With virtual reality games and entertainment to the latest VR capabilities for the enterprise, there is no question that this tech will become more embedded in our daily lives
From a marketing perspective, virtual reality will help brands offer a broad range of experiences that fully immerse consumers and influencers alike.
Marketing professionals will use virtual reality to develop stories that transcend the limits of time and geography.
Travel companies will duplicate the sensation of sunbathing on the beach; enterprise technology companies will simulate business scenarios where IT directors can live the benefits of a new tool; mobile phone companies will reach unprecedented numbers of people with immersive demos of new releases – and all these experiences will happen without the user having to leave their home or office.
Virtual reality is set to have its first billion-dollar year in 2016 and is on track to become worth $80bn by 2025. At this exponential rate of growth, the future of marketing will certainly become more dependent on virtual reality. Every marketer will need to understand how to effectively utilise VR to remain relevant in the next decade.
Whist it’s still early days for the VR tech itself, it’s never too early for marketers to begin using it to elevate a campaign into a fully integrated, immersive and comprehensive experience.
With this in mind, how can marketers integrate VR technology within their campaigns today?
Virtual reality can simulate the experience of a live demo, creating a quick and painless process. The technology available now can offer both potential customers and media influencers alike a first-hand look at new products and services without ever having to send a physical product sample.
For example, Volvo introduced Volvo Reality, a full virtual reality test drive users can access through an app. The app allows users to drive scenic routes whilst becoming familiar with the Volvo XC90 car.
An insider’s view
Consumers can have the live-event experience of a concert, sports match (from the best seats in the house, of course) or production process of a popular product without leaving the comfort of their homes.
Virtual reality simulations enable users to drop in and out of events at their convenience whilst enabling brands to increase overall attendance without maxing out physical venue capacity.
From an educational perspective, users can get the inside scoop on how their favourite product is produced.
Patrón nails the educational experience with their 360 virtual reality experience of tequila production at the Hacienda Patrón tequila distillery, all through the perspective of a bee.
Authentic in-store experiences
For retail brands that are either wholly e-commerce or lacking physical stores in target markets, virtual reality has become the missing link in building brand loyalty and delighting consumers.
Don’t launch a VR project only for the sake of doing one. A badly planned VR project is worse than not doing one at all
eBay took the VR experience around Australia with its virtual reality department store, which enables users to browse products whilst getting real-time recommendations based on preferences.
Soon, VR users will be able to test and try on products as if they were in a physical store. And by integrating big data insights, the virtual store can also be personalised to each consumer so that only products or services interesting to the individual will be shown on the virtual shop floor.
360 view of public figures
Public figures will be closer to their audience than ever before. In the past decade, users have become more ingrained in public figures’ private lives through social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.
Through these tools, users have access to behind-the-scenes moments taken by their favourite celebrity, politician or business leader. Virtual reality will take this a step further – you will be able to live a day in the life of public figures through their point of view or have the experience of being in the same room with them.
These experiences will create more empathy and support with fans.
Michelle Obama recently gave a 360 interview on her experiences with social media, which was designed to be viewed on the Google Cardboard VR or the YouTube app on a mobile device. The video not only gives the experience of being in the room with her, but also features infographics that lists out specific milestones and accomplishments.
Getting your brand VR ready
While the full potential of virtual reality is yet to come, it’s never too early for your brand to begin experimenting. This doesn’t mean you need to blow a huge budget for a fully-immersive and personalised experience with state-of-the-art special effects.
Small app builds and videos using Google Cardboard are a good place to begin testing and tweaking experiences for your target audiences. Additionally, getting your list of potential partners is key – each will have their own strengths, weaknesses and various budgets.
Depending on the type of experience you want to invest in, you may need to employ the help of one or several experienced VR partners.
And finally, don’t launch a VR project only for the sake of doing one. A badly planned VR project is worse than not doing one at all. Think about what you want the viewer to take away from the experience and how they will be delighted by the experience.
If done with care and consideration, VR can become one of the most valuable tools for engaging with your audience
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.