AR and VR? What’s the difference and why should you care?

AR and VR? What’s the difference and why should you care?_5ee33da882fa1.jpeg

More and more brands are now taking advantage of AR and VR, but for some, the leap in technology is still somewhat of a novelty and more than slightly confusing.

AR technology in office

We decided to tackle the topics of VR, AR and decipher why you should care about them and what they can offer your business. Although it may seem like the stuff of science fiction, the real world applications are quickly growing. In terms of marketing, immersive brand experiences can lead to higher customer retention alongside the ability to generate more buzz around the product and brand, increasing awareness.

What is AR?

AR stands for augmented reality, comprised of a piece of software which typically utilises a smartphone camera to add digital elements to a live view. A prime example of this is the incredibly popular, Pokemon Go, which took the world by storm. It offers users the ability to find and catch Pokemon in the real world using their smartphones.

AR works by positioning virtual imagery or video over a real-world visual, through a camera, allowing it to become interactive or manipulated by the user. It’s been used for everything from gaming to shopping, offering brands utilising it a competitive edge in their market.

What is VR?

VR stands for virtual reality. It is a completely immersive experience and has been popular in gaming circles. Taking the user into a virtual world, using VR headsets, offers them the ability to experience a computer generated location, with the capabilitiy to create an exceptionally memorable brand experience.

Although ‘VR’ in different forms has been around for a significant amount of time, the renaissance of VR came about with the launch of the Oculus Rift which became the first head mounted display. Now primarily used within the entertainment spectrum, VR, both past and present, is also used for training in a range of industries, construction, education, marketing and safety exercises.

How can AR or VR help my brand?

Brands are getting more creative than ever with the ability to access AR and VR technology more easily and so can you!

Shopping: From finding matching items to checking the sizing of furniture in a certain space prior to purchase, AR can offer the capability to transform the way we shop. By using AR retailers can help support the customer journey, make it more autonomous and reduce the need to interact with sales assistants. Equally, VR can whisk your customers away to the front row of a sold-out fashion shows or let them test drive a new car from the comfort of their own home.

Entertainment: AR has been used to allow viewers to superimpose themselves into photographs at awards ceremonies and take photos with their favourite movie characters, enhancing their viewing experience through interactivity. Other brands have integrated VR into their experiential marketing, allowing customers to explore untouchable locations such as the moon or interact with fictitious worlds from popular movies.

FMCG: FMCG brands are well known for being creative and AR and VR technologies have only enhanced their capabilities to do so. AR has allowed them to help the shopper find the best offers, bargains, locate a product within an aisle with ease and even conduct customer research. Equally, VR has been used by some of the worlds biggest FMCG brands to do anything from putting their customers on a football pitch with top players or explore distilleries or factories of their favourite products, to enhance trust and build deeper connections.

Recruitment: To achieve differentiation within the recruitment industry, you might want to utilise AR applications to boost your appeal as an employer or test candidate skills. Equally, many companies who want to interact more effectively with younger candidates, in environments such as career fairs, have implemented VR experiences to appeal to their target audience and stand out from the crowd.

Training: The ability to easily flick on a phone, point it at the problem and obtain instructions for the solution is particularly effective in hands-on workplaces. It offers individuals easier access to hands-on training and utilises a natural approach to learning that we use in everyday life. Equally, VR has long been used to train the likes of pilots and medical professionals, offering an immersive experience which feels real, but equally offers a safe environment to make mistakes and refine their skills.

Is AR or VR for my brand?

With its adaptive capabilities, your marketing efforts can benefit from AR or VR in some way or another. The key is to find a way to integrate this technology seamlessly into your brand experience, as shoehorning it in where it does not belong can have an adverse effect. Defining your message is the first step, and from this, your marketing team or agency can then decipher the best way to use technology to support this.


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