Is virtual reality relevant for propelling your brand?
While VR has been one of the buzzwords of recent years in the world of content creation, it is slow to take hold. Even though virtual reality headsets are increasingly being sold – 82 million units will have found buyers around the world this year – most Canadian living rooms are without them.
It may be that brands cannot yet reach their audiences in homes with this technology, but they can nonetheless provide unique experiences that are only possible in the virtual world. That said, don’t be seduced by novelty – whatever the tool, it should above all meet our business and communication objectives.
Here are three reasons why a brand might consider creating a virtual reality experience:
1. Provide exclusive access to your audience
Virtual reality experiences, whether 360 degrees or 180 degrees, or even universes created in 3D animation, take on their full meaning when they transport us to places that are otherwise unattainable.
Top Shop understood this when it offered virtual access to its fashion show a few years ago during Fashion Week in London. A 360-degree camera placed in the front row that retransmitted images from the show allowed several curious people, equipped with virtual reality headsets, to experience the event as if they were there. Leading the market – and alongside celebrities no less!
Companies whose facilities are of interest but cannot be visited by the general public can also benefit from the 360-degree capture.
This fall, the CASACOM Studio produced a 360-degree video at our client Pharmascience’s facilities. Used by representatives of this Quebec manufacturer of generic drugs, the video allows pharmacists to visualize the manufacturing process of the product they purchase for their patients. It also shows them aseptic environments only accessible to Pharmascience employees.
2. Walking in another person’s shoes
Because of its very immersive nature, virtual reality sometimes manages to throw us off balance, to the point where our brain forgets that this is not real life. That’s why this technology is used in various therapies, whether to combat phobias or treat mental illness.
In storytelling, this function can be very useful to better understand the reality of certain individuals, even if it’s far from what we know. There are, for example, hard-hitting documentaries that recreate moments of psychosis experienced by those struggling with schizophrenia or bipolarity. Or the educational experience created by the Jasmin Roy Foundation, which enables young victims of bullying to gain the confidence to take their place.
These are good examples of content creation in which the use of virtual reality is most relevant.
3. View before buying
Have you ever been discouraged by a renovation project, and wondered if you would ever complete it? These are the kinds of projects we keep putting off. So Lowe’s has produced a virtual reality experience in some of its stores designed to help the amateur achieve renovation success.
Customers can experiment virtually with hand tools – cutting shrubs or installing a ceramic floor. The Lowe’s chain has found a way to reassure beginners by offering them a sense of experience—that will motivate them not only to get started but to complete their renovation projects.
If 360-degree videos and virtual reality do not lend themselves to all circumstances, they can nevertheless be effective tools for organizations if used intelligently. As with all content creation for businesses, understanding ROI is a necessity. To learn more about the effect of PR on sales, I invite you to read our senior vice president and partner Jean-Michel Nahas’ latest blog on the subject.