Bowdy here from the ST team. I am a member of our creative team and Director of Sales. I attended Promax DBA's "The Conference" this summer and spoke on a panel regarding the use of VR for marketing, sitting aside other media professionals. The discussion mainly focused on marketing, but Vince Lynch (left) also touched on how A.I. will impact marketing and be utilized within virtual reality in the future.
The crowd was not new to virtual reality. Almost 100% of them had tried VR, but not many raised their hands when asked if they had done a VR experience that was really compelling and got them excited. Why the long faces? The lack of enthusiasm? I couldn't fully blame them. When I went to CES, there were a slew of VR experiences used for marketing purposes. All-in-all, they were lack-luster. It pains me to say that, because the collective success and excellence of all creators in the industry is one component that is key for its growth. But it is not easy to create a compelling experience that has AAA artistry, a fluid storyline, intuitive interaction, and a clear message. If CES, of all conferences, was lacking in impressive experiences, of course people are wary.
So what's going on?
What are the factors that have marketing executives trigger shy?
1: SCALE - VR is emerging and has not scaled. There is concern around achieving scale to justify the spend. How do we get it to enough people? So few people have headsets at this juncture.
2: COST - The spend is not cheap. Even our lean and resilient team comes with a minimum cost. We can develop an amazing experience for cheaper than most, but that cost is still outside of the comfort zone of a lot of brand professionals. Those in control of marketing budgets have traditional media outlets that will certainly be much less, and they have done it before. VR seems risky. Traditional avenues seem safe.
3: EFFECT - This technology is new, so there is apprehension around how to make a compelling experience. It would be seen as a failure to make an experience that doesn't bring KPIs (key performance indicators) that justify the cost.
The Argument to Pull the Trigger
1: SCALE - VR has not been widely adopted. Yes! Fortunately, each major hardware manufacturer is working on headsets that have new benefits—for instance—cheaper, mobile, stand-alone (w/o cell phone needed).
In the meantime, experiential activations can draw huge PR value and convert an epic experience attended by relatively few, to be seen and heard by many. Porting the experience to video format for users to be able to access on the internet and scroll around can let the masses see the experience, albeit without the full immersion. For business to business purposes, what better way to impart your vision unto your customers and partners than to put them into that world?
2: COST - Introducing IMPACT. With virtual reality, begging for a person to look, click through, and buy the service or goods you are selling by using rectangular ad space that is but a fraction of a person's full range of sight, will be made inferior. Virtual Reality lives as a memory. If you team up with the right studio to make it epic, lasting, and impactful, the users will be changed similarly to the way they feel after viewing a quality film. They'll have a whole new understanding of what your product or service stands for and how it can benefit them. If conversion and true impact is reached, cost is well worth it.
3: EFFECT - Re-creating reality. Not a simple thing to do. We have seen countless VR experiences that fall short of utilizing the medium in a meaningful way. Every little thing matters. To take the user into your vision, the interactive or passive element has to be well defined. It needs to live in VR deliberately. If it can be done better in 2D, don't do it in VR. Our team has mastered a stereoscopic video technique to embed actors into a CGI environment. Make that actor a brand affiliated celebrity or cultural icon, and users will have a lived memory with that person, as if they met him in real life.
That's one value add. What about the literal feeling and vision of your brand? What fuels the fire in the soul of your CEO and your team? When ideating on how to put that vision into 2D, it is coming from imagination, and imagination is 3D. So we can now eliminate that paring down step and simply think in 3D, then adapt that to the constraints of VR. Take users into the world of your brand and don't hold back. There are no limits. Add an exceptional development team that can incorporate stunning 360 sound-design, and you are well on your way.
We happen to be such a team that can help make your brand be felt by a person in a way that has never been done before. Don't test virtual reality out. Do it deliberately and make it effective and long-lasting. If you yourself happen to be in need, send me a friendly email. firstname.lastname@example.org
We are committed to making premium virtual reality experiences that help people understand themselves and the world better. As part of that mission, we can affect people's senses with your brand vision.