Virtual reality (VR) technology has been discussed and hinted at for years, but we’ve finally seen some significant progress made this year. And while there’s still a lot of ground to be made before it can be considered a mainstream technology, now’s the perfect time to take a look at the role of VR in business and how it will impact marketing, specifically.
What is VR?
“Virtual reality is the term used to describe a three-dimensional, computer generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person,” explains Virtual Reality Society. “That person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment and whilst there, is able to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions.”
Thanks to consumer interest and new developments, the technology behind VR is becoming cheaper and more cost-effective. This is leading to enormous buzz and demand in the marketplace, as well as interest among businesses that want in on the action.
Why is VR so effective?
If you don’t have any experience with VR, then you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about. If we had to break it down into four concise bullet points, it would go as follows:
- Novelty. For starters, VR has the “hip” factor. Its’ new, it’s cool and it’s something that’s never been seen before. That, in and of itself, creates an allure in the marketplace.
- Immersive. Over the years, media has become more and more immersive. From television and video games to social media and mobile devices, the more visually stimulating and engaging a technology is, the more effective it is.
- Memorable. Did you know that the human brain processes images an astounding 60,000-times faster than text? It would stand to reason, then, that VR experiences are even more memorable than images, which keeps people coming back for more.
- Story-based. Finally, VR is often rooted in storytelling. Anytime you have a visual medium that can be used for storytelling, you have a recipe for success.
VR technology is here to stay. From personal use to business applications, it’ll be exciting to see the advancements made in the coming months.
How is it being used?
As mentioned, the potential for leveraging VR technology in marketing is (pardon the pun) virtually unlimited. Let’s take a look at some of the uses:
- Incredible experiences. With VR, you can suddenly transport your customers to any scene in the world (or even your imagination). Marriott recently did this by partnering with Framestore VR Studio and Relevant to take customers on virtual tours of vacation destinations like Hawaii and London. It was a smashing success and shows just how powerful VR can be.
- Customer education. What better way to teach customers about a certain topic than by actually involving them? This is what the Hacienda Patron tequila distillery recently did by giving customers a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on during the production process. As a result, customers felt a closer connection to the brand.
- Fresh innovation. While newspapers are quickly dying off, leading companies are looking for ways to stay relevant. The New York Times has done this by releasing a series of VR films to its subscribers this year.
The possibilities are endless and marketers are anticipating even more advancements in VR technology so that they can further utilize this powerful storytelling medium.
Putting it all together.
VR technology is exciting and promising, especially in the marketing industry. It has the potential to totally and utterly revolutionize the way in which markers engage customers, which will have a lasting impact on businesses everywhere. What do you think?
by SAMUEL EDWARDS