Augmented reality: telling it like it is in technical marketing, b2b communications, and internet advertising

Imagine you have an advanced, innovative automotive product designed to save drivers money while protecting their engines. Imagine this product cleans and rejuvenates several areas of the customer’s car engine – and imagine you need to explain how this all works in order to make a sale.

And while the big issue in technical marketing and some b2b communications, where potential customers will willingly view complex video presentations, or dry hard copy manuals on a product, if you’ve got something to say in the b2c marketplace, it needs to be engaging.

So, how do you engage b2c customers with the complex features and stand-out benefits of an innovative new technology? Firstly, you need to get their attention. They will be on the move, so they’re not going to accept an invitation to some kind of video premiere. Secondly, when you have their attention, you’re going to need to hold it long enough to get your message across.

This is where technology such as augmented reality (AR) can deliver high audience volumes and both excellent brand visibility and message retention.

And it’s simple. From a brand visibility standpoint, placing a client logo, wordmark or other brand asset on, say, a vehicle, poster, shop front or any other high visibility location, means you have an instant launch platform for your marketing campaign. All that needs to be done is to create the brand asset as a trigger image to launch the AR sequence.

That is to say, when your potential customer points their smartphone at the image using an AR app, the phone (or other smart device) will immediately find the relevant URL for the brand asset and launch the digital platform – be it a website, video presentation or game sequence.

The possibilities are numerous.

And if like the scenario we started with, where complex features need to be communicated to reveal a simple but compelling benefit, then the AR asset could launch, say, a fast-moving multimedia presentation, designed to deliver fast facts – and benefits.

And that’s exactly what we did with our latest AR campaign.

AR has been described as gimmicky. But that makes me wonder if those who say this have ever given enough thought to how best we can maximise engagement when targeting increasingly mobile audiences.

However, it now seems that major brands such as Audi and Ikea are sharing our thinking and starting to utilise this technology to very good effect.