Augmented reality (AR) is a tool for marketers to engage potential customers in new and exciting ways. AR is not a replacement for print, brochures or social media. In fact, it integrates with these, adding value to the traditional formats.

Let’s look at examples of AR and how it can be a valuable new tool in the marketer’s arsenal.

What is augmented reality?

AR uses digital images and sound to expand on our everyday reality. The 2016 Pokémon Go game fad is the most famous case of AR. Looking through their phones, players saw virtual creatures inhabiting real-world places like supermarkets. The goal was to catch them while trying not to bump into irate shoppers.

But augmented reality can be much simpler. It is an embedded code on a T-shirt tag or wine label that links to a video. A more sophisticated use of AR is to add layers of visual, aural or textual information over traditional marketing material.

Looking at a postcard or tourism brochure through a smartphone can reveal hidden elements – a car speeding along the postcard’s highway, or images of exotic places rising like holograms from the brochure.

Why companies use AR

Foremost for marketers is that AR is a relatively new technology that gives an organisation’s brand an innovative edge. It also allows people to interact with the product before they buy – for example seeing how virtual sunglasses suit your face without going into the store.

It’s also a lead generation tool, since lead generation is about bringing potential customers into the sales workflow by showing off the product. Embedding product information into tags, brochures and labels with AR makes it fun, especially if the information is in a format that feeds into the brand. A hyper-cool fashion label might convey ‘washing and care’ information as an ironic meme, for instance.

So the answer is, ‘Yes, AR will help your marketing!’ But only if it suits the brand and engages customers better than traditional campaigns. If you’d like to know how to include AR in your organisation’s marketing, contact us to discuss the best approach.