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Augmented reality

Augmented reality

Augmented Reality is the melding of the real world with the digital world found on your smartphone. Think “Pokemon Go.”

You have more than likely encountered augmented reality, even if the term is unfamiliar. It is not to be confused with virtual reality, another recent development in the tech world. AR is experienced alongside the real world, while VR simulates its own reality.

Charles Arthur, a contributor to The Guardian, describes AR as taking “a real-life scene, or (better) a video of a scene, and add[ing] some sort of explanatory data to it so that you can better understand what’s going on, or who the people in the scene are, or how to get to where you want to go”.

By blurring the line between what is real and what is not, AR enhances the digital experience.

The most well-known examples of augmented reality in today’s market are Snapchat filters and Pokémon Go. While it is more easily recognizable in entertainment, AR has also been utilized in marketing, educational and retail ventures.

Augmented reality is also starting to play a role in the workplace. It has been adapted for certain hands-on training exercises. An employee’s virtual presence erases the need for direct contact with different environments.

Where direct involvement is risky, the immersive qualities of AR allows for otherwise impossible experiences. For example, NASA has started to use it for scientific research. This enables advances in exploration that humans couldn’t achieve. We can’t send a person to Mars, but technology is taking that giant leap for us.

In the near future, you might not even be able to tell who is seeing the world through an AR wearable. Going through a single day without experiencing augmented reality in some way might even be impossible.

As the technology behind AR continues to evolve, its limits will be pushed even further. Think about how Pong and other early video games now seem so primitive, yet they were what introduced many the members of today’s workforce to computing. Their innovations have increased the capabilities of operating systems hundreds of times over.

These same kinds of giant strides in AR are still to come. The next generation might be taught about the game-changing nature of Pokémon Go just as today’s youth learn about Tetris.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has already labeled augmented reality as the ‘next new thing’. Anyone who is familiar with the tech industry will agree: now that AR has captured Apple’s eye, every competitor will be clamoring to take it to new heights.

Genuine storytelling

Genuine storytelling

In the world of memes, tweets, and Snapchat stories, it’s easy to assume that engaging consumers means trimming things down. With an audience that has a shorter attention span than goldfish, slimming down marketing strategies to 160 characters seems like the way to go. But statistics show otherwise: engaging and emotional marketing strategies are far more successful than stereotypical promotional advertisements.

Authentic storytelling gives your brand personality. It allows your audience to connect with the company in a way that stands out among the fast-food style content that floods users’ Facebook feeds. This might be through longer-form blog posts, video production, or audio postcards. But the bottom line is that authentic storytelling focuses on developing a human connection. It sells your product or service with discretion, emotion, and relatability.

Tips for authentic storytelling:

  • Use sensory words. Amazingly, your brain cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is imaginary. Smelling coffee and reading about coffee trigger the exact same reaction in your brain. By using sensory details, you create a memorable story that humanizes your brand.
  • Use emotion to your advantage. Research shows that emotionally engaging marketing messages are twice as successful as promotional advertisements. Perhaps one of the best examples of this is Apple’s 2016 holiday commercial.
  • Know your audience and what they value. You wouldn’t talk to your boss in the same way that you would talk to your brother. Similarly, you have to understand your audience before you can have a conversation with them.
  • Be genuine. Numbers, formulas, statistics—it’s easy to get lost in these things. Developing a relatable story that’s organic and fresh will engage consumers in a way that standard promotional marketing just can’t live up to.

This unconventional strategy brings personality and energy to your brand. It gives your company a distinct voice in the industry, actionability to move your brand forward, and deeper insight into the values of your customers. Building these connections with your audience allows you to grow customer loyalty through common interests, beliefs, and standards. It starts a conversation, engaging consumers in a new and vibrant way.

To many, video is the king of content.

To many, video is the king of content.

Chris Trimble, writer for The Guardian asked, “If it were five years in the future, would you be reading this article or would you be watching it?” Good question. Today, video is being selected by users as the preferable format of content on social media. “In 2015, video is predicted to dominate as the social media content format of choice.” In August 2014, Facebook surpassed YouTube in the number of video views via desktop according to ComScore. It’s important to note that YouTube still has more views on mobile apps and across all devices. As of September 2014, Facebook attracted a billion video views per day, a roughly 30-fold increase since July.

Video content is critical to anyone building a business or brand, big or small. Video has the ability to entertain and inform in a short amount of time. Currently video usage, “more than half of companies are already making use of video”. According to a Neilsen Neilson study, not only will 70% of brand marketers increase their usage of social media, but 64% of individuals indicated that video content will dominate mobile advertising strategies in the future.

As the information overload continues to pile on, the use of video will continue to play a vital role in relaying more information in a short amount of time. On many platforms, video is already a necessary format of content. Today we have the likes of Youtube, SnapChat, and Vine. All of these platforms depend upon video to deliver their services to their customers.

Most individuals use the internet to interact, consume or create information. How we choose to use the tools available to us will be critical to our success as storytellers.