It’s no secret marketers have their work cut out for them in 2020. Amid the global pandemic and evolving social rights movements, the cultivation of consumer trust has become the cornerstone for what can cause a brand to sink or swim.
In fact, a new survey of nearly 300 top marketers from CMO Survey revealed the highest percentage of respondents expect customers to focus more on “trusting relationships” with brands and companies rather than the lowest priced, despite the economic downturn.
But with brick and mortar declining, in-person events going virtual, and interest in digital fading fast, how can brands establish this trust?
One Answer is AR
Smart marketers will take note that consumers are hungry for new digital experiences. Additional findings from the CMO survey (referenced above) illustrated that consumers are now “significantly more open to new digital experiences and offerings from companies, while being more receptive to companies’ efforts to promote social good, and more deliberate in their consideration, purchasing, feedback and loyalty behavior.” But what digital marketing strategies should marketers consider as they strive to communicate appropriately with consumers?
The key to adopting the right digital trends successfully is staying informed. Most importantly, brand marketers will emerge successfully only if they listen to their consumers and have the courage to try something new. Augmented reality (AR) is an under-utilized medium for delivering immersive customer experiences, allowing companies to bring their brand and products to customers in the safety of their homes. Social AR provides a format to spark real business-to-consumer (B2C) engagement.
A Bridge Between Brand and Consumer
AR technology overlays virtual objects in a real-world scene, in real-time – enabling users to experience interactive, digital content through their mobile devices. With widely popular examples like Pokémon Go and Snapchat filters, consumers have already begun to accept the AR world and the technology is gradually becoming indispensable and expected.
Not only does AR harness the power to help people experience the physical and digital worlds differently, but it can also bridge the distance between brands and consumers by bringing enriching, curated experiences right into the customer’s home.
Now, picture yourself sitting on a couch watching a football game. You quickly pull out your phone, open the Fabric app, and you immediately see how media channels can deliver an immersive customized game experience to the viewer’s home. Viewers can share and discover real-time posts, including photos or videos in AR, and have authentic discussions with other game viewers nearby, creating unique interaction and a fun second screen viewing experience. Additionally, brands can provide timely offers, such as a local pizza parlor offering a 50% off coupon during half-time or incentives for the next game day order.
Social AR fits in the palm of consumers’ hands through their smartphone, which carries a heavier weight now. With billions of smartphone users today, not only is it an effective way to reach your current consumers, but a way to attract new ones too. AR allows businesses both big and small to upgrade the experience offered to customers, making it more positive and increasing the likelihood of them coming back.
Marketing Organizations Can Act Fast with Social AR
The best part is that you don’t need an internal team of engineers to develop a custom app to start exploring the benefits of social AR (after all, hiring the right talent can take months). Outsourcing AR to a third-party software development team enables marketers to get the expertise and tech needed to get started right away.
There are existing B2B plug-in apps with turnkey solutions, embedded technology with the power to nurture overall consumer engagement. It’s a quick solution to fix brand painpoints relating to engagement and creating loyal customer bases through AR.
When selecting an AR developer, keep in mind the following questions to ensure the vendor can meet your needs:
- What is your approach to building social AR experiences? Is it iterative?
- How do you determine whether AR is actually a viable solution? How are you measuring the effectiveness to determine the overall viability of AR?
- What existing market tools or models could you use to ensure time isn’t wasted building an AR model from scratch? What tools do you use and from where (i.e., Google AR)?
- For the problem we are hoping to solve, how long would it take to train an AR model?
Marketers would do well to embrace tech solutions like social AR to nurture and grow relationships with their current customers and reach others. Consumers are more open than ever to adopting new ways to stay safe while staying connected. In this new world, as consumers are seeking brands they trust, you want to be reaching them where they are.