The past few years have brought about unprecedented amounts of change in the way brands engage with their customers.  And along with this, consumer expectations are high with little patience for slow responses or misinformation. What they do have increasing interest in, however, are messages and experiences coming from emerging touchpoints. These represent innovative ways for brands and people to connect.

Messenger Apps are a great way to have a conversation. According to Headliner Labs, people are 3.5 times more likely to open a Messenger message than an email. Initiated by chatbots, much can be automated, saving the more complicated needs for human agents. You can facilitate triggered reminders, send newsletters, acknowledge steps in the transactional process, and present engaging content and stories that will help educate and entertain customers and prospects. Unlike email, Messenger apps are inherently optimized so there’s less worry about how things will render on mobile devices. Another benefit is that the conversation can be on-going. As Adweek reported, early data indicates that conversations “persist for an average of six hours and 28 minutes, but as long as 3.5 days; they involve an average of 14.3 messages exchanged between the user and company”.  What that’s telling us is that it gives you lots of opportunity to nurture the decision-making and problem-solving process.

2017 seemed to be the year of the Virtual Assistant. With multiple iterations of Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and others in market, these assistants have worked their way into our homes and become a part of our lives. The open source platform is ripe for new skills and there are creative ways that your brand can take full advantage of this. American Express saw an opportunity to tap into voice and became the first financial services group to break into voice. The Amex skill for Amazon Alexa allows card members to make a payment, learn about new offers, and check account balances. Thinking beyond, imagine Alexa informing customers about promotions, or reminding you to replenish your stock in an item.

Augmented Reality is the new frontier for marketers, presenting great opportunities for brands. While the growth of head mounted displays is expected to grow 69% between 2018 to 2023, mobile augmented reality will share 54% of the market by 2023, providing a bridge that’s easier to implement yet still robust.

Ikea uses augmented reality to enable customers to preview how furniture looks in their space before they make a purchase. And brands such as 19 Crimes Wine use augmented reality to engage customers with rich story content. In hospitality, hoteliers are investing in virtual reality to provide tours of their properties. Some retailers have leveraged mobile-enabled virtual reality (360) to immerse customers in brand story telling. British retailer Topshop received a lot of attention for a virtual reality campaign whereby participants experienced sliding down a London Street on an inflatable device. The field for creativity is wide open with both augmented and virtual reality experiences. Tell a story. Bring a product to life. Immerse users and allow them to explore more. It increases shareability, and is more engaging than a one-dimensional ad.

Now’s your chance to jump in and create meaningful experiences, in new ways. You’ll drive more engagement with the customers you have and draw more attention and customer acquisition for your brand.  


Jim Specht
Chief Experience Officer