Virtual Reality Makes a Comeback in Marketing

Brands Virtual Reality

By: Mary Gutierrez, Contributor

Virtual Reality. Remember that? The concept was huge and originally thought to be a technology that would greatly enhance the gaming and marketing industries. Even though this was a big trend, the technology hasn’t been readily available to consumers.

Virtual Reality has been around since the mid-1990s, but is now gaining more and more recognition with the marketing industry and is even said to be the next big medium for marketers according to Forbes.

What is Virtual Reality?

The whole idea of Virtual Reality is that the user is presented with a completely artificial and immersive environment. Augmented Reality, which is similar to Virtual Reality, is another technology trend. This trend, however, is the superimposing of graphics, audio and other sensory enhancements over a real-world environment in real time. Many thought that these technological advances would only be useful for the gaming industry, but there are new possibilities for Virtual Reality in marketing today.

Experience is Key

The great advantage of Virtual Reality is that this technology can make it appear to the user that they’re somewhere they’re not. It looks real. It feels real. But it’s a simulation. As professionals in the marketing and advertising industry, we want to engage the Hispanic market but also have them experience what we are selling, whether it’s a product or an idea. This tool offers a new way to connect to the Hispanic community. Experience is key to Hispanic consumer engagement, and Forbes states that Virtual Reality is an experience that taps into more than just the physical world that ads live in today.

How Brands Have Used It

A few brands have noticed the benefits of Virtual Reality and have begun using it as a medium. Volvo made test-driving interesting by developing an app where you can experience a virtual test drive with Google Cardboard. They used #VolvoReality to measure their success and reached over 238 million impressions.

It makes sense to use this type of technology within the automotive industry. The consumer’s experience in a test drive is important to their overall decision about the vehicle. This past weekend, I went to the State Fair of Texas and experienced my own Virtual Reality experience from Toyota. They used Oculus Rift goggles to simulate that I was riding in the passenger seat with the driver talking to me about the benefits of the Toyota Camry. I was looking at an animated scenario, so it obviously wasn’t real, but it still felt like I was there.

Other big brands, like Lowe’s and The North Face, have joined the trend and used it for their own benefit. Click the link to see how these brands used Virtual Reality successfully.

Even the United Nations thought this could be a useful tool. They used the experience of Virtual Reality to raise awareness among wealthy people regarding various social and economical issues around the world. Through immersive films, the rich can see the world from a completely poignant perspective.

It seems like the use of Virtual Reality has taken off, but will it only stay a trend? If brands utilize this tool correctly, they can stand to greatly benefit from it – especially in the Hispanic market, where connecting on a personal level is key. Brands have the opportunity to be creative with this technology. The question is whether they’ll take the initiative or let it pass them by.

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