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How Augmented Reality can be used in PR in ways you never thought possible

By Darby Underwood

Augmented Reality: not science fiction, just a smart tool for public relations

When we watch movies, we must frequently suspend disbelief. It's the only way we can accept that a man could develop insect-like qualities from a spider bite and that genetic mutants are living among us.

Business is almost the exact opposite. Customers want to see exactly what they are purchasing in real time without having to buy and open the package. They want to learn about a product or service and connect with it in a way that enhances their lives. Augmented reality may be able to do just that.

What is Augmented Reality?

Did you see it? In a recent campaign, Pepsi transformed an ordinary bus shelter in London into an interactive marvel using augmented reality. For the advertisement, a wall was transformed into a fake window, displaying video of UFOs and even a tiger on the loose. No one was frightened by it, but everyone is talking. Simply put, Augmented Reality is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.

The Use of Augmented Reality in Public Relations

Most likely, you are already connected to customers via Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Augmented reality allows you to engage these contacts at the next level.

In addition to keeping in touch with customers through these various news media and social media outlets, you can now also give them something exclusive, such as admission to special events and access to media opportunities, just by scanning a code with a smart device.

These codes can be placed almost anywhere, such as a print magazine cover which will lead to a special offer or on a product that will take the user to the company website. Overall, augmented reality is a great tool for public relations because it offers an inexpensive way to enhance content and increase the value of branding initiatives.

Augmented reality can be especially useful for public relations campaigns. It has become a popular way to leave breadcrumbs in strategic places, leading to a launch announcement or new product launch.

This creative instrument serves to add an extra layer of interest for clients and potential customers. With augmented reality, customers can learn more about a product and service in a way that is attractive, fun and innovative, instead of the preachy talking heads so common in traditional advertising. It is a way to keep them wondering what you will do next and coming back for more. For business executives, public relations and marketing professionals, augmented reality can be the tool we have always wanted.

Definition of Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is reality, only better. As your brain interprets the world around you, augmented reality is a way to enhance the information your eyes are already viewing. With the advent of more and more advanced technology, our usage and reliance on augmented reality is bound to increase.

For business, augmented reality is generated with applications (apps), where the customer uses any type of hand held computer, such as a tablet, to capture an object on the screen. This image then allows them to open additional content or information provided by a particular company.

Everyday Uses of Augmented Reality

When shopping for an article of clothing online, you find what you are looking for, in blue. With a simple click, you can instantly see what the item would look like in red and even brown. Congratulations. You just used augmented reality.

Augmented reality is all around us, even when you don't realize it. Anyone who watches sporting events on television is already accustomed to augmented reality. It is used to show the movement of the hockey puck, the finish line in a race and the yellow line marking the yardage needed for a first down in football.

If you checked the weather this morning, you also experienced augmented reality. It is used when showing the movement of a weather front so they can tell you exactly when it will rain and how soon the sun will reappear right in your neighborhood.

All this is still just the tip of the iceberg. Let Axia Public Relations show you even more ways to use augmented reality to your benefit. We can help you strike the perfect balance between information and entertainment, handle promotion and make the best use of this technology.

Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations. She has more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.

photo credit: Guru Sno Studios via photopin cc

Topics: public relations

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