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The evolution of virtual reality and what it means for marketing

Posted by Veronica Wainstein on November 10, 2016 at 8:00 AM
Veronica Wainstein
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Evolution of virtual reality

With the takeover of digital, online shopping and now virtual reality (VR), shoppers barely have to leave their homes to get the full shopping experience. Putting on a VR headset can instantly transport you to a holiday destination, front row seats to a concert or even outer space.

The evolution of virtual reality

VR is not a brand new thing, in fact it’s been evolving since the 1930s, and most people have been exposed to it at one point in their lives or another. Remember the viewmaster? That was a form of VR! You probably played in one of the virtual capsules at a arcade too at least once in your life - that too, is virtual reality. Through the years we have seen brands manufacturing VR glasses, the technology becoming more reality than virtual and headsets more compact and sleek.

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Take a look at this infographic to see just how far virtual reality has come since the 1930s.


From: HubSpot 

What does virtual reality mean for marketers?

Personalisation has become one of the key methods for advertising as this is what consumers (millennials in particular) expect. They are not interested in following crowds and trends. They want to consume communication where, when and how they want it and the personalisation of this communication is an absolute MUST. They also want the full experience without having to do much.

Veronica Wainstein, MD of Penquin explains, “Customers want to get a feel for the product and it’s not always convenient for them to do that in-store. Virtual reality is a way to resolve this problem and give potential customers a way to experience the unique selling points of the product first hand.”

Who is getting it right?

VR provides brands with the opportunity to connect with tech-savvy customers on a very modern, personal level. A few brands have already hopped onto this and created great consumer campaigns that have definitely cut through the advertising clutter.

There are various ways in which different brands can create successful virtual reality campaigns; for example, car dealerships can now create virtual showrooms with 360 degree videos. Resort facilities are taking potential visitors on a 360 degree tour before making a booking and FMCG products are incorporating their packaging into virtual reality experiences to connect even further with their consumers.

Take a look at a few of these cool campaigns by Coca Cola, Ikea, McDonald’s and Budweiser that have used VR as the main digital medium.

Veronica adds, “Virtual reality gives us a great opportunity in marketing going forward. Buying hasn’t changed - customer’s still want to experience the product.”

The risks of virtual reality

Brands need to be 100% ready to use VR because of the critical nature of the audience, they run the risk of having their campaign fail due to an inferior experience. Investing time, money and effort into the VR experience is critical, especially since it is such a new method in the digital game.

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