Augmented Reality: A Perfect Blend Of The Real and Unreal World!

“Simply put, we believe augmented reality is going to change the way we use technology forever. We’re already seeing things that will transform the way you work, play, connect and learn.”

– Tim Cook

Digital marketing tactics are evolving every day. With increase in the usage of smartphones and internet, digital media is growing at a rate that we cannot even imagine. Though brands are gearing up and making the most of digital optimization, there’s still a lot left to uncover. Marketers need to keep a tab of trends, emerging technology, changing consumer needs and status of adjacent industries as well — brands, consumers, competitors, substitutes — everything is changing on a regular basis.

SOURCE: Google Images

As Google is shifting its position on cookies, search engines are using cluster keywords, artificial intelligence is helping to create personalization, AR / VR is contributing towards customers engagement, digital media strategies are becoming richer, bigger and better. However, I have noticed that marketers often tend to jump at these trends, without understanding how they can be useful to their brand. It is important to not only understand the new medium but also gauge its efficiency, limitations and repercussions.

One such trend that caught my eye was Augmented Reality. Brands like IKEA, Kate Spade, Converse have already started leveraging it. So, what’s stopping you?

Let’s explore what’s so fascinating about Augmented Reality!

SOURCE: Google Images

What is Augmented Reality?

Ever wondered how you will look in that lush pink gown? Wanted to see if that sofa set matches your decor? Stressing about whether or not your wedding venue will look perfect on D-Day? Well, Augmented Reality solves all these issues. AR is truly shaking up the digital media landscape by superimposing an image onto an individual’s view of the real world, thus enhancing their ability of sight, sound, smell and touch. It is an immersive experience that ignites human senses and helps several brands to engage with their target group.

What’s intrigues me about AR?

AR puts all our imaginations and thoughts into practice and gives birth to it. Isn’t it interesting how everything that we could only imagine can now be pictured on your screen? I love how AR brings the undeniable emotional connections people make with sight, sound, smell and motion to life. I don’t have to think and keep wondering about how a lamp will fit into my decor and whether or not a particular cafe will perfectly hold my birthday decorations or not. AR is blurring the lines and differences between the real and unreal world.

SOURCE: Google Images

I was first introduced to AR when I was purchasing Converse shoes. Converse has been my favorite brand for years. When they came up with the Shoe Sampler app, it helped me understand which pair looks like a good fit for me and even directed me to their e-commerce website to buy that particular pair. Even IKEA is making great using of AR to help customers choose decor and furniture items depending on their existing decor. What a great use of technology!

What are the limitations of using AR?

Well, now that I have hyped AR so much, let me also tell you about its limitations. Every coin has 2 sides, every technology comes with pros and cons. Though AR helps create a personal experience and simplifies shopping experiences, I believe AR deals with a lot of data and can lead to privacy and breach issues. It deals with environment in real-time and misuse of this data can cause a blunder.

AR can often be costly for marketers to incorporate into their digital media strategies — converting unreal into real comes at a heavy cost after all. Taking the example of Pokemon Go, a game that got customers hooked, also caused serious health injuries as people got too immersed in it. AR can prevent humans from distinguishing between the real and unreal world. The technology can promote risky behavior if not controlled and harm human life.

SOURCE: Google Images

What does the future look like for AR?

In today’s time, considering we are facing a global crisis and quarantining, I believe AR will be of most help since it will help us understand how the world outside and around us is functioning. Since we cannot step outside and are restricted to our homes, AR can bring our imaginations, dreams, and wishes to life and help us live a better life.

But as customers, we should know where to draw to line, differentiate between the actual and created world and understand when to use it and when to not. Let’s embrace technology in a positive manner and not let it ruin our lives. For marketers, it can be a great tool to drive engagement, do more than just selling brands and make it playful for their customers.