What does brand engagement’s future hold?


When Doc Brown and Marty McFly first set their sights on the year 2015 in Back To The Future Part II, the world they foresaw was an exciting place indeed.

Hoverboards and flying cars are just two of the tech innovations that the time-travellers predicted would be commonplace by now. Sure, some came true (biometrics, video calls), but many did not. Which is a shame, because we’d love self-tying shoelaces.

Back to the Future

However, one piece of far-fetched technology that has now truly arrived is virtual reality.

Far from a new concept, it was actually half a century ago that computer scientist Ivan Sutherland made a bold prediction: one day, VR would “literally be the Wonderland into which Alice walked.” That vision is now being realised by forward-thinking brands.

The future is now

Live creative technologies such as virtual and augmented reality are transforming the world of brand engagement. VR in particular provides brands with a dramatic and exciting way to engage with consumers who today crave the unexpected.

The ability to bring to life both abstract and unusual subject matters in an immersive way has a huge role to play in engaging the disengaged. Blending live and virtual experiences is a new kind of magic; one that can create fans and build long-lasting brand love. The Boursin Sensorium is proof of this.

Boursin Sensorium Virtual Reality Fridge

Live creative technology offers an infinite number of previously impossible experiences. With virtual and augmented reality, you can travel back in time. You can visit unchartered territory. And yes, you can even explore the inside of a fridge!

For marketers, this is a big opportunity for every fibre of a brand to be touched, felt or engaged with. The technology adds an extra element to the brand experience; one that creates a long-lasting memory that can be enriched by the face to face conversation.

Ever since the idea of VR was first considered, there has always been the perception that it has to involve expensive viewers. The reality now is that now once the content has been created, viewers can be as simple as a cardboard cut-out.

A global brand experience

The likes of the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear headsets are leading the way right now in terms of live creative technology’s capabilities. It will be the growth of simple and even free VR viewers, however, that will transform the technology’s potential scope.

The involvement of the likes of Google and Apple will rapidly speed up mainstream adoption. Google Cardboard’s director of product management says the company’s low-cost VR solution will be great for “immersive educational content.” This will be the difference maker.Boursin Sensorium

Wholly-immersive experiences can now be created in very small spaces. This means that live events and brand interactions are destined to be changed forever.

Face-to-face marketing will still be central to guiding consumers through experiences, but live creative technology and 360˚ digital streaming will soon allow that brand experience to be extended to anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Once the use of VR viewers is widespread, the experience offered by live creative technologies will be able to be played out across multiple digital channels for people to enjoy at home. It will show that live experiences and content can be integrated into highly cost-effective global campaigns for a worldwide audience.

Pushing the boundaries of reality

Augmented and virtual reality can push open the doors to deeper sensory experiences and brand engagement, and the technology is increasingly being embraced by the media and brands alike.

VR recently won its first Emmy award with Fox’s Sleepy Hollow Virtual Reality Experience, and right now Flickr is working with Oculus on a VR experience for photos shared online.

Samsung VR experience

Brands are recognising the sizeable opportunities that VR can offer to forge emotional connections. For example, Samsung’s VR experience allowed people to swim with sharks while in the middle of the desert!

These fast-growing technologies can rapidly enhance the personal impact of live experiences, encouraging consumers-turned-fans to extend the reach of these experiences through incredible, sharable content.  

To experience the future of brand engagement, there’s no longer a need for a DeLorean. The future has now well and truly arrived.

Great Scott! How can I find out more? Download our free eBook, The power of brand experience, to discover how experiential marketing campaigns can have a lasting effect on audiences.{{cta(‘d5eeaf7a-ac4e-4ba5-b72d-13aabbcf1974’)}}


Author bio


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.