Think beyond 2D – Add a New Dimension to Your Brand
2020 is a year of great opportunity for marketers.
Summary: COVID-19 has led to seismic changes in consumer behavior. Consumers are spending more time that ever online, and prioritizing safe, contactless experiences at retail stores.
These new consumer priorities have already made their mark with McKinsey reporting that a whopping 40% of consumers have switched brands or retailers since March 2020. Simultaneously, digital penetration has jumped forward 10 years in the last 3 months, with record surges in online activity – particularly in gaming and the various streaming platforms.
At AutoVRse, we are focused on helping brands ride this new wave in digital adoption by developing immersive 3D digital experiences using Augmented Reality and Gamification. These are applications that function as virtual showrooms, brand stories, or games designed around your brand, and are designed to operate seamlessly even on lower-end devices and sub-optimal internet bandwidth. They are quick to load, and accessible via simple URLs or QR codes in-store. Our 3D experiences can be 10x as effective as traditional 2D creatives, resulting in click-through rates of ~40% and bounce rates <1%.
With great change, comes great opportunity. Brands who innovate and adapt now, stand to win in the long run. In an age where the average consumer is inundated with a myriad of advertisements across media-channels, we help your brand stand out with premium, immersive content that will add a whole new dimension to your value proposition.
Let’s face it, most ads are boring.
Just like most brands are boring. That's not an indictment; it's just a statement of fact, in a world driven by hyper-consumerism.
Most marketers or advertisers aren’t involved in the creative business, they’re primarily coordinating operations and logistics. Their job is to work with an agency to churn out a fixed quota of creatives every week/month/quarter plus about twice as many during the festive season.
It's not their fault - if you’re employed at a recognized brand, that’s your mandate. Don’t rock the boat, don’t court controversy, and whatever you do, DON’T annoy the masses on social media.
Why has this happened?
Because that’s what works and keeps the engine chugging along.
Also, because like most brands, most consumers are boring too. I’ve been drinking Nescafe’s basic coffee all my life. I’ve used the same shampoo and toothpaste for well over a decade and I’ve seen no reason to change that. Why would I? If it ain't broken, why fix it? That’s what most consumers are like. And so, it’s natural that the ads catering to them are boring.
Because that’s what works.
And then 2020 happened.
And now, we have a new status quo. Consumer loyalty has gone down the drain.
Heck, even I've betrayed Nescafe. My new brand of choice is Blue Tokai artisanal coffee and I think I’ll try 3 or 4 other brands in the next couple of months - and I'm not alone.
Even industries such as banking – where the strength of brand loyalty is ridiculously high – are witnessing record rates in churn. The pandemic has completely altered consumer priorities and consumer behavior.
McKinsey reports that a whopping 40% of consumers have switched brands or retailers since March 2020.
Now, you can read those statistics and wonder why. I could go on for a while speculating about the many different reasons why the average consumer has suddenly decided to care more about the brands they trust.
Perhaps it’s because safety is now a major factor in every buying decision. Perhaps it’s because we’re spending more time than ever online – binging another series on Netflix or playing games online (more on that later) or window shopping on Amazon. Perhaps, we just have more time on our hands.
All that said, why should any of this matter to you? Most people will view the above statistics as something to be filed away and used as a convenient ice-breaker on their next Zoom call, but for a marketer or advertiser, it indicates a massive opportunity.
Consumers are being more fickle than ever, they’re open to trying new products, they’re putting more thought than ever before into a buying decision.
A generic campaign, or a generic online presence, is no longer acceptable.
As the business-arm that is closest to the consumer, and needs to have its ear to ground, this is your time to shine. It’s time to dust away the cobwebs gathering around your creativity suit, and jump in with both feet on a ride that will define the future of digital marketing for years to come.
2020 is the year of opportunity. Take it.
Alright, so now that we've inspired and motivated you in equal parts, and answered the "why" of it all, it’s time to delve into the “how”. It’s all fine and dandy to say that there’s an opportunity out there, the question is how can you take advantage of it?
A decade ago, the average consumer with an online presence was inundated with an average of 5000 ads in a day. Noise.
