Although augmented reality (AR) technology is not new, it is only now beginning to gain the attention of media and marketing professionals. The big question remains: Are South African CMOs ready to include AR into their brand strategies?
AR has moved away from its early days when it was reliant on expensive, specialised hardware. The rapid adoption of smartphones and even faster evolution of their AR capabilities means that AR is now well within reach of the average South African.
However, CMOs who choose to go the AR route without integrating it into their holistic brand delivery strategy will miss out on the measurable benefits AR can deliver.
The four stages of the customer journey have not changed — no matter what technology is being integrated into the delivery. Awareness; consideration; engagement; and conversion are still cornerstones which make up a campaign strategy.
In traditional campaigns we push content to our customers. There is a low level of engagement and measurability and the focus is placed on the consideration phase.
Augmented reality has moved away from its early days when it was reliant on expensive, specialised hardware
Using augmented reality, the customers actively pulls content. There is a high engagement level with this kind of experiential marketing and the metrics of that engagement are easily tracked.
We are able to determine how the customer or user is engaging with the brand, what aspects of the experience they are engaging with and, based on this, we can then continue to push content to them – but in this instance it is highly relevant content, tailored to their interests.
For this reason, AR campaigns are exceptionally useful for selling intangible products like insurance and financial services — a traditionally complex and difficult sell for marketers and advertisers alike.
Local brands looking to introduce augmented reality should remember that it’s less to do with the technology and everything to do with the delivery. In our experience you either have people approaching AR campaigns from a platform perspective — where they are only interested in the coolness of the technology and lose sight of the strategy. Or, those who approach from a content background, where they are only interested in delivering outstanding content and similarly lose sight of the strategy objectives.
Making use of solid, tested international best practices can help. Some points to remember include:
It’s clear that while augmented reality may still be considered a new addition to the customer journey, the well-defined use cases, as well as the built-in support from AR agencies, means there is absolutely no reason why local companies shouldn’t be embracing it.
The key to successful AR initiatives is to ensure they are appropriate, effective and that they amplify your traditional delivery channels.