Last week we took an afternoon to visit a leading Virtual Reality studio, and to learn about the PR and marketing implications for this emerging technology. Importantly, we also had the opportunity to try VR for ourselves. We all left impressed by the power of VR and excited about the opportunity VR marketing presents an opportunity to tell stories, provide experiences, and especially in these early stages, to create buzz.
While the number of VR head-sets in circulation is relatively miniscule (approximately 10 million+ units this year) the sheer fun of the platform makes for massive Virtual Reality Marketing potential – and no doubt, given the investments behind headset sales, the production will quickly grow.
Over the course of a few hours, the Vero team had the opportunity to test a variety of VR apps, including VR apps suitable for children as well as those clearly created for adults. As we think about the future of PR, below are some of our main take-aways from our afternoon of VR.
- There are a mind-boggling number of ways that VR can contribute to PR campaigns. From brand building to celebrity endorsements to media tours to crisis simulation, it seems clear that VR can and should be an agency capability.
- There’s massive potential for using celebrity endorser content within VR, to give fans the opportunity to spend virtual time with celebrities in a manner like never before. A celebrity experience on VR could be an unforgettable moment for fans. VR has the potential to bring people closer to their heroes than anything else with the exception of an actual meeting.
- Travel experiences in VR are a natural, giving people the opportunity to explore new places or experiences. VR has the potential to create a desire that will compel people to visit actual destinations.
- VR has the potential to put people into situations that they may never otherwise experience. Think about half-court seats at the NBA finals, a fashion show in Paris, behind the wheel of a Ferrari or fishing in Alaska. Consumers will appreciate brands that can deliver cool new experiences, and the potential for these experiences is limited only by imagination.
- At these early stages, VR is a great draw for events and exhibitions. The novelty of VR means that people want to try it, and people will remember brands that share this experience. Moreover, VR is an experience that is worth the wait in line at an event or exhibition. This will change as the prices of head-sets fall. But for now, brands can create buzz by giving people a VR experience.
We left thoroughly impressed by VR and excited about the opportunities it presents. The key challenge for the VR community and PR agencies seeking to use VR capabilities is getting brands and companies to use it in their campaigns. However, we believe that most PR people who try VR will quickly understand its power for marketing services. We certainly do.
Many thanks to the MAD VR studio in Bangkok for their hospitality! They are working, literally, around the clock on new VR content, but still made time for our visit.