Virtual reality: is it a perfect fit for your brand?

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The virtual reality industry is booming, and it’s not set to slow down anytime soon.

The likes of Sony, HTC and Samsung are all currently pushing their VR headsets hard, ahead of the highly-anticipated public launch of Facebook’s Oculus Rift this spring.

With these heavyweight brands having already invested upwards of $4 billion in the technology, VR is unquestionably here to stay. While far from a new concept, we’re now on the verge of VR finally exploding into the mainstream.

Last month, Google announced that 5 million of its Cardboard headsets had been shipped, with 25 million Cardboard apps having already been downloaded from its Play Store. Speaking to TIME, Google’s Clay Bavor made the company’s position crystal-clear: “VR is too important and too powerful a medium to be accessible to only a few.”

The question remains, though, whether VR is actually right for everyone. With so many devices either now publicly available or looming on the horizon, should VR be placed at the heart of your marketing strategy?

Tapping into VR’s huge potential

The use of virtual reality technology can provide tremendous business value from both an internal and external perspective. As a sales tool it can allow your company to communicate its proposition in a compelling and immersive way. Using leading edge technology such as VR can also be hugely beneficial from a positioning standpoint, especially for smaller firms.

North Face VR experience

Its benefits for internal audiences should not be overlooked either. The use of VR can carry with it big cost savings, especially when thinking about recruitment. VR video can provide a fascinating first-hand experience to potential candidates and new recruits, and is a highly-visual expressive medium to showcase your company culture too.

Choosing the right platform

The VR marketplace is set to get very crowded this year, but choosing the right platform shouldn’t be too complicated. It really comes down to three simple questions: How are you planning on using it? What content will you show? And what audience are you looking to reach?

Salvador Dali VR experience

VR provides the opportunity for significant levels of interactivity, but with that of course comes additional costs. It doesn’t have to be too pricey though: if you are just looking to use VR for presentation purposes, you can now simply host VR content and then encourage viewers to get their own, highly-affordable headsets to access it.

It’s not as expensive as you might think

The competitive nature of the VR industry has one massive upside: the pricing of hardware. With VR content hosting now widely available on numerous social sites including Facebook and YouTube, investing in the creation of VR content is a sound move.

One piece of content now has the potential to reach a truly worldwide audience. This means that the reach and overall impact of a brand experience can be rapidly extended.

An ideal training platform

One of VR’s biggest strengths is its ability to bring to life all manner of topics and historical events in highly immersive and memorable ways. As such, the technology is set to have a massive impact on education.

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For brands, it provides an incredible opportunity for consumers to immerse themselves in products in unique and engaging fashion, feeling and experiencing every aspect. Our award-winning Boursin Sensorium campaign, for example, offered consumers the ability to journey through the inside of a fridge. It’s also set to be an invaluable tool for business training, making complex subject matter easy to digest through visual stimuli.

Leveraging its potential

We’re only just beginning to see what the technology is truly capable of, but with CGI VR in particular enabling brands to offer up an infinite number of previously impossible experiences, there is huge untapped potential.

Brand owners interested in using VR should explore the technology and experience it first-hand, considering how it might be used to engage consumers or overcome real business issues. CGI VR and video VR each offer different benefits, so looking carefully at both is recommended.

Boursin Oculus Rift VR experience

Brand experiences are rapidly advancing, and VR is going to be crucial to this evolution. The technology’s ability to build brand love through the delivery of magical and memorable experiences is a very powerful thing indeed.

Make no mistake: VR is going to completely change the way in which we experience products and ideas, and learn about the world around us, providing a brand-new way to educate, train, inform, and engage. Brands both big and small need to be ready to embrace the future.

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Author bio

GLOBAL BUSINESS DIRECTOR

With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.