Early buyers of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones were able to receive a free Gear VR headset; last year, The New York Times sent Google Cardboards to more than 1 million home-delivery subscribers; and McDonald’s Happy Meal boxes can now fold into a pair of VR goggles. Facebook, which bought Oculus VR for $2 billion in 2014, is all in, too, having just unveiled an open source, 360-degree video camera that it hopes manufacturers and hobbyists will use as encouragement to build cameras of their own. And tech evangelist Robert Scoble is so bullish on VR that he has joined virtual reality media company UploadVR as its entrepreneur-in-residence.
Virtual reality is here to stay. This is a seminal moment for marketers and communicators.
In 2016, VR is much better understood as a powerful tool that can apply to a broad range of stories. It can transcend space and time. It can transport people to a different world with a level of realness never before seen. Marketers and communicators are only scratching the surface on discovering how VR can deliver value to their efforts. Adding VR engagement to a campaign will help it be more immersive, more integrated, and a more complete experience.
With VR, marcomms pros can offer consumers a range of experiences without consumers having to leave the room — the thrill of driving the latest car; creating a meal in a high-end kitchen; appreciating a new home or office; participating in a historic battle; visiting a refugee camp; undergoing advanced training to finish a task or fill a role; or taking any number of interesting tourist voyages. The possibilities are endless.
MSLGroup recently spoke with numerous marcomms professionals who unanimously report that consumers and other stakeholders are fascinated by the prospect of having a vital, in-person experience without having to travel to a particular — and possibly distant — location. Being able to engage with consumers in that manner is the epitome of game-changing.
In a conversation that touched on everything from storytelling, to business impact, to the treasure chest of amazing and available equipment, it became clear that VR is undoubtedly the future of brand marketing and comms. And for the wise but bold marcomms pro, you could easily argue it should be the present, too.
As Greg Gopman, head of business development at UploadVR, explained, "If you’re a marketer or communicator, VR is basically your job security for the next 10 years. If you’re on top of it now, you’ll be at the forefront. And it’s only going to get bigger."
This new playbook by MSLGroup and PRWeek — Let’s Break Tradition: Virtual Reality in Public Relations — will educate and inspire you to start taking advantage of emerging VR platforms and tools.
VR is no longer an off-in-the-distance idea. It’s a quickly emerging trend with which wise marketers and communicators are already experimenting. Will you?