Use Augmented Reality to Make Your Holiday Card Stand Out From the Crowd
You were put in charge of your company’s holiday card earlier this fall — plenty of time before the end of the year, right? It should have been, but we all know that the fall months fly by, and it’s easy to leave holiday communications to the last minute and settle for standard greeting cards or holiday fruit baskets. My challenge to my fellow marketers: Make this year different by thinking about your holiday card strategy now, instead of waiting until the last minute — and by bringing your card to life with augmented reality.
I used the word strategy for a reason. When done right, your holiday card can be a valuable communication that earns you repeat business and referrals. To achieve this, end-of-year corporate communications should accomplish three main goals:
- Make a memorable deposit in your relationships by letting your customers know you're thinking of them
- Remind your customers why they love you by emphasizing the best parts of your brand, like your innovative spirit or your sense of humor
- Invite your customers to continue the conversation
Augmented reality does all that and adds a touch of magic to your communications by adding additional digital layers to your print cards that can be accessed using a mobile device. To see what I mean, take a look at this playful talking robot featured in International Paper’s 2017 holiday card.
This card was a continuation of a successful campaign that featured other robots, so International Paper’s customers were familiar with the character. In this communication, however, there was no call to action or pitch about their paper products. The robot simply wanted to say happy holidays, from the whole International Paper family.
Beyond delivering a heartfelt holiday message, augmented reality is the perfect technology for engaging your customers in holiday-themed games. Case in point: these Canon Solutions America cards that allow the recipient to build their own gingerbread house scene or get in a snowball fight.
The customers could then share snapshots from the app with friends and family or on social media, effectively turning the card into a vehicle for spreading holiday cheer.
At Trekk, we’ve used augmented reality in our own holiday communications. Last year, we created an AR app that allowed clients to decorate and share personalized holiday trees.
Augmented reality is swiftly gaining adoption among mobile device users, but the technology is still new and exciting to most, meaning you can still use fairly simple AR applications to create true wow factor. And because AR is an inherently interactive technology, it has the ability to usher your customers from your direct mail holiday card into a digital channel — your app, for example — making it easier to continue the conversation on mobile in the new year.
Sure, a traditional greeting card will accomplish the most important thing you’ve been tasked with: it will let your customers know you’re thinking of them. But an AR-enabled communication will enable you to say so much more, through video storytelling, games, 3D models, and social engagement. This year, send an unforgettable holiday message and delight your customers with AR.
Sarah Mannone is the Executive Vice President of Trekk, a tech-driven creative services agency. She works with Trekk clients to develop strategic marketing plans and craft measurable programs that that span print, web, social, and mobile. As part of the Trekk management team, Sarah is involved in the decisions and strategy around adopting new technologies and applications to meet the current and future needs of Trekk clients. Sarah is a member of the Forbes Agency Council and a frequent speaker at marketing industry events.