In Leeds, England, DS.Emotion, a creative agency that specializes in destination marketing, is using drones to help create innovative branding campaigns for clients.
Drones have gone mainstream and what used to be relegated to military engagement has found its way into just about every market sector from agriculture, search and rescue, recreation and advertising to broadcast, terrain mapping, media and utility monitoring just for starters.
The Consumer Electronics Association predicts the global market for consumer unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will reach $130 million in 2015, an increase of 50 percent from 2014. And, if you include services, the drone market could exceed $1 billion by 2020.
The creative industry has changed. Technology has become an essential tool to help them bring a brand to life but also how the consumer is used to seeing and interacting with big brands.
In 2013, IKEA was one of the first companies to use augmented reality (AR) with consumers. The Swedish furniture brand linked together their printed catalog with a mobile app and a smartphone or tablet to let the customer preview what a piece of furniture would look like in a room.
From Hyundai’s suspended car on a wall campaign, to Absolut’s Absolut Truths which showed customers how vodka is made using AR, the market for AR reached $350 million in 2014 according to ABI Research.
Destination marketing is a $2 billion industry. It’s relevant to every city or destination that wants to attract people. And what better way to give the consumer a view of a city or property than from the sky.
“We find that the footage achieved through the use of drones enables us to present how a place is connected, interacts and functions,” said Angus Armitage, director and co-owner, DS.Emotion. “Historically this had to been done by maps or static aerial photography, but these don’t communicate the essence of place, the architecture, the open spaces, street scenes and the populous of urban environments or the beauty, the contours and the movement of rural environments,”
In addition to using AR, DS.Emotion is working with IronBird, a aerial cinematography company specializing in drone filming, to connect with audiences who are often remote from the places and opportunities they are promoting.
“Being able to get inside a place with a combination of degrees of low level and high level filming, was previously not possible,” Armitage told Forbes. ”The quality and style of filming we can achieve through the use of drones is more akin to big budget movies not comparatively modest place marketing budgets.”
The actual intricacies of drone technology are fundamentally about versatility and maneuverability. But for a creative agency, that means accessability to a type of style and quality of cinematography that was only previously available to the movie industry.
“With strong placemaking principles behind a campaign, the use of drone footage enables us to visualize the values and essence of a place we have identified and prove the integrity of these messages that we could not do before,” added Armitage.
Armitage says drone technology is a revelation for the company and their clients.
“More recently we are marketing UK residential investment opportunities to specifically China and UAE based investors, often when the physical product doesn’t event exist yet,” said Armitage. “So what we have to sell them is the environment within which is sits and the anticipated performance of the investment, and we can do that with drones.”
According to David Shefler, vice president of business development at Amimon, an Israeli-based HD wireless tech company that’s figured out a way to get wireless HD in drones, this changes the game for aerial cinematography service companies.
“The professional broadcast and aerial cinematography companies need wireless HD to provide the same quality for all their clients,” said Shefler. “We have companies using Connex, our wireless HD module, in drones for inspection of oil and gas rigs, power lines and wind power blades as broadcast companies that want to bring coverage in HD from a unique vantage point.”
But Armitage puts it best when he says that through the use of drones you are able to bring a destination alive at a human level, meaning a place can be understood and people can connect with it – even if they are on the other side of the world.