This fall, Google kicks off its Daydream virtual reality (VR) product, which takes its Cardboard product to the next level. With Daydream, Android users will connect a headset to their mobile devices that allows them to interact with games and other apps. Through Daydream Home, consumers will be able to access Netflix, Hulu, and IMAX, as well as games from EA and Ubisoft, among others. Once the technology is in widespread use, brands will discover how to connect with customers using VR.
There are many opportunities for brands to take advantage of VR for their product development and marketing efforts. Here are a few ways you may be implementing Daydream in your business several months from now.
1. Show prototypes.
Prototypes can be an expensive undertaking for a new business, but any potential investor, business partner, or early customer will want to see an example of the product before committing. Having a product on hand to show can make a big difference, but a new business usually lacks the resources necessary to initiate manufacturing, even for one item. With VR, brands can already create a software-based prototype that can be refined as they go. If a prospect requests a change, the prototype can be easily tweaked and returned to the prospect for consideration.
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2. Trying before buying.
Brick-and-mortar shopping allows customers to try out different products before making a purchase. This is especially important for high-dollar items like electronics and vehicles. VR would give online shoppers the opportunity to interact with products in a similar manner, simulating the in-person experience in a way traditional online shopping can’t. This would remove some of the obstacles to online purchasing, giving consumers the ability to purchase an expensive product without having to buy locally. The technology is already being used in auto showrooms to let customers see how various add-ons will look in the car they’re currently standing next to.
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3. Demonstrate brand experiences.
Some of the best examples of marketing through VR are brand experiences. These marketing campaigns are built by focusing on giving the customer a fun experience, putting the ad message secondary to that. Whether you’re taking the customer on a mountain climb or allowing them to relax on the beach, your VR experience should be something the customer enjoys. That will bring customers back for repeat demonstrations, as well as increase the chance that they’ll recommend it to friends. Over time, you’ll grow comfortable enough with the technology to come up with even more imaginative ways to use it.
4. Create interactive ads.
As consumers use VR for play, brands will need to find creative ways to insert ads into the games and other content being viewed. This is a convenient opportunity to implement the brand experiences and product interactions mentioned in the above examples. Since the ads will be seen by customers who don’t yet know about a particular brand, it will be important for businesses to find unique ways to create VR-optimized ads. Since the technology will still be new for a while, advertisers will have an edge by finding a way to be innovative with VR ads early on. The key is to consider the various personality types who will use Google Daydream in the early stages and market directly to those customers.
Virtual reality is an exciting new technology that will likely gather attention from numerous consumers in the coming months. By finding a way to create brand experiences and marketing messages using the technology, businesses can connect with customers in a way they haven’t previously. The earlier brands can become involved in VR, the better, since over time the marketplace is likely to become as crowded as many other platforms have.