June 21, 2018
Extending customers’ experiences with the next generation of technology
By: Accenture Interactive Cannes Lions 2018 Insights

In a world where experiences are everything, the opportunities for brands to interact with customers are growing all the time. Add the complexities of transitioning touchpoints across environments, for example from kitchen, to car, to office, and it’s a complex world for brand owners.

Brands need to design for this and address all touchpoints as a single entity. Getting a consistent tone of voice is not enough—brands need to think about how to own and distinguish the holistic experience. They need to be thinking about how to reimagine their brand strategy so that it is present and relevant all the time.

New technologies, such as sensory, voice and augmented reality are driving a lot of these opportunities.

As brands seek to build wrap-around experiences and cast for a role in the lives of their customers, sensory strategies are coming into focus. Research from Freeman and SSI shows that 42 percent of marketers in Asia are already tapping into sensory interactions. Taste and sound have long been part of the product experience—from reassuringly expensive beers to the sound of a solid car door clicking shut—but now technologies are engaging the senses in new ways. For example, the car of the very near future will have active in-car systems including voice control and an Artificially Intelligent assistant. This could sense your mood, understand from the zip code you put in your way finder what you are going to do at your destination, and offer appropriate in-car services—from entertainment to ambient features such as lighting and smells.

With the emergence of voice-activated platforms such as Alexa and Google Home, brands need to consider a strategy for this environment. Without imagery the creative scope is limited, but the platforms can distinguish between different voices and use stored data to deliver natural tailored experiences.

Augmented reality is enabling brands to create truly immersive experiences. Growth in VR is being seen in virtual sampling, allowing consumers to try products while sitting at home using augmented applications, as well as in the merger of the digital and physical worlds, where information and messages can augment consumers’ physical experiences. Whole Foods Market, for example, has created an app to enable shoppers to browse the aisles while receiving tailored messages such as recipes.

However a brand chooses to extend its experience, the experience needs to be relevant. And the challenge for the marketer is make sure that these technologies augment and extend the brand experience—rather than distract from it.

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