Tag Archives: augmented reality

How Augmented Reality Will Change Mobile Marketing and Recruiting

I’ve written a lot about the future of marketing and recruiting, from gamification to short-form videos. But there’s one development that I think will truly revolutionize communication: augmented reality.

Many mobile devices now have apps, made by various third parties, that “augment” reality by superimposing images, animations, or data on top of a “normal” view. For example, Yelp has an app, Yelp Monocle, that uses your phone’s GPS to display ratings and reviews over any restaurant you point it at. It looks like this:

So instead of looking at an overhead view of a map, you see information that matches your actual line of sight. And since you’re holding your phone directly in front of you, you’re less likely to bump into people!

Augmented reality completely changes your interaction with your mobile device. 

Right now, most companies are only using for it special events and promotions — Christmas being the biggest one. Recently, Chanel, Bratz, and Macy’s offered augmented reality experiences for the holidays. In 2012, DreamWorks created posters for their animated film Rise of the Guardians that included an augmented reality element: people used their mobile device to scan a poster that featured one of film’s characters, which then became animated on their screen.

For several years, Starbucks has offered a free app called Cup Magic. When customers pointed their phones at their coffee cups, the characters on the cups came to life and acted out short holiday scenes like sledding and ice skating. There were five different character cups, so customers had to return multiple times to get the full experience.

Starbucks brilliantly added a social element to the app; customers could easily share the animations through Facebook or email. That spread the word of the experience even better than traditional advertising, since Starbucks was letting its customers do the marketing. Even smarter is that the animations have no dialogue, so they transcend age, gender, and even language.

Based on their success at Christmas, Starbucks brought Cup Magic to Valentine’s Day. These promotional cups feature a heart instead of characters; using the app to view the heart launches a short video of heart-shaped flower petals flying off the cup. As before, you can then send the video via Facebook or email. Starbucks calls this campaign “Celebrating Everylove,” which they stress is “not just the romantic kind.” And they’ve upped the urgency, since Valentine’s Day “season” is much shorter than Christmas.

Just to be clear: Virtually every one of these augmented reality apps is free. They don’t require a code or a password. Companies want to make it as easy as possible to get the enhanced experience and to be able to show it to their friends.

You can see how this could apply to recruiting. Imagine pointing a Monocle-type app at a building and seeing which companies are hiring. Or which companies are rated “best workplaces.” Or which companies will be at the next career fair.

What about Google Glass, you ask? While incredibly cool, that device isn’t made for augmented reality; instead of overlaying information on top of your normal view, Glass’ images are confined to a tiny screen in the corner of your vision. Still, some companies are trying workarounds


Now that you know what augmented reality is and how exciting it can be, how will you use it in your branding, marketing, or recruiting campaigns? Brandemix can help. Contact me and we’ll discuss all the possibilities.

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A Very Augmented-Reality Christmas

The holiday season means big marketing campaigns that often feature cutting-edge technology. I recently wrote about Starbucks’ cool Cup Magic promotion, which uses augmented reality to bring the coffee chain’s products to life. Other brands are using AR to grab attention at the end of 2011. Here are a few, along with the reasons I admire them.

Chanel
The famous French fashion label is promoting its J12 line of watches with an iPad and iPhone app that includes an augmented reality feature. By holding their phones over their wrists, or by holding their wrists up to their iPad cameras, shoppers can virtually try on the luxury watches.

Why I like it: Many prospective customers are too intimidated to go into a store and try on Chanel watches. Augmented reality makes it easy to see what these gorgeous timepieces look like on your wrist. And seeing yourself wearing a Chanel product is a powerful motivator for purchase. Studies have shown that if you touch a product or try it on, you’re more likely to buy it.

Bratz
The Masquerade line of Bratz dolls comes with one mask for the doll and another for the child. The mask launches an augmented reality feature on the Bratz website. While looking at herself via a webcam, the girl can get a “virtual makeover,” adding lipstick, face paint, and a wig to her masked look. The image can then be saved, shared, and printed.


