I have a distinct memory of my first encounter with virtual reality videos earlier this year.
I was sitting in the cafeteria of my college, talking with a friend who had just come back from Los Angeles. He had what he was calling a “Google Cardboard” – what looked like a strange little cardboard box. I put it up to my face, and I was suddenly flying through space! It wasn’t just a linear video though. As I looked around, I was whizzing past nebulas and stars with the freedom to look wherever I wanted.
Frankly, I was so floored by the experience that I almost fell out of my chair (literally). Recently, Facebook optimized their video player for 360º videos, making virtual reality even more accessible. I remember showing one to a friend, and she was equally blown away. She even exclaimed, “The future is now!”
Virtual reality (VR) was a groundbreaking idea back in the 80s and 90s. But the graphical experience couldn’t keep up, making it very unrealistic. As a result, VR fell by the wayside. Now, VR is making a comeback. YouTube already made 360º videos possible in March of 2015, and Facebook bought the Oculus VR headset in 2014. Today, it’s all coming together.
How It’s Done
To create a virtual experience, cameras film a spherical picture with a 360º camera like the Bublcam or Go-Pro cameras rigged in a sphere. Then, it is rendered on a phone, computer or viewer like the Oculus.
Yes, I know. You’re probably asking, “Austin, how is this relevant to B2B communications and advertising?” The answer is you’re only limited by your imagination.
Currently, we know that video is the most engaging medium. By creating a more immersive video experience with VR, you will build meaningful connections with your target audience.
Virtual Reality Applications
When we think of virtual reality, we tend to think of video game headsets like Playstation VR. But virtual reality has numerous applications outside of video games. For example, real estate companies immediately found a use for VR. With virtual reality, people can now take virtual tours of properties and envision themselves in the space. Likewise, it is useful for the simulation industry. Power plant operators can simulate a day in the life without putting anyone in actual danger.
Now, imagine the opportunities for B2B communications. This is mostly uncharted territory for B2B, so the sky is the limit. Virtual reality gives you a chance to connect with your audience in an entirely new way. The possibilities are virtually (see what I did there?) unlimited.
How about a 360º tour of your facility? A 360º interactive demo of a product? Here’s an example of a 360º tour of Google’s facility. For this virtual tour, you can pan the camera around on a desktop, but it’s best viewed on a mobile device. Want to see more fantastic VR videos? Check out this channel.
To Sum It All Up…
B2B communications is entering the future of video. VR and animatic videos are a great way to introduce complex material to your audience and improve engagement. They help transform complex, highly technical concepts into clear, easy-to-understand messaging. More importantly, they help your brand stand out in a sea of competitors.
Naturally, you don’t want to leave your marketing hanging without a strategy. If you’re thinking about it, be sure to think integrated.
All marketing tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating all tactics, the programs become more effective and cost efficient. An Integrated marketing communication plan helps you meet real business objectives – generate leads, grow revenues, gain market share, and become the leading brand.