How Augmented Reality Transcends Physical Spaces and Expands Brands Globally

How Augmented Reality Transcends Physical Spaces and Expands Brands Globally

In today’s digital age, technological advancements are continuously reshaping how we engage with the world around us. Easily accessible through smartphone apps, Augmented Reality (AR), meaning the immediate superimposition of virtual information onto real-life environments, is at the forefront of a boundary-pushing transformation. To be more exact, AR not only pushes boundaries—it has the potential to completely obliterate them. In this blog post, we will explore how AR is transcending physical spaces and empowering brands to connect with audiences globally through artistic innovation.

The boundless potential of AR has led to an immense amount of attention and investments from Big Tech companies, and the AR market is estimated to surpass 97 billion US dollars by 2028. However, it is not just companies like Apple and Microsoft that are benefiting from AR. Fashion, makeup, art, and design industries have also been embracing this advanced technology in recent years. AR has become synonymous with successful creative branding and futuristic marketing strategies, and customers are similarly enjoying the fruits of AR innovation. According to NielsenIQ’s global survey, more than 60% of customers prefer shopping at retailers equipped with AR technology. As the Harvard Business Review summarizes it, the global attraction of AR lies in its seamless interweaving of the three Es: Entertainment, Education, and Evaluation. Customers are entertained by AR’s immersive capabilities, educated by AR’s easy-to-access visualization of information, and empowered to evaluate their own purchases through virtual product trials and demonstrations.

Overall, this technology can be particularly useful for brands that want a global audience, as it allows them to showcase their products to customers in different parts of the world without the need for physical travel. Establishing transnational or trans-industry partnerships has never been easier. One major example of this occurred in 2021 when Verizon collaborated with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to create an AR-powered exhibit called “The Met Unframed.” This partnership brought the museum’s artworks to life in AR, providing users worldwide with a collective immersive experience, irrespective of their physical location. The collaboration expanded both brands’ reach and accessibility.

Utilizing AR for gallery work or art installations also allows viewers to access higher levels of detail that they would not be able to see in person. Artists and designers can use virtual AR tools to convey messages, evoke emotions, or provide more contextual information that can enhance the viewer’s understanding of and appreciation work, whilst also seamlessly incorporating cross-media or multi-sensory elements to further captivate their attention. Even without access to physical galleries or pop-up spaces, individual artists and creatives can also work on their own brands by using AR apps or filters at a low-cost. AR technology helpfully eliminates the need for expensive or wasteful materials and allows unlimited digital experimentation before developing the final product. The vast user bases of apps such as Instagram and the viral nature of their AR filters has made gaining global visibility, engaging with consumers on a personal level, and fostering brand loyalty, become both fun and convenient. Contemporary creatives can also consider using AR to create AR-powered merchandise, art tutorials, scavenger hunts, social media challenges.

AR can also be used to create location-based experiences that are tailored to specific regions or cultures. For example, a brand could create an AR experience that highlights the art, history, and culture of a particular city or region, allowing customers to learn more about the area while also promoting the brand. AR location-based experiences can also be based on completely fictional landscapes or otherworldly dimensions. The only limit is one’s imagination. For example, Meitao Qu’s “Dreaming of Red Mansions” (2022) combines AR filters and audio-visual elements to create a virtual art game that vividly reimagines the spaces mentioned in the classic 18th century Chinese novel “Dream of the Red Chamber.” Sarah Ejionye’s “Afrogenesis” (2022) is similarly based on literature, and offers an insight into the various ways AR can be used to discuss the power of speculative fiction for global diasporic communities. Regarding her decision to switch over to AR from traditional methods, Ejionye notes that: “one experience I’d always lacked with photography was a sense of involvement with the audience. With AR, the viewer is essentially experiencing the artwork rather than just looking at it.”

Building strong visual imagery as a artist or brand is crucial as it helps attract a loyal audience, credibility, and recognition. AR helps achieve this through its enablement of various creative and virtual marketing strategies that easily overcome the limitations of the physical realm. As a result, AR can easily be considered its own art form due to its transformative and creative potential in incorporating virtual elements to bring products to life. As a form of marketing, AR is often intrinsically artistic because it leverages creativity, emotional engagement, storytelling, and experiential elements to create a deeper connection between brands and consumers, making the marketing experience itself a work of art. Viewers can actively participate and become part of the product/artwork, blurring the lines between observer and participant. Through the augmentation of physical spaces, objects, or artworks—artists, designers, and technicians can add layers of meaning, symbolism, and context, turning ordinary scenes or static images into extraordinary masterpieces.

In sum, AR is rapidly turning the world into an open canvas. The future of global brand expansion thus lies in the hands of those who harness the transformative power of AR and leverage its boundless potential to captivate audiences by transporting them to wherever they want to go or whatever they want to see.