Augmented Reality – Full disruption ahead!

What means Augmented Reality (AR)? In which ways can it be implemented? And how does NIVEA intend to use this technology?

© Malte Klauck

Jasper Krog, Senior Global Digital Innovation Manager for NIVEA, provided answers to these questions during his presentation at the 8th Social Media Week Hamburg which took place from February 25th until March 1st. As in previous years, experts from media, marketing and technology shared their knowledge and commented on media trends and developments in digital. Due to the fact that in recent years an increasing number of skin care companies shifted their focus on Augmented Reality, this technology can by no means go unnoticed.

“Augmented Reality means to expand reality with digital elements,” explains Jasper Krog right in the beginning of his lecture, “and it will transform not only products but digital platforms and consumer experiences at every level.” Owing to the fact that AR can be used with smartphones or tablets with no additional accessories and gadgets required, forecasts predict a promising number of 1 billion users by the year 2020.

Looking through the camera lens of your mobile device you can simply scan a product or the surface in front of you and something appears. This can be for example a game where you can engage with your surroundings or you receive information about something in front of you – everything without blocking the reality around you in contrast to a VR glass where you are 100 % in a virtual world.

But why hasn’t it then been used by a greater extent yet? Why is AR still stuck in the starting holes?

Jasper Krog perceives a barrier in the lack of companies which are willing to commit to change and invest in new technologies that will not show short-term results but drive the business long-term. ”The top priority of Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook is to bring AR to the mainstream in the upcoming years,” emphasizes Jasper and elaborates further: ”After the early novelty phase of AR in 2018, we’ll start to see real utility of AR and daily use cases in the life of our consumers.” The scenarios to use the AR technology for marketing purposes will grow exponentially from the possibility of “trying out” new hairstyles, scanning the skin type up to a new and immersive way of storytelling. Not only does this enhance the customer experience but also enables companies in this branch to collect and analyze data in order to gain deep customer insights.

The main reason for NIVEA to use AR technology is to improve the consumer experience across all touchpoints. In this respect, it is essential to clarify what exactly has the greatest reach. Jasper answers this question during his speech at the Social Media Week Hamburg with: “Our NIVEA products.”

In order to implement Augmented Reality for NIVEA, Jasper Krog addresses three key areas: the brand experience, the product information and the product experience.

Firstly, “In terms of the brand experience, it is the new contemporary level for NIVEA to tell their stories and offer something beyond the norm to connect with the consumer,” explains Jasper.

AR can also expand product information and solve the problem of limited space on a packaging label. In this way, NIVEA can explain the product benefit or product application in more detail or even bring completely different topics, such as our sustainability strategy at Beiersdorf, closer to consumers in a new interactive way.

When it comes to the product experience, he states that NIVEA could open an new untapped own media channel, drive re-purchase and increase the engagement with our products in contrast to their current passive state where it is designed for the pre-purchase and destined for the bin.

“Innovation has always been a key driver for our business and with Augmented Reality we can position us as an industry leader if it comes to the way we engage with our consumers on an emotional and rational level,” says Jasper. He is completely aware of the challenge that it might not generate revenue or work out as planned right from the beginning on. However, Jasper believes in the urgent need to explore this field and collect experiences today - not tomorrow. So he finishes his presentation with the words: “New innovative consumer marketing technologies like AR will give us a headstart but creativity will make the difference. Combining both has been our greatest strength in the present and it must be in the future.”    

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