It’s time for brands to get a virtual reality check and invest in this incredible platform to connect with their users on a whole new level.
Computer Graphics Pioneer, Ivan Sutherland, stated, that immersive technologies such as VR could, “literally be the Wonderland into which Alice walked,” and half a century later, his prediction is coming true.
Brands will be able to give consumers experiences previously deemed impossible, existing only in the world of Matrix or Manga comics.
According to a report from Tractica, consumer spending on VR hardware and software could reach $21.8 billion by the year 2020.
With massive figures like these in question, it’s time marketers sink their teeth in the latest cutting-edge technology.
What is virtual reality?
For those who didn’t spend their childhood obsessed with Sci-Fi movies and coding, here’s the definition of VR by Wikipedia,
Virtual Reality (VR), replicates an environment that simulates physical presence in places in the real world or imagined worlds and lets the user interact in that world. Virtual reality artificially creates sensory experiences, which can include sight, hearing, touch, and smell.
In a nutshell, VR is stepping into an artificial, virtual environment presented to our senses in such a way that we experience it as if we were really there.
What can virtual reality mean for brands?
Marketers are always on the hunt for new ways to create memorable experiences that leave lasting impressions.
With virtual reality, brands no longer will be interrupting entertainment or experiences but rather creating them. VR allows brands to draw in their users in a place fabricated by them and build a story around the brand experience.
Watching a skilled pilot compete in the Red Bull Air Race is awesome, but the Red Bull campaign of tomorrow can allow consumers to be there first-hand; have a unique opportunity to experience the exhilaration of flying a lap around the famous course, witness the plane banking sharply as it negotiates tricky turns, slaloming through air gates as it reaches blistering speeds – all from the safety of their VR headset.
Or maybe it will allow a casual shopper to careen off into New York’s best fashion runway show, coveting that perfect little black Dior dress on the model, before hurrying off to get her hands on it. Thus, creating experiences a consumer could previously only dream of.
VR can and will revolutionize customers’ interactions with the brand.
Shuhei Yoshida, head of Sony Worldwide said on The Verge, “We used to say seeing is believing. Now we have to say experiencing is believing.” and she continued;
A sense of presence is something that only VR can bring to the market, an experience that gives you a really strong sense of presence somewhere else. That somewhere else has to be really attractive to you, so you want to go back to that space again and again.
As aptly put by Yoshida, virtual reality has the ability to foster deep, persuasive touchpoints and persuade our customers by letting them experience our products.
For marketers, here’s the opportunity for every fibre of a brand to be touched, felt and engaged with.
Which brands have embraced virtual reality?
Major marketers are stepping into the VR bandwagon and taking test drives.
From Nike letting you step into the shoes of Brazilian superstar Neymar, Marriott letting it guests vicariously vacation using VR Postcards, to Dior exclusively inviting its elite shoppers to their fashion show by putting on Dior Eyes, to Terres de Homes creating the world’s first 3D commercial, Volvo offering VR test drives to consumers, Netflix offering up its entire library on Gear VR – multiple brands are all dabbling with virtual reality.
These pioneers are investing in this platform to build buzz around the new technology, product launches and experiential events.
What is the future of VR?
In an era where branded content is everywhere, we think that those using VR to tell stories really stand out. It’s a dramatic way to stand out from the crowd and give a treat to the customers who crave the unexpected.
Immersive virtual experiences put the customers center-stage, where they belong. Brands need to dive into this new trend to experiment, engage, educate and entertain their consumers.
Merging virtual and digital is the future and the future is already here.
So strap on your headset, it’s going to be a surreal ride.