Online and Offline Worlds Collaborate through Interactive Technology
Offline engagement leading to online conversation will create unforgettable experiences and the advent of interactive technology can help brands seamlessly bridge these two worlds.
The evolution of technology has enabled us to be connected like never before. Interactions on social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter shows how we love to share, re-live, and store moments we experience in the real world.
In this equation what interactive technology does is further blur the line between our online and offline realms by creating memorable experiences offline and integrating these with our online world.
Marketers realise the importance of creating and igniting brand conversations through experiences, and this is not new. But the seamless transitioning of both these worlds called for both; a high degree of creative thought and technological evolution. Therefore perhaps the biggest area of marketing innovation of the future will be in the space of further digitization of physical space and empowerment of consumers to connect their physical and digital life seamlessly.
Connecting a person’s digital and physical environment effortlessly may seem like a difficult task, but today, interactive technology is playing an integral role in bridging this divide to create engaging experiences and evoke emotions. Mobile media, QR codes, and recently developed applications such as ALIVE have been used to build connections between online and offline environments, but how do we create bigger and better experiences that use the power of these and much more.
Ways in which Brands have used Interactive Technology
Interactive technology has given way to the use of augmented reality, which can create digital illusions apeing real life experiences. Nike took the concept of window shopping to a completely different level by installing a gesture based foil that merged with the door where consumers could explore and check out the collection of their choice whenever they passed the store.
Consumers were amazed at the fact that they could explore the product and experience its features without even entering the shop. Now that’s taking the concept of window shopping in the literal sense!!
Interactive technology can lead to collaborative engagement as consumers play a vital role in the entire experience. This experience can then be easily extended to social media platforms on a real time basis for an intensified impact. The recent Snickers campaign used motion and gesture technology to gamify its message of ‘Going Veg’.
The campaign involved the audience completing a puzzle challenge where they could pick up and place puzzle pieces with motion and gesture in order to complete the Snickers Challenge. Once the puzzle was complete, the message read loud and clear:
‘Snickers is Going Veg’; a technology-enabled experience shared by the audience like never before. The campaign further increased its impact when scores of each participant were posted on their Facebook page. Interactive technology can truly add a different level of integration through seamlessly connecting offline activity to online platforms.
More than ever, it is crucial to meet consumers wherever they are whether online or offline; interestingly, most consumers today live in both realms equally. For this reason, it is important for brands to not only create experiences and interactions, but allow mediums for those experiences to be shared, discussed, and re-lived through social media platforms.
Ibaco, an ice-cream brand by Hatsun Agro Product Limited, conducted an interesting exercise where they gamified the entire experience to give the consumers a glimpse into the way yummy sundaes are created. Once the sundae is made the user gets a chance to share his experience on Facebook.Thus leading to an online-offline connect wherein multiple people get physically involved with the brand.
This campaign not only garnered huge attraction through its interactive activities but also created a buzz online through the updates posted by participants on Facebook.
Motion and Gesture based technology enables marketers to create content at par with the brand culture and strategy to capture consumer attention. Reebok, a leading footwear brand, used this unique platform to create brand recall for the product.
When Reebok had launched footwear with hexagonal sole, they used motion and gesture technology to create a unique experience and build awareness of their new product variant. As each customer walked in, their footprint along with the logo of the brand was generated; this was an engaging method to pull the consumers closer to the brand and develop emotional connection.
What Brands need to understand
When using new innovative engagement tools, it is important to understand that the brand and its persona will lead the way this technology is used and the experiences that are created. It is important to understand that impactful engagement will happen when this technology is customized for each brand and for the target audiences of each brand actviity.
As brands look to build relationships and spark dialogue, it is important for them to identify the fast eroding divide between offline and online engagement. Engagement leads to conversation, and today, we have conversations both offline and online.
The more innovative the engagement, the more innovative the conversation, and the more innovative the conversation, the more impactful the brand activation. Motion and gesture based technology creates unique and innovative engagements to create memorable experiences, and then subsequently, allows its users to share and discuss these experiences with their friends and family on social media platforms.
An experience of one can lead to the discussion of many. This is the charm of offline and online convergence. It’s time brands start existing not only on the offline and online sides of the line, but on the line itself through the use of interactive technology.