Why I like it:
No toy has ever included an interactive element like this, so it stands alone in the holiday gift marketplace. Also, it lets girls play with makeup without any mess!

Debenhams Stores
This British department store added a gaming element to AR. Shoppers visited one of five pop-up stores and used an app to find ten “invisible” party dresses. Once they did, they could take a picture of themselves virtually “wearing” the dresses and then share the photos with friends.

Why I like it: Turning shopping into a game is one great idea. Letting shoppers see what they look like in the dresses is another, since it increases the likelihood of a purchase. And a third great idea was that anyone using the app received a 20% discount on the Debenhams mobile site, which encouraged participation and drove awareness of mobile shopping – a big trend for 2012.

Macy’s
Our Herald Square neighbors have a fun interactive promotion for the holidays that ties in to their “Believe” campaign, benefitting the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Shoppers download an app and point their phones at an in-store camera. The result is a photo that includes a character from the charming animated special Yes, Virginia. The photo can then be shared on Facebook or through a holiday e-card. Shoppers can even post the image on the Macy’s Facebook Page. Each week, whichever photo gets the most “Likes” will become Macy’s Facebook profile picture for that week.


Why I like it:
Obviously this campaign brings kids into the store, but the Facebook photo competition keeps the promotion alive days after you’ve left. In fact, you don’t even have to visit the store to participate: by printing out a marker and pointing the app at it, you can see an animation of Virginia ice skating.

Get ready for more AR campaigns as the technology improves, the price comes down, and agencies come up with more exciting ways to use it. Until then, have a happy Thanksgiving and a very augmented-reality Christmas!

For the latest on social media, online recruiting, mobile marketing, and other branding trends, please like BRANDEMiX on Facebookfollow us on Twitter, and join our LinkedIn group, Your Digital Brand.

P.S. Speaking of Macy’s, we’d like to wish good luck to Katie, our Director of Client Services, who will be a handler for the Uncle Sam balloon in tomorrow’s parade. Stay warm!

photo by Kevin Harber

Just when you thought you were cool, augmented reality bites HR

You’ve already created a careers page that’s separate from your main site. You’re posting news and photos on your Facebook careers page and talking to applicants on your Twitter careers profile. You’ve set up your company’s Careers tab on LinkedIn and put videos of your office life on YouTube. What’s next?

Get ready to add AR to your HR. AR stands for augmented reality, an exciting new technology that will change many of our interactions with the world, including job searching. What is it? Applications that use augmented reality overlay links, images, and information onto whatever you’re viewing on your mobile device’s screen. In a way, it’s no different than the scoreboard superimposed over the live broadcast of a baseball game. But in other ways, it’s a whole lot more.

Review sites such as Yelp! forsee using augmented reality to get information on whatever restaurants are around you. You’ll be able to simply point your smartphone at a restaurant’s storefront and see information displayed over the image, such as reviews, menu prices, or even the restaurant’s history. Point your phone at a crowded bar and you may be able to find people who are currently tweeting, or logged into Facebook – or looking to date.

The possibilities for recruiting are obvious. With the right app, a job-seeker could point their phone at a building or office and immediately see what positions are available. Links would appear that lead to videos of employee testimonials. The job-seeker would be able to have an application form sent to them by email, or even to schedule an interview – after all, they’re already holding their phone! Both the ease and the “wow factor” of such an innovative process will make sure that your company stands out in the crowded employment marketplace.

In fact, CareerBuilder is already pursuing this technology, as is CompanySpot in the Netherlands. The Dutch employment firm, which provides information on salaries and benefits to job-seekers, declares on its website, “What exactly is happening behind the large glass door of the headquarters across the street? Point your mobile at the building and you’ll know.”

Augmented reality applications for talent recruiting aren’t quite here yet, but they’re coming. Just as companies that scoffed at marketing on Facebook and Twitter eventually realized their mistake, recruiters who dismiss AR may soon find themselves scrambling to keep up. I’m excited about the possibilities that augmented reality offers and I’ll track its progress, both here and at my LinkedIn group Your Digital Brand.

So enjoy “regular” reality while you can – it’s about to get augmented!