Apr 24 2017
Virtual Reality is hailed nearly everywhere as the next wave of marketing. The entire market is expected to grow by 20-fold in just three years.
For large brands with wide consumer awareness (and massive budgets to work with), finding ways to use Virtual Reality seems pretty simple. But almost every one of our clients at VES Creative are far smaller but still innovative companies and do not have massive budgets to produce vanity projects just because. Every dollar invested must make business move faster and easier.
For this need, we have conceptualized a few Virtual Reality ideas to help innovative brands adapt this next-wave technology within budget and with results.
Or if you already have some ideas, feel free to run them by our four common misconceptions about Virtual Reality.
What exactly is Virtual Reality video?
Let’s start by defining Virtual Reality video.
Virtual reality is video that can be watched in full 360 degrees. Instead of a static frame, the viewer can control the view to look up, down, side to side, anywhere, and even interact with virtual elements.
Virtual Reality is essentially synonymous with 360 video. Viewed on a headset, Virtual Reality provides total immersion, while 360 video can be viewed on any other non-headset device: a phone, computer, tablet, YouTube, Facebook, etc.
In traditional video, there are countless decisions made in the directing and editing process: how each and every shot is framed, focus, editing- everything is laid out to the viewer. VR democratizes most of this. You can immerse your prospect inside your offering and let them create their own experience. Virtual reality is the most honest form of digital marketing.
So how can you use this emerging technology to your marketing advantage?
VR IDEA: The Future of the Factory Tour
If you’re looking to stand apart from commoditized offerings in your market, you likely have invested in some impressive physical assets only you can claim.
|We have||They have|
|A high-tech factory||Contract manufacturing|
|A beautiful showroom||Online catalog only|
|A Tier 3 Data Center||A closet server rack|
|Innovation lab in office||A webpage on “innovation”|
|High security||A shared office|
|Technology buildout in house||Outsourced services|
|Fully stocked warehouses||A drop-ship model|
VR video provides proof of your assets and guides prospects through a special location they normally wouldn’t have access to. With a VR tour, a prospect in London can watch a YouTube 360 video and tour the Hong Kong factory and your repair center in Canada.
Visitors explore a narrated journey proving that you are an invested partner together with them. This can greatly accelerate the speed of sales for B2B decisions. Virtual Reality video brochures can even be implemented to put an exclamation point on your VIP tours.
How to get started
Plan for Virtual Reality video to simply replace your tour guide. Of course, serious buyers will still want to check it out for themselves, but getting them in sooner clears a key hurdle earlier in the sales journey to advance the conversation.
This Virtual Reality Video we produced for Avant Communications was a major success at their April 2017 Channel Partners show in Las Vegas and allowed viewers to step inside of their Chicago headquarters.
Check out this example from Google. They offer a tour of their data center- a privileged location that few, if any, would ever get the opportunity or clearance to access. It isn’t a showreel or sizzle piece- you are as close as you can be to being there, taking a tour of a location that shows the major physical investments Google has made as a software company.
Patron Tequila created a bees-eye view of their vineyard and factory, packaged into a leave-behind sales tool for bars and restaurants.
VR IDEA: First Person Hero Stories
At VES Creative, we have pushed back against the annoying buzzword of “storytelling” in marketing. Brands are characters, not stories. A brand characterizes a product or service.
But skilled writers and storytellers must adhere to a key rule of character writing: show, don’t tell. VR offers an opportunity for you to craft a story and place your viewer in the dead center of it, as the story unfolds around them. Don’t tell prospects about features and specs, show them benefits.
How to get started
Start, as always, by identifying exactly how your offering makes a visible difference in the lives of others. Don’t list features- show that you understand why those features make your audience’s lives more memorable or efficient. What can they do now that you have solved their problem?
If your innovation a difficult and frustrating task easier, create a VR experience showing how you make that task simple again. Literally recreate their everyday scenario and have the difficulty around them melt away with your innovation as their solution. Paint a before and after picture.
Hiking-boot brand Merrell used VR here to great effect, immersing their viewers into feeling what it is like to walk across a crumbling ledge and over a treacherous wooden mountain bridge.
Non-profit organizations can specially benefit from a first person perspective. Imagine that instead of explaining how donations help the cause, you can place your audience directly in the shoes of those who have their lives changed by your service.
VR IDEA: The 360 Brochure
First, there was the trifold brochure: passive, physical solution
Then there was the digital brochure, or the website: interactive, digital solution.
Virtual Reality offers the opportunity to immerse viewers inside your product or service brochure: immersive, interactive, memorable solution.
How to get started
Have you created an effective brochure before? What part of your offering were you using the brochure to highlight?
Do you have pages on your website that are outside of the typical grouping of webpages? This would be any page besides: about us, our services, our team, and contact pages?
Are you looking to highlight a new offering best explained visually- as in you need to see it to believe it?
Each of these answers can easily be turned into Virtual Reality video. You can even combine the physical and digital by ordering branded VR headsets that work with any smartphone. This pitch isn’t for every prospect, but for the 20 to 80 high-value “whales” in your industry, this kind of presentation just by itself can make a massive impact.
As we’ve discussed frequently, video is the most powerful investment you can make in your brand to achieve growth and revenue. Virtual Reality can be an even bigger investment than traditional video, so make sure you’re on strong footing to succeed. Content creation is a three-phase investment in each of strategy, production, and implementation. With proper investment across all three, you can ride this next wave of marketing to exponential growth.
Be quick, be strong, inspire and call your smallest and most potent audience to action.
If you’d like to read more of our thoughts on the future of branding and video, check out the rest of our blog, and if you’re feeling truly inspired, reach out to us. This is our passion, it’s what we love to do, and we’re always happy to have interesting discussion.