Digital marketing is all about delivering highly engaging experiences to the audience. For this, marketers have explored various content types such as infographics, videos, presentations, and podcasts to captivate the audience and compel them to take action.
But since there’s no one-size-fits-all solution in marketing, you need to utilize a combination of these content types in your strategy. You also need to keep up with the ongoing trends and adopt new technologies that will give your brand the upper hand.
This is where virtual reality steps in.
What about Virtual Reality?
For the past few years, virtual reality has been gaining ground in the content marketing funnel scene – delivering never-before-seen experiences to the world’s audience. While VR devices have been around for decades, the technology never really took off until the introduction of Rift by Oculus in 2012.
Here is an infographic on the impact of VR technology thus far:
Today, content creators from sectors like gaming, education, journalism, and business scramble to be the first to offer comprehensive VR experiences in their competition. But since the technology is quite new, there’s no specific “recipe” for VR marketing applications.
For now, you can borrow inspiration from brands who successfully integrated VR with their marketing:
TOMS was founded in 2006 with one purpose – to provide footwear to children who need them. To raise awareness, the TOMS flagship store in Venice, California used Samsung’s Gear VR goggles to bring customers to a shoe-giving trip in Peru. While this story is way back in 2015, it showed how effective VR content can be in immersion and inspiring action.
Nescafe had a simple approach when launching their first VR app. Using Google Cardboard, users are given a behind-the-scenes look at Brazil’s vast coffee fields. The experience was brief, but seeing the origin of their favorite morning drink was enough to get them more involved with the brand.
3. Absolut Vodka
In 2016, Absolut Vodka teamed up with music producer Deadmau5 to create the VR experience – Absolut Deadmau5. The app was designed to give the audience a chance to experience the life of a music producer. It goes to show that—with creativity and budget—no brand is off-limits to VR technology.
4. Red Bull
Red Bull aims to be the first in line when it comes to exhilarating, adrenaline-filled activities. By partnering with RewindFX, the company brought the tension to fans with their VR app – Red Bull Air Racer. But rather than making the simulation widely available, they leveraged it to attract more attendees for their tours in the UK.
5. Visit Houston
To bust the myth that Houston offers nothing but “tumbleweeds and cattle”, Visit Houston launched a VR experience that highlights some of its greatest attractions – from the NASA Space Center, the Houston Ballet, and the Art Car Parade. The experience kicks off with a simple survey that helps Visit Houston better understand their leads. Fortunately, the VR content was promising enough to convert more visitors.
6. The North Face
With the help of athletes and filmmakers, The North Face brought their in-store customers to the Yosemite National Park and Moab desert via VR. The app was designed not only to attract shoppers, but to encourage them to see those locations in real life as well.
Sometimes, it’s nice to see great technology being utilized for non-profit causes. That’s why UNICEF’s “Clouds over Sidra”, an award-winning film, deserves to be on this list. It’s an 8-minute 360° video set in a Syrian refugee camp in Za’atari, Jordan – further proving that VR content is highly effective for conveying emotions that may translate to action.
8. Best Western
Bringing the audience to a distant location is still one of the best applications of VR tech. In this next example, Best Western recreates over 2,200 real-life locations in virtual space. The main purpose is to provide customers with detailed previews of lobbies, rooms, and other amenities worth seeing. And for this particular project, the company needed the help of Google Street View.
There is still a way to ride the VR trend without being involved in app development. McDonald’s, for example, offered Happy Meal boxes that can be folded into VR goggles. Although these aren’t meant as alternatives to proper VR headsets, the effort was enough to get children begging their parents for a Happy Meal.