by Mike Seidman/VP of operations, Flexible Pack
Connecting with consumers and increasing sales—isn’t that the bottom line for those in the food distribution industry…or any industry, for that matter? Today, the ability to take that bottom line to new heights can be achieved by augmented reality (AR) packaging, an exciting technology that is a true game changer.
Brand managers have long struggled to engage consumers on many levels. There’s the challenge of enticing shoppers at the shelf. Then there’s the need to differentiate a brand and make it stand out from those crowded shelves. But the ultimate challenge may be how best to share a brand’s story in a unique, immersive way that captures the imagination and leaves a product top of mind with consumers. That’s where AR enters the picture.
In brief, AR is an interactive experience where objects residing in the real world are enhanced by computer generated perceptual information. One of the most well-known examples is Pokémon Go, where, with the use of a smartphone GPS, players can find and capture virtual creatures that appear live.
AR packaging creates an engaging brand experience because its empowers customers to directly interact with a brand via uber-creative visual and auditory content. But there’s “homework” involved in order for AR packaging to help achieve the highest level of brand recognition.
First, food industry companies should conduct a thorough exploration of their advertising and promotion strategy. Check out how other brands are using AR packaging as inspiration, then brainstorm ideas. Some of the most innovative uses of AR packaging include the Tic Tac multi-media marketing campaign that encourages consumers to point their smartphone to an outdoor ad, print ad or package for various AR experiences, like micro-games. Another example is the Australian wine brand “19 Crimes”; through the use of AR wine labels, this now popular brand provides colorful insight into Australia’s early history as a British penal colony. And let’s not forget Ikea’s Place phone app that allows shoppers to view the company’s furniture catalog, then virtually place an item in their personal space.
The imperative is to develop creative, compelling content. Some companies might look to entice consumers with a contest or coupons, while others may want to provide product use tips. Or perhaps imaginative videos or microgames are more aligned with a specific brand. Other ideas include recipes related to a product, offering a 3D tour of a product being manufactured, 3D mazes, or the ability to instantly connect to social media and participate in a survey or discussion.
Once AR packaging is designed and printed, consumers can simply use an app on their smartphone to scan an obvious AR code on packaging to enjoy an experience unique to a company’s brand. The package design or label can cleverly embed a digital watermark, a marker that is covertly inserted to identify ownership and is primarily used to trace copyright infringements. Digital watermarks can be embedded in a noise-tolerant signal such as image, audio or video data. Since a digital copy of data is the same as the original, digital watermarking is considered a passive protection tool as it merely marks data but does not degrade it or control access to the data.
Today, all variety of brands are finding that augmented reality packaging deepens loyalty with existing customers, opens the doors to new customers and increases sales. It’s a marketing solution that can create a genuine and engaging brand experience for consumers.