What Virtual Reality Can and Can’t Do for Your Brand

What Virtual Reality Can and Can’t Do for Your Brand

Here’s a closer look at what VR can and can’t do for your brand. What Virtual Reality Can Do 1. Sample a product Augmented reality lets consumers sample products without going to the store and dealing with the hassle that is brick-and-mortar shopping. Brands can publish 360-degree VR videos through Snapchat’s Discover channel, and since they’re not native ads, viewers can only see them by swiping up. The ad took the masquerade ball scene, apparently a fan favorite, and let viewers feel like they were part of the spectacle with the ability to glance around at the whole spread. What Virtual Reality Can’t Do 1. “A big problem with [branded] VR experiences is that users don’t always connect the experience with a brand,” Dr. Ahn added. A true branded VR experience would let the user interact with the brand’s product in an alternate reality.” 2. Overcome Technological Hassles For now, most branded AR opportunities require additional app downloads. For VR and AR to reach their full potential, consumers would need to own a VR headset.

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In October of 2016, I attended the Future of Storytelling Festival, a gathering of innovative storytelling formats, most of which dealt with virtual reality and augmented reality. I was performing as part of a pop-up Shakespeare exhibition that put on scenes from Romeo and Juliet in the midst of the crowd every few hours, which meant I had plenty of time to play with the other instillations. It was a theatre-nerd-turned-tech-geek’s dream weekend.

What makes virtual and augmented reality so effective for storytelling is how they put multiple senses in the middle of the action. During the three-day festival, I experienced famous peoples’ deaths, played Picasso and altered famous works of art, and—my personal favorite—strapped on wings and flew over the coast of New Zealand.

Customer experience has been a huge concern for marketers lately. Brands are hoping that VR fosters a unique, entertaining, and unforgettable experience. But while it seems like there’s an endless wealth of content possibilities, that’s not always the case. Here’s a closer look at what VR can and can’t do for your brand.

What Virtual Reality Can Do

1. Sample a product

Augmented reality lets consumers sample products without going to the store and dealing with the hassle that is brick-and-mortar shopping. IKEA’s Place app allows customers to see how furniture looks in their house before they commit to that new settee, and Sephora’s iOS app lets users simulate how makeup will look on their face before they officially brush on the blush. (Think Snapchat filters but with actual products.)

IKEA augmented reality
IKEA augmented reality sample

Smartphones currently make up up 41 percent of online purchases. AR sampling is already a viable way to attract business, but as digital shopping continues to thrive, that sort of testing is only going to become more important.

2. Transport Audiences

Suppose I’m taking a break from the reality of my NYC snow day to check out a tropical island via VR, and I find myself suddenly inspired to book a vacation. As someone who once impulsively bought a flight to Italy because I was drinking a glass of nice Chianti, I am the prime candidate for VR-fueled travel planning.

Marriott’s Teleporter wants to help make this a reality by sending VR users to the top of London’s Tower 42 or a black sand beach on Maui, letting people escape their lives for a moment and realize how nice it would feel to actually book that vacation. Qantas has a similar VR program that lets travelers experience Australia virtually before the book the flight, and British Airways has…

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