Regardless of how great your product is, consumers will never know if they don’t try it. But instigating product trial can be tricky. Customers are busy people who don’t like to interrupt their daily routines just to try out new products. If you want customers to pay attention, you need something truly outstanding to stop them in their tracks.
Augmented reality can create experiences that are worth your customers’ time. For best success, I recommend to create AR content that fits both the product itself, and the place where you want to demo the product.
In 2013, Sony was struggling to motivate consumers to ditch their old standard headphones and upgrade to its high quality MDR-1 headphones, designed specifically for cellular use. The electronics company turned augmented reality (AR) to boost product trial: Using AR, Sony created the Headphone Music Festival (HMF). The company delivered an entertaining experience to the customer while generating hype around the product, creating benefits for both the brand and the user.
An augmented reality music festival
Sony enabled customers to watch four of Japan’s best-selling rock bands perform live in the middle of busy streets. Users simply needed to download the HMF augmented reality app and point their phones at posters placed around Japan. This activated Sony’s campaign and prompted a virtual stage to appear.
This type of content was ideal to tastefully interrupt consumers as they went along their buys lives. And once people stopped to watch the virtual concert, they were prime targets for trying out Sony’s new MDR-1 headphones, which were handed out by Sony representatives.
Because of its unique appeal, the AR festival attracted more than 469,000 fans, according to Creativity Online. As a result of this AR powered product trial strategy, the Sony MDR-1R became the No. 1 selling headphone on Kakaku.com in January 2013.
The right AR strategy can boost product trial
Augmented reality can boost product trial, but only if you pick the right content at the right location.
Sony utilized AR with purpose, putting its product at the heart of an engaging experience. The crowded streets mirrored the feeling of being at a live concert performance. The AR content was relevant for the product, and allowed Sony to ideally emphasize the noise-cancelling feature of its headphones.
In addition, Sony supported its AR campaign with other aspects of the marketing mix. It utilized video, web pages, merchandise and print to help promote the phone app campaign.
As I point out in my research on augmented reality marketing, aligning your AR campaign with the overall marketing mix is essential for success. Simply promoting the augmented reality campaign through one medium would not have been enough to sustain this successful movement.
Push the limits of reality
Recreating a music festival was a great idea for Sony to engage consumers and promote product trial. But why stop at the basics?
Dare to think big with AR
If the goal is to effectively interrupt a customer’s day with a one-of-a-kind experience, why mimic a typical music festival? Surely customers have seen that before. Sony could have taken things a step further by incorporating near-impossible elements — crazy light shows, instant band wardrobe changes or even a whale floating across the audience — into the performances.
Why not involve your audience, creating more user-brand engagement? Listeners could throw confetti into the air or launch pyrotechnic fireworks to spice up the AR concert experience. These additional augmented reality features would allow Sony’s music festival to differentiate itself from a regular physical concert.
This is augmented reality after all, so why stay within the capabilities of our regular world? That’s the beauty of this technology.
As devices used for mixed reality become more powerful every year, you can dare to think big when designing your AR campaigns. Marketers should thus strive to really push the boundaries and create campaigns that truly blur the line between reality and limitless digital content.
Stop customers in their tracks with augmented reality
Augmented reality gives marketers the power to create eye-catching, often seemingly-impossible, campaigns. It goes far beyond the limits of a traditional advertisement. And that’s exactly what brands need to convince customers to try out new products.
Most marketers associate augmented reality with telling brand stories or creating clever experiential marketing campaigns. However, when paired with brand ambassadors on the ground, AR can also be a great strategy to induce product trial.
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