Paper Matters Blog
Augmented Reality in Print–Top Four Things to Consider When Beginning a Project

Augmented Reality (AR) is certainly a hot topic, and it’s easy to see why—this technology seamlessly blends a variety of different communication methods in a single, user-friendly omni-channel experience. From the Ikea catalog which allows customers an opportunity to virtually test a sofa, to Print Media Centr’s 3D peacock that introduces the audience to Project Peacock participants,  to Domtar’s very own Magazine utilizing an AR app to give readers a better connection to the interviewees featured; AR has already been used by many creatives and marketers to elevate the user experience.

Still, the idea of AR can be intimidating if you’ve never utilized the technology before. Here are my top four things to consider when diving into your first project:

  1. Your Audience – As with any campaign, you need to begin with an understanding of your audience. Are they busy Generation X CEOs that want to get straight to the point, or are they members of Generation Z that need something flashy to capture a short attention span? Defining the demographics of your target audience will help you narrow down what sort of AR technology is right for your project.

Another factor to consider is where your target audience is in the customer journey. Is your target researching the options (you’d want to focus on building awareness) or are they ready to make a purchase (talk more about the features and benefits of your product and working with your company). Although customer journey mapping is normally spoke about in the context of digital marketing, the benefits certainly carry over into the omni-channel area as well.

  1. Your Goals– Define your goals. Of course, as marketers and creatives, we all want to promote something but what are the additional goals of your client and/or company? Is it brand awareness, building brand loyalty or applying content marketing to be a resource to your customer? This is another area where creating a customer journey map will help in defining what sort of AR approach is right for you.
  2. Your Resources– Budget is probably every creative’s and marketer’s least favorite topic, but setting a budget prior to beginning an AR project is absolutely necessary due to the vast array of options. We are all wowed by Ikea’s use of AR, but the type of custom programming can easily set you back by about $50,000, or more. If a large budget isn’t accessible, think about if custom program is really necessary to meet your goals and resonate with your audience. If all your audience needs is a seamless omni-channel approach, there are many AR apps that are easy to use and affordable.If you work for a large company or institution, don’t forget to look into your internal human resources. There may be someone in the design department that knows how to edit video, for example. Perhaps a designer or web developer would love the opportunity to learn a new skill, but the need hasn’t come up yet to justify the time spent. You never know until you ask. Also, is there an in-plant printing facility at your company or organization? Many of these forward-thinking departments are adding AR and other communication vehicles to their service offering to better serve their customers.
  3. Your Print (and Paper)– In most cases, print is the vehicle that triggers the AR experience and captures your audience’s attention. Establish the messaging and generate the need. Don’t focus so much on the AR component that the print part becomes an after-thought—your target audience may end up never utilizing it.

If you’ve experimented with AR and print to create an omni-channel campaign, I’d love to hear from you. What are the things you keep in mind with beginning an AR project? Any words of wisdom you’d like to share with AR newbies?

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