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Embracing technology to stand out virtually

by Kristy Castleton
Zoom meetings

Tech is the lockdown tonic. From video conferencing and webinars to Whatsapp calls and smart TVs, tech has soothed boredom, maintained social connection and enabled us to work efficiently. But, it’s also a paradox. For something that plays such a transformative role in our current day-to-day, tech-inspired content can be unfathomably boring and marketers should use tech creatively if they want to stand out virtually. 


More than va va Zoom

As home offices were hastily assembled, Zoom’s daily user count hit 200 million in March, up from just 10 million in December 2019. In fact, some investors were so swept up by the Zoom-nami that they accidentally accidentally bought shares in Zoom Technologies – a defunct wireless company – increasing its share price by 1500%. 

Zoom might be the poster child of pandemic tech, but the virtual tech landscape offers much more than a funky background feature. For example, brands could dive headfirst into live streaming. Whether an online music concert for VIP clients or an exclusive Q&A with an influential leader, streaming is an interactive, attention-grabbing tool that is tailor-made for social distancing. No wonder live and pre-recorded streaming has spiked during the pandemic with South-east Asia seeing a 60% increase since mid-January. 

Meanwhile, alternative realities tech – such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) – allows brands to transmit unique and immersive digital experiences to consumers’ homes. One moment you’re in your bedroom, and the next, you could be in a forest, a casino or on a magic carpet ride. Brands could even make memorable connections through virtual worlds, like NASCAR’s simulated e-racing series, or by beaming holograms into their homes. 


Arouse the senses

Senses are the creative base of neuroexperiences. Incredible sights, nerve-tingling smells, delicious tastes, absorbing sounds and unforgettable textures combine to make long-lasting memories and must underpin any virtual experience.

From a digital perspective, sight is the easiest sense to emphasize and given we retain 80% of what we see, seducing the audience’s eyes should be at the top of a brand’s to-do list. Take the Faroe Islands, for example, where the tourist board has created a unique remote tourism tool, which allows virtual tourists to control the moves of a local Faroese in real-time and explore the country’s wild landscapes like a computer game. Or the Getty Museum, which challenged art enthusiasts to recreate their favourite paintings with household items, leading to thousands of social media entries and impressions from across the world. 

When it comes to sound, brands can improve audience memory-capacity by harnessing the power of scientifically proven audio techniques, such as isochronic tones, or they can organise concerts and create their own musical offerings to spark memories. Brands like Chanel, Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen, for instance, have been hosting musical performances and creating Spotify playlists alongside their online creative output. 

Smell, taste and touch currently require a physical product and a dollop of innovative thinking. KFC’s scented fire logs evoked a sense of novelty nostalgia, but also pumped its biggest draw – the smell of fried chicken – directly into living rooms. Robert Mondavi wines are hosting virtual educational tastings during the pandemic. Miller Lite transformed a beer can into a game controller. Gimmicky, sure, but creative brands that go the extra mile will reap the rewards down the line. 


Getting creative with online tech

The beauty of technology is its power to surprise, delight and dazzle. Every new upgrade and enhanced feature is a one-way ticket to a new and exciting experience. Be it physically walking through the world of your favourite film in Secret Cinema or dressing up as your favourite character at home with Secret Sofa, Rebel & Soul harness the awesome power of tech in its physical and digital neuroexperiences to stir the senses and create long-lasting memories

Read our latest whitepaper, The Definitive Guide to creating the Most Memorable Experiences.


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