Once the purview of gamers and early technology adopters, virtual reality is moving into the mainstream—and into companies across the country and the world. According to the 2016 Dell Future Workforce Global study, today’s workforce expects a “smart office,” and virtual reality is one way to get there.
According to the study, 77 percent of millennials are willing to use virtual reality products at work, and 52 percent of millennials believe virtual and augmented reality platforms would increase productivity and collaboration.
Like most forms of new technology, virtual reality platforms are becoming both more advanced and less expensive, which means companies of all types and sizes can use virtual reality technology to support their needs and goals. And many companies are already seeing a return on their investment into virtual reality.
Applications and benefits can include:
- Immersive training and educational experiences
- Improved teamwork and collaboration between in-house and remote workers
- Cost savings from building and testing products virtually
- Employee reward programs using gamification
Virtual Reality and Your Marketing Goals
One of the newest applications of virtual reality in the business environment is marketing. Low-cost virtual reality systems such as Google Cardboard—a cardboard viewer that holds a smartphone and allows users to experience virtual reality through Cardboard-compatible phone apps—mean average consumers can interact with brands and products in an environment enhanced by virtual reality.
The marketing applications for virtual reality are as varied as marketing goals themselves. Here are a few examples of how virtual reality can enhance your marketing efforts.
Telling a story.
For many companies, brand identity starts with a story. For shoe manufacturer TOMS, the story is that for every pair of shoes sold, one pair is donated to a child in need in the developing world.To strengthen customer’ connection to the company through its story, TOMS created an ad that took viewers on a giving trip to a remote village in Peru using virtual reality. Bringing their unique story to life helped TOMS strengthen their customer connection.
Creating an experience.
First-hand experience with a product or brand is often the best way to market it, but first-hand experience can be difficult—or expensive—to come by. British clothing retailer TopShop knew that a front row seat at their London Fashion Week runway show was the perfect way for customers to see their clothes in action.
But they also knew that the average TopShop customer would never be in the front row of a runway show at London Fashion Week. So they created a panoramic video stream of their show, available for viewing at their flagship store, to give customers the runway show experience in the virtual world.Virtual reality has also become a popular marketing tool for car companies. Car manufacturers including Volvo and Mercedes have put customers in the virtual drivers’ seat, letting them take a leisurely drive through the country or a fast spin around a racetrack without ever leaving home.
We collect data on just about anything in today’s business world, including marketing data. You can use virtual reality or mixed reality environments to enhance your own employees’ interaction with key business data. For example, invest in touch screens and software that allow employees to manipulate data with their hands. Collaboration will go up, wasted time will go down, and you’ll reach your marketing goals that faster.
The Right Technology Increases Virtual Reality Success
Of course, virtual reality is not applicable to every company or every brand, but its potential should not be overlooked or go unexplored. Even companies that only market to other businesses can find virtual reality applications. But no virtual reality application will succeed without the right technology to connect people to each other and the experience you’ve worked so hard to create.
This technology guide can help you ensure that you have the right technology solutions in the real-world to support a worthwhile experience in the virtual one.