Send your lover a virtual kiss, wander the simulated streets of New York or browse a museum in Florence on your mobile phone -welcome to the world of experiential marketing where technology replicates emotion and experience.
British heritage brand Burberry are pioneers of the genre becoming as renown for digital innovation as they are for trench coats. A partnership with Google has resulted in another digital first for the design house. The Burberry Kisses campaign uses clever touch recognition technology to seal cyber love letters with the users very own smooch.
“We’re constantly thinking about how we translate the emotion of what we create in the real world,” said Christopher Bailey, Chief Creative Officer, Burberry. “Whether that’s capturing the energy and excitement of a live gig, the buzz of before a runway show, or just the feeling you get when you pull on your trench coat on a rainy morning.”
It’s this human element that’s resonating with fans. Accessed via Google’s web browser Chrome, the consumer puckers up to their touchscreen or web cam and an image of their lips is stored on the site. They can slick on a coat of virtual lipstick, personalise a missive and then Burberry will dispatch the letter to anyone, anywhere on the planet. The free service provides an sensory experience rather than driving sales. “It began with the idea of giving technology a bit of heart and soul. Telling a story makes the digital personal,” said Bailey.
The ability to offer customers experience-based engagement has been revolutionised by technology. “In fashion retail we’re seeing brands immersing the customer into a simulated reality, ” said Nerida Jenkins, Director, Retail Oasis. “It’s a strategy that sits next to traditional advertising building strong label love and in turn, loyalty.”
Luxury brands understand the potential of digital engagement better than any other fashion retail segment. The market has experienced meaningful growth in the youth category as the traditional 45plus customer matures. Mobiles will overtake personal computers as the primary device for commercial transactions in under five years. “Mobile marketing is critical,” said Ms Jenkins. “It’s the one device guaranteed to engage companies with their customer in multiple ways.”
Italian footwear label Salvatore Ferragamo is trialing QR code, a matrix barcode readable by mobile phones and smart devices, in its visual merchandising. Swipe your handset over a Ferragamo store window in New York and you’ll be directed to a micro site that allows you to wander through the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence.
Louis Vuitton’s trailblazing Amble App was designed around the emotions associated with travel. The technology allows users to record their travel memories in audio, text and video format. The design house have added digital travel guides to their portfolio letting the user explore cities with film stars and authors as their virtual tour guides.
American designer Donna Karan is aiming for fragrance sales via Facebook. A Scent Finder Application takes consumers through a quiz, which determines the right type of perfume for their personality. “Earned media has superior cut through to bought media,” said Jenkins, who believes this style of digital marketing is gaining momentum. “Technology is all-pervasive in the consumers life which means it needs to be all pervasive in the way retailers speak to their customers.”