations.

Consumers expect to summon brand experiences as they would a genie from a lamp, call forth from a smartphone, personal assistant, or physical environment. These solutions enable consumers to engage with brands, browse products, test, and purchase in innovative new ways.

We now live in the world of the Internet of Things (IOT). Every product can have its own identity, its own digital footprint allowing marketers to include the physical product into the omnichannel growth strategy far beyond the traditional method of labeling and packaging.

But how to effectively deliver the messaging? Use the three C’s of success: Context, Call to Action, and Content. Simplify the experience by removing the distance and friction between the user’s device and their ultimate content experience. Make the effort to surprise and delight them while delivering optimal analytics.

Now that we know that spatial and immersive marketing is here to stay, what are the success cases to learn from?

Nike teamed up with renowned chef David Chang during the release of a limited-edition shoe. Using the Nike app, a user taps the GIF and point the camera at a menu (either at Chang’s New York City restaurant or online) to activate the 3D model of the shoe and they have the opportunity to purchase a pair. The buying process of the sought-after product becomes an experience.

When BBVA, a multi-national bank redesigned its mobile app, the engagement results were phenomenal. The most impressive response was to a tool that incorporated AR as part of a housing search. Point the camera at a building and learn the options of rental over a purchase, the likely payments and expenses, and how to manage your money. Ready to move in? Apply for a mortgage within the app. The results were an 11-time increase in engagement.

AR provides a practical replacement for imagination in a safe surrounding. For example, HH Global is working with a client to display how fireworks will look once set off through an AR visualization. HH Global has worked with another client to create a Virtual Reality setting to teach workplace safety in a risk-free environment.

HH Global is addressing the challenges for leading brands. Through our internal research and development thinktank HH Labs, we collaboratively work with startups, established technology players and our clients to capture the latest innovation and bring added value to our partnerships. HH Labs is where ideas become solutions for HH Global clients.

In my next blog, I will address Artificial Intelligence, Predictive Marketing and the fundamental force that is bringing brands and consumers together.