Mobile First: Consider Your Brand in 3D
There’s a radical shift taking place. Rapid advancement in mobile technology has made virtual reality (VR) a reality. With it comes the potential to take your brand from 2D to 3D, creating fully immersive sensory experiences that delight audiences and lead to long-term loyalty.
Menlo Park, Calif.-based Digi-Capital projects the augmented reality (AR)/VR market to reach $150 billion by 2020, with nearly $1 billion poured into the sector in the last year or so. With investment interest at its highest yet, it’s clear that virtual reality isn’t going anywhere.
There’s a Bigger Story and Marketing Opportunity
For marketers, both VR and AR provide an opportunity to engage with audiences beyond our current constructs. They offer new form factors — some not even thought of yet — and new ways to present and interact with content.
The technologies virtually eliminate the limitations of two-dimensional communication. If you think about it, content before the Web was presented in a very linear fashion. Think books, magazines, brochures, ads, direct mail. Even the concept of the Web browser we’ve been using for the past 20 years is based on the idea of traditional documents.
Our Web browsers are still limited to a 2D surface. With virtual and augmented reality, we now have the ability to create immersive content on three axis points — just like the world we live in every day. We have access to intuitive ways to interact with audiences in a 3D space that can’t be experienced on a 2D screen or piece of paper.
Mobile Is the Gateway
While Oculus Rift has gotten the lion’s share of the virtual reality attention, it’s the untethered devices that are bringing VR to the masses. Mobile-centric approaches, like Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear, combined with mobile apps, dramatically lower the cost of entry into the world of VR. They also reduce the learning curve for audiences. After all, almost everyone has access to a smartphone and knows how to download and use mobile apps. With them, marketers can create immersive experiences that rival those of the tethered devices.
The momentum of VR is driving developers to push the technology even further. Google recently released an Android app for taking 360-degree photos and transforming them into VR experiences. Google-owned YouTube has been supporting 360-degree video uploads for almost a year and now supports virtual reality video that can be viewed and explored on the desktop or through its “cardboard mode” app. Both innovations give marketers additional platforms to deliver engaging and memorable experiences to their audiences.
Not Just for Big Brands
You don’t have to look very far to see examples of brands using VR. Just last month, Verizon customers got exclusive access to custom Google Cardboard viewers and a series of nine virtual reality missions tied to the Star Wars movie premiere.
Verizon joins a long list of brands tapping into virtual reality to deliver engaging experiences in 3D. From consumer packaged goods and movie studios to hotels and distilleries, companies are betting on the future and dipping their toes into the virtual waters. At the same time, they’re gaining the experience that will open the door to even more immersive experiences.
Virtual reality has officially entered the mainstream. Mobile is making it viable for not just the big brands, but for all marketers.
At TREKK, our interactive team and software developers have been creating AR and VR experiences for a wide range of industries. Both consumer and B-to-B marketers are seeing the potential and opportunity in these new technologies. Last September, we demonstrated VR at a print industry conference and were inundated with response.
VR is being used in consumer promotions, as well as creating buzz at industry tradeshows. It’s a natural for the hospitality and tourism industries. But it also allows marketers in any industry to create virtual facilities tours or offer potential customers a chance to experience your product or service in a new way. Training companies also are finding VR gives them the immersive experience that helps students grasp complex concepts or build context into instruction.
Because of its relatively low price point, Cardboard offers a unique branding opportunity that can be combined with or used as a component in branded apps. This past holiday season, TREKK delivered a VR holiday card in a branded Google Cardboard. A quick app download transported our friends and colleagues into a winter wonderland. With that initial investment, the platform allows us to continue creating and delivering experiences that create ongoing dialogues with customers and prospects.