Three times puffed: Augmented and Virtual Reality for marketing

It does not matter if some are still arguing about whether the hype is over or not. The fact is that extended reality (augmented reality, virtual reality, 360 ° film) has become indispensable in many areas. In marketing alone she has already solved many problems. But you only have to look carefully at what the differences and thus the advantages of the different forms of presentation are.

VR has already arrived in the customer interaction

Of course, it will take years before VR glasses are like tablets on the sofa. On far reaching campaigns, which rely exclusively on VR, we will probably wait a little longer. But the ability to be transferred as a customer to completely different places or to other situations has created new forms of product presentation. Virtual Reality is highly relevant for location-based experiences, ie when a brand brings the required hardware to the customer: at the trade fair stand, in the shop or in the traditional representative situation at the customer’s home. At the dealership, the customer can effectively experience a virtual test drive, which he would rather not experience in a real test drive: for example, how safety features can save his life in some situations. He can then order the feature as an extra for his new car.

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An example of the implementation of VR in the B2B context is this showreel.

For augmented reality the user only needs his smartphone

By contrast, Augmented Reality is already far-reaching. The augmented reality that complements the real world with digital content is open to everyone. For that the user only needs his smartphone.

As a result, AR is developing rapidly. The only hurdle is that you have to get people to download an app first, but it also disappears gradually. Since autumn 2018 web-based AR is possible. Even time-consuming applications can usually already be experienced via websites, which are much easier to spread via social media.

Of course, Facebook wants to push its own platform and with Spark AR offers the possibility to launch AR applications quickly and simply via its own brand channel on Facebook or Instagram. The beginning of user-generated AR.

As with VR, there is also the much cooler and more expensive version of AR. Instead of fiddling around with a mobile phone, you can also set up a Microsoft HoloLens or the new Magic Leap. The latter are already on the US market to buy, but for about 2000 dollars (just under 1800 euros). Mathias Becker at Plan.net recently tested her enthusiastically and described her as a “new augmented reality”.

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At the Innovation Day service plan, guests were able to rate the speech of Florian Haller via the AR app – one of them was probably particularly critical (Image: Plan.net)

AR is solving many e-commerce problems by building a bridge between physical and digital experiences. With the apps from Ikea and Otto.de even the grandma can ever put their furniture to the rehearsal in the living room and even measure whether the shelf fits in the gap. The product is ordered online without the thought that maybe she has to send everything back. This is more convenient for the customer and reduces the expensive return rate for the dealer. The online drugstores Youcam Makeup or Sephora also work on the same principle. Customers can try out several make-up looks in a row as AR filters – and order them online.

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Extended Realities are more honest

Extended Realities (XR) are often a useful service because B2B customers can easily imagine a new cabin or B2C customers in a hotel room. Because it is honest: at a certain angle, almost every hotel room looks passable. In 360, but you can see how it really is and on holiday, most prefer to play it safe.

AR has long arrived with the people. Especially through popular applications like PokemonGo and camera filters with funny faces. Gone is the time when I was able to annoy my mother-in-law with the help of the IKEA Place app. At that time I could still tell her that I had replaced all the furniture in her apartment. In the meantime, she lets AR chickens run through her garden as a matter of course on Instagram.

AR offers agencies great opportunities for creativity

This is a great time for agency colleagues: most of the first and obvious XR ideas have been implemented. But now that AR filters and 360 ° movies are already normal for people, it gets really exciting. How can XR tell the campaign idea virtually? Maybe an XR is even the heart of the campaign. Now it is time to deal more deeply and more sustainably with the topic. So you can stand out creatively and competently from other agencies.

For marketing managers, the topic is not easy. Many suspect that extended realities are relevant to individual departments and could even save a lot of money. The only question is: how do you start? The classic model, customer agency agency, which presents the solution two weeks later, often does not work here. Internal structures and processes must be taken into account.

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The best solutions reach the customer and the agency only in close cooperation

The solution is to bring everyone together: marketing executives, distributors, XR (or other) experts, creatives, strategists, programmers, lots of gadgets to try on, plus the will to make a difference. Within one to three days, Design Thinking methods can already create a board presentation or even a prototype. For just such cases we have founded the Plan.Net Innovation Studio. Quasi an external innovation lab that marketing departments can use for themselves without having to build one themselves.

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Plan.Net Innovation Studio: First try everything, then develop ideas together (Image: Plan.net)

Conclusion: The success story of Extended Realities continues apace. In a technological, creative and popular way.

Finally, a tip for grandma, colleague and customers: This year comes a successor of PokemonGo. This time around the world of Harry Potter. Rumor has it that AR and Voice Control mix. That would mean that in the near future people on the street will no longer throw virtual balls, but roar spells. It’s not about whether you like a game like that yourself, but just to understand what’s exciting millions of people and what’s going to be the New Normal for millions of potential customers. So, just join in.

About the author: As Global Executive Creative Director, Peter Gocht develops international campaigns for the Serviceplan Group. Since 2019 he has also been the co-director of the new Plan.Net Innovation Studio in Hamburg.

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