Five reasons why virtual reality’s time has arrived

It’s becoming increasingly challenging to take consumers by surprise these days. We all consume so much media on a daily basis that it’s rare to experience something that shocks or makes us ask questions. 

Businesses need to find new ways to stand out and engage with audiences who crave the unexpected. This is where live creative technologies such as virtual reality come in. 

By providing businesses with a dramatic and exciting new way to reach consumers, live and virtual experiences are now combining to create real cut-through for brands. Live events and interactions will be changed forever and it’s already starting to happen. It’s important to be right at the very forefront of this shift – here’s why:

1) It engages the disengaged

The ability to bring to life both abstract and unusual subject matter in an immersive way has a huge role to play in engaging audiences that feel like they have seen it all. Blending live and virtual experiences is a new kind of magic; one that can create fans and build long-lasting brand love.

2) It pushes the boundaries of reality

Live creative technology can offer up an infinite number of previously impossible experiences, such as the chance to travel back in time and explore unchartered territory. Just think about that for a second, and consider what this will mean for marketers: the opportunity for every fibre of a brand to be touched, felt or engaged with. Powerful stuff indeed. 

3) It is set to be everywhere very soon

Heavyweight brands like Google and Apple have now entered the VR fray, and the involvement of these firms is going to rapidly speed up the mainstream adoption process. Sure, the likes of the Occulus Rift and Samsung Gear headsets are leading the way in terms of the technology’s capabilities, but it will be the growth of simple and even free VR viewers that will transform the technology’s power and potential scope. 

4) It will transform the way in which we learn

Virtual reality will very soon completely change the way in which we all experience products and ideas. Brand owners need to recognise this and open their eyes to this. Google’s director of product management for VR, Mike Jazayeri, says the company’s low-cost VR viewer will be great for “immersive educational content.” This will be the difference maker: there has always been the perception that VR has to involve expensive viewers, but the reality now is that once content has been created, viewers can be as simple as a cardboard cut-out.

5) It allows for global brand experiences

Live experiences and content can now be integrated into highly cost-effective global campaigns that successfully combine the live and the virtual to deliver deep sensory 4D experiences. The ability for brands such as Boursin to now deliver experiences such as a 360° VR CGI exploration journey of the inside of a fridge is both enhancing the personal impact of live experiences, and encouraging consumers-turned-fans to extend the reach of these experiences through incredible, shareable content. 

Over 50 years ago, American computer scientist Ivan Sutherland predicted that the ultimate virtual reality display would be “a room within which the computer can control the existence of matter.” This vision is now becoming a reality. 

Very soon, the world is going to fully realise the huge power that live creative technologies provide to educate, train, inform and engage. The unique combination of live event and VR technologies with the popularity of social media allows for the moment to be elongated and opened up globally. 

Creating, capturing and sharing unforgettable experiences is the key to fostering brand love. 

Joss Davidge is director of the unexpected at live brand experience agency BEcause.

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