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September 01, 2021

AR and VR: The New Way of Marketing Engagement

How can AR/VR offer something different to your customers?

In 2016, most of the world was swept up by PokemonGo, a mobile game that allows players to locate, capture, and battle various Pokemon characters that appear on their smartphone screens as if they were at the same place as the player. And it’s all thanks to Augmented Reality (AR) technology.

And while AR is often conflated with Virtual Reality (VR), they’re quite different things. AR is when real-time computer-generated data is overlaid on an existing environment, whereas VR transports the user ‘into’ a computer-generated environment by using a headset 一 think along the lines of visiting the Louvre museum without leaving the comfort of your own home!

Fast forward to 2021, where going virtual has become the norm, these emerging technologies are gaining steam as well. In fact, the market for it will reach $766 billion by 2025, proving that it will not fade away anytime soon. 

Such AR and VR technologies are enabling brands and businesses to interact and engage customers in new innovative ways. 

1. National Geographic

Did the COVID-19 travel restrictions ruin your dream of being a Mount Everest climber? You can still experience it virtually. In July 2020, National Geographic released an AR experience on Instagram that allowed users to ‘dress up’ as Everest climbers and climb the highest mountain in the world.  When first launching the interactive filter, users will find themselves at 4815,84 m above sea level.

Afterward, users have four different surroundings to choose from; the basecamp (5273,04 m), the South Col (7894,32 m), the balcony (8429,85 m), and the summit (8848,04 m). Users can move their camera or swipe their fingers to look around the 360-degree views and take selfies to share on their Instagram feed.

Ultimately, National Geographic gives users an immersive experience of what it would look like to be on Mount Everest in person.

2. Kylie Cosmetics

As one of the most followed celebrities on Instagram with 261 million followers, Kylie Jenner has utilised her star power effectively to build her own cosmetics brand that’s currently worth $900 million. 

Demonstrating that she is indeed the queen of social media, she promoted her range of lip products by rolling out custom Instagram filters equipped with AR capabilities that allowed users to try on her lipstick products virtually. Users can try up to seven of its most popular lip colours, which can be posted to their Instagram stories, either as a selfie, video, or Boomerang video. 

Not only does it appeal to the selfie-loving generation, this filter proves that it helps consumers find the right shade of lipstick without having to head to the store. Since users can share their photos with hashtags, it also helps increase brand awareness. 

3. Zara

Mannequins are used to show customers what clothes would look like on a person. However, in April 2018, fast-fashion retailer Zara tried something new to give customers a unique in-store experience.

They replaced mannequins for real-life models like Lea Julian and Fran Sommers to pose, strut, and speak virtually on users’ phone screens. To experience this, users must download the AR Zara application and point their camera to the designated spots.

While it is true that the campaign only lasted for two weeks in 120 stores around the world, it certainly gives us a peek at what the future of marketing will look like.

4. Virtual concerts

With the ongoing pandemic, musicians are pivoting to virtual concerts to replace their source of income from live shows in stadiums or arenas. With virtual reality technologies, musicians can perform in other-worldly environments, not just your regular stage. John Legend and Travis Scott were among the first to dabble in this virtual world.

Partnering with Fortnite, Travis Scott successfully performed a 10-minute set of his hits in Avatar form surrounded by astonishing sets. The event was watched by more than 12 million viewers, a record for a Fortnite event. Meanwhile, John Legend partnered with Wave, a virtual concert platform, in different sets to raise awareness and donations for reforming the US criminal justice system.

Legend’s concert was done live in a studio using motion-capture technology, transmitting his facial expressions to the avatar in real-time. He also stayed active in his social media channels, giving immediate and immersive engagement to the audience.

5. Virtual reality meetings

Zoom meetings have become the norm due to the pandemic. But, it is not an immersive or personalised experience; it’s still a remote one. Luckily, there’s Spatial, a startup that enables people to meet through augmented or virtual reality by using headsets, ranging from HoloLens to the Oculus Quest.

A similar solution is provided by the Microsoft Mesh, where people can meet virtually in the same shared space in one’s avatar form. Look at the platform in action below:

6. Real estate

With lockdowns and restrictions in place during this period, real estate agents and developers must pivot from having a traditional open house to a virtual one. VR technology allows potential buyers to see what it feels like to be in the house without actually being there. One example is Sotheby’s Realty, a luxury real estate dealer that offers virtual walkthroughs for iPhone and Android users who own VR headsets.

Meanwhile, AR technology is helpful for customers to imagine where their new furniture will be placed and look in their home. IKEA Place, for instance, allows you to visualise a new sofa in your house before actually buying it.

As time goes on and technology becomes more sophisticated, integrating AR/VR in your marketing strategy is no longer a pipe dream but a real one. It lets your customers connect with your brand in a new and unique way.

Explore new, innovative ways to create content for your brand. Contact our CEO, Simon Kearney, at [email protected] today.

Read more from Click2View:

  1. How user-generated content is changing the marketing landscape
  2. Here’s how moment marketing helps your brand stay relevant
  3. Try these animation styles next.

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Click2View is Southeast Asia’s premiere full-service independent B2B content marketing agency servicing clients like Microsoft, Google, Visa, Prudential, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

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