Augmented reality in PR – todays storytelling & media contact

Credits: Pixabay / Mimzy

The term Augmented Reality (in the following abbreviated as AR) describes a computer-assisted extension of reality by certain elements or information. It’s not about creating a new virtual world that can only be experienced with certain glasses, for example, but rather complements reality in a clever way. A well-known example of this was the Pokémon Go trend. Players can search, find and collect certain Pokémon  items in their surrounding via app. The characters and elements are not real, but virtual and only visible through the app.

A second, very well-known example are the life-size animals, displayed by Google Search. Anyone who owns a smartphone can view the 3D animals virtually in life size via Google Search. The only condition: Google is set to the region USA and the language English. If you are looking for a penguin, a scalable, animated model of the animal will be displayed next to the images in the info box. You can view this model in 3D, so that the penguin can be placed life-size in your room by using AR technology. Wow! Who hasn’t always wanted to have a penguin as a guest in their living room?

But AR doesn’t only provide fun and enjoyment in your free time, it’s also very interesting on a professional level. We will show you, how it can also enrich the marketing and PR branch in a meaningful way and what is possible with AR regarding storytelling, branding and media contact!

Use Cases of AR-concepts (selection)

Whether from the beauty, fashion, technology, lifestyle, interior or tourism sector – AR can be used by and for (almost) every product or offer. The eyewear retailer Mister Spex, for example, uses the extended reality in its online shop: the glasses can be “tried on” online before the customer orders them to avoid mispurchases. In 2018, Adidas enabled digital try-on of the then new model Ultraboost 19 running via snapchat filter. In collaboration with Modiface, beauty company L’Oreal developed its own app in which new make-up trends and hairstyles can be tried out virtually to find out what you like before you buy anything. Modiface had previously worked for Estée Lauder and Sephora, but was then taken over by L’Oreal, so the AR specialists work in-house now. The cosmetics label definitely recognized the potential of AR quickly and seized the opportunity. The furniture empire IKEA also launched a free app called “IKEA Place” in 2017, where you can virtually place pieces of furniture within your own house – so to speak, we ourselves become interior stylists. This selection of successful AR examples already shows the extremely versatile application possibilities. When it comes to application, it should be essential that the technology itself is not the main focus, but rather the customer’s experience with the product or the range of products.

AR approaches in PR

Especially in live relations AR solutions are convincing and stay in the mind of the target group. Whether it is a product launch or an event: AR brings products and brands to life, creates a special experience and lasting memories, for example through photos with specific filters and backgrounds, which are staged especially for the the product or event and react interactively. Likewise, the product itself can be visualized live by AR technology and individually staged by the target group or media partners. A story is no longer told, but created together with the target group! Storytelling becomes storydoing and listeners become actors! In addition to filters, QR codes or special apps are also used in marketing. In the tourism industry, press trips could be enriched with interesting information and elements that can be visually accessed at any time and any place via QR codes, apps or even AR glasses. In this way, media partners get to know the destination in a playful and individual way, for example in form of a rally – based on the Pokemón Go search.

The social media also offer a variety of possible applications for AR. The most obvious example would again be a photo filter for Instagram or Snapchat, tailored to specific topics, products or brands. This filter could be used for influencer cooperations and generate emotions and attention from their followers.

But AR does not only help to address the target group emotionally. Especially for brands and products with a need for explanation or, for example, technical background, AR concepts are very helpful and a rewarding opportunity to demonstrate or let media partners experience them in a creative way.  QR codes could be integrated into a press releases. When the product in question is called up, the AR technology is used to visualise it so it can be applied and staged by the journalist. This is particularly interesting for a product launch, whereby the virtual product can already be made available to editors before the official launch. Ultimately, however, the interaction is also interesting for the readers of the media, so that journalism was and is also revolutionized by AR. Several German media, such as Die Welt, have already used AR solutions in the past. The article came to life while reading it on the smartphone, so that infographics suddenly appeared in 3D.

We summarize: The extension of reality and digital interaction arouse emotions, provide fun and have a lasting memory value. This effect makes AR extremely interesting in PR, marketing and journalism. We are also inspired by the unlimited possibilities of AR solutions…Be curious, we have some ideas in the petto!

This post is also available in: German