Mar 2019

A lot has happened since Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) first became big buzzwords a few years ago. There has been uncertainty and confusion about how to leverage these technologies, as well as never-ending fantasies about what they can be used for.

So how could they benefit your brand? VR is the use of technology to create a simulated, 3D environment that allows users to immerse themselves in a virtual world; whereas in AR, the real world is expanded or enhanced through the use of digital elements to view live through the camera.

Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat offer endless choices of AR filters and stickers to connect brands to their customers. Today, VR and AR have become an integral part of planning a sophisticated omni-channel strategy for many brands. Let’s take a look at six ways in which VR and AR can support your brand strategy and some tips to roll them out globally:

1.     Be Interesting

AR provides a fun and interactive way of engaging with users and building brand awareness. Gucci Beauty’s portrait Instagram filter is a great example, which lets users pick from three renaissance or baroque headpieces that were created by creative director Alessandro Michele and contain Gucci-themed details such as earrings or lipsticks.

Gucci AR

2.     Gather Consumer Data and Conduct Market Research

Kellogg's recently teamed up with a VR merchandising solution company to test how a combination of VR and eye-tracking technology could help brands find better ways to conduct market research and understand consumer behaviour. Kellogg's decided that placing their Pop Tart Bites on lower shelves would be more effective than placing them on top shelves. The result? An 18% jump in sales during the test.

3.     Try and Shop!

For beauty brands, AR try-on tools give your customers a fun experience, anywhere, anytime. Sephora’s Virtual Artist app provides more than 2,000 shades of eyeshadow and lip colours for users to try on, and then makes it super easy for users to directly add the items to their shopping carts.

Sephora AR

4.     Enhanced Loyalty Programs

Remember the time when signing up to a loyalty programme meant receiving an actual “membership card”? Downloading a phone app is how your customers show commitment in this era. Macy’s was able to enhance its relationship with its customers thanks to AR try‑on tools on its app, and discovered that two‑thirds of its online traffic and half of its digital sales came from mobile devices, thus making its app users its most loyal customers.

Macy AR

5.     Create Efficiencies for Your Customers

Navigating through a furniture store to find that perfect couch could become a thing of the past if you could use an AR camera to place any wanted items right in your living room - IKEA and Amazon are seeing great results from this already.

Ikea AR

6.     Brand Storytelling  

A great VR experience takes you to another world, and always makes you want to stay a little longer. Coty Inc. launched a VR experience that lets users choose to unlock different visuals and sounds of unique scents. In fact, the five senses, sight, smell, sound, taste and touch can all be incorporated into VR storytelling today.

 

All of the points above need to be tailored to each individual local culture and different type of consumer behaviour to create a truly successful campaign. Should you build AR filters on Douyin or in a standalone app in China? How do you design a VR experience for your customers in the Middle East? If you’d like to explore how to incorporate AR and VR into your brand strategy on an international scale, connect with us! Our Digital Consulting team will help you navigate how AR and VR are best experienced in each local market.