Augmented Reality: attract, retain and engage with consumers through immersive experiences

By: Jenifer W

Years ago, marketers could differentiate their products with creative TV commercials. Now we have the ability to fast-forward through commercials or the tendency to turn our attention to smartphones or iPads during breaks. So how does the marketing industry deal with losing all those eyeballs they used to rely on? The obvious move was to the online world and now, turning to innovative and interactive technology to get people excited about their products.

How can we bridge the divide between traditional print and digital media? With Augmented Reality!

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality (AR) is the use of computer-generated images or data to modify the real world. It can add layers of digital information on top of items, enhancing the information we receive about the world around us. As Google describes it, you are using pictures rather than words to search the web.

By merging reality with computer generated graphics, you can offer brand interaction on a new level, whether via a webcam or a smartphone; at a desk or wandering the city. This technology is a great way of contributing to a consumer’s perception of your company by offering a deeper level of interaction and added value where everyday items can be brought to life and transformed into immersive branded experiences.

How can Augmented Reality apps be used for innovative campaigns?

Augmented reality is a great tool because it offers an inexpensive way to enhance content and increase the value of branding initiatives. It is a big opportunity to demonstrate that content and community can drive sales more than just traditional advertising campaigns.

A few ways AR can be used to engage your current, and potential, customers at the next level:

-Offer something exclusive: special offers, discounts, admission to special events, access to media opportunities, entry into a contest, etc. For example, Barack Obama’s team used an app that allowed supporters to scan a $5 bill to gain exclusive content during the presidential campaign.

-Provide customers with more information about a product in a fun way without taking up valuable advertising space. A great example of this usage is currently being employed by Cover Girl. Let’s say you are flipping through a magazine and see an ad for a new foundation. Using your smart device, you can scan the image to access application tips, find your perfect shade and watch how-to videos.

-Purchase something directly by scanning an image, rather than searching for a retailer. Concert promoters can take advantage of this by incorporating AR into tour posters. A fan sees one posted on a wall and can scan it to immediately buy tickets to the show, get directions and add an event reminder to their phone.

-Give teasers leading up to a product launch and post-release interactive opportunities to engage on a deeper level. It is a way to keep them wondering what you will do next and coming back for more. Big Picture Group has created many cutting-edge integrated campaigns, such as an alternate reality journey for Showtime’s “Homeland.”

-Create feel-good impressions about your brand without seeming pushy or salesy. Last month Pepsi Max and augmented reality provider Blippar, launched the “Now Is What You Make It” advertisement and interactive film. By scanning a Pepsi soda can or bottle, fans have the opportunity to hang out in a branded environment and can unlock content including behind the scenes footage, an interactive football game skills videos and download a song.

Games will always have mass appeal. McDonalds is taking advantage of this in order to get maximum value out of its sponsorship of the World Cup. The McDonalds Gol! app turns french fry boxes into virtual soccer fields where players bounce the ball off various real world objects to avoid increasingly difficult obstacles.

Like any PR strategy, AR should not be used merely because it is available. Just because something is bright new and shiny, doesn’t mean it’s right for every campaign.To be effective, an AR app needs to be simple to use and add value as a product or service itself and not just promote something else.

Are you currently employing Augmented Reality as part of your PR strategy? Are there any campaigns that have blown you away? As always we I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.



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