The way we use marketing to grow brand awareness and bottom line has long outgrown the simple textual messages, images, and long descriptions of features and benefits. Forward-thinking businesses already know the value of visual storytelling and have adopted many formats of it, particularly 360 video and virtual reality.
Here in VIVIDA, our core focus has always been to find a way to storytell through video, and we have been developing and upgrading our toolkit and the formats we use to create even more immersive experiences.
We are largely focusing on virtual reality now, as it allows us to create truly immersive, interactive experiences and create worlds that individuals can experience from a first-person view. It allows our clients to reach their ideal viewer in a fully tailored, empathetic environment and draw them into their ecosystem. This helps them achieve and exceed their marketing and business goals.
We really believe marketers should get on board with VR storytelling and use this growing technology to get in front of the right eyes in the right mindset. This guide will show you how!
What is virtual reality?
Virtual reality is a computer technology that simulates a three-dimensional image or environment that a viewer can interact with. It is a seemingly physical way to engage with a story using a helmet with a screen inside.
Simply said, it means you can storytell to your target audience with the benefit of full interactivity and without outside interruptions or competing for attention.
The benefits go even deeper than that, so keep reading!
Why storytell with virtual reality?
Virtual reality is a very uncrowded space… For now. With the impact it makes, you can get a competitive advantage with your target audience and create a community of loyal fans and brand advocates. Let’s look at the benefits of storytelling with VR!
Storytelling is no longer a one-way path
With traditional storytelling, we’re used to a teller that projects the story, and a listener that receives it. This has been the core of storytelling since its birth. With VR, you, the marketer, are building an environment and it’s the audience that creates the story by participating with it, and in it.
Also, consider this: with VR, the viewer can’t simply interrupt their experience and carry on with what they were doing. Completely opposite of the crowded advertising space they are faced with every hour of every day, they can now experience only your story and environment and are fully immersed in it with all their senses.
It makes storytelling first-person
This perfectly adds to the previous point. The VR viewer isn’t just passively looking at a flat screen or a chunk of text on an image. They are now becoming the storyteller. The story shapes up based on their thoughts, feelings, past experiences and current expectation.
As marketers, we can hope we’ve constructed the best possible experiential world for this person, and that when they come out of it, their memories will craft a powerful story that aligns with what you intended.
Storytelling with VR isn’t linear
Probably the most significant shift that VR caused in storytelling is that it is no longer a single start-to-finish line. With interactivity, animation and options that you can give to your viewer, they can play with the storyline, explore, change the course of the story, and dwell in the part they like the most.
The power is now in their hands, and they get to shape the outcome of the story in their own way.
It allows you to create experiences
When trying to produce an experience that is an equivalent of a real, physical experience of a product, marketers always needed to be extremely clever and know their way around words and images to transcend the person into the way it feels to experience a product.
Virtual reality changes this for the better. While creativity and innovation are still very much a requirement, being able to put a person within the actual experience changes the game forever. Your viewer can now feel and empathise and truly resonate with what you are offering, creating their own memory and impression of it. So far, it is the closest we’ve come to providing a real-world experience through marketing!
Virtual reality induces empathy
VR has been proven to light up empathy centres in the brain. If feelings of empathy are aligning with your core message and values, VR is definitely a concept for you to explore.
Because of virtual reality, your viewer can physically and emotionally be, not just view, the story you’re placing them into. They get to feel instead of simply see. They get to relate, ponder, interact, and they get to enjoy a truly independent, unique experience that no other marketing tool or channel has yet reached.
It’s about depth, not the biggest audience
Or in other words: it’s about quality, not quantity, and the success of your VR efforts will much more depend on how genuine was the experience compared to how many people you’ve reached.
There are many ways in the digital marketing sphere that will allow you to reach thousands or even millions of people and a broad audience – and VR isn’t one of them. Virtual reality is a brilliant solution to engage and move a smaller group on a much deeper level.
How to get started
I know what you may be thinking: “This is all great, but how can I actually apply this to my business and how can I possibly use this to achieve my business goals?”
Don’t worry – we have ideas and guidance on how to brainstorm ideas and where to get started.
Which formats should you consider?
If you are just getting started with VR, the best approach to take is to consider your video content, whether you have created some already, or you’re about to. What topics can you cover with video? What experiences do you want to provide for your viewer? This is a brilliant starting point and a really easy way to start looking at your topics through VR (pun intended!).
Here are some ideas to kick off your brainstorming:
- Product demos. How can your viewer experience your product and feel what it’s like to own it? Imagine the experience of driving a car before you buy it!
- Learning experiences. How can you make their lives easier, whether in their business or private life? Look at what we’ve done for BITC and Barclays in the Royal Albert Hall!
- Behind the scenes. How can you bring your viewer into your creation experience and show them what’s happening behind the curtains, drawing them closer to your brand?
- Events. How can you make them feel like they are sitting at the front row at your key event, even though they are hundreds of miles away?
- Your company’s mission. How can the viewer truly resonate with what your overarching goal is? The Verge created an amazing experience with a video on Michelle Obama’s success, for which they combined 360 video combined with animation.
As you can see, VR can be used for exploration, experiences, entertainment, education, and much more.
Any ideas coming to mind yet? Use any of the above to get started, and you will naturally be able to think more creatively and come up with ideas that will provide the most immersive experiences for your business.
How to start creating
To get started, other than your ideas, you need to know what goes into a fully functional, finalised VR experience.
The first one to keep in mind is the actual content. Video footage can be shot with a 360 camera, or with a specially constructed camera rigs that use multiple cameras recording in different direction. Another option is building realtime computer graphics (computer-generated imagery), similar to those in video games, to generate interactive content.
Another element to keep in mind is design, equally as important as the video footage. In order for the experience to be truly organic, natural and empathetic, the combination of video/graphics with the design has to work flawlessly and account for the natural flow of actions for the viewer.
And to achieve this, you need to work with a team that will know how to convey the message of your brand through an impactful, engaging, and memorable experience of VR. We’d love to hear your story and help you put it in front of the right eyes, in the most immersive way possible. Reach out to us for a chat!