Augmented Humanity: An AR Beginner’s Brand Brief
Evan Kraut, Managing Director of Grey Adventures, discusses how AR will likely replace our screens and redefine our experiences
Remember Google Glass? They’re back! While the prospect of Google Glass 2.0 is exciting, it took only a few months the first time around to prove that the Glass 1.0 wasn’t doing what people wanted—and certainly not what brands needed. And brands do have a stake here: in the next decade, AR will become one of the world’s primary interfaces with your brand, and the faster we understand it, the better prepared we’ll be for the monumental shift we’ll experience.
That’s no overstatement: AR will likely replace your screens. AR will redefine your experiences. AR will reshape your content and storytelling capabilities. AR is the game to win.
Maybe you’ve already been focused on mobile phone-based AR – but that’s just a stopgap on the way to true AR potential where we’ll be experiencing the world in nearly realistic visual augmentation that eliminates the need for physical screens. TVs, computers, and yes, mobile phones, would no longer be a part of this picture. (Michael Abrash, chief scientist at Oculus: “Twenty or 30 years from now, I predict that instead of carrying stylish smartphones everywhere, we’ll wear stylish glasses.”) Singularity is on the near horizon, yet we still can’t fathom the relative superpowers that AR will provide us as this technology infiltrates the universe and supplements the eyes, ears, hands, and minds of the humans it’s attached to.
Marketers have always leveraged new technologies, media, and platforms, but AR is unlike anything before it. People will adopt it faster, because its incredible utility will be life changing. Brands need to start figuring out their role in this new augmented world.
But what kind of value will compel consumers to engage with brands in AR? What does it mean for a brand to use AR to augment human potential? Here are some ways in.
Your brand can make them super-learners.
Will it make sense to read a textbook when you can visualize an entire experience/concept/story/problem in front of you and get “hands on” experience with it? Can your auto brand, for example, teach a customer how to be an amateur mechanic? Can you instruct them on something truly valuable that any consumer would appreciate, to generate some true consumer engagement and maybe even a little brand love?
Your brand can power their health.
Any doctor will tell you that post-medical school ongoing education is inefficient and inadequate in truly upgrading their skills, which is frightening considering the pace of change in modern medicine. Imagine having those lessons uploaded into a health-care providers headset in real-time. (Think “I know Kung Fu” from The Matrix.) Would patients prefer your hospital system if they knew the doctors and nurses were receiving real-time medical strategies from the cloud, fortified by a reliable brand? I know I would.
Your brand can upgrade their work.
It is hard to think of a job that won’t benefit from AR in some way. Desk jockeys will use AR to collaborate with colleagues and clients; teachers will educate in more impactful ways; police and fire fighters will access data and visual assistance during incidents; the list goes on. Maybe your AR brand experience can automate a repetitive task for consumers at their work and effectively save them time to do something they truly love to do.
Your brand can make their life easier, better, and faster.
Brand marketers must consider a world where not only is the medium the message, but the message must be of significant utility to even be considered. Perhaps an augmented visual cue on top of a grocery item that pre-evaluates its place in your new diet or a walking map of the fastest path to your store, but no matter what offering your brand will make, it will undoubtedly be an opt-in choice for the consumer who, in turn, will be trading their attention for something of value that you are providing.
That is the brief: How can your brand provide enough value to a consumer that they’ll opt you into their lives and allow you to augment their experiences.
As with most tech, there’s a learning curve for how people will engage, but that starting point is now. Download ARKit. Talk to your customers about the greatest value you can provide and then think about how this unique technology can deliver it. Roadmap your ideas into pilot projects. Or, you can wait and see how others pioneer the technology — forecasted to be a $1.65 billion by 2024 – and risk being too late to deliver a truly impactful solution for your brand.
Ensure your role in tomorrow by augmenting humanity today.
Evan Kraut is Managing Director of Grey Adventures, a division of Grey Group that develops innovative products and services that fuel new ways of doing business for their clients. Prior to joining Grey, Evan was Chief Growth Officer at MRY, a Publicis agency. During his tenure, Evan was part of the core leadership team that scaled the organization from 30 to over 300+ headcount, including global expansion, while successfully leading major pieces of business for Coca-Cola, Visa, Microsoft, AT&T, Procter & Gamble, and more than 50 of the Fortune 500.
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