Divya Swamy

Divya Swamy

Digital Marketing

Welcome to Marketing 2.0 with AR and VR

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Imagine standing at the edge of the Great Wall of China and taking in the breathtaking view of the expansive sea. Now imagine doing just that without leaving the comfort of your living room.

Recent advancements in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have been a disruptive force, altering the way we perceive the world around us. The interactive nature of these technologies has helped marketers and advertisers create noteworthy campaigns, enabling consumers to take away an immersive experience of brands.    

But before we explore this trend any further, it is essential to understand the difference between VR and AR. To put it simply, VR will help you experience a trip to the zoo while you are seated in your living room, AR lets you experience the simulation of a tiger crouching behind your couch. While the former teleports you, the latter helps you experience virtual elements within your real environment.

It is not surprising then that:

What this means is that if you aren’t among the 171 million users of VR in 2018, it’s about time you stopped holding back! A staggering 73 percent of B2B companies who used videos to promote themselves reported a considerable return on their investment. Now, imagine making these videos immersive — your offerings are bound to leave an indelible mark!

Several big brands have already experimented and succeeded with AR and VR. Here’s a peek into a few bold campaigns.

Pepsi’s Monster Mirror

To promote its sugar-free variant, Max, Pepsi converted a London bus shelter into a seamless AR screen. Unsuspecting pedestrians waiting at the bus stop witnessed a meteorite crash and a tiger attack as their petrified reactions were filmed by hidden cameras. The video campaign went viral on Youtube with close to 6 million views, making it one of the most viewed advertising campaigns.

The Pokemon Go Mania

Fans were swept over when the Pokemon Company went miles ahead of their animated series and card games to release Pokemon Go. The AR-based game rewards players to catch rogue Pokemon, using their phone cameras and real-time simulations. The game turned out to be an overnight internet sensation with over 650 million fans reliving their childhood moments. Pokemon Go is a classic example of how a brand with a cult following can relaunch itself in a more relevant avatar.

The ‘Haagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees’ Initiative

As an ice cream brand, Haagen-Dazs heavily relies on honey bees to manufacture several of its flavors. This prompted them to produce the acclaimed VR film The Extraordinary Honey Bee — documenting the impact of environmental degradation on bee habitats. Considering that 90 percent of consumers prefer ads that read like stories, this helped the brand gather traction in an organic manner — by building a synonimy with real-world issues.

Marriott’s Virtual Honeymoon

Advertising in tourism is not only about selling tickets and tour packages — it’s about selling people memories they’d want to create. Marriott did just that at the New York City Hall, where over 100 couples get married every day. Newlyweds were encouraged to take part in a virtual tour of their hotels located in Hawaii and London, allowing them to experience their ‘honeymoon’ while their expressions were caught on camera. Going by their exhilarating reactions, they seemed strongly inclined towards booking Marriott for their next vacation.  

Today, consumers can experience products even before buying them. This revolution in marketing has been made possible because brands can now express themselves in the highly engaging formats of VR and AR. To add to the excitement, giants like Google, Samsung, and Microsoft are about to redefine the line between reality and imagination by developing state-of-the-art AR and VR gear. While consumers grow more and more savvy, it’s time that all brands assess their stories and give it the virtual twist it deserves.

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Revolutionizing Marketing with Intelligent Bots

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Would you buy an item being sold to you by a bot? Nearly 47 percent of consumers said they would. As the economy morphs from analog to digital, it becomes increasingly hard to ignore the various opportunities Artificial Intelligence (AI) brings to marketing. And global brands are promptly jumping onto this bandwagon — the trailblazers being H&M and Sephora, who have already gravitated towards ‘Bot Shops’. Their next-generation shopping apps are driven by bots that initiate conversation with customers and record their preferences and purchasing habits. So, are bots replacing sales representatives? Although the answer to this remains ambiguous, the possibility does not seem very distant.   

The marketing landscape is changing dramatically; and we are here to show you how to take the lead with AI.  

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Marketing your Content with Artificial Intelligence

With newer digital platforms, the pressure to create more and more content is on the rise, which invariably clogs these channels. As a result, consumers suffocate under the burden of notifications and advertisements. In addition, communication through blogs, emails, and advertisements tends to be one-way — there is little engagement or feedback from consumers. This is where chatbots become essential to marketing as they can converse while gathering insights. One such bot is Morph.ai, which performs several marketing functions and also creates a feedback loop.

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Building a Brand with Your Chatbot

With so much content going unnoticed, chatbots have the potential to pave the way for dialogue. Natural Language Processing (NLP) helps engage the consumer in a realistic conversation, which helps evoke a feeling of trust. In fact, you can go a step further and program bots to be witty and interesting. It is essential to understand that creating a bot is not entirely a technical endeavor; it has to be crafted carefully to further the brand’s image. Chatbots can turn into brand mascots if they are able to leave a mark with their intelligence — the most popular example being Apple’s Siri. She is able to hold sensible conversations and even crack jokes when required. When your chatbot is loved by consumers, they will come back to chat with it over and over again. And every time this happens, you have an opportunity to learn something new about them.

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Branding through Your Smart Device

Chatbots are usually integrated within websites or applications and are programmed to provide assistance. However, 84 percent of smartphone users actively use only five apps out of the several installed on their phones. Integrating your bot with a commonly used platform, such as Facebook Messenger, allows your users to interact with your brand without downloading another app. If you plan to offer a standalone bot, consumers prefer one that can multitask. For instance, WeChat in China is not just a messaging and video calling app — it also enables users to book cabs, order food, share documents, and much more. You can program your bot to trigger additional functions when certain keywords are used as commands. So, when your consumer enquires about new offers, make sure your bot is capable of providing relevant information right away.

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Simplifying Customer Care

The most widely explored use of chatbots in marketing has been in the area of customer care. As they gather more and more information about users with every interaction, bots are able to function based on crucial insights that are intrinsic to each user. They can even help servicing teams identify buyer behavior or predict it. These insights can then be used to narrow down the targeting of promotions even further.

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Targeting Your Demography with Artificial Intelligence

Chatbots must be equipped with tools of personalization. One of the most interesting prototypes was Insomnobot 3000 — a bot programmed to strike up conversations with insomniacs and keep them company till the wee hours of the morning. This human-like bot was designed to be a friend in need, keeping insomniacs from feeling lonely or bored. Likewise, you can create a chatbot that has character through customizable features. When a bot starts to reply accurately and triggers meaningful functions, it becomes indispensable to the user.

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Do You Really Need a Chatbot for Your Marketing?

Chatbots garner undying loyalty when they provide smart solutions to everyday problems. One such bot, Endurance, is programmed to assist people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It stands to reason that in order to create a lasting impression, your chatbot must have a purpose, and a larger goal to aspire to. Organizations also need to assess whether they have an organic need for a chatbot before developing one. It is better not to have a chatbot than have one that serves no purpose.

While chatbots no longer seem to belong in a science fiction novel, they are still far from perfect. For example, at Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research Laboratory, things took an uncomfortable turn. Bots programmed to gather context by chatting with their human counterparts began to speak their own language without any external input. Like most things on this planet, chatbot technology needs to evolve too — especially to master context-specific functions. Until then, marketers can leverage the available technology to automate interactions with consumers. For all you know, a bot could be your next brand ambassador.