Connectivity: 2 ways to build business
Today we explore two trends in the digital universe that businesses should be considering: these are huge opportunities to improve engagement with their customers and extend their reach.
The first is “prosumersim” (see below), and the second is merging the digital and real-world experiences.
Trend #1: “PROSUMERISM”
Have you heard of the “prosumer”? Thanks to technology and social media platforms, we are not just consuming content, we are now producers. While many of us may be satisfied to be spectators, increasingly people are the authors and stars of their own adventures as they create blogs and vlogs – and through their participation in social media channels such as Instagram and Twitter.
According the MGM whitepaper The Truth About Entertainment (March 2018):
37% of Americans think of themselves as entertainers. (p. 35)
46% of Americans create their own entertainment content. (p. 35)
40% of Chinese think of themselves as entertainers. (p. 41)
66% of Chinese create their own content. (p. 41)
I was truly stunned by the number of respondents who identified themselves as “entertainers” and content creators. While not all of these individuals have large followings, the high number of people identifying as entertainers and content creators is an opportunity that must not be ignored. These individuals are influencers. Even “creators” with a small range of influence can have a big impact at a local level, whether positive or negative.
Earlier this month, there was a news story about a Hell’s Angels group in Manitoba that took revenge on a restaurant by posting one-star reviews. And it worked: the restaurant’s rating dropping by more than a star overnight. There is power that can be channeled by cultivating an engaged and activist group of prosumers.
Smart businesses need to find ways to attract and engage “influencers”, as they can become evangelists for your business. Make it easy for customers to share your story and give them reasons to share.
And don’t forget size doesn’t always matter. A local person with 1,000 dedicated followers might have a more immediate and actionable influence on your business than an international personality with a million followers.
Trend #2: Merging Digital & Live
“The most exciting future scenario is one in which live and digital don’t really compete, but rather one where the two coexist drawing from and enhancing their unique advantages.”
- The Truth About Entertainment, page 36
Six months after establishing our company, Play the Field™, I read the following quote by Mark Frissora, President & CEO of Caesars Entertainment, that anticipated this finding.
“Caesars will pursue a gaming development roadmap that creates new products, greater customer engagement and more interactive experiences. Special emphasis will be placed on mobile connectivity and apps...”
Enter augmented reality (AR), which creates a new layer of experience on the space you are already inhabiting. With AR, live and digital coexist. Unlike virtual reality (VR) which isolates users, AR allows users to interact in new ways with their environment – and one another. Whether through gamification, loyalty or even “edutainment” AR can be used as a powerful engagement tool.
Lavo at the Palazzo, Level Up at MGM Grand, Encore Players Lounge at the Wynn Encore, and The Zone at Casino de Montréal, are all bricks and mortar casino operators’ attempts at highlighting the social aspects of gaming for a greater customer experience. The addition of to AR through a gamified digital mobile experience creates yet another, more personalized level of engagement, throughout the casino and resort.
As we have noted in previous blog posts – see “Find Collect and Win: AR & CX” and “ARX: Next 10 Years" – the potential for AR is far beyond the primarily novelty applications we see now (think of SnapChat’s ubiquitous filters). AR can and will be used to generate tangible business results in a variety of business sectors.
Our product, Play the Field™, is a mobile game and engagement platform that includes AR and will be tested in casinos next month. The test will demonstrate how augmented reality gamification can move players to specific locations in a destination where they will complete an action that can be measured.
I believe the union of IRL (in real life) experience with digital activity provides a powerful opportunity to cater to a market segment of one: a fully personalized value proposition based on customers’ interests and preferences delivered to their smart phone.
What’s more, these experiences can be social, as well as individual. Games and other experiences that allow users to share their achievements demonstrate how AR has potential as means of creating content for the prosumer. While this may seem to the untrained eye an inaccessible balance, with the use of new technologies the possibilities are without limit.
At Play the Field™, our current interests are focused on the casino gaming sector; but we see opportunities for museums, shopping malls, amusement parks, conventions, and more to harness the power of AR to engage with customers and make a lasting impression. Beyond entertainment, loyalty and engagement, way-finding, edutainment, and safety are all business needs that can be addressed through this technology.
I couldn't say it any better than Mike Proulx expressed in his article “Augmented Reality: The Hottest Thing Marketers Don’t Want” Media Agency Daily (September 2017):
“[Marketers]…. should plan to spend more on augmented reality initiatives because it will have a business-driving impact on both their digital and CX strategies—two things that we know are top priorities for them. It just requires designing AR for utility rather than entertainment.”