Using Technology To Gizmofy Your Digital Strategy In 2016

Virtual Reality revolution is changing the digital marketing landscape says Anthony Padayachi in this post on how brands can spark their digital marketing offerings with cool tech in 2016

Editor’s note: This is an exclusive guest post authored by Anthony Padayachi, Group Head – Copy, BC Web Wise. Views expressed in the post are the author’s personal views.

In 2015, The New York Times ventured into the virtual-reality storytelling space with NYT VR. Their amazing and immensely popular videos are not just about shooting with a 360-degree camera. The stories they tell are being thought and shot in 360, creating an immersive media experience for the viewers. Evolving technologies such as VR present new opportunities for advertisers to explore, engage, and get the coveted ‘first-mover’ tag for themselves. They are changing the digital marketing landscape at the same time and making a big difference for marketers.

Progressive brands are quick to capitalize on new technology trends. In the case of virtual reality, it all started with Google creating a cost-effective mount for experiencing VR & AR (Augmented reality) with absolute ease. The Google Cardboard created a level playing field for the otherwise expensive technology. A handful of brands picked on the trend in 2015, engaging with consumers through cardboard inspired mounts. Marriott’s VRoom Service was one such effort, to give users a tour of Chile. Technology giant, ASUS explored the medium by giving consumers a tour of space for the launch of ZenFone 2.

2016 will see more brands joining the VRevolution. Although creating content could be a task, the viewing equipment itself is accessible with some of the DIY VR mounts available at as low at Rs.180 online! Marketers would do well to give it a thought, especially when it comes to brands in technology, auto, real estate and premium lifestyle verticals. But VR is not the only game changing tech. As experienced at CES this year, brands are experimenting with awesome new technologies and drawing the attention of consumers and marketers globally. Some of these tech trends are likely to pick pace in India very soon.

‘Watch’ your message

If you like all the ‘i’ things, chances are that Apple Watch is in your wishlist already. Smart wearables saw a decent reception in 2015, and the sales forecast looks promising. Limited number of apps give brands an opportunity to innovate and make the most out of the form and functions of the gadget. From branded utility apps, to fun games, there’s a lot to ‘watch’ out for as next generation of Android Wear & Apple Watch surface later this year.

The ‘Smart’ Idiot Box

2015 saw a bunch of manufacturers upping their Smart TV game with Android TV and proprietary operating systems for the large screen. Right from giving you Twitter notifications, to downloading subtitles automatically at the push of a button; the idiot box has got a whole lot smarter. This gives advertisers new ways to connect with the audience, making use of the larger real estate. Although broadcast content may be difficult to capitalize on, there are a host of apps designed for the platform that could be leveraged for advertising. Imagine getting a contextual ad while watching Mad Men on MX Player app; Or a game that brings the entire family together, played using their smartphones as controllers. The possibilities are endless, especially for brands that target the entire family.

Engage with NFC

Near Field Communication (NFC) became a common feature in most smartphones in 2015. A large number of retail outlets started supporting wireless payments too. But NFC’s potential goes beyond just payments or transferring files between devices. The technology ushers in the future of digital out-of-home media, with users being able to interact with OOH properties like never before! Apart from OOH, on-ground activations could be a lot more exciting, by getting users to connect among themselves & with the brand in unique ways.

Evolving technologies may not have a lot of takers in the beginning as marketers ask questions about ROI. But that shouldn’t stop brands from going out there and try out niche trends, which could become mainstream soon.