Cut to 2020, that number has now doubled (or tripled) based on some estimates. We are now exposed to 8000-12000 ads in a day. Come the festive season, you can be fairly sure we’ll cross the 15,000 mark. So. Much. Noise.
How can you create content that will rise above that noise and help consumers pay attention to your brand?
Well, to answer that, let’s observe another wave in consumer behaviour that has been steadily gathering momentum over the last couple of years, and has accelerated in 2020 – Gaming and 3D.
We’ve all seen the signs these last few years – the PUBG-Fortnite craze, the rise of Dream11, MPL and their ilk – the average consumer is becoming more involved with digital content on their mobile devices – with a specific inclination towards gaming. With the lock-down, this trend has accelerated - time spent online watching content, playing games and shopping is at an all-time high. Digital penetration and online buying has jumped forward 10 years in the last 3 months.
Netflix has on-boarded 2x more subscribers, worldwide, than expected in Jan-Mar 2020.
Without the option to travel, eat out with friends, or catch a movie at a cinema hall, consumers are spending more time than ever online. This, when combined with the willingness to try new brands means that customers are spending more time than ever before interacting with online content.
Until now, distributing immersive 3D or AR content has had some obvious roadblocks. It involves asking your target user to download and install an app - a step that is fraught with the risk of customers dropping off/bouncing. In the last few months, VR/AR/3D technology on the web has scaled up in leaps and bounds, and we can now help your users access mind-blowing 3D visuals within the "four-walls" of their web browser - all at the click of a link or QR Code.
3D and AR experiences are now beautiful, fast and accessible on any device.
Recently, we’ve seen interesting things happen as a result of this. Apple, of course, dove into this last year itself, with the airpods website utilising a few 3D elements.
Google weren’t too far behind.
And now, with the pandemic rendering offline efforts like launch events and trade-shows near impossible, brands are investing in this technology to make a massive digital splash among their user-base. Here’s how Adidas launched their new line of bomber jackets:
Similarly, here’s a few examples of virtual showrooms we built for IFB, helping them publicize their Air-Conditioners and Dishwashers during a festive sale. The metrics were terrific, with a bounce rate of around 0.6% and a click-through of 52% to their website and checkout-page.
If you want to read about that in further detail, you can download the case study here.
So, while product launches and interactive virtual showrooms offer the perfect pasture to try out 3D on the web, brands with more complicated products and stories can also leverage this technology to build immersive, intricate story-lines that have the user hooked form the get-go. This is particularly relevant for B2B marketers, and here’s an example of how Google used 3D technology to explain their cloud infrastructure:
It’s a great way to have your customers slowly uncover your brand's story for themselves, to pique their curiosity and allow them to learn about your offerings at their own pace.
Here are a few jaw-droppingly gorgeous 3D websites that describe:
an interactive visualization of a pop-music artist's creative process.
The gist of it is this - whatever is the story you want to narrate, 3D is the best medium to do so.
Finally, the next logical step would be to hand over almost all control to the user and completely gamify the experience – something that Red Bull is phenomenal at. They have had tremendous success in channeling the latest in gaming and e-sports to boost their brand. This is particularly effective when targeting millennials and Gen-Z.
Red Bull’s Airdrop game was a resounding success, with over 183,000 unique users playing the game.
Paeans have been sung and theses have been written about how gaming can activate parts of the human brain that aid alertness, improve recall and well, give you that instant hit. With public leader-boards and the ability for players to challenge their friends on social media to beat their high score, gamified marketing campaigns are great for organic reach. They already had a huge impact pre-pandemic but were never widespread enough due to the difficulty in creating good content. In a post-pandemic world, with brands racing to fill the void left by a lack of BTL efforts, you can expect to see a lot more of these over the next few months.
2020 has changed us all. It has created a permanent change in consumer behavior, and fundamentally altered how companies & brands interact with their user-base. Over the next few months, we’re excited to be working with numerous brands to launch product showcases, 3D stories and gaming campaigns. As we explore these new frontiers in digital marketing, we also look forward to interacting with teams, marketers and companies that want to take this journey with us!
If you’re interested in how you can work with us to create such content, feel free to reach out to us and we’d be happy to have a discussion with you.