Digital agencies have been prepping for over a decade. Brands have won the lottery with Virtual Reality (VR), but right now few know how to cash in that ticket.
Palmer Luckey, creator of the Oculus Rift, says,
VR is going to be defined by the content that is designed explicitly for it.
The problem is, VR content is failing the medium. Brands are riding the ‘gimmick’ train and audiences are left disappointed with the brand and the technology. So where can brands go to get a healthy taste of the virtual pie? Here’s the shocker, digital agencies.
Virtual reality gives the audience a feeling, a reason to be with your brand without distraction. Our brains are designed to remember events linked to locations, this means that VR experiences have a longer trace in our memory. A successful VR marketing strategy is about leading, not pushing.
It’s about the ‘feelies’. Right now, there’s no medium with more marketing potential for brands than virtual reality (VR). VR has been primarily driven by the gaming industry and centered on interactive writing and design to create immersive experiences.
Enter the digital agency, with the added benefit of brand/client relationships, strategists who drive consumer and user insights, and creative and technical teams skilled in building audiences for multiple screens and devices and VR can become more than just tech, it can become life changing.
Heston L’Abbe says,
Since the dawn of humanity, storytelling has been the engine of empathy in society. If VR is going to change storytelling, VR is going to change humanity.
Digital agencies are adept at understanding the way humans move in the digital world. They specialize in drawing users back and building choices, not enforcing decisions.
In the past two years the best VR brand experiences are brainchildren of experiential and digital agencies. Relevent, an experiential company partnered with Framestore VR Studio to create Marriot Hotel’s teleportation experience that toured in 8 cities in the USA.
Finally, we have to mention the first “walk around” virtual reality experience that launched at Sundance, Merrel, Trailscape, the creative baby of digital agency Hill Holliday and Framestore VR Studio. If only all VR experiences had been this successful.
But it’s early days for VR. For every exciting success, there are VR flops. Vrideo, the ‘YouTube of virtual reality’ closed doors last year because they lacked enticing content. Users, came, tried, but never returned.
Content, be it a lack of content or poorly created content that underwhelms people when they try VR is the biggest threat to mainstream consumer adoption.
Without a strategy and a few creative heads knocking together the content will lack purpose, and there is nothing worse than feeling useless in a platform designed to be purposeful.
VR is more about collaboration than any other medium, and by gathering the right teams we can give our users something with meaning, while cashing in on the richest communication platform that exists today.
So let’s not create VR for VR’s sake, but let’s create great content for a great user experience.