The Proof is in the Experience


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This article, by Vandana U, Editor, STQ, was published in issue 06 of Social Technology Quarterly.
Summary: For brands, apps serve as a lasting marketing channel that enables direct contact with target audience. They offer not plain engagement but holistic experiences. Here are some activities conducted by brands combined with online, offline and augmented reality elements that can awe any marketer.

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The Proof is in the Experience

  1. 1. Selling technologies by providing the space to any customer to experiencea device before purchasing adds to the whole experience of buying a greatdevice. With this idea replicated for purchasing most goods and not onlydevices, the verdict is clear. It is the experience that closes a deal. However,in the age of social when with a click an experience can be made exclusive,only a handful of experiences online really follow the key word: exclusive.Here is a portfolio of events and experiences enhanced by technologies.These represent the incredible results and outcomes achieved through amix of behaviours, activities, and technology.Smart businesses are using technologies to create integrated physical,digital, mobile, and social shopping experiences and events where customerscan access plethora of information while they shop. Such events that goacross all marketing and shopping channels provide the insights and dataone can innovate with. Stores are rolling out apps that help accomplish richexperiences with each customer. These events, activities, and experimentsare great examples of embracing the smart customer with smart technologiesand provide meaningful cohesive customer experience. This ensures thatonline and offline experiences are not separate but integrated for holisticshopping experiences that lead to repeat purchases and brand loyalty.Technology enables and experiences win!The Proof is inthe Experience:Enhancing Experience by leveraging technologiesFor brands, apps serve as a lastingmarketing channel that enables directcontact with target audience.They offer notplain engagement but holistic experiences.Here are some activities conducted bybrands combined with online, offline andaugmented reality elements that can aweany Vandana U.Photo Credit: Micurs
  2. 2. KulizaA phenomenon that has driven crazy onlinesales and engagement is augmented reality.Virtual reality is a simulation of a realenvironment; however, people get into adifferent reality defined by the virtual spaceand goes beyond physical reality. On theother hand augmented reality, as Wikipediadescribes it, “is a live, direct or indirect,view of a physical, real-world environmentwhose elements are augmented bycomputer-generated sensory input such assound, video, graphics or GPS data.” ErickSchonfeld opines that Augmented Realityenhances the real world with digital data,and therefore it is more interesting than afabricated environment.An experiment that caught my eye was themix of apps and augmented reality with pop-upstores. The concept of pop-ups is not new anylonger on the social commerce space. With thesuccess of pop-ups soaring, adding augmentedreality to them seems a clever move.A leading shoe brand dedicated to sportculture, Airwalk set up invisible pop-up shopsin New York and Los Angeles. Inspired bythe idea of a treasure hunt, 600 pairs ofshoes were hidden. People who wanted apair of Airwalks - the Ladies Jim Plastic andthe men’s Jim Tennis - had to download theGoldRun app on their smart phones. Peopleheaded to Venice Beach, Los Angeles, or1 Washington Square, New York City, to capturevirtual versions of the sneakers and GPS-links to each location were provided. As soonas people located a shoe on their phones andtook a photo of the shoe, they were directed toAirwalk’s e-commerce site and given a passcode link to pre-order the exclusive shoes.For Airwalk, hangouts and famous locationsin the two cities turned into their stores.Without a brick and mortar shop, 600pairs of shoes were sold in a day. Airwalkwitnessed the highest amount of traffic onits site during this event.Airwalk:Augmented Reality CampaignCredit: Piermario
