A Google Glass world: the augmented brand experience
Imagine a world in which everyone wears Google Glass, a headset that display information about the wearer’s surroundings and allows them to communicate with other people, browse the web, listen to music and take photos.
In this world, the ‘online’ and the ‘offline’ no longer exist as two distinct and separate entities. Instead they co-exist in a mutually exclusive manner, where actions and thoughts are intertwined with, enhanced by, and influenced by technology.
You can interact with the products, adverts and services around you. You can gain information anytime, anywhere, about anything. You can act on your thoughts, in-the-moment.
Not only is information in abundance, but your surroundings and actions are inherently social as they can be shared without even the touch of a button. You can walk around with a musical soundtrack to your life, talking to people who seem to pop into your consciousness; respond to them – wherever they are – just by talking aloud.
The Google Glass world appears to present myriad of new and exciting opportunities for brands to tap into, interact with, and influence consumers, rather than relying on their adverts making enough impact to be remembered and acted upon at a later time.
But these opportunities are not new. All Google Glass offers is a more enhanced and seamless version of the augmented reality we are already living in.
Following on from the arguments of Nathan Jurgenson, I don’t believe the ‘online’ and ‘offline’ world have ever been distinct or separate. Since its inception, the internet has provided information at the touch of a button, informing and influencing our thoughts and behaviours. And our reality is becoming more and more augmented with each new pc/laptop/mobile phone/tablet release – even without products like Google Glass.
The crux of Jurgenson’s argument, in his blog post published back in February last year, is that ‘digital dualism’, in which the digital world is viewed as ‘virtual’ and the physical world as ‘real’, is a fallacy. Instead, he argues that “the digital and physical are increasingly meshed”, in an augmented reality “that implodes atoms and bits rather than holding them conceptually separate”; where ‘online’ and ‘offline’ interactions are not separate but dialectically co-construct each other.
It is true that the ‘online’ and ‘offline’ channels provide different opportunities and different means of brand engagement, but a consumer’s experience through these channels co-exists to form an overall impression that influences perceptions and actions.
Augmented reality may be easier to understand in a world where we are all wearing Google Glass. But brands must realise that consumers’ experiences are already augmented, and that there is no such thing as an ‘online’ or ‘offline’ brand experience.