How to use virtual reality for Marketing and Branding right now


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How to use virtual reality for Marketing and Branding right now

2017-03-29 15:48:00

Virtual reality (VR) is something hot now and this technology brings our marketers some ways to approach the potential customers. Virtual reality is still not so popular at the moment, but this is a good niche for us. According to Yes Lifestyle Marketing in “The 2017 Yes Lifecycle Marketing Channel Report” (Jan, 2017), just 8% marketers surveyed say they are currently using virtual reality for their marketing campaigns, and similarly, under a quarter are thinking of using the technology in the future. This is not so much? Yes, it is really not so much, but this is a big chance for those who want to have more potential customers.

Some researches show that Some researches show that virtual reality will be popular in 5 or 10 years, or even sooner! As we can see now there are lots of tech giants are involving VR industry, and we have also witnessed the growth of this tech recently, just several years. And we have the reasons to believe that this technology will be very big in the future. Today is time for us to use virtual reality for our marketing? Personally, I believe this is a great time for us to start! Why?

Generally, the sooner we join the race, the better we can achieve. Moreover, we have a very great niche with those who are using virtual reality now. Besides, now Facebook, Youtube, Wordpress, even Twitter and Vimedo are now supporting 360-degree content, especially video, while these channels are great for our marketing. With 360-degree content, we can gain better the user’s engagement.

Immersive reality provides a new perspective which doesn’t take a small step – it’s a leap into a whole new place in another conceptual galaxy. The added complexity of having a layer of interactivity provides a new level of empathy – and empathy is the best way to describe how to best use the technology. It allows the viewer to slip into another person’s skin, get a feeling of their situation, and much more intensely than with a simple video.

Then brands are experimenting with the technology, though the focus must be on how it can be properly applied. According to Albert Millis of Virtual Umbrella: “VR should not be seen as a gimmick to bring in crowds. In the past, we’ve have seen brands who have not grasped this concept. Believe it or not, you can’t use a VR rollercoaster simulation to sell IT infrastructure consulting.”

Like Albert, many worries in its misuse. VR is already a hot topic, and many websites are using it as a trend to hop onto – a hype train where they can farm a few more clicks or views.

So what we can do with virtual reality?

Live stream with virtual reality
Now we are going to have an event and we think that it will be good to use virtual reality, so what will we do? We can think about live streaming! Let’s imagine that we use 360-degree cameras right on stage to record and allows our audience to see what is happening there, or like they are standing with their idols right on the stage. 

In order to do this well, we will have to have our own app that offers some sectors and include live streaming one. We can use this app to promote all of our events and activities and try to promote to get as many users as possible. And VR live streaming function is very interesting to encourage people to download the app to experience the event while they are not at there. 

A very great example we have here is that Jaunt produced a 360 Video Recording of Sir Paul McCartney’s performance at Candlestick Park. There are about 100,000+ installs on Android and 1463 reviews with an average of 4.2 stars on Android after that. Is it great?

With the events, we can not only live stream, but we also can record 360-degree video in order to offer to our users/customers at a different time. For example, Topshop offered members of the public a unique front-row view of their exclusive fashion runway show during London Fashion Week using a 360 panoramic video stream. Lucky competition winners got to experience this in a special pop-up space in TopShop’s flagship London store, providing great visibility. As a bonus, the user could find additional behind the scene footage from within the experience. This experience was created by the London VR studio Inition.

Deeply immersive experience before buying products
There are a lot of examples about this, since actually all what we do with virtual reality is to bring our audience another experience with our brands and products/services. 

We usually want to know about the products we are going to buy, and if we can experience it before buying, it will be much better. And virtual reality brings us the way to solve this problem for our customers. 

Such as, now we are considering to buy a new car, and we want to know more about it, and event its use in the real life. A very immersive experience is a good way to do this, and Mercedes did this very well with a 2-minute VR film, featuring Mercedes’ upcoming 2017 GLS sport utility vehicle is visually arresting, fun, the car looks great, and it casts a positive, contemporary image for the brand.

Another example is Disney with Star Wars movie when Disney released a 360 VR fly through the experience of one of the locations in the new upcoming Star Wars movie. In it, we feel like we are inside one of the speeders during an epic battle. This content was also released using Facebook’s new 360 videos feature, which although not technically a VR experience allowed them to reach a wider audience: 6.6 Million Views, 75k Facebook likes, 237k shares.

lso in the entertainment industry, we also can have a look at the campaign that HBO did for Game of Thrones in 2014. They created a multi-sensory, traveling exhibition which featured the VR experience “Ascend the Wall” at places like SXSW and Singapore’s Ion Orchard Shopping Mall. Viewers entered an elevator that featured blasting cool air and physical rumbling, creating the feeling they were being hoisted up 700 feet to the top of the Wall at Castle Black. Though the installation was exciting and viral, it could only be truly experienced by those physically present. 

We can use virtual reality to bring our customers a very immersive experience, not only in the entertainment industry but also many others, such as real estate, tourism, education, retail.

New way of storytelling
We all know that storytelling is very important in marketing nowadays, and we are trying to have better stories to tell, while we also want to have a new way to do that. Then virtual reality is one of the new ways that technology brings to us at the moment. 

A very great example we can talk about here is New York Times, who has become a pioneer in Virtual Reality storytelling when they distributed over 1 million Google Cardboard viewers/glasses to Sunday home delivery subscribers, and produced a VR film, The Displaced, to be viewed with them in Nov 2015. After that, in May 2016, they continued with another 300,000: this time, to its longest tenured digital subscribers, and released another VR video, Seeking Pluto’s Frigid Heart. It provided an exhilarating way for viewers to learn about and explore the planet, almost as if they were there, and experience the thrill of zooming to Pluto and soaring over it. Sunday June 5th, The New York Times Magazine had a special New York issue that included the VR piece, Climbing Spire of 1 WTC (World Trade Center).

Virtual reality is providing The New York Times with a new way of storytelling that keeps the old genre fresh and exciting and captures the imagination of younger readers who have so many options of where to get their news and lifestyle information.

Another example that Forbes also listed it as one of “6 Of The Best Marketing Uses Of Virtual Reality” is the way Tom’s use virtual reality to tell their stories. They create a“virtual reality chair” next to their shoe section at the flagship store in Venice, California, which is is a cozy bungalow/shop/café. When we come here, we are invited to wear VR headsets on, and then will be transported to a remote village in Peru where we experience a giving trip, starting with the drive into the village. Sweet looking kids are all around as they swivel in our chair. They’re incredibly happy and grateful for the gift. It’s emotional, memorable, and you want to tell others about it. It takes people closer than ever before possible, to understanding the impact of Tom’s mission.

There are still lots of other ways to use virtual reality for our marketing, and basically, at the moment we can apply this technology in order to (reference from Forbes):
- Demonstrate product attributes, features, functionality.
- Communicate the brand’s mission at the point of sale.
- Immerse users in a branded entertainment experience and add excitement at pop-up events for social media sharing.
- Help consumers make more informed choices so they’ll be happier with their purchases.
- Add a new, more immersive and exhilarating dimension to traditional print and video story-telling.
- Show how a brand can fit into an aspirational lifestyle.
- Tell stories about brands and products with an immersive experience, let users understand more about brands.