Virtual Reality, also known as VR, has grown considerably during 2016 and is expected to continue doing so. VR is mostly known for being used in video games, with Sony releasing their Playstation VR games back in October and many gaming conventions featuring VR experience stands.
However, VR isn’t just for gaming. It is becoming a highly interactive and successful experience that marketers can offer to their customers. You don’t need to own a £300+ VR headset to be able to get involved, Google has their Google Cardboard headset, and many other companies are producing cheaper alternatives, where you can simply pop your phone into the headset, and experience VR without breaking the bank.
Virtual reality is no longer seen as something of the future, it is happening now. Don’t think about holding it off, get onto it the sooner, the better. Your competitors are probably already in their boardrooms, writing down their ideas, or even in the developing stages of their experience. Don’t leave it until every brand is doing it, or it will make it 10x harder to stand out.
So, How Can Your Brand Be Using VR?
Brands are creating 360º videos that they are uploading onto their socials and YouTube channels for their followers to experience. Within these videos, you can be creating 360º behind the scenes videos, or let your customers get immersed into a campaign you have created. This probably the cheapest option when it comes to this type of marketing, as it doesn’t require as much equipment and development.
If you’ve got the budget you could even create a whole game for them to play. Most brands won’t have the budget for a full game, but a mini game will do the trick! VR is still a fairly new concept for people to enjoy, and many may not have played VR games, so they’re even more likely to want to get involved.
With VR, you will get a better experience using a high quality head set, over using Google cardboard. However, not many customers will be able to afford or own a headset. By offering an in-store experience, this is allowing any of your customer base to come into store and get involved. Here you can also create a ‘stage’ for the event, so that not only will they see what’s going on through the headset, but you could make it fully immersive by using textures, smells and even temperature changes.
Great Examples Of What Some Brands Have Done
John Lewis Christmas Campaign
If you saw my John Lewis Brings Us #BusterTheBoxer post from a couple of weeks ago, you will have seen that John Lewis created a VR experience as part of their major Christmas campaign this year. They created this 360º video that makes it feel like you are inside their Christmas advert, and you get to join in with Buster and all the other animals featured in the advert. If customers were able to get down to the John Lewis flagship store on Oxford Street in London, they had the opportunity to experience this video using Oculas Rift, but if not, they also made the experience available through their 360º YouTube video that you can play using the Google Cardboard headset.
North Face #SuddenExploration
The North Face gave their customers the chance to feel like they were on an outdoor adventure husky sledging through their #SuddenExploration campaign. Whilst shopping in-store, customers were invited to try on their snow jackets, sit down on a sledge and try out their VR experience.
Offering digital experiences like this to your customers, is a fun and innovative way to let your customers interact with your brand, and to encourage them to spread the word about their experience on social media, or even whilst just speaking to friends and family.
VR is becoming more accessible to the daily digital user, and is still a fairly new way of marketing to your customers. There are so many creative and exciting ways your brand can be using this in your digital marketing plan, so get on it!