Virtual reality is no longer science fiction stuff: it is here and it is gaining popularity fast.
Although virtual reality is not a new technology, its use is expected to grow over time, along with other digital technologies such as augmented reality. Virtual and augmented reality can boost global GDP by up to $1.5 trillion.
More and more brands in a variety of industries are adopting these technologies to train employees, test new or existing processes and develop new products.
In addition to improving efficiency and operations, companies see virtual reality as an invaluable marketing tool. Industries such as tourism and retail are using VR to showcase their products to consumers in a new and more engaging way. In addition, the entertainment industry is leveraging VR to deliver more immersive, interactive and informative experiences to its target audience.
Where does marketing fit into all of this? how can VR alter the way brands interact with their target market and open up opportunities for growth? and what does VR marketing have in store for influencers? Let’s take a quick skim over the topic.
VR applied to advertising
It can be used to connect with your audience and build better brand engagement. For example, instead of reading content on the screen, consumers can interact with a virtual character.
Collectively referred to as immersive media, along with augmented reality, virtual reality marketing offers remarkable opportunities for companies to promote their brands, drive sales and improve customer loyalty and retention.
Virtual reality creates a realistic and immersive simulation of an environment that plays on multiple senses, which users can access through VR headsets or applications. For example, VR is used to overlay a filter on a photo or video. Think Instagram and Snapchat filters. Meanwhile, VR glasses can ‘transport’ users into a 3D virtual environment, enhancing the simulation experience. The goggles respond to the user’s movements, allowing them to see the virtual environment well (360-degree view) and interact with the various digital elements of the simulation.
Virtual reality allows companies to reach and connect with potential customers beyond traditional media, such as television and magazine advertisements, and offers unlimited promotional opportunities.
As customer needs and expectations are constantly evolving, virtual reality technology, or the latest technologies in general, can help bridge the gap and allow brands to have the means to address their customers’ changing pain points.
Through virtual reality marketing, companies can create branded digital worlds in which to showcase their products or services. Brands can offer digital experiences instead of physical ones. This allows consumers to virtually experience a product or service, giving it a virtual tour in the comfort of their own homes. By creating a realistic digital environment, it allows consumers to interact with your brand, which can contribute to brand awareness and retention.
Using VR to tell your story
Traditional media, such as television and film, are excellent mediums for storytelling. However, VR goes one step further.
Companies can use VR to tell their brand story and market their solutions in a more engaging way. For example, the New York Times used VR to tell the story of how wars affect children in The Displaced, that you can find in YouTube.
Through this multimedia experience, users were able to gain an in-depth understanding of the devastation caused by wars and what it means to be a child displaced by life-changing events. The experience allowed NYT readers to see what is really happening, turning VR and documentary into powerful storytelling mediums that provide not only emotional intensity for readers, but also a connection to the brand.
In addition, you can use VR to create novel experiences that allow consumers to see your company from a new perspective. For example, you can use VR to take customers on a virtual tour by giving them an intimate and rare glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes. You can show them how you work or what happens during the product design or development process. This gives your brand and what you do a more human perspective, while building trust and transparency, which can build customer loyalty to your brand.
Traditional ads can quickly become boring. They don’t create memorable experiences and some ads, such as pop-ups, can look spammy and even scare away potential customers.
Volvo, for example, took advantage of virtual reality to showcase the Volvo XC90. Through the Volvo Reality app, users can test drive the model in virtual reality and see the car’s interior first-hand.
While not exactly virtual reality technology, Sony’s latest marketing effort with the Morbius 3D poster in Milan is a good example of how innovative technology can push the boundaries of advertising and reinvent consumer experiences.
While the full potential of VR in advertising has yet to be explored, brands can incorporate the technology to create better and more memorable experiences for their target audience.
At EUM, we are moving further and further into technological and forward-thinking territory.
Here is another post about the functions of Virtual Reality but this time, applied to tourism.