With all of the different possibilities to use AR, VR, and MR, it is not a surprise that many brands find difficulties when trying to have the perfect execution of introducing this technology.
Understanding Each Altered Reality
Virtual reality is known as “the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment.” The most familiar piece of technology with VR is the headpiece that consumers wear to immerse themselves in a completely different world.
Augmented reality is known as “an enhanced version of reality where live direct or indirect views of physical real-world environments are augmented with superimposed computer-generated images over a user’s view of the real-world, thus enhancing one’s current perception of reality.” Augmented reality is best known for its role on platforms like Snapchat , or Pokemon Go, where the technology is used to stimulate digital images in real time.
Finally, mixed reality, the newest of the realities, is known as the “merging of the physical world and the virtual world, creating an environment where real-life items and holographic items coexist, in the same space and at the same time.” Although all three of these technologies are vastly different, it is easy to see how companies can use the wrong technology when trying to reach consumers.
Virtual reality is meant to enhance real life, not replace it.
Matching an Altered Reality Strategy With the Right Consumer BaseFor instance, it is best to use virtual reality when looking to immerse your consumers in an entirely new world. By using a VR headset, you can allow your consumer to experience new technology, new environments, and new areas that they may not have had the ability to do before. One of the best examples of when a brand incorporated VR into their marketing campaign was when TopShop, a women’s fashion brand, allowed consumers to put on the VR headpiece and immerse themselves into the front row at Topshop’s fashion show in London.
Augmented reality has been implemented across a number of brands that have seen tremendous success in terms of just how much consumers enjoy using this technology. In 2016 the mobile game Pokemon Go was released for smartphone users that immediately caused an uproar across the world. The most attractive part of the game was the use of augmented reality and how the game allowed users to simply travel around their normal surroundings. With the use of AR, imaginary images would pop up all over the digital map when using their smartphone cameras.
Still fairly new to the scene, mixed reality takes situations from the real world and integrates virtual elements into it. One of the notable examples where a brand incorporated mixed reality into its marketing campaign was Skype. In this campaign, users were able to put on a headset and instantly video chat with anyone they wanted. When on video chat, the family or friend you are chatting with had the ability to see everything you were looking at, the same way it would be if they were in the exact room as you. This technology is giving users the ability to share experiences with one another from anywhere in the world and not miss a thing. Skype was clear and to the point when they decided to integrate this new reality into their campaign to make it easy for their consumers to follow along.
Benefits of Virtual Reality
Optimizing Branded Altered Reality Tactics for the Highest Success Rate
After looking at these three examples, it is important to note how different the situations that each of these is used in are, and why these examples had such success.
Virtual Reality Travel Is Exploding. Who hasn’t wanted to walk down the streets of Venice, or escape to a tropical climate during a particularly rough winter? Some with a travel bug may find that they can partially feed their need for travel through virtual reality. In the fall of 2015, Marriott boasted about its ability to transport clients from London to Maui in 90 seconds, thanks to Oculus. The concept behind the campaign was that people would be inspired to travel, and book with a Marriott hotel. Since then, Hilton, Renaissance, and many others have followed suit.
Virtual reality is best used when wanting to allow your consumers to enter an entirely new world and experience things they would not normally get the option to experience. Companies who integrate VR vary anywhere from hotel chains to TOMS shoe brand. When hotels use this technology, they have the ability to bring their property to the consumers before the consumer even steps foot on their property. This helps brands build a strong reputation for delivering exactly what the consumer expects.Augmented reality is best integrated when your consumers are still in their physical world, but want the possibility to see what computer generated images would be like in their world. For example, IKEA saw an opportunity to add AR into their mobile app available for all smartphone users. IKEA made it possible to bring their store directly into your home without having to make any purchases. When using their app, customers simply point their phone camera to an area in their house that they are looking to add furniture to. They can then swipe through piece by piece and see what will be the best look.
Mixed reality, is best used when you have real-world situations but want to bring in virtual objects that you can truly interact with. One of the best things about mixed reality is that everything around you is a real situation except the virtual image being added in. Convenience means everything to users, and with the help of mixed reality, users now have the option to bring even more convenience into their lives. With the help of Microsoft mixed reality HoloLens consumers can easily watch their TV right in their kitchen, or bring up their weather app when cooking, or even double check their to-do list. All of this is made possible through holographic images projected through the users mixed reality lenses.
Virtual Reality Is For Phones, Too. One of the biggest misconceptions with virtual reality is that you need to buy expensive viewing gear in order to participate. That is not true at all. In fact, the latest cell phones allow you to use it as a device for virtual reality. You might need to make or buy an additional piece to use it for that, but it is usually at a low cost. Google, for example, offers a 3D cardboard kit for your phone for less than $10.
On the other hand, virtual reality wouldn’t serve a makeup brand who are trying to give consumers the option to “try products” on their face. Augmented reality would be better here. Similarly, ARis less effective when trying to give consumers an experience that is anchored in a space, for example allowing users to immerse themselves inside a new car, or being able to sit front row in a fashion show. Virtual reality is used best in these situations. With mixed reality being the latest to enter the scene, it is important to use it correctly. It would not be used best if you were trying to bring your consumer into an entirely new environment and an entirely new world. MR is used best when keeping your consumer familiar with their surroundings, but still allowing them to experience new digital trends.
Virtual reality , augmented reality , and now mixed reality are all extremely useful tools when used correctly. It is important to recognize what areas these technologies work best in and what consumers can gain from these new virtual worlds they are entering.
About the AuthorJames Giglio is the CEO and Founder of MVP Interactive, a consumer engagement technology company that enhances brand experiences through custom software, product design, and social media. His vision in linking technology to consumer engagement has been integral to the growth of MVP Interactive. James’s passion to innovate, buck trends and embrace technology worldwide has led MVP to evolve prototype-level inventions into useful marketing products.
Facebook purchased Oculus VR for $2 billion in 2014.