SMP : An interview with Myles Peyton, UK Sales Director at Total Immersion

Total Immersion tells SMP about Augmented Reality (AR), bring 3D concepts and ideas to life in real-time

Social Media Portal (SMP): What is your full job title and role at Total Immersion?

Myles Peyton (MP): Myles Peyton, UK Sales Director

SMP: What made you start Total Immersion?

MP: I didn’t start the business. The company’s patented technology was developed in France by Total Immersion’s founder Bruno Uzzan.  The idea was to develop augmented reality technology for the advertising market – an area which he thought had huge potential. It took a while for computer technology to advance enough for companiPhotograph of Myles Peyton, UK Sales Directores to consider using augmented reality, so it was a struggle for him in the beginning, but in recent years Total Immersion has grown massively with clients including Intel, Microsoft, BMW and Sony.

SMP: Briefly, tell us about augmented reality (AR) and what impact it is having upon marketing?

MP: A huge impact! Now is the time that businesses truly require innovative value added technology.  All businesses are being targeted to drive change and use new strategic tools to do this.  We know that when it comes to building brand awareness and brand relationships that touching the product is key.  The emotional bond between the end customer and the product is critical in the purchasing decision process.  Many studies have been researched on this process, in summary:

  • “Simply touching the product for a few seconds created an attachment that led people to pay more for the item” James Wolf, ScienceDaily (Jan. 12, 2009)
  • “People become personally attached to the product within the first 30 seconds of contact” James Wolf, ScienceDaily (Jan. 12, 2009)
  • “70% of brand purchase decisions are made within the store” POPAI’s Consumer Buying Habits Study in 1995
  • “13% of shoppers leave a store without buying a product they had planned to purchase when entering” OgilvyAction’s study
  • “One in 10 shoppers will also switch brands inside the store” Kristina Couzyn, Ogilvy shopper marketing director

Shoppers always make their ultimate decision in the store. So the potential for in-store stimuli to influence that ultimate decision is always there. Peter Breen…”  Managing Director, Content, In-Store Marketing Institute

Total Immersion’s augmented reality solutions align with this philosophy, as we enable the end customer to touch the product and engage them in a fun, captivating experience that delivers a true ‘Wow’ factor!  By delivering this experience to the end customer, it will extend the time that they actually hold the product.  And we know that the longer they hold the product, the more likely they are to purchase it.  So from a sales standpoint this delivers true added value and will definitely be used to increase sales.

If you can imagine walking in a store and you are undecided in your choice between two products, let’s say some sort of toy.  One of the products allows you to pick it up, view the toy, fully assembled on top of the box, giving you real-time movies of the product and reviews, compared to just another brand sitting next to it…which would you buy?

SMP: What was the most challenging part of building the service?

MP: There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to support all of the interest in Total Immersion and its augmented reality technology. The challenge is to distinguish between the companies who are just fact finding and the ones which are genuinely serious about the new technology and incorporating it into a new brand experience.

SMP: Who are your target audience and why?

MP: Everyone – we don’t have a specific audience.  As this technology can be used as a platform to communicate for B2B or B2C, it can be applied in all verticals from medical, POS/retail, promotions, theme parks, gaming, engineering, training, advertising, marketing, etc.  The list is endless!  Whilst the market potential is fantastic, it is easy to become distracted and day dream about all of the uses for augmented reality.  Total Immersion must remain focused on applications that add significant value and not just the novelty factor.  We find that this technology is enabling more traditional business models  to bridge over to the digital world.  A prime example of this is the work we did for TOPPS in the USA, where each baseball card had its own game playing experience.

SMP: What are the low moments of what you have been doing so far?

MP: Being honest, the huge workload and interest in our solutions means that I work a lot to support my clients needs.  My family try to be very understanding about this.

SMP: What are the high moments of what you have been doing so far?

MP: The delivery of fantastic work to the marketplace like the Star Trek and Transformers movie launch campaigns, which are being very well received.  We have many more exciting projects in the pipeline that truly drive significant added value, either from a sales standpoint or process improvement standpoint.

SMP: Now that you are becoming established (a new UK presence), what do you see as your biggest challenges and opportunities?

MP: Putting in place a structure that can meet the high demand for this technology.  We have done this and have mechanisms in place to ensure we can deliver the highest quality work in the right time frame and at the right cost.

SMP: What’s going to be the most interesting aspect regarding social media / technology throughout 2009 (and why)?

MP: We are delivering a lot of projects for the internet, as this is the best return on your investment in terms of Opportunity to See (OTS).  The only issue with PCs and Macs is that they are not as portable as mobile phones.  We see mobility platforms as the future of augmented reality technology.  Mobility will be the passports to all AR experiences, so if on the train, waiting for a bus, in the supermarket, clothes shopping, at the cinema, in a restaurant, etc, the experiences can be accessed easily based on your local environment, through mobility.

SMP: Are there parallels between AR and social media; is it the next big thing (if so, why)?

MP: Social media is critical in raising the visibility of these AR experiences.  Our technology has a big wow factor and naturally people want to be the first to try out these new experiences and tell their friends about them.

SMP: What are the top five things that make an AR campaign successful?

MP responds with:

  • Creating an easy to access and robust experience
  • Using an innovative application of AR to create a huge wow factor
  • Having an interface to social networking so the experience can be shared easily
  • Using unique value added AR applications which can drive sales/advertising/repeat purchase/impulse purchases, etc
  • Creating an all round, high quality experience

SMP: What impact is the global recession having and what do you think the best way is to manage it for businesses such as yours?

MP: Companies are more careful with their budgets; therefore, it is even more important to underline and quantify the true added value of AR.  To manage this we document all projects, their success and their value to the client.  This helps us to up-sell additional projects.  In addition, we are working with some huge clients who have immediate needs.  As we are a small business we are very agile and can turn projects around extremely quickly.  For Total Immersion, it is not a case of ‘the big that eat the small’, but ‘the fast that eat the slow’.  This is where Total Immersion is making huge progress in terms of growing its business globally.

SMP: What are the next moves for Total Immersion?

MP: In the UK, the plan is to keep doubling turnover over the next few years, with the aim of becoming a public company over the next five years.

SMP: Best way to contact you?

On the mobile.

Source

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