A Cool Way to Market Your Business Using Augmented Reality Apps


What’s augmented reality? A good example is the yellow “first down” lines seen on TV during American football broadcasts – the field of play is augmented by a digital image of the line that must be crossed for the offense to get a first down. Imagine if you could augment the reality of your prospective customers to see a map to your business. You can actually, very easily and not that expensively!

Augmented Reality is a live or indirect view of the physical real-world over which are overlaid computer generated images or information. Beginning with their April edition, Calvin Klein Underwear will run augmented reality ads in GQ. Other applications integrate with YouTube or Flickr and users’ geo-tagged media is overlaid to see what different places look like at different points in time. Augmented Reality is about to be assimilated into our lives.

You can start out by developing an AR app or you can use apps already out there and add information about your business, event or product for free. Three apps that you can add to are available at Layer.com, wikitude.me and at TagWhat.com What you have to do differs with each app but essentially you have to add a tag containing your information, media – whether pictures or video – and a geographical coordinate. Wikitude uses Google Maps as a tag provider for a quick and easy solution. Once you’ve tagged your location with your information, spread the work to prospective consumers digitally by web or in your marketing media so that they can discover something cool about your business by looking for it or taking a look at it through an AR browser.

Another cool way to engage prospective consumers is to use AR for fun – successful marketing strategies commonly involve “fun” and “entertaining” aspects to engage prospects through interactivity, and by so doing energize sharing and extension of a business’ message, such as through contests, quizzes and games. AR can be used in this fashion such as by:

– Taking an AR picture with a local celebrity. Activating the app would open the mobile phone’s camera, superimpose the celebrity’s picture and your prospect could stand next to him or her. It could be “Picture The Celebtiry” at home, at lunch etc. The picture can then be sent to friends, submitted for entry to a contest or to a social networking site such as Facebook. A prize can be a lunch with the celebrity.

– “Meet, Greet and Discover” – Use the AR app as a Locator / MeetUp generator. Let your prospect discover what is happening around your business. Have news / updates fed in.

– “Proud to be?” – Place objects in virtual space. Choose from iconic images related to your business. Send a message to prospects mentioning that you just placed an iconic image somewhere. Whenever someone is in the neighborhood they can discover your message by turning on their phone. A game element is possible – as for instance, he/she who places the most objects wins a prize.

All such AR examples can be integrated with social media networks. Of course such technology would also be invaluable in showing your prospects where to go and buy from you, better than a map and more effective where calls to actions/information could be placed in a mobile user’s virtual space.