Blending the age-old art of storytelling with tomorrow’s immersive tech could save your business

Brand experiences are changing. Content, data and technology are redefining expectations and transforming people’s relationships with brands. All businesses — even those whose experiences, products and services are prospering today— risk being irrelevant tomorrow if they don’t embrace innovation. The only thing industries can rely on now is the knowledge that nothing will stay the same.

Let’s focus on immersive experiences

Immersive tech— virtual, augmented and mixed reality — is feeding what’s being dubbed the ‘immersive economy’; a new sector of business transforming how we interact with and experience the world. The immersive economy is significantly growing globally, generating ‘some £660 million in sales’ in the UK alone. There’s said to be thousands of immersive specialist companies emerging. Brands that simply keep up with it will get left behind. Brands that embrace it are going to power it.

Immersive tech experiences are about recasting the physical and virtual environment to create brave new worlds. It’s grounded in the human fondness of stories and storytelling. Imagine giving a keynote to a live audience in the midst of a lush tropical rainforest. (Perhaps you’ve seen The Weather Channel’s augmented reality — if not, take a look). Or stepping into a store where shelves of sportswear are replaced with visualisations of data drawn from your wearable device (with your consent, of course).

immersive tech experiences

Photo by Ari He on Unsplash

AR can create moments of real magic: in a recent tech demo, Blippar asked people to colour in a paper butterfly, which then popped up out of the page, spread its wings, and flew around the room. That’s the stuff of fairytales.

We know people are wired for stories, so it’s about using immersive technology in ways that tap into that. Using it as a currency for experience; captivating people’s attention in a loud and saturated world.

And while the art of storytelling is as old as humanity itself, it’s the technologies we’re talking about that keep evolving. So there needs to be experts ready to guide brands through this new era of technology-enabled storytelling. We’ve identified several shifts occurring in this landscape, and we’ve explored some of them today:

Shift 1 / The immersive economy is set to boom

We covered this above, but here are some figures:

The growth of these new storytelling mediums will be meteoric. Because it’s accessible to anyone with a smartphone, ‘ubiquitous’ AR and MR has a potential audience of billions, and is projected to be worth $90 billion by 2022 – 70% of which will be ad spend. ‘Focused’ VR is projected to be worth $15 billion by the same year — with a much smaller audience of 10–15 million. Google’s ARCore and Apple’s ARKit are democratising this tech to developers worldwide, and companies like Blippar are leading the way when it comes to creating accessible AR applications.

Shift 2 / Content anywhere, anytime

Look at these stats: 5% of content gets 90% of attention. To some this might seem intimidating, but we take it as confirmation that only well-crafted content which understands its audience, and tells a compelling brand story, will cut through the clutter in a world competing for people’s attention. The upcoming 5G era will also transform how this content is delivered, reaching and impacting audiences wherever they may be with 4K and immersive content.

Shift 3 / Building dynamic worlds

Don’t worry — despite all the acronyms, ‘real’ reality will still be a thing. Advances in technology are enabling us to create ever more dynamic, sensorial and awe-inspiring worlds. At Genuine X we’re constantly unearthing new and pioneering solutions, from object-tracking projection mapping, to ways of mesmerising audiences with crisp 360-degree sound and perception-changing environments.

Conclusion

As ever, it’s not enough to use a new technology for its own sake. When brands tell stories they need to be connecting with audiences through emotion and making them more memorable by tapping into the senses. Every industry should be looking to be more brave in exploring and creating the previously unimaginable. Why recreate a physical store in AR, when you could create a brand-new world?

We collaborate with clients to surface best practice, talent and techniques that will enable us to harness these emerging platforms. Ultimately, to tell a new generation of immersive brand stories.

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