In the Summer of 2016, Niantic’s Pokémon Go became a veritable cultural phenomenon. During its debut week on the app store, the app had 7 million downloads . Its usage of location-based features and the augmented reality technology highlighted in MKTG Squad helped push mixed reality (MR) into the public consciousness.
Since Pokémon Go’s monumental success, marketers have tried to use mixed reality for their brand experiences. But, are they doing it right?
Well, not really, since those aware of mixed reality haven’t effectively leveraged it to its fullest potential.
Before we dive in, first ask yourself this: Is the Pokémon Go style of mixed reality a proper fit for my brand? If it is, great job!
But, if it’s not, here are two alternative options:
- Partner up to establish a MR Game
- Build-your-own MR experience
In this article, Divya Thirunagari, Kieran Scandrett, and Toni Mara Lantin illustrate how you can take full advantage of the mixed reality medium to create a lasting brand experience with the LAUNCH framework and ultimately maximize your brand story.
Why use the LAUNCH Framework?
Visualized on a spectrum, mixed reality is everything between pure reality and virtual reality. Its ability to “geo-lock” objects is especially noteworthy. This is key to engaging consumers and propels the LAUNCH framework and overall MR experience value.
The green “value boosters” within the LAUNCH image above, brand story fit and engagement, work alongside the inherent geo-lock. As a result, this creates a successful mixed reality experience.
How Pokémon Go Championed the LAUNCH Framework
With Pokémon Go, Niantic inadvertently fulfilled the LAUNCH framework. By capitalizing on Pokémon’s nostalgic brand story, Niantic adapted it within a mixed reality storyline.
The public was exposed to location-based mixed reality and they couldn’t get enough of it.
Thus, Pokémon Go pioneered geo-lock, with over 20 million daily active users at its peak. This meant that specific Pokémon would remain in their designated locations regardless of the user’s relative position.
Not only that, Pokémon Go showed that mixed reality marketing creates active consumers who will participate in meaningful brand experiences.
Mixed reality marketing allows brands to:
- Build trust and establish a relationship with consumers
- Differentiate from their competitors
- Leave a lasting impression through impactful brand association
Beware: marketers should not apply ineffective traditional advertising methods to an immersive medium like mixed reality, where seamless consumer experiences are key.
When your consumers are inundated with intrusive advertisements, it creates an advertising dystopia similar to Keiichi Matsuda’s ‘Hyper-reality.’ If marketers aren’t careful with how they utilize mixed reality, this scenario could become a reality. It’s worth an in-depth watch or two.
The best mixed reality campaigns are created with the content-value model in mind.
Content should be the reason for making a mixed reality experience.
Whether you choose to partner with another brand to establish a MR game or build your own MR experience, it’s important that you infuse the gameplay with your brand story and create meaningful content through the LAUNCH framework.
1. Partner up to establish a MR Game
Believe it or not, this is exactly what happened in 2015. With their combined MR campaign, Ingress users were granted access to the strongest shield possible by completing a bonus mission: visit an AXA location. In addition, promotional videos created by AXA helped hype the “AXA Shield” as a must-have for supreme protection.
Ultimately, what made this unexpected partnership work was an effective utilization of the LAUNCH framework.
Their mixed reality experience took advantage of the inherent geolocation feature and created a shared game experience that adhered to both companies’ identities. It also exceeded expectations on the consumer engagement front, as more than 1.6 million users flocked to AXA’s brick-and-mortar locations.
AXA made their mark as the first insurance company to protect people both in the physical and virtual world.
You can recreate this type of success by gamifying your marketing and integrating with an already established MR game. An ideal story brand fit between two companies allows for a deeper understanding of their shared brand essence.
Of course, this type of partnership between brands may not always be a possibility. If your brand story doesn’t mesh well with another company’s brand, you can always build your own mixed reality experience.
2. Build-Your-Own Mixed Reality Experience
Nowadays, applications like Motive.io equip marketers with the tools necessary to build customized location-based augmented reality apps.
However, it’s essential that you have a strong brand story that fits with mixed reality technology before embarking on developing your own MR experience.
Well-known brands can use their powerful brand identities to garner consumers’ engagement.
Let’s pretend that Nike just launched a mixed reality experience called Nike Fuel. As an established manufacturer and supplier of athletic apparel, Nike is the perfect candidate for incorporating MR technology into their marketing mix.
Within Nike Fuel, there could be geo-locked “fuel points” placed around a city to gamify Nike’s mission of “bring[ing] inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
These geo-locked fuel points would seamlessly incorporate into users’ daily runs. Ultimately, this ensures continuous consumer engagement with the brand. Additionally, Nike Fuel could work hand-in-hand with wearable technology. Partnering with Bluetooth-connected headphones, for example, would provide an additional auditory component to the user’s run.
This type of multi-dimensional experience could further enhance the value of the overall mixed reality experience. More importantly, it would Nike’s brand story in consumers’ minds.
Plus, it would be a crime to pass up a tagline such as, “There are no more excuses not to go out there and Just Do ItTM with Nike Fuel.”
Harry Potter: The Next Mixed Reality Craze
Hold on to your hats and broomsticks, wizards!
Two weeks ago, Niantic, the creators of Pokémon Go, set the stage for the next mixed reality cultural craze with the announcement of Harry Potter Wizards Unite.
In this a Pokémon Go-esque mobile game, users can go on adventures, learn casts and spells and discover mysterious artifacts by exploring real world neighborhoods and cities across the globe.
The vibrant and imaginative nature of the Harry Potter series creates tremendous opportunity for innovative user immersion within the game.
Additionally, it looks like the game will feature some sort of real-world component as seen in Niantic’s first mixed reality title, Ingress. With such a passionate fan-base across the globe, the mixed reality opportunities are endless.
Marketers, keep your eyes out for Niantic’s big release and use it as a source of inspiration for your own mixed reality experience.
Where Can Mixed Reality Go from Here?
It’s crucial for marketers to remember that consumers are more likely to engage when the value goes beyond the screen.
Mixed reality is already beginning to create exciting, new forms of engagement between brands and consumers. As the success of AXA & Ingress and Pokémon Go show, consumers value engaging brand experiences that connect directly to their reality.
Whether you partner with another brand to establish a MR game or build your own MR experience, it’s important that you keep the LAUNCH framework in mind:
Mixed reality is here to stay. Now, the opportunity is here for you, a conscientious and forward-thinking marketer, to capitalize on.
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