Mixed reality: the future of brand experience?
A recent report by Freeman found that over 2/3 of the 1000 marketeers they surveyed across the world agree that brand experience is an effective way to reach their organization’s goals. 59% of CMOs recognize brand experience for its ability to create ongoing relationships with key audiences. We couldn’t agree more, as we have always found that actions speak louder.
But, what does the future of brand experience hold? There is a push by some for ever more digital brand experiences, as under-30s are portrayed as always wanting the newest technology. However, an IBM survey of brands and consumers found that while brands think their customers are “digitally savvy” and want “more control,” they actually value experiences that take “less time” and are “more convenient.”
Michael Abrash, chief scientist at Facebook’s Oculus, said recently that the future is “always-on, go-everywhere mixed reality.” With consumers craving technology that makes their lives easier, or enhances them in some way, rather than technology just for technology’s sake, it’s clear this will only be the case if the technology delivers a better experience.
While VR headsets are yet to penetrate the market, if brands provide compelling reasons for people to adopt the technology, they will. Last year, Alibaba and Macy’s worked together to deliver a VR experience for Chinese shoppers. Using a low-cost cardboard headset, shoppers were transported to Times Square in New York, then entered Macy’s where they could not only browse, but also buy handbags, clothes and accessories. Highlighting the potential of VR for online retailers – the ability to deliver an in-store experience without building actual shops – and that if you provide a better experience using new technology – a seamless shopping experience from consideration to purchase – consumers will give it a chance.
Ultimately until headsets have penetrated the market more, VR will be limited. However, there is a big opportunity for brands in Augmented Reality, as Pokemon Go proved last year. Providing mixed reality experiences that really enhance people’s experience will be the key.
Amazon Opens Its First New York Bookshop
Amazon has opened its first brick-and-mortar location in New York City, on the southwest tip of Central Park. It is its 7th physical bookstore in the US, perhaps signalling an ongoing ambition from the online retailer to provide real physical world experiences to its customers. Given that Amazon was responsible for the closure of so many bookstores globally, this may seem like a strange move, but it highlights shoppers’ desires for both the convenience of the traditional Amazon ecommerce experience, and a richer experience in the offline world.
Barclaycard Are Ending The Supermarket Queue
Barclaycard is trialling new technology at their Canary Wharf headquarters that could end the supermarket queue by allowing shoppers to charge in-store purchases to their mobile phone. Instead of having to pay at a checkout, the smartphone app automatically charges items to a credit card when they are scanned using the phone’s camera. Facial recognition cameras and sensors on shelves determine was the customers are buying, so when shoppers can checkout virtually when they leave. Barclays say a high-street retailer is set to pilot the technology scheme next year, it looks like the queue’s days may be numbered.
Kenya's Ol Pejeta Conservancy: Rhino On Tinder
Kenya’s Ol Pejeta conservancy grabbed headlines the world over when they put Sudan, the world’s last male white northern rhino on Tinder. Like many guys using Tinder, Sudan loves the outdoors and travels widely – the profile read "I don't mean to be too forward, but the fate of my species literally depends on me.” A swipe right took users from 190 countries in 40 languages to the Ol Pejeta donation page: www.olpejetaconservancy.org/ In 48 hours, Sudan was world famous, with more than 2 million swipe rights and donations increased by 320%. Tapping into the power of Tinder to spread Rhino love.