Virtually Anything Is Possible: The Rise of Virtual Atoms
Haven't heard of them? They're the next big thing in Marketing, and here's how they're going to revolutionise the way you connect with your customers.
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Our inspiration for 2020: the great white shark. That’s not because we’re vicious or have a taste for seal. It’s also not because we now have an office in their natural habitat on the tip of Africa. It’s one of the shark species that must keep moving for oxygenated water to flow through their gills. Likewise, moving forward is our current mantra, and just like the rest of the world, we’ve had to focus more on virtual tools this year. While we’ve certainly missed the physical side of doing business, it has fast-tracked digital adoption across the board, but here’s the thing: we think it’s just the tip of the digital iceberg. There has been one secret weapon that has helped us to keep water flowing through our gills: creative technology. It has empowered us to keep creating extraordinary connections and experiences for consumers and clients in both B2B and B2C guises, despite Covid complications. But this is not the ‘new normal’ for us – for over a decade now we’ve utilised switched-on innovative tech strategies and cutting-edge tools to design immersive brand experiences.
Thanks to our talented team of in-house techies, coders and developers, we’ve developed all the most potent next-gen technologies for our digital toolbox, and have been first-to-market with most of them. Here are just some of our recent projects: bespoke virtual reality racing games, 3D digital scanning, giant iTabs, interactive photo booths and projection walls, drone races, gesture-controlled trampoline games, and we’ve even created custom worlds in Minecraft for our clients. Not only have these tech tools cut through physical and traditional limitations and channel clutter, but they’ve also allowed us to collect rich, personalised consumer data. Given we have a rich pedigree in creative tech, we’re a safe pair of hands when it comes to turning a tech campaign around fast, and we’re also very adept at getting the most bang for your buck.
So, what's the Next Big Thing? We’re rapidly evolving a new massive area of opportunity: Virtual Atoms. If you haven’t heard this term before, it’s a ground-breaking new platform that allows the distribution of infinite digital tokens virtually. These smart digital assets integrate AR, geolocation, Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, 5G connectivity, and gamification into one unique little pixel product. They offer value in the real world, but can’t be replicated or pirated, and they enable brands to virtually engage millions of potential customers on a one-to-one basis, and without any direct contact. And the best part: they’re incredibly flexible, at a moment’s notice you can change the token to be anything you want it to be.
Virtual Atoms can be designed in almost any way, as moving CGI or static digital elements, and can be programmed to do just about anything you want. Customers can collect them in the virtual world by ‘grabbing’ them in camera or map view, kind of like you see with Pokemon Go. They’re stored in the user’s digital inventory, but they can be sent, shared, or redeemed for real-life rewards. You can assign them any value, from pennies through to a million pounds, or exclusive access to events or experiences. The only limit here? Your imagination.
Here’s what we’ve learnt from these versatile little digital treasures, and specific case studies that show how you can unlock value for your business. From revolutionising sampling and couponing at events, through to driving reach, recommendation or recruitment via friend-get-friend techniques; the diversity of Virtual Atoms will provide plenty of digital and real-world benefit to your marketing plan. Here are just six of the ways you can use them.
1. revolutionise product sampling, coupons, discounts and vouchers.
In the past, many brands would broadcast content to customers rather than focusing on interacting with them. Virtual Atoms offer real value as part of the marketing engagement, as they create interaction by allowing audiences to engage, collect and share. They blend the virtual world with real-world locations. For one of our clients, we placed virtual samples for customers to collect for real-life rewards. These can be featured on TV, social media channels, through texts or emails, and even displayed on bus adverts, packaging, POS, and posters. But it doesn’t end there – Virtual Atoms can create the perfect redemption system too. Here’s what we recently did for CUB across Australia.
2. upgrade loyalty programmes with a bespoke digital currency.
We’ve created a ground-breaking new digital platform and unique currency called Temenos Cubes using Virtual Atoms for Temenos, the world’s leading banking software company, which will be launching in a few days at the Sibos virtual conference for the global financial community. Not only will this be a powerful way to reward high-value customers, but it will also upgrade their lead generation and raise awareness in the markets that matter in a multi-channel, multi-disciplinary way.
3. USE HYPER-TARGETING TO CONNECT WITH THE RIGHT CUSTOMER IN REAL-TIME.
If marketing is truly about getting the right message in front of the right person at the right time, then we’ve found the perfect tool. With Virtual Atoms you can drop virtual coupons anywhere, right down to individual house and street level, and at any time. For example, as part of a Covid treatment concept, we plan to target Covid hotspots with virtual testing kits. Customers can collect and activate these virtual coupons to have the test kits sent to them at the click of a button. This shows how you can tailor your approach to specific areas and respond to people and conditions in real time.
4. IMPROVE YOUR TEAM'S HEALTH AND WELLBEING.
We used Virtual Atoms to create Connectiv, a customised employee wellness platform where people are rewarded for doing physical and mental tasks in the real world (collecting Virtual Atoms along the way). These points are then translated into real-world benefits like gym memberships and fitness tools. Not only does this promote better physical and mental health for employees, but also helps create better awareness and engagement, and drives teambuilding opportunities. These tokens can be customised to work for any employee goals.
5. ADD VALUE TO INFORMATION.
You can create a single, global transferable information currency on a Virtual Atom platform, and it can work in a channel-agnostic way. Then it can be used by employees, customers, stakeholders and partners, and you can decide on the goals and rewards. For example, if your customers earn enough points, they get a free consultation or access to an exclusive white paper. It can turn information into tangible value.
6. CREATE A BRANDED TREASURE HUNT.
By using the geolocation benefits of Virtual Atoms, you can create virtual drops and waypoints across cities, office blocks, or event locations, and then reward your customer’s sense of adventure and play on their FOMO. The possibilities are endless, but the results are almost guaranteed: you get a digital scavenger hunt with a high ROI.
To sum up all this digital sorcery: you can use Virtual Atoms to create both live and virtual experiences where you can engage directly with your consumers, and that’s irrespective of where they’re based or the audience size. Our experience means we know the angles needed to ensure Virtual Atoms cost much less than you’d expect. Companies this year have to be bold and try new things to help keep their brand moving forward – just like a great white.
With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.