Every day we are being drawn into participating in the digital world – for information, support, reviews and entertainment. Whether it is facetime with friends, sharing social media, online games or subscribing to a newsfeed, we are connecting to people, to brands and to experiences.
These interactions are becoming second nature and brands increasingly want to offer their customers an immersive digital ‘brand experience’. But how do you start a digital conversation with your audience when your message is sitting on a shelf in a supermarket?
“A product is an object—a brand is a personality… Products are built in a factory, but a brand is built on relationships.” Idris Mootee
Innovations in interactive packaging are providing opportunities to create these relationships in unusual and engaging ways.
By holding their phone or tablet up to certain products, consumers can use the camera to overlay rich content on the on screen image. Logos can come alive, people can talk, recipes revealed and vouchers or games can be unlocked. The more consumers become familiar with the potential of this type of augmented reality, the more they will expect it.
This type of brand engagement surprises, entertains and provides a platform for brand advocacy through review and sharing via social media channels. It reinforces the notion that the brand itself is literally on the same wavelength as the consumer.
“Think about what people are doing on Facebook today. They’re keeping up with their friends and family, but they’re also building an image and identity for themselves, which in a sense is their brand. They’re connecting with the audience that they want to connect to.” Mark Zuckerberg
Near Field Communication and Radio Frequency Identification
Other technologies can be used in a similar way. Rather than requiring the user to point their device at a product NFC and RFID technologies allow content to be loaded directly on to a mobile device when it is within range. The consumer trusts the brand and permits the automatic communication in advance. These are already used in banking and travel cards and have also been suggested for business cards. This technology could present supermarkets with various touch points such as, facilitating special offers or suggesting purchases or as in this example, a DVD with a NFC chip can send the shopper to a movie trailer.
The wireless power of a device can also be harnessed to release content or enhancements in the packaging itself. By using electrical signals to release light or heat in the on-shelf product brands can be reinforced in ways that are entertaining and rewarding for the consumer. For example, Bombay Sapphire embraced photoluminescent technology which when lifted activates a live electrical light sequence on pack to live out its brand philosophy ‘Infused with Imagination’.
Innovation often begins as a gimmick and ends up being a standard part of everyday communications. The context and content of the brand message is paramount with these types of innovative technologies, and used effectively, will inform, engage and begin building relationships in the supermarket aisle even before the till beeps.