Virtual Reality Marketing
Virtual reality is finally in the market with key players like Facebook-owned Oculus Rift and Sony-owned PlayStation VR leading the charge. With virtual reality technology now available, virtual reality marketing is soon to follow. But, how will marketers use VR to their advantage?
Uses of Virtual Reality
Whether it be your website, brochure, or other marketing material, you may have noticed that images and video capture consumers mind better than text alone. That is because these visual mediums help people to better imagine what a product, service, or experience is really like.
Now, take that feeling and put it on steroids. Take, for example, a car company. You can view a car on a company’s website or even look at a video to see a more realistic view of the finishes and interior, but imagine if you could put on a headset, configure the car to your specifications, and take a virtual test drive? This is not just an idea. Lexus has already implanted a virtual reality campaign with this idea in mind
Social media campaigns are commonplace these days. Asking consumers to take picture/video and upload them for a chance to win a prize or experience happens all the time. This not only engages and rewards consumers who interact with a brand, it gives the brand exposure for the duration of the contest and content that can be utilized by the brand in the future. Consumer submitted content is typically valuable because brand created content is expensive to produce and it can be difficult to be sure the content will be received well before it is launched. Consumer-created content is free (minus the investment for the campaign) and is vetted amongst a brand’s target audience.
Now, take the idea of asking for images and video submissions and ask for virtual reality experiences. Consumers will be able to better tell their story of how they experience your product or your brand and evoke a stronger response with your target audience.
Tickets for events like concerts are limited and expensive. There is something to be said for exclusivity, but what if more people could also experience a concert through virtual reality?
Now, an unlimited amount of experiences could be sold to your favourite artist or event increasing revenue and consumer engagement.
Maybe your brand has an interesting story of how the product is made. Or, maybe your product requires assembly or usage instructions. Many brands use “how to” videos vs. the standard paper instructions. These “how to” videos have made life easier for consumers, and if YouTube is any indication, very popular.
Now, take that “how to” video and turn it into an experience, so that a consumer is not just watching how to assemble or use a product, but they are actually able to learn through experience? Or, show how a product is made in a unique and engaging way. Take a look at how Ocean Spray used virtual reality to let people experience a cranberry harvest: www.oceanspray.com/themostbeautifulharvest/
Public Service Announcements:
PSA’s often feature a celebrity or someone that has been affected by the cause speak to an audience. PSA’s can be very emotional when a difficult experience is described, hopefully creating changed behaviour or awareness.
Now, put the audience in the situation vs. being told about the situation. By actually experiencing something like the effects of texting and driving, people are likely to understand the dangers more fully. Take AT&T’s, 'IT CAN WAIT' campaign. This is a great example of how companies are starting to use VR, but also how they are taking a hot topic and associating their brand with this topic.
Virtual reality marketing will help consumers have an immersive and realistic experience, but there will still be some instances where nothing will compare to a real experience. That doesn’t mean that a company should abandon the idea of virtual reality altogether. That same car company can make the barrier to actually going in for a test drive easier through virtual reality, but most serious consumers will still want that test drive. A consumer looking to purchase a TV may want to better compare the cosmetics of the product through virtual reality, but still need to evaluate picture quality in person. In these cases, virtual reality marketing can be a complimentary.
Have you tried virtual reality as a consumer? Does it interest you? Would you use virtual reality in your marketing if the cost reasonable? Let us know!