Recent years have been rich in technological advances. Especially in terms of virtual reality with the release of headset (HTC, oculus) and Smartphone applications such as Pokémon GO. In this article, we will focus in the uses of this new technology in terms of communication and marketing for brands.
But first of all what is virtual reality? According to the site “whatis” virtual reality (VR) can be defined as: “an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends the belief and accepts it as a real environment. On a computer, virtual reality is mainly experienced through two of the five senses: sight and sound.“
We must specify that the VR is different from the “Augmented Reality”, which consists only of adding virtual elements in a real scene, using a smartphone for example, which, when filming our environment, will add different elements that does not exist.
Clearly, this technology makes it possible to give visual and auditory sensations close to reality to virtual actions and virtual events. And it is in the interest of brands to take an interest in VR technology, as it is a great marketing opportunity on many levels.
Indeed, this technology, because of the incredible possibilities it offers advertisers, can give them a way to stand out from the competition easily, by setting up an innovative communication or marketing campaign that can stir up the curiosity of customers.
First example, the interactive experience of the brand Merrell hiking shoes met a huge success. Indeed, the brand chose to give the chance to its customers to live a virtual hike. This trail, realized in the most immersive way possible has had a double effect on the users. Not only has the experience made consumers want to go hiking but has also phenomenally promoted its trail shoes.
Another example is in the area of furniture sales. Ikea made a creative experience with virtual reality. The VR becomes a tool for sales support and give to customers the power to visit a 3D kitchen that they choose. Being able to try an infinite number of personalized products in store, and seeing the modeled result directly in front of your eyes is a real advantage because it can push impulse buying. The user can indeed move in the kitchen and change all the elements he wishes: from color, to location, to the element itself. You can even choose to set up in child size, so you can check the quality and safety of fitting out your kitchen for these.
Finally, we could also talk about the benefits of augmented reality with the Pokémon GO phenomenon. Indeed, the game consists of hunting and capturing different virtual creatures, which appear on our screen according to our position in the world. Using GPS technology, it is also possible to find new Pokémon everywhere. This was a real boon for small traders. Indeed, the “spawn” (appearance) of Pokémon on the place of their store allowed them to profit from a potential wave of customer attracted by the game. To use the buzz generated by Pokémon and enjoy this wave of potential customers, some have used the game to create events (on Facebook or another social network) to bring new customers to their place. That’s why we were able to find “Pokémon and Ice Cream Event” or “Pizza and Pokémon in the xxx!” Others have asked the trainer to be an active user of the application to get a discount. For example, some sellers ask their customers to take a picture of a Pokémon they caught in the street, or in their store and show it when you buy something to get a discount.
Thus, through these various examples, we have been able to demonstrate that virtual and augmented reality can be real stakes for the future. The unimaginable possibilities of these devices should provide brands and institutions with new ways of communicating and promoting their products in the years to come.