There is no doubt that virtual reality is taking over the world.
Virtual reality, or VR, is interactive software that immerses you in a digitally simulated experience.
In a business sense, VR allows consumers to get a true feel of the brand and product without actually committing to buying it. It also helps make the brand stand out from the crowd and become extremely relevant and modern.
Within the list of Forbes World’s Most Valuable Brands, 75 percent created VR projects for their customers or employees. From food to cars, hotels to universities, VR seems to be the new best thing in advertising as it is interactive, interesting and generally fun.
In 2016, IKEA launched their VR kitchen experience, allowing customers to virtually explore and remodel their kitchen. Users could adjust their height to view the environment from a child or adult’s perspective, interact with the IKEA furniture and appliances and even cook the iconic IKEA meatballs.
“Though gaming is at the heart of virtual reality, it is clear that the technology’s non-gaming potential applications are massive as well,” gaming website Gamespot said.
“Being able to virtually shop for IKEA furniture is just one example”.
In a similar way, the American home improvement store Lowe’s incorporates a ‘Holoroom How To’, a VR tool that helps teach customers how to do DIY projects. Not only is it a fun activity where you virtually paint walls or tile floors, but it is a memorable experience that cleverly demonstrates how to use the store’s products.
Other interesting innovations with VR technology include Topshop, who used virtual reality to provide a catwalk experience from London Fashion Week, and later won an Event Technology award for Best Virtual Event. Audi claimed to have launched the world’s first VR system in the automotive retail industry in 2016, allowing customers to have a very realistic experience exploring the individually configured cars.
The Marriott Hotels had a similar experience called ‘The Teleporter’, where users were virtually transported to various locations around the world to showcase that the Marriott is global and will always be there for you.
There have also been simple, animated virtual reality experiences that advertise a brand successfully. In 2016, Oreo released a virtual reality film that takes viewers through a tour of its ‘Wonder Vault’ and how their Filled Cupcake Flavoured Oreos are made. Coca Cola had a VR Sleigh Ride in 2015, making the brand stand out from the crowd through modern technology while also engaging with children.
In terms of storytelling, New Zealand’s Fire and Emergency released a 360 VR video where users experienced what a real house fire is like. The video featured facts and tips about how to prevent fires, while also incorporating strong sounds and visuals of a real emergency situation.
While recruiting students, New York University sent future engineering students a cardboard VR device to experience a virtual tour of Mars. Not only did the VR showcase how NYU stands out from other schools, but the tour illustrates the skills and experiences that potential students could have at the university.
No longer is VR technology just used as a tool for gaming. Brands have managed to successfully apply virtual reality in their advertisements, revolutionising the way products are experienced.
Although VR has only recently experienced a breakthrough in the marketing industry, there is no doubt that it is effective in educating and engaging an audience in an exciting and innovative way. It is also not a coincidence that the biggest brands in the world are the main users of this modern tool.
It might just be getting its start in the industry, but don’t be surprised if VR becomes the main form of content in the next five years. Perhaps it won’t even take that long.
To find out more about how VR could work for your brand or storytelling process, get in touch