“Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but the stories you tell.” – by Seth Godin
Virtual reality (VR) is no longer a hard-to-obtain and difficult-to-use technology that only techies can get their hands on. As we speak, it’s in the process of becoming something all brands can access and have fun with. There’s no question the marketing world is on the cusp of something huge. VR is impressive, functional, and absolutely irresistible.
WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO USE VR?
The appeal and benefit of VR for marketers lies in its depth of connection. Lying at the more extreme end of the alternate reality scale, VR essentially runs using game-engine technology to transport viewers somewhere else entirely, whether that’s a made-up world or a real-life place. Crucially, it allows viewers to make decisions to change the environment in which they are immersed. This makes it distinct from 360-degree video, which cannot be manipulated, and augmented reality where viewers see the real world overlaid with different degrees of information and interactivity.
With new smartphone technology, things are very personalised. Users practically consider their devices extensions of themselves. Giving customers the freedom to experience things on their personal devices only ties them in closer to you, increasing the chance that they remain loyal to your brand. Virtual reality takes this even further as it makes them part of the story.
CAPTURES ALL THE SENSES
Everything we experience in life can be reduced to electrical activity stimulating our brains as our sensory organs deliver information about the external world. This interpretation is what we consider to be "reality." In this sense, the brain is reality. Everything you see, hear, feel, taste and smell is an interpretation of what's outside, and created entirely inside your head. We tend to believe that this interpretation matches very closely to the external world. Nothing could be further from the truth. Virtual reality as a medium platform captures several senses at the same time.
When people use virtual reality they are in a way cut away from the real world. They don't see the notifications on their smartphones. They don't hear other people talking in the background. There's no background sound to take away attention. Virtual reality keeps viewers complete focused on the message that's being delivered to them.
DELIVER AN EXPERIENCE WORLDWIDE
Existing experiential marketing campaigns were usually tied to a specific location. To show how it it would be to play basketball with an NBA player Nike would usually have to organize an event at a public location that would only be available to people present at the location. Today, with the help of virtual reality, you can train with LeBron James from the comfort of your home.
With virtual reality buyers will be able to interact with a brand or a company from the comfort of their home. If they want to visit a car show room, all they will have to do is put on their VR headset and experience what the yet-unreleased sedan will look like, inside and out. They’ll be able to spin it around, look at the engine block floating in space in front of them, see on-road demos of the safety features and more. There are other examples in development for using virtual reality for experiential marketing campaigns. They’ll be amazing.