Creative Works Brand Strategy Guide

The PR of AR: how to market augmented reality solutions

By David Mather, Head of marketing

Zappar

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The Drum Network article

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January 27, 2023 | 6 min read

Dave Mather of Zappar explains how to market augmented reality (AR) campaigns, and how to give them life beyond the launch.

AR experience on smartphone

If you build it, they probably won't come: marketing AR demands proof of experiential value / Image courtesy of Zappar

Immersive technologies, and more specifically augmented reality (AR), are here to stay. When done correctly, AR can be one of the most captivating and immersive ways to market your brand and business, but not all campaigns achieve this. Why? Well, it was never promoted well enough from the start.

Mature technology means brands and agencies can no longer solely rely on the magic of the medium to drive word of mouth or generate traction. Here's how to make sure your AR campaign doesn’t fall into this trap and miss the mark completely.

Prioritize PR from the start

Create a marketing plan right from the very beginning, right after the project brief has been written. This will ensure that channel planning, messaging, comms and PR can be built in tandem with your AR experience. This is vital for a technology like AR where there’s additional education to be done with your audience.

Nuances like how the experience will perform on different devices or in different locations, and how to interact with it, need communicating correctly.

These are all things that need to be thought about when you’re communicating the value of your AR solution to users, journalists, partners, sales teams etc. A strong and unified set of timelines, channels, assets and comms will ensure that your intended audience will understand and engage with your AR campaign.

Then it’s about getting media involved before launch so they can have a glimpse before anyone else (under embargo, of course). Having a demo version of the AR experience journalists can try out for themselves is key to piquing interest and getting them to engage with AR content (just make sure you provide a QR or deep link of the experience so you can cater for both desktop and mobile readers).

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Great assets make the difference

Seeing is believing with AR. So, as part of your marketing plan, make sure you’ve got great visual assets when it’s time to launch. Typically, this means having a well-shot video of the experience made from a combination of over-the-shoulder style footage and screencaps to showcase the more intricate details of the user journey.

Likewise, gifs and shorter-form content are quick ways of highlighting specific moments within your AR for journalists and using them on social media when you need to capture attention within a tiny window (these should all be packaged up and made easily accessible on Dropbox or something similar for press and your wider teams to access).

You should also be using the video and/or gifs you’ve already created in your outreach alongside a killer headline and 3-5 bullet points on the experience. You can then follow up with a more in-depth press release if needed, but a short and scannable ‘download’ of the campaign is typically preferred by most journalists.

Segmentation is key

Generating PR from your AR solution is tough at the best of times, so give your campaign the best chance of getting covered by segmenting your outreach to target specific verticals and trades. A good PR agency should advise you on this, but if you’re doing it in-house, build this into your campaign planning.

If you’re an agency working with a client and you’re putting out a joint press release or media alert, ensure there’s no overlap between their targets and yours. Again, clear communication and strategy about PR from the start should solve this and make sure you’ve got all bases covered.

Leverage your internal team

An often-forgotten channel for extending the reach of your campaign is your own team and your partners – make sure you’re leveraging these folks to drive broader awareness. Before launch, brief your team and share screen recordings and breakdowns of the campaign so everyone’s aligned and excited about sharing the AR experience at launch.

The launch is just the start

Once the campaign period is over and you’ve generated as much awareness and traction from the initial launch as you can muster, don’t stop there. Create case study content, internal resources and submit the AR solution for speaker slots alongside clients and partners to talk through the execution and how the results were achieved.

Awards can also be another form of validation and awareness as well as a great catalyst for building client and partner relationships. When done right, they’re magic dust for championing AR more broadly and celebrating the creative and commercial objectives that the technology can afford you. Just make sure you’re selecting the right awards and that they mean something to you and your clients.

Creative Works Brand Strategy Guide

Content by The Drum Network member:

Zappar

Zappar is the world’s leading augmented reality platform and creative studio for mobile and web apps. Since 2011, Zappar’s mission has been to democratise AR...

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