When it comes to delivering a digital customer experience there are thousands of things that a brand can invest in. Over the last few years many companies have jumped into digital and mobile a bit too quickly and have spent a huge amount of time and money on digital experiences that have a very limited lifespan, or simply don’t work at all. One technology, augmented reality, has simultaneously caught the imagination of brand marketers and been the source of many failed digital projects.

Delivered through smart phone applications, augmented reality has been touted as a way to interact with customers by overlaying the viewer’s real environment with digital messages and applications through the phone’s camera. Swept up in the excitement of new technology, many marketers have invested in augmented reality projects in an isolated, point-solution fashion.

So when a company thinks about the digital customer experience from end-to-end and then finds a genuine reason to use augmented reality it becomes a case study that stands out from the pack. Ikea’s 2014 catalogue is one such example.

It’s not easy for a company to make their printed catalogue a memorable experience, and at first glance, this years’s Ikea catalogue appears to be nothing out of the ordinary – pages of products and ideas. But if you view it with the Ikea app it comes alive, and by doing so Ikea has transformed the traditional catalogue into an engaging experience for their consumers. To see how it works check out the following video:

So what lessons can you take from this for your business? There are three.

Create integrated media experiences
The rapid adoption of smart phones has forever changed the way that your customers consume media . The fact that the majority of your customers have this new technology within arm’s reach at all times is a great opportunity to create an integrated experience. Use it to make your printed material come to life and engage your audience. If you see every brand touchpoint as an opportunity to engage digitally, everything you do will become interactive.

Customers value utility
The way that customers perceive value is changing. Consumer data is valuable and your customers know it. To manage this evolving world today’s marketers need to think beyond the traditional customer value propositions of offers and discounts. Digital experiences give you the opportunity to create utility, create an experience that is genuinely useful. Think carefully about any investment in developing mobile apps .You may get people downloading your app if its gimmicky, but ensure it has utility and your customers will keep it on their phones.

Look for opportunities to surprise and delight
If you can help your customers see your brand in a new and exciting way then even the most mundane of marketing touch-points can take on a new life.

The great thing about weaving technology into the overall customer experience is that it gives you a whole new set of tools to draw from – and countless ways to creatively deliver a message.