How to activate your audience in a post-pandemic world part I: ONLINE
Covid has changed the way consumers are engaging with services and brands alike. If you are waiting for 2022 hoping your old advertising and marketing will work post covid think again. Because technology has pushed forward by 10 years, so must your efforts.
Over the lockdown period, we have also seen a huge shift in consumer behavior – our lives have changed in so many ways, from the way that we work, shop, interact, and even entertain. Having digital content galore at our fingertips, or live streamed into our living rooms, has now become the norm and consumers will expect this to still be available even after the pandemic.
Now you might be asking yourself, “what is brand activation?” While there are many definitions to reference, the term refers to using a campaign, event, or experience to build an emotional connection between a brand and its target audience. In our opinion, it could be both internal and external and preferably with a touch of immersive. At least, that’s what we are focussing on.
Why Invest in Immersive Marketing
One of the main goals of brand activations is to increase brand awareness and revenue. As reported by Finances Online, 98 percent of consumers feel more inclined to purchase after attending an immersive activation, and 65 percent of brands see a direct correlation between sales and experiential marketing efforts.
Especially when you address your message to Gen. Z, you are dealing with the disease of the moment anyway: attention span. That generation grows up in gamified environments and yearns for a world full of interaction possibilities. Can you blame them? That is why we would like to list some interesting hero cases that make you stand out:
1. Interactive 3D Web Experience
Navigating through a website used to be done only by scrolling vertically or horizontally. We look at a flat screen and get a 2D experience. If you want to make the experience more immersive for your audience, consider a three-dimensional environment. You can still focus on a framed web experience, but do it in 3D, the way we experience real life.
A great example is the collaboration between Jack Daniels & "The Shoe Surgeon", a Los Angeles-based collective of creatives specializing in custom shoe making and design. You can explore The Shoe Surgeon's studio in interactive 3D, for a taste of where that custom sneaker magic happens. The web experience is called "Finely Crafted" and shares the secrets of the latest Jack Daniels/Shoe Surgeon collab and reveals the sneakers itself.
2. Web-based Augmented Reality
AR or augmented reality is blending the real world and the virtual world, by adding digital layers to an existing experience. It's rather new, and accessible and the only thing needed is a mobile device or special glasses. Even more important, it's full of potential for marketers, brand owners and communication managers to achieve great engagement and a massive reach. It is estimated that there are about 850 million WebAR-enabled smartphones in the world.
We created a WebAR experience for an international consultancy player. They were looking for a convincing and engaging way to communicate their internal strategy to their employees. The experience was for internal usage only, but here’s a demonstration of how it worked. By simply scanning a QR code with your camera app, you activate the WebAR experience.
3. Virtual Worlds
We mentioned above that young people grow up in virtual and gamified worlds. If you want to connect and engage with your target audience, you need to find them where they spend the most time. That used to be (and actually still is) the case with print campaigns, but also for digital experiences.
At supermarket chain Carrefour in France they have understood that message very well. They have created a 'branded' virtual map ('map') in the wildly popular video game Fortnite. In this way, the retailer wants to make young people aware of its Act For Food program and encourage them to eat healthier. Watch the trailer of their own world in Fortnite:
4. Social VR
Virtual reality will become the most social platform in 5 to 10 years. This is a quote from Mark Zuckerberg dating back to 2016. Fairly visionary of Mark, but at the time (and probably still today) many raised their eyebrows when they heard that statement. For many, virtual reality is impressive, but also an antisocial and lonely experience. But it definitely doesn't have to be that way and that's where the founder of Facebook wants to go.
In recent months we have organized numerous events in virtual reality (with headsets), where a decentralized audience was brought together in a 3D environment, and was represented by an avatar that they may or may not make to resemble themselves. This was an incredible eye-opener for many attendees and immediately showed the potential for virtual reality. VR takes you to places where you can't or shouldn't be for certain reasons and that reason was obvious last year.
Those events were always hosted in computer generated environments (CG), but it can also be very interesting to experience 360°/VR videos together, represented as an avatar. The cameras are getting better and better, it is faster to capture reality and to discuss real-life situations together. This applies to different sectors. Think of company visits, tourism, real estate, but also in the event sector.