Virtual Reality (VR) is a new technology that has allowed people to experience things in a whole new dimension and people have already classed it as another gaming console. VR however is much more than that – the sophisticated technology can substantially be used to increase astonishing, awe-inspiring and memorable experiences that can boost engagement for brands.
Before we dive in further on how VR can help drive engagement, generate leads and be an impactful marketing platform, let’s clear the air and understand what exactly VR is. The main objective of VR is to simulate the real world – or an imaginative world in digital form. In other words, VR transports the person into another realm through an immersive, 360-degree experience. At the moment, Facebook’s Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive are the leaders in the industry offering a fully immersive and interactive VR experience.
So how can VR help brands of all types deliver unique and engaging marketing campaigns
1) Virtual Reality makes the inaccessible accessible!
Brands will be able to give their consumers a sense of what they can’t get to. For instance, if you’re in the tourism industry and would love to promote an exciting attraction or country to entice consumers to purchase a package – a VR experience showcasing attractions in immersive 360-degree experiences could be the home run in securing bookings! Another example could be applied to the automobile industry. Brands could offer a VR experience of what it is like to drive their cars and could potentially influence consumers to make a purchase. There are numerous more examples of this from event management to space exploration companies! The applications are endless.
2) Presenting Intangible Experiences
In many occasions, brands may need to show visualizations, mock-ups, prototypes of products or services to stakeholders and clients whilst the actual product or service is under development or being set-up. VR can play a crucial role in providing clients with an immersive and detailed picture of what they can expect in the final product. For instance, if a real estate developer could show clients or potential buyers a real-world simulation of what a unit would look like and through VR if clients could walk around the unit and experience it through the technology – there is a higher chance for them to make a decision. This may also save costs in building a mock up show room.
3) Simulating Existing Situations
Virtual Reality can also be used for education – helping both staff and customers understand hard-to-replicate experiences ranging from flying first class to understanding how complex surgeries or mechanical devices work. For brands, educating customers about a product or service is crucial for a conversion or sale – VR can be the new medium for promotion and can also extend to demonstrate how trendy and technological savvy a brand is.
Curious as to what brands have started to do already? Here’s a glimpse.
TOM’S is a shoe brand which gives away a free pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair purchased. They took customers on a journey to Peru to see their initiative in action – visiting a local village donating shoes through VR!
Through VR Marriot teleported people to their resorts in Hawaii and London getting them excited about travelling to these destinations. It’s no doubt that these immersive experiences helped Marriot generate some bookings. This demonstrates the ability VR has to improve and generate profitable leads for businesses.
More examples here!
So why aren’t all brands going berserk about VR at the moment?
There are quite a few challenges at the present. The first is there are technological limitations – it’s not easy to generate VR content and specialists are required. In addition to this there is there is still a barrier to accessibility for consumers to get hold of their own fully immersive VR headsets such as the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift.
As technology improves, more content is developed, and consumers become more familiar with the concept there is no doubt that the VR market is going to boom. Goldman Sachs have already predicted that by 2020 the combined virtual and augmented reality market will reach $120 billion in revenue.
After all, jumping into the VR bandwagon whilst in it’s early stages of development will set your brand apart from competitors. You will be able to communicate your brand in a whole new dimension making it convenient and exciting for interested customers to understand products and services but most importantly experience and be in the midst of the product or service. This experience provided under marketing efforts can be the tipping point in generating quality leads for your brand.