Get Your Brand on Mobile AR: You'll Be in the Palm of Their Hand!
Mobile AR is Poised to Go Mainstream in 2018
You might be tempted to view mobile-based AR as a mere stepping stone on the path to wearable VR devices—but that'd be a mistake. (How many people do you even know who have the money or nerd cred to invest in Oculus headsets or Samsung HMD Odyssey? Maybe one or two.) But baking this technology into our already ubiquitous smartphones removes those barriers. This year, mobile AR's widespread adoption will quicken, thanks to the launch of software development kits by tech's key players: Google's ARCore, Apple's ARKit, Facebook's AR Studio, and Snapchat's Lens Studio. Brands like Nike, Treasury Wines, and Bud Light are already generating headlines for using AR to facilitate customer engagement in exciting, unprecedented ways.
Where Do Brands Fit In?
Crafting on equity content for new platforms is always critical. However, entering the AR space poses the unique challenge of creating experiences that consumers will actually want to take time to opt into. In order to devise a strategy that's gimmick-free and customer-centric, first ask yourself: where are your consumer's pain points? How can AR help? Here are a few potential channels.
GAMIFICATION As the blockbuster success of Pokémon Go has shown, there is major overlap between early AR adopters and thrill-seeking gamers, always on the hunt for new ways to compete with friends. Use geotagging or OOH-integrations to challenge and excite consumers, no matter where they are. Nike added adrenaline to their sneaker drops by having diehard fans compete in a real-world scavenger hunt. Brought to life through the SNKRS app, this tactic has wildly amplified the mystique and status of these exclusive shoes.
PACKAGING & IN-STORE Is your shelf presence eye-catching and informative? Does the packaging on your limited-edition item jump out? Maybe it literally could! Treasury Wine Estates used their Living Labels App to introduce the next generation of drinkers to the wine category and encourage them to explore other varieties in their portfolio. Pointing your phone at the label on their 19 Crimes brand, for instance, brings real historical photographs to life as they tell their suspenseful stories of colonizing Australia as British convicts in the 1700s.
FACIAL RECOGNITION Social sharing is second-nature to young consumers, and they're already familiar with facial mapping functionality; they've used it to virtually try on makeup products and create zany selfies with Snapchat Lenses. Last fall, Bud Light sponsored a joint feature for several NFL teams' apps. Virtual face paint and football helmets gave fans an easy way to show off their team spirit, and we're likely to see this offering expand to include more teams.
As AR becomes more and more adept at blurring the boundaries between the real and virtual world, it creates a whole new world of potential for customer engagement, data collection, and activations. Start experimenting now!