There's no doubt that the time for immersive experiences have come, but XR remains difficult to communicate to people who haven't experienced it before. Marketing is one of the biggest challenges facing the growth of the immersive sector, with many people still associating VR & AR with futuristic tech. If XR is to capture mass audiences from different corners of the cultural landscape, then a reimagined promotional language is needed.
Immersive Promotion Design Ltd. is a new breed of marketing consultancy designed for this challenge, supporting VR, AR & MR creatives, studios and businesses to better communicate with their audiences about the magic of immersive content. We provide: Audience Insight & On-boarding; Strategy & Concept Development; Production of Promotional Assets.
Our audience insight, strategy development and asset production work is all based on research-informed and audience-tested principles, developed through the Narrative & Emerging Technology Lab, our in-house research arm at Bath Spa University. Thanks to grants from Bristol+Bath Creative R+D, StoryFutures Academy and the South West Creative Technology Network, we have worked on cutting-edge XR marketing campaigns from which we formed new promotional strategies, bibles, toolkits and course materials for how immersive experiences can be better marketed to today's audiences. Based at The Studio, Bath Spa University's brand-new enterprise & innovation hub for creative technology, we are a collective of immersive thought-leaders and experience designers, bringing together sector-development research and R&D alongside leading industry expertise from Limina Immersive, storycentral, PastPorte, Raucous and beyond. Members of our collective co-led the BBC VR Hub's Virtual Reality Libraries Pop-Up Tour, Limina Immersive's industry-leading VR Theatre, the international VR+Kids track at the Children's Media Conference, are industry and research experts for BBC Today, The Guardian, The Economist and Wired, and have produced and consulted on immersive experiences for film, TV, theatre and museums. We are made up of Marketeers, Creative Producers, Academics, Brand & Story Strategists, Creative Technologists and Theatre Makers.
Since 2020 we have partnered with The National Gallery, XR studios like Anagram, Studio McGuire and Story Juice, as well as major cultural hubs like the Watershed in Bristol, in order to create research-led and audience-tested marketing campaigns for live XR projects. We genuinely believe that successfully broadening the audience for immersive experiences beyond the gaming market and early adoptors means establishing a much more dynamic yet accessible promotional language for XR based on its value in the eyes of audiences. Indeed, emphasising not the newness of the technology but rather the transformation of an audience's state of mind, our research-led and audience-tested approach to marketing XR experiences has proven to boost interest amongst those completely new to immersive technologies by anything between 40% and 78% (Freeman et al, 2020).
Part of our funded research into XR marketing includes the Immersive Promotion Bible, a report funded by StoryFutures Academy and aimed VR & AR creatives that presents a complete road-map for to better communicate the magic of immersive experiences to those that haven't experienced them before. This includes: how to identify and engage immersive audience, how to communicate immersion, player/use roles and expectations, how to guide audiences into an immersive state, and how to design post-experience mementos that aim to keep audiences feeling immersive for longer.
The success of Immersive Promotion Design, and its clear potential to become the go-to consultancy for how to promote XR experiences to new audiences, has meant that it has attracted further funding and institutional support. The company will be Bath Spa University's first ever University Spin-Off Businesses, meaning that it operate in formal collaboration with the university, thus granting the company full access to internal administrative support, technical needs, software and equipment, office space, and so on. What's more, in 2021 we also secured additional follow-on funding from Bristol+Bath Creative R+D, which will be used to develop a new strand of R&D that develops new approaches to finding and engaging audiences through immersive technologies. Altogether, then, the company has attracted competitive funding from two of the AHRC's Creative Industry Cluster Programmes - StoryFutures and Bristol+Bath Creative R+D - which demonstrates the importance of broadening the audience for immersive media.
Finally, with regards to business plans, the company operates an innovative University-led R&D model, whereby all of our commercial practices are underpinned by funded research and audience-testing, with part of our income from the company's commercial work used to fund new research in the area of XR marketing. This ensures that our approach to developing a new promotional language for XR is cutting-edge and fully shaped by research.