Immersive Media and Branding: How Being a Brand Will Change and Expand in the Age of True Immersion

Immersive Media and Branding: How Being a Brand Will Change and Expand in the Age of True Immersion

Linda Ricci (Decahedralist Consulting, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2433-6.ch019
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This chapter explores the impact immersive technologies—augmented reality and virtual reality—will have on consumer branding and business in the near- and longer-term future. Weaving multiple use cases and examples throughout, the author discusses the next phase of experiential marketing: how immersive branding will develop as spatial computing becomes more mainstream, and how brands can start thinking about how they can leverage the technology. The author examines the rise of virtual influencers, how they will affect social media marketing—and how artificial intelligence will ultimately enable true one-to-one interaction with customers through virtual avatars. Finally, the author discusses risks, rules, and recommendations for how to successfully proceed as a brand curious about how to best harness the technologies.
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What Is Immersive Branding

There is no definitive definition of the term Immersive Branding. Generally speaking, it is used in reference to a brand experience that’s translated into a variety of mediums, working together to create a metaphorical 360° experience of the brand thus creating a holistic brand experience.

With the arrival of VR/AR/MR on the scene, that definition takes on new dimensions as literally, a person can be completely surrounded by the brand. For purposes of this chapter, “immersive” refers to branding on an experiential level where the user is experiencing “brand” via an enhanced or upgraded combination of sense-stimuli, data and technology. Just as humans can be “embodied” in VR, brand can be “embodied” through sight, sound, experience, and eventually touch.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Virtual Influencers: Are virtual beings being used to engage audiences on behalf of brands and companies and movements. Much like human celebrities have historically been contracted to champion various efforts, they are being used in social media, advertising and PR campaigns to be effective salespeople, brand endorsers, and spokespeople.

Immersive Branding: Is the next evolution in branding: the newest addition to traditional customer touch points, retail experiences, and mobile phones. AR/VR/MR—ultimately fueled by artificial intelligence and virtual beings with “brand personality”—is turning branding into and actual verb, giving consumers the opportunity to directly engage brands, and redefine the brand experience.

Spatial Computing: Is the blend of technologies that use the space around humans as a medium, blurring the lines between physical and digital worlds. Either digital augmentation is superimposed over the physical world, or a virtual one that completely immerses the viewer in an alternate version of one is possible. These technologies “see” the physical world, map to it, understand and interpret it, and/or create alternate realities for us to experience.

Virtual Beings: Are representations of humans that live in digital spaces but cross over into the physical world through interaction on social media, advertising, and others. Unlike computer generated or animated characters, Virtual Beings are so detailed as to appear indistinguishable from humans. Advances in artificial intelligence are fueling the development of “smart” virtual beings, providing the opportunity to interact and co-experience in a highly naturalistic way.

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