The most powerful brands in the world have one thing in common — strong brand meaning.
Nike encourages consumers to “just do it.” Disney inspires imagination. BMW brings you the “ultimate driving experience.” A simple tagline carries a vivid description of what the brand stands for.
But even companies like Nike and BMW struggle to truly bring those messages to life. With print and television advertisements, brand meaning can feel like a passive experience. Marketers struggle to bridge the gap between the brand meaning, the medium and the customer.
One emerging marketing technology can help solve that problem.
Visa takes consumers to the jungle
Visa utilized augmented reality (AR) to deliver their brand meaning in an engaging way. AR merges physical content with the digital world. This eliminates the space between a customer and a brand meaning. Visa used AR in its campaign, “Try Something New with Visa,” which expresses their brand meaning, “everywhere you want to ￼￼￼￼be.”
The experience give consumers the opportunity to interact with digital animals, bringing their brand meaning to life through in augmented reality jungle.
See video of experience here . ￼￼
Global technology software company Lemon & Orange developed the project and installed the AR gear in four Polish malls. By triggering the AR experience, customers can consumers can interact with a variety of zoo animals.
Augmented reality is a great choice for Visa because it gives consumers the once in a lifetime chance to interact with the jungle on a normal shopping day. AR truly lets customers go “everywhere you want to be.”
AR creates an interactive brand meaning
According to marketing experts Reis and Trout, the goal of brand meaning is to, “create a unique impression in the customer’s mind so that the customer associates something specific and desirable with your brand.”
Nike, Disney, BMW and Visa have mastered this concept. But Visa ups the game by using augmented reality.
The use of this new technology aligns with Visa as a brand. Visa is a global brand that inspires travel and new experiences for consumers. They want the ￼consumer to engage in adventurous activities. Augmented reality gives the consumer the chance to experience these adventurous activities, something a television or print ad can not.
Therefore, augmented reality is a great choice, because it allows Visa to leverage its brand meaning. It gives consumers the chance to experience wild adventures without disrupting their daily routine.
Create an AR experience worth sharing
For marketers, a great AR experience is only half the battle. To really take advantage of a good campaign, brands should engage customers beyond the glamor of its fancy AR exhibit.
Marketers should not only factor in participation of users, but also engage bystanders — folks who were not able to experience the AR content. Visa allowed mall-goers to share photos of their experience on social media. These photos are “artifacts” — evidence of a user’s participation in an AR campaign. Artifacts further develop user-bystander engagement because they provide a sharable token of the experience. They allow bystanders observe the augmented reality experience regardless of their location.
Even those who were not at the mall could see how Visa gave consumers this wild opportunity and fully leveraged their brand meaning.
Keep your AR experience under control ￼
Though building an AR experience in a public location can be great for engaging customers, there are risks. Marketers should focus on “neutralizing threats,” as described my past research on AR . In Visa’s case, it’s easy to disrupt the company’s augmented reality experience because the area is not closed off within the mall.
Visa did not give themselves complete control of how outside forces could affect the scene. As a result, shoppers could walk in front of the screen disrupting the entire experience. Or, a competitor could place an advertisement in the targeted zone.
By neutralizing these threats, Visa would have truly put the consumer’s wants first and avoided the risk of interruptions.
AR brings your brand meaning to life
Brands need to align their marketing strategies with technologies that best leverage their brand meanings. Visa’s campaign would not have been as impactful if they had chosen to use traditional media. They needed a truly immersive experience to align with Visa’s brand meaning — “Everywhere you want to be.” It places customers in an outrageous and unexpected experience. This helps that brand meaning resonate more than a different medium would.
Augmented reality was a great addition to Visa’s marketing mix. Its campaign is a role model for brands searching for an innovative digital strategy.
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