Immersive Marketing

8 ways your marketing could benefit from using VR technology right now

VORN_VR_Marketing

by Tom Davis, Ruben Best and Jom Werling

Last Tuesday we gave you some general reasons for using VR, but also described the challenges that the technology will have to overcome to reach its full marketing potential. In this article we will expand on that by examining specific opportunities that VR technology presents for marketers, as well as case studies showing how brands are already seizing these to promote themselves and their products.

The opportunities VR presents for Marketing:

Opportunity 1: Make intangible experiences tangible prior to purchase

All purchases of future experiences, such as trips, events or outdoor activities,  go hand in hand with a degree of uncertainty. Virtual reality can help to at least partially reduce this. The travel sector has been experimenting with virtual reality for a while and uses it to enable users to take virtual tours through hotels, resorts or cruise ships.

Marriott
created a sense of “Virtual Reality travel” for guests, using an Oculus Rift VR to make viewers feel like they were transported to Marriott hotels across the country. Visit a luxurious hotel, a tranquil Hawaiian beach and a lofty tower in London, all without packing a suitcase. Using the Oculus Rift and 4D sensory elements Marriott goes a step further to being fully immersive with a 4D “sensory experience” that includes mist and warm air for exotic destinations.

Opportunity 2: Craft shopping & product experiences to stand out from competitors

One of the disadvantages of online shopping is the potential buyer’s inability to understand exactly how a product might fit into their physical lives. An intelligent use of VR technology by a brand, can convince someone that the product is better than previous versions or those of your competitors. Another opportunity is using VR to be the initial purchasing trigger, by letting your customers try out your product, which may otherwise be impossible.

The Media-Saturn-Holding
At their VR point of sale concept in their flagship stores in Ingolstadt and Berlin, users can select from various kitchen models, which can then be modified according to preferences of color, materials and electronic devices. Move freely within a defined space and real-life movements are completely mirrored to the virtual world.

Opportunity 3: Create a persuasive and compelling brand experience 

VR offers you the ability to make your brand more tangible in a way that you can’t with more traditional advertising. As a brand you get the ability to tell compelling stories while including the customer. In an age where customer experience is the most important differentiator, VR can be a important tool to stand out from competition and fulfill the expectations of the customers.

COORS
wants to inspire people having a drink across the U.S. to get out there and climb their own personal mountains. They were invited to go on an adventure they might never have been able to experience. Do they want to race downhill on a mountain bike? Brave the rapids in a kayak and go soaring off a cliff in the process? Go big wave surfing in the most exquisite place imaginable? The choice is theirs.

Opportunity 4: Use VR to enlarge an event in different ways

Why not capture your next marketing event in 360° surround video to let others experience the excitement of a launch event? Here, it would be conceivable to have the user walk across the virtual festival grounds before they booking their ticket and to view recorded concerts from the last few years in front of the stage. Increasingly brands are looking for ways to be more closely involved with the event rather than just putting their name on a shirt, a ball or some hoardings.

Redbull
offers VR experiences alongside its extreme flying races so fans can experience what it is like to be in the plane  Wear the Rose places the user at the centre of the national rugby team’s training session, commanded by coach Mike Catt

Opportunity 5: Use VR for educational experience or Product Training 

VR lets you show people how your product is made and enables you to educate consumers about your brand in an immersive way. Consumers are increasingly interested in learning about the origin and backstories of the products they buy. VR is set to revolutionize education allowing students to virtually attend centers of learning, museums and galleries all around the world. In journalism, VR’s ability to see the world through another’s eyes allows for new empathetic possibilities.

NRMA
promoted car safety during an exhibit in Sydney. The Crashed Car Showroom was based around a crash test dummy simulation and ‚driver‘ experiences of what it’s like to be in a car crash.

Opportunity 6: Use VR for entertainment

Of course there is no better way to experience entertainment than through virtual reality. The gaming and movie industries are investing millions into creating the next generation of immersive entertainment. The creative possibilities of storytelling are only  just beginning. The key in entertainment is to make consumer access as easy as possible (i.e. combining you traditional product packaging with a cardboard set of VR goggles)

McDonalds
has released their own Google Cardboard through their Happy Meal Box. They’re doing a trial run in Sweden where the happy meal toy is a McDonald’s Cardboard VR Headset. In this case, it’s helping turn happy boxes into happy people. Slope Stars is the game that comes with the goggles. It’s tied to a Swedish recreational holiday that centers on skiing. McDonald has enormous reach, all over the world. They are legends of marketing. This new promotional strategy helps utilize their happy meal boxes and repurposes them as a “Happy Goggle.” The reusability is an effective draw and providing extra entertainment through their app makes this a great campaign.

Opportunity 7: Use VR to expand your traditional advertising

VR provides an interactive avenue to promote your product not available with traditional one-way media channels. VR campaigns can go hand in hand with your brand’s product experience

Virgin Media
launched a VR extension of their „House Party“ television advert and 360° digital campaign. The VR campaign lets Virgin customers walk through the party they saw in the television ad and thus adds an entirely new layer of immersion and engagement. This VR campaign enhances their traditional advertising as the original Virgin advert is much more memorable when their customers have had the chance to actually experience it themselves.

Opportunity 8: Use VR for a new way of market research 

Surveys and panels, even equipped with 3D visualizations, only provide a limited amount of insight. However, a full  VR experience can give a much more holistic, accurate and compelling set of insights.

TESCO
created a virtual store so people could walk round it before it was built and used this system for monitoring cold and hot traffic in the store. This way they were able to find out where the customer goes and where to place the high margin articles. Tesco previously debuted the VR experience in the UK as a R&D strategy to figure out how the company could merchandise shelves faster, re-organize the store layouts, and improve marketing and advertising.

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