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How do you convince 50 million people to do something?


Even the most cutting edge, world changing technologies don’t enjoy success without scrutiny. The founder of augmented reality platform Blippar explains how he overcame the odds.

The year is 2054. And the technology Hollywood reserved exclusively for Tom Cruise to evade government organizations is actually far closer than you think. Don’t get the wrong idea though, Blippar probably wouldn’t help if you were being sought after by the authorities.

Yet despite its lack of crime fighting ability, its efforts of bridging the physical and digital world through augmented reality is groundbreaking.

Despite its initial business challenge, Blippar created quite the stir when it first hit digital stores in 2011. The app was originally intended to be another avenue for marketers to peddle products.

It works by taking advantage of your camera, overlaying the physical, real, non-digital space (or that area outside your smartphones screen) with information on products.

Blippar founder Ambarish Mitra however recognized that it could be much more than that.

Re-launched in 2015, Blippar’s business challenge has been to change the way we search for things and interact with the world around us.

You would have thought that for an app downloaded 50 million times, and with an audience spanning 150 countries, that its runaway success would have come about organically as a result of the product.

However, as Mitra explains, his business challenge wasn’t all plain sailing.

“Though the whole app side of the economy was booming, people were very skeptical.”

And in an industry where the life and death of an app can be as short as 4 months, Mitra had some convincing to do.

“We need to make them realize that the power is in your hands, your product is your media. Billions of them are in circulation and they are much more powerful than the newspapers and TV ads combined.”

“Depth is a lot more important than reach. If you have an audience of 100 million people, brands get really excited. I always tell them, how many people are really interacting with your brands though? This set of unique thinking, took time to see. And we explained the concept of depth of engagement, and then brands began to see this. The data supported it too.”