What is Virtual Reality?: Virtual reality is an artificial environment created with computer hardware and software and presented to the user in such a way that it appears and feels like a real environment.
What is Augmented Reality?: Augmented reality is a view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. An example of this would be a smartphone app where you view a street corner through the camera and additional business information appears on the building.
Virtual reality is one of the latest technologies marketers are trying to wrap their heads around to figure out how to best utilize the tool to achieve brand objectives. While we’re only at the tip of the iceberg in terms of impactful ways to use VR for marketing, several pioneers have found creative ways to do it well and support their unique value propositions. VR is being strategically used as a tactic to:
- Demonstrate product attributes, features, functionality
- Communicate the brand’s mission at point of sale
- Immerse users in a branded entertainment experience and add excitement at pop-up events for social media sharing (Game of Thrones)
- Help consumers make more informed choices so they’ll be happier with their purchases
- Add a new, more immersive and exhilarating dimension to traditional print and video story-telling (The New York Times)
- Show how a brand can fit into an aspirational lifestyle (Mercedes)
The impact of VR-based marketing programs can be far-reaching because of the viral response they can generate. Some brands have opted for providing the experience in-store or at special events through more durable, higher quality gear, while others have opted to let broader audiences experience VR at home, on cell phones, with Google Cardboard, and on computers.
What does this mean for Small businesses?
Virtual reality is a completely immersive experience where the user feels like they are transported to another world. Augmented reality has been integrated into our lives for as long as smartphones have been around. Virtual reality is just now starting to emerge as a viable business tool to connect with consumers in entirely new ways. Small business owners can now utilize this technology to grow their businesses to new heights.
More consumers are expecting to see the power of virtual reality. According to Greenlight Insights, 62% of consumers say they would feel more engaged with a brand that sponsors a VR experience and 71% of consumers think a brand is forward-thinking if it uses virtual reality.
Allowing the consumer to experience places like casinos themselves from their home is far and away the best way to sell. Consider if you were in the market for a new home, yet online pictures and even video of the available options weren’t cutting it. Virtual reality could transport the buyer to every home that meets their criteria for a bird’s eye view and really showcase the features of each selection. The same holds true for a physical product. To be able to test drive a vehicle without the hassle and time wasted in a dealership may be all that’s needed to finalize a sale. Not only can VR display how a product works but also how it was developed and manufactured. This approach appeals to consumers who are interested in the backstory and origin of the products they purchase. Experiences such as these completely transform how the consumer interacts with brands and how marketers will reach their audience.
To understood Virtual Reality and its impact in the marketplace check out the video below:
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