AR is going to be as important as eating three meals a day, and once it’s arrived, we will wonder how we ever lived without it, similar to how we feel about our phones. – Tim Cook
If Tim Cook is right — and the industry seems to be rapidly validating this sentiment — then to prepare, every brand needs to have an AR and VR strategy now!
But with a technology and industry still so young, how are brands supposed to know where to start or how to succeed? Marketing managers are approaching us at New Reality Arts, interested and eager to dive in, but unclear about how to begin or what it would take to launch a successful AR/VR campaign.
Users will start expecting brands to have mixed reality experiences in 2018. The big money will show up in 2020. – Robert Scoble
Considering the urgent need for brands to enter this space now in order to be adequately prepared for the near future, and considering the frequent requests for help that we receive, we’d like to share some of the most important aspects to look for when diving into your first mixed reality marketing campaign.
Uncharted Waters? Kind Of
Unlike well-established industries or prior marketing channels, AR and VR are still big unknowns in terms of, well, almost everything: best practices, distribution channels, ROI. The truth is that you’re embarking upon a journey into a new industry where there just simply is not a lot of data yet. Bring your pioneering spirit! Success is going to require the courage to experiment, especially on the tail end with distribution, but potentially throughout. If someone promises you a guaranteed hit right at the beginning without allowing for the potentially extensive trial and error needed for this new industry, it might be time to become suspicious.
That said, there’s a big difference between experimentation and a “shot in the dark”. Intrepid engineers and designers have been exploring, experimenting and learning what works for over 4 years. Software development has decades of well-regarded best practices in place for creating winning experiences. We also know a lot about best practices for creating a successful marketing campaign. A successful Mixed Reality campaign then needs to bring a historical understanding of the best practices of these fields together, along with a big dose of play, flexibility, and open-mindedness.
Systematic Approaches Guarantee Best Results
One of the most important aspects of any creative campaign is the utilization of systemic processes for ideation, development, and analysis that enable us to get closer and closer to flawless execution and successful repetition. Make sure that whatever company you work with has established an approach, not just to the actual development of the experience, but to the whole engagement with you; your brand story, your marketing objectives, and most especially, how you will measure success at the end of the project.
At the very beginning of the process there should be an exploration into what success will look like, and an understanding of how different technologies, experiences, devices, and approaches may or may not resonate effectively with your target market. What’s the personality of your brand? What’s the demographic of your audience? How tech savvy are they? Where will they be looking for your experience? Is physical interaction a requirement for meeting your objectives, or is an emotional experiential journey more powerful? These are just a few of the guiding questions that will help point your campaign in the right direction long before design and development begin.
After clearly defining your goals, discovering which technology works best for your objectives, and ideating the best and most effective story and experience whether AR or VR or both, then it comes time to engage your development team. Through that process, we believe that high-touch high-communication is key.
Speak Clearly and Often, Listen Intently
Clear communication is good practice in any development project, but it’s even more important when navigating novel waters. You need a partner company who is committed to regular collaboration and learning. This gives you the opportunity to course correct as you go. Agile development practices and frequent user testing are particularly important in AR/VR projects. That means being open to making mistakes, hearing critical feedback, and applying what you learn to continually improve. When charting new territory, humility empowers excellence.
For Best Results: Never Give Up
When your project is finally ready to be released into the wild, your adventure continues into the realm of distribution and engagement. It’s important to have reliable analytics built in so that you can accurately measure your progress.
The best development partners are committed to a successful campaign and will continue to work with you on the tail-end of the project, tweaking and massaging distribution channels, approach, and measurements, ensuring the best possible results with the highest possible consumer engagement. They understand that your success is theirs. We’re all learning together here, and as partners a policy of “never giving up” is the best approach both for immediate and long-term success. Every campaign is an opportunity to learn more about what makes the most effective AR/VR strategy for your brand, and the right partner will be fully engaged in helping you hone and discover best practices for your future efforts down the road, not just focused on immediate gains for this one project.
At New Reality Arts, we wholly embrace this philosophy and revel in the opportunity to work with clients who are eager to experiment and innovate in this mind-blowingly exciting new world of Augmented and Virtual Reality marketing. When you’re ready to embark on your next adventure, call us, and let’s explore together.