Marketing Technology » Visual Communication Combining marketing and technology to develop new markets and grow existing ones Tue, 11 Jan 2011 16:47:54 +0000 en hourly 1 Augmented reality: the next killer marketing technology Fri, 10 Jul 2009 14:10:05 +0000 admin Since becoming the proud owner of an iPhone 3GS I’ve annoyed family, friends and colleagues silly be flashing it around and telling them which direction North is. I’ve also been marveling at the ecosystem of third party applications available (which, apparently, would cost over $140,000 if you bought them all).

But the apps – as these programs are called – that currently exist only just scratch the surface of what is going to be possible now that the iPhone knows where it is and even which direction it is pointing.

Welcome to the world of augmented reality.

Whilst at the time of writing there are no true augmented reality applications available, there are a number in the pipeline – and their developers have not been slow to post videos showing what they can do online.

The first I came across is Nearest Tube, and app that will quite literally point you in the direction of the closest London Underground station when you hold up the iPhone. Watch the video below to see it in action.

Today I discover TwittARound (geddit), or at least a video of the first beta version. In the words of the developer, “it shows live tweets around your location on the horizon. Because of video see-through effect you see where the tweet comes from and how far it is away.” Again, seeing is believing:

So why I am suggesting that augmented reality is the next killer marketing technology? Quite simply because as these apps show, the physical and virtual worlds have just moved closer together as a result of devices like the iPhone 3GS and the ingenuity and creativity of application developers.

How long then before we have augmented reality apps that do things like:

  • Show messages left by others at the same location (in fact, there are map-based apps that already do this)
  • Display internet ratings or reviews (or alternatives) for products in shops
  • Call up news/opinion about a company when you pass by their premises
  • Provide interactivity to any outdoor ad by pointing the mobile device at it
  • Help you find the nearest outlet for a particular brand (in fact, ING Direct already did this on Google’s Android platform with their ATM Finder)

To paraphrase the ad, there’s bound to be an app for that soon.

I for one am going to be watching this space with interest over the coming months. If you have examples of companies using AR as part of their marketing or communications, please let me know.

Update: Just discovered that Apple has already filed a patent for something called ID App for identifying objects in the user’s surroundings. Mashable has more on this.

]]> 2
Maybe this is why… Wed, 20 Sep 2006 09:14:00 +0000 admin …it’s called the blogosphere.

(via Matthew Hurst)

]]> 0
More on Seth Godin’s bad ideas Wed, 16 Feb 2005 19:32:00 +0000 admin Seth Godin continues the debate on the bad idea that is pull-down lists of US states. Apparently everyone missed his point, which was “about how bad ideas stick around forever“. I would suggest that most of Seth’s correspondents (myself included) agreed with that statement – it was his example of “bad” that created the response.

But let’s get back to Seth’s original point of principle, which was a good one, and consider why – in the corporate environment – you don’t get in trouble for embracing (or perpetuating) the status quo. This surely is the key to solving all the bad ideas in the world, not debating whether or not they were bad ideas in the first place.

(As an aside, it is pretty standard on good UK sites that require address details to just ask for a postcode – our ZIP equivalent - and occasionally a house number. A quick hourglass later, and you are asked to confirm your address from a list. I had no idea we were so far ahead in terms of e-commerce usability.)

]]> 0
Bad ideas and alternative strategies Mon, 14 Feb 2005 21:02:00 +0000 admin Seth Godin berates the drop-down box as an example of how bad ideas stick around forever, because “in most organizations, you don’t get in trouble for embracing the status quo.”

That is undoubtedly true, but it also shows how people will find alternative strategies to get round the bad ideas. In this case, by typing the first letter of the selection you want in order to jump straight to it.

]]> 0
Exit only on Saturdays Fri, 10 Dec 2004 09:50:00 +0000 admin Travelling on the London Underground’s Piccadilly line (that’s the dark blue one) every day, there’s a piece of visual communication that has always amused me.

Covent Garden – as well as being one of London’s biggest tourist hotspots - has a tube station where you can “Exit only on Saturdays 1300 – 1700″ according to the map of the Piccadilly Line on the train.

Now this strikes me as a classic example of ‘ambiguous communication’ (Greek scholars: would ambigraphy work?). As someone with English as their native (and only) tongue, does this not infer that you can only get to street level at Covent Garden station on a Saturday afternoon? I cannot help but imagine all those fashion and media types alighting here and being forced to lead a subterranean life all week until someone on the national minimum wage finally sets them free (sense the irony there).

Of course what they really mean is that you cannot enter the station during those times, but why not say that then?

What really annoys me (and if I’m getting annoyed about something like this, then I ready do need to get out more) is that this has been stuck on the map, post facto. This means that LU had the opportunity to think about what to say, and they chose ambiguously. They probably even had a meeting (or worse, a brainstorm) that resulted in the decision to choose the less clear option. Then they gave another minimum wager the job of wandering through every single Piccadilly Line train carefully sticking this little nugget of public information in the space between Holborn and Leicester Square.

So, when you next travel the ‘dark blue’, get out your biro, cross out ‘Exit only’ and replace it with ‘No entrance’. Or better still, if you know somone who works for London Underground, tell them to change it next time around.

If anyone would like to join my quest for ambigraphy, please post your best examples in the comments. (Or maybe companies now need a Chief Ambigraphy Officer, to go with their Chief Blogging Officers and Chief Growth Officers)

]]> 2