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How Virtual and Augmented Reality Transform the Brand Story

There’s no doubt that Pokémon Go has been a consumer adoption success of unprecedented proportion. The augmented reality smartphone game from Nintendo has reached about 7.5M downloads within a week of its launch in the U.S., and is generating roughly $1.6 million in revenue daily from in-app purchases.

Pokémon Go inserts fictional characters in real-life locations, using augmented reality technology to engage its users. Players try to capture Pokémon characters, which virtually appear on their screens alongside real-world physical objects. The game, which is only available in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S., has already boosted the market value of Nintendo Co. by $9 billion.

Pokémon Go Brings Augmented Reality to a Mass Audience – NYTimes

For many years, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies were relegated to dystopian science fiction films like Minority Report and The Matrix. Now in the 21st century, those Augmented and Virtual Reality technologies are, simply put, a reality. And much like what was portrayed in those science fiction blockbusters, AR and VR have the potential to have a profound impact on our businesses, our society, and our lives.


“The Matrix is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.”

– Morpheus (The Matrix, 1999)


Now, I’m not predicting that artificially intelligent machines are going to discover they can subsist using electricity generated by the human body and then create a virtual reality matrix to fool humans into serving them! However, there are already many interesting ways that AR and VR are being used to enable businesses to create more personalized and profitable brand experiences for their target audience.

Here are four examples of brands transforming the customer experience with AR and VR technology.

4 Brands Embracing Virtual and Augmented Reality

Disney

The masters of “magical customer experiences” have been experimenting with AR in several interesting ways. One children-focused application projects coloring book characters in 3D throughout the entire coloring process. 

Disney also has been integrating AR into promotions for their movies like the Star Wars Weekends (SWW). Utilizing Aurasma, an enhanced print marketing campaign, guests can hold their phones or tablets to the official SWW logo and the spacecraft, asteroids, and lasers all come to life.

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AMC Theatres 

AMC is leveraging AR by engaging moviegoers to interact with promotional movie posters using their phones or tablets. The posters include an AR symbol to indicate that the content is scannable – just point your device at the poster and a trailer for that movie will play. After the preview, there is an option to buy tickets to the movie. 

Volvo 

Before the car manufacturer launched the new XC90 in 2015, Volvo product marketers wanted to be able to show off its cutting-edge design, demonstrate compelling capabilities of the new model, and generate anticipatory excitement with consumers. Consumers were invited to download a “Volvo Reality” app that gave them the ability to take a peek inside of the car and even take a virtual test drive through a breathtaking mountain drive while highlighting the vehicle’s features along the way. By all accounts the virtual tire-kickers loved it!

Marriott 

Wish you were sipping a Mai Tai on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii right now? If so, the Marriott Teleporter VR Program is designed especially for you. Teleporter takes guests to different corners of the globe via a fully immersive, 4D sensory experience. The companion VR Postcards and VRoom Service Programs allow potential guests to immerse themselves in other travelers’ real travel experiences. Travelers are able to share their personal stories and consumers are able to virtually travel to different destinations around the world, making the Marriot brand story and truly unique and personal experience. 

Before a ticket is even booked, Marriott VR provides vacation planners with increased confidence that they are making the right destination decision by providing extensive tours of their properties

These creative uses of AR and VR exemplify how brands are finding compelling ways to tell their story and authentically engage their target audience – giving customers a reason to care, a reason to buy, and a reason to stay.


“Virtual Reality is becoming the new way of creating content and storytelling.”

– Will Turnage, SVP Technology at R/GA


The real promise of AR and VR is that it will enable marketers to truly let consumers inside their brand story – to be present and to experience it first-hand. More importantly, these technologies may hold the key to helping marketers break through the clutter and open doors to unimaginable storytelling possibilities.

Augmented and Virtual Reality are certainly bright, shiny objects with which many marketers – including myself – are fascinated. But remember, before you begin to employ a new technology, your brand needs to have the right Story, the right Strategy, and the right Systems in place. Learn how to integrate TopRight’s 3S approach to bring simplicity, clarity, and alignment to your marketing efforts. Download our latest eBook Transformational Marketing: Moving to the TopRight.

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