  3. 3. 21Social Technology Quarterly 06Another experience leveraged with socialmedia (not with an app, but a map) isby Volkswagen Brazil. The motor brandsponsored the Planeta Terra Festival in SaoPaulo and promoted its car, the Fox, througha mix of Twitter, Google Maps, and reallocations where prizes were hidden. Similarto a treasure hunt, ten tickets to the festivalwere hidden across the city and these weredisplayed on a microsite using Google Maps.However, one couldn’t zoom in to spot theexact location unless it was tweeted about.The more number of tweets containing the2hashtag “#foxatplanetaterra” were sent,meant the closer the zoom on the map.The first ones to arrive at a location wheretickets were hidden would win. It is reportedthat in less than two hours after it began, thecampaign became the number 1 trending topicin Brazil and the event stretched to 4 days.With a mix of online and offline strategies,Volkswagen generated a huge amount of wordof mouth. The campaign played on behavioursthrough gamification, such as the desire towin. With tweets acting as gates to levels ofzoom, the excitement of crossing each leveland being closer to the ticket pumped in therequired adrenalin.Although Volkswagen did not offer anexperience directly in relation to the car,which perhaps would have been morerelatable, the outcomes of this campaignnevertheless were phenomenal.Volkswagen:#foxatplanetaterraSocial Technology Quarterly 06
  4. 4. 22KulizaSpeaking about motor companies, Fiattoo stepped onto the bandwagon ofexperiences. Catalogues can be heavyto read. Instead of making a boring read,Fiat made people experience its catalogueas a part of its Street Evo campaign. Fiatbroke the old pattern of visiting a showroom,checking a catalogue, and test driving thecar, by creating a new gamified experience.Promoting Punto Evo to its evolved and techsavvy audience, Fiat came up with a mobileapp that read road signs as QR codes.Instead of merely reading the features of thecar off a catalogue, after capturing a roadsign, one could get a visual on the feature ofthe car on one’s phones. So if one scannedthe stop sign, the user would get to knowall about the new breaking system; a curveahead sign would inform the user about thecar’s intelligent lighting system that guidesthe driver in curves. Now that sounds like aregular app. However, Fiat added a game-like experience by hiding hundreds of prizesin the traffic signs, the first ones to discoverthem won the prize. The campaign saw1,000,000 traffic signs being spotted onweek one, an 82 percent increase in testdrives, and it is Fiat’s most-seen cataloguein the company’s history. What made thiscampaign a success was the incentivepart of it. Incentives and rewards make theexperience all the more fun and worthwhile.The app and the experience manage tosatiate any visitor’s curiosity. Anyone buyinga car will have numerous questions, andwhat better way than this to answer, througha game-like experience.3Fiat:Street EvoCredit: Bokeh Burger
  5. 5. Social Technology Quarterly 064Lynx’s fallen angel campaign usedaugmented reality to reflect itself as abrand that brings a man’s fantasies veryclose to reality. With the objective ofraising awareness and driving purchaseof the Lynx Excite range, Lynx exploitssocial media to engage its targetaudience - 18 to 24 year old males - withangels seemingly falling from the skiesfor them at London’s Victoria Station. Alive broadcast, yet highly personalized,it bent towards the angle of literallyfulfilling fantasies. It talks to men inan exciting way, making them feel thatthey are attractive, by making a woman‘literally’ fall for them. Also, combinedwith a Facebook game in which Lynxchallenge users to try and release oneof the angels - model and actress KellyBrook - the campaign is a real winner.The campaign worked because it turnsaround a fantasy as if it were actuallylogical for the angel to fall.References:“Augmented Reality.” Wikipedia. WikimediaFoundation Inc,17 Sep 2012.Biela, Martin. Autofspace: Digital onlineautomotive campaigns. Autofspace, 08 May2011.Hui, Francisco Hui Francisco. PSFK. PSFKServices,05 Oct 2010.“Lynx Excite Angels meet the public atLondon Victoria.” Lynx Effect Blog. Lynx, 14Mar 2011.Parker, David. “Lynx Excite ‘fallen angel’ byTullo MarshallWarren.” Campaign:TheWork.Haymarket Haymarket Business Media,15 Mar 2011.“Volkswagen Fox: Twitter Zoom Campaign.”Digital Buzz.N.p.,02 Mar 2011.Lynx:Fallen Angel