7 March 2016 Consumer Affairs Tech

What Virtual Reality Tech Means for PR

If you’ve watched TV ads recently, it’s likely that you’ve seen the slick new brand ad for Samsung, complete with Virtual Reality capabilities on Oculus Rift. Virtual Reality is heading mainstream, giving marketers limitless opportunities to immerse consumers in the world of their brand. From watching a concert, climbing a mountain, riding a motorbike or roller coaster, consumers can now “live” the aspirational world of your brand, heightening excitement and emotional response.

Brands such as Volvo, Red Bull are already ahead of the curve, but there’s a huge opportunity to take advantage of the hype and excitement generated by the technology, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With products like Google Cardboard and Jump you can easily produce your content in house and offer a really good experience to your users.

It may be in its infancy but Virtual Reality has got us thinking, what are the opportunities that virtual and augmented reality offer for the PR process?

Offer your audience a unique experience:

Your website is probably the closest your audience will get to your service or product, but now with Virtual Reality you can offer an immersive experience that they won’t forget.

Take Amnesty International for example. They used Virtual Reality to show people the devastating effects of bombing in Syria, immediately driving results and generating conversations about the campaign on social channels.

Convince people your product is better than others:

Consumers and media enjoy testing products before they decide to review or buy. With Virtual Reality you can easily offer them an experience that is fun, exciting and very close to reality, without a product having to leave the warehouse.

Recently BMW used Virtual Reality to enable media and potential customers to try their motorbike in the Sahara desert, all this without leaving London. Can you imagine how much they saved on travelling and hospitality?

Take media on a learning journey:

As a venue or destination, peeking behind the scenes is fascinating for media, influencers and consumers; this can be everything from knowing how a product is made, or what happens out-of-sight.

Google is currently working with Buckingham Palace to offer students around the world the chance to visit the palace without leaving their classrooms. Not only is Virtual Reality offering them access that most of the public will never have, it also introduces a British landmark to global audiences.

Create inimitable events:

Events offer a great opportunity for brands to connect in a meaningful way with media, consumers, stakeholders and influencers, but so often the impact of the event is impacted by a train strike, bad weather or simply a breaking news story. In the future, using Virtual Reality will mean that you won’t need “bums on seats”. Extend the experience outside the physical venue, by giving your audiences the opportunity to attend virtually from the comfort of their desk or armchair, simply by sending them a set of files.

Recently TopShop used Oculus Rift for customers to attend a Tate Modern fashion show at their Oxford Street store. Everyone could experience the thrill of being seated at the front row even if they couldn’t be there.

These are just a few examples of how Virtual Reality is being integrated into PR but with new devices and new app development, the opportunities are limitless. Just pop on the headset and let your imagination do the rest.

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