Today’s post is an article written by Brandhook, good friends of ours and the sharpest brand research and insights agency around.
If you didn’t know what Augmented Reality (AR) was a couple of weeks ago, chances are you do now. After reading our blog last week on the new craze of Pokémon Go I wondered if now’s the time for other brands to revisit this technology. Its heightened awareness is almost entirely due to the phenomenal success of Pokémon Go, and while Augmented Reality isn’t new the game has successfully introduced AR to the masses.
Between me and you, Pokémon Go was a cunning plan by governments across the globe to fight obesity. The first guy who completed the game walked almost 200km to hatch and catch eggs. Conspiracy theory? You might be right.
Anyway, you see, the applications for Augmented Reality are endless for brands, governments and businesses. It has the power to improve the consumer experience, build brands, change behaviour, or reinforce existing behaviour.
Due to the very nature of Pokémon Go, people will (if they haven’t already begun to) develop the habit of using Augmented Reality in their everyday lives. As I see it, this will allow AR to successfully expand beyond gaming. This, coupled with the fact that most smart phones now have the capabilities of handling most AR experiences, means that it’s potential for brands, governments and businesses can be seen across many areas.
Whilst I was joking about the conspiracy theory above, imagine if your private health fund would lower their premiums based on how many kilometres you walked per week chasing virtual vitamins. Or think about shopping for clothes online; the annoyance for most is the inability to know what matches what when adding items to their wardrobe. Imagine if you had an AR assistant that allowed you to project new items against existing items in your wardrobe or if it showed you exactly what a pair of shoes would look like on your feet. Not only would this add to the customer experience – and we all know that retailing today is more about customer experience than anything else – it could potentially reduce the number of returned items. That’s a big plus for consumers and retailers alike.
The potential of Augmented Reality should now also be harnessed with full enthusiasm by tourism authorities. Imagine you are in a new city and aren’t sure of the direction to the closest train station. With the help of an AR guide you could be directed to the closest station in a matter of seconds. Similarly, the same AR guide could direct you to famous sights, explain the history behind them, or show you how the city looked hundreds of years ago.
In fact, AR could make even the most mundane more exciting. Take the most unstimulating medium on the planet: direct mail. AR could include content people actually want to receive. Bank statements might include a virtual 3D simulation, making you aware of where your money went this month vs. last.
Augmented Reality is not new, and is not for every brand or every person. But one thing is for certain – it is not just for IT Tech heads anymore, it’s as mainstream as it gets. Thank you Pokémon Go (I thought I’d never say that) for turning remote controlled human beings of all ages into inspirations for brands, governments and businesses.
Written by Ellenor Cyron, Insights & Strategy Director, Brandhook.
Pic courtesy of Brandhook.