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Understanding VR: What Do Brands Need To Know?

With its increased use, how are companies taking advantage?

14Sep

Across many different industries, brands and storytellers are beginning to realize the power of video content and the opportunities it provides for greater customer engagement. With the emergence of Virtual Reality (VR), could we be looking at the next step in motion content, allowing our audiences to come closer to the story than ever before?

In recent years, technologies such as 3D TV have not survived their initial popularity and interest, disappearing from the limelight as soon as the novelty wore off – but VR feels different.

VR is in its infancy, which means the full potential of this technology – not to mention the benefits it can bring – has yet to be seen.

As such, as VR continues to carve its place in the digital content sphere, brands and storytellers will need to keep a close eye in order to maximize the opportunities that this technology can offer for connecting with their audience on a deeper level.

Understanding VR

As with any new digital platform or tool, organizations looking to utilize VR should do so as part of a broader content strategy. Digital video allows brands to develop relevant, relatable content in order to establish a shared interest and connection with their audience - but VR can take this one step further. By exploring the interactive opportunity that VR provides, brands can engage users on a different level; immersive experiences with emotive content, whilst creating involvement and a lasting impact. However, the key to achieving success with this technology will be to ensure that the experience is something that an audience will not only value but also feel comfortable exploring from within their headset.

The art of storytelling

VR has already generated a huge amount of interest, with organizations and users enthralled with the technological and creative opportunities that it provides. However, whilst brands and storytellers should be open to exploring VR, it is important to ensure that it serves a purpose, and is not used ‘for the sake of it’.

A good example of the successful introduction of a new, innovative technology was Pixar’s, Toy Story. Toy Story is particularly special as it was the first feature-length film that was created entirely on a computer – the 3D animated visuals were mind-blowing, drawing awe and accolades for the animation and rendering technology that Pixar had created. 21 years on, the film still draws high praise - even though we’ve seen hundreds of animated 3D computer films since. Pixar’s mantra is ‘the story is king’, and the impressive run of Toy Story demonstrates the success of using technology to enhance the story, rather than the other way round.

What’s next for VR?

It’s still early days for VR, with it currently most effective in the world of gaming - where technology, storytelling, and customer interaction combine to create an emotive link with the gamer. Creating that link is crucial for brands and storytellers seeking to experiment with VR, regardless of the industry or product.

Beyond the gaming industry, Unicef is leading the way in the charity sector, using Gear VR headsets to allow supporters to experience the life of a Syrian child, and showcasing the use of this technology to create an emotive connection for the consumer.

In order for VR to become a key part of an organisation’s content and engagement strategy, they will need to be brave, try things out and think creatively. However, a dazzling showcase of a product won’t be enough to win the hearts and minds of consumers. It has to engage the user on a deeper level, taking the user on a new journey that they have never experienced before.

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