The risks of VR marketing

Last week we wrote a blog post called “Why you need VR in your marketing”. This week we are letting you know what traps to avoid if you are thinking about commissioning a VR marketing experience.

 

Let us start by saying that we believe that VR is THE ultimate marketing tool the World has ever seen. Having said that VR (just like most forms of advertising) is not right for every product or service out there. And even if the item being marketed lends itself well to VR in theory there are plenty of ways to mess up a VR project that looked good on paper.

Anybody venturing into VR marketing territory will need to spend a hefty lump of money. That’s just the nature of the beast – good VR costs money, there is no getting around it. And since most brands like to get their money’s worth it is important to consider some of the potential pitfalls of VR, as it pertains to marketing. That’s why we asked some of our talented members to give us their bear case to brands or organizations thinking about spending money on VR.

 

We asked them – what are the risks and pitfalls of VR marketing?

 

 

Sol Rogers – REWIND

– The worst thing you can do with a marketing campaign is assume that using virtual reality will automatically make your campaign good. Bad content in any medium is still bad content. If you lack an interesting and creative idea, putting your campaign in VR isn’t going to make it better. How big can VR marketing get and what will it take for it to get there? It all depends on the idea. If it’s a killer, it will go far. The user base for VR is currently a bit of a limitation – you have to be clever about how you market VR content to ensure maximum awareness even though everyone might not be able to experience it.

 

 

Stephanie Marlo – Artist Life Vision

– Personally I would say one of the biggest pitfalls is the client not understanding the market. This leads into what I consider the biggest risk for them, which is attempting to run or control their campaign by pushing old and outdated ways of marketing. For instance; You create an app or a video and release it on a normal 2D or mobile based platform. You optimize the search and trends and yet your return is mediocre for what you expected from your VR campaign. Why is this?

The answer is simple. You are no longer looking to the same process for appeal as before so you must think outside of the box when approaching VR users. My advice is to trust the virtual reality group you hire when they speak to you about the integration options for your industry. Communications, immersion and storytelling are key components in the virtual world. Find a company whose storytelling and immersive ideas match your own for the fullest campaign possible.

 

 

Emil Charpentier – Charpstar

– Going into VR marketing with the false idea that you will get a high reach or see instant conversion. As neither of this serves VRs purpose right now. The risk with ultimately seeking for
reach anyhow is that end experience through mobile virtual reality experiences for cardboard is falling short and finally you will end up with nothing more but a gimmicky experience and a loss
of money.

 

 

Sam Watts – Make Real

– The best piece of advice is to always ask yourself Why VR? and if you can’t answer that effectively at any stage of design and development of a campaign, stop and assess why. Similarly if a brand or product approach you to create something in VR because they’ve heard it’s cool but aren’t interested in why or how it could benefit them, walk away. Remember that we are still at the stage where the majority of people haven’t tried VR in any shape or form and it is highly likely that your experience will be their first experience of the technology. If that experience sucks or is using VR in a gimmicky or cheap way, then they will see that and think that’s all it can do and you’ll end up damaging the wider adoption towards mass market appeal overall.

 

 

Philip Oloo – SPACIALISTS

– I would say start simple, but don’t forget to ask yourself, “How is this going to engage my customer?” along the way. I know that compelling content for me is not always what’s engaging for our clients or their customers. When we design a VR experience we have to think about the end user who will ultimately engage with it, how they’ll experience it, and what our customer needs to get out of it. These are all important to remember while developing VR marketing. You’re not just making something cool, it has to move the product or service forward.

 

 

Josh Farkas – Cubicle Ninjas

– Don’t get distracted by the tech. It is a means to an end. VR is a new medium. We’re all learning its unique capabilities. But try and think about how the app can be wholly unique to VR. Could this app exist in any other medium? If so, you’re likely not leveraging the potential.

Don’t let the infinite boundaries push you to create something that isn’t brand aligned. Subtly is just as beautiful as jumping from a plane. It is about taking a person someplace fresh in body or mind. And we still need a call to action. Having a VR experience with no punchline might as well not exist.

 

 

Alex Meader & Connor Hair – Perception Squared

– One of the biggest pitfalls we’ve seen with VR marketing is a reliance on visual “wow” factor at the expense of good storytelling. Since the technology is so new, and so novel, there are a lot of people who are creating content that is visually flashy, but ultimately rather shallow and unfulfilling. While visual appeal and “wow” factor is a very important part of marketing pure visuals by themselves won’t create a lasting connection with a brand the way a compelling story can. The other big pitfall we see a lot of people falling into with VR content is a lack of understanding of the fundamentals of the camera technology and the way that VR affects people’s brains. There are a lot of VR experiences out there that are have very distracting technical problems like obvious stitch lines, or shaky cameras and forced camera motion. Unfortunately not only do these kind of things distract from the quality of the experience, but if they’re severe enough, they can actually make viewers feel ill.

 

 

Ulrico Grech-Cumbo – Deep VR

​- The biggest mistakes we see happening currently in brands planning VR: not adequately using the 360 field of view (it takes practice, we’re so used to fixed frame!), and we need to keep the scenes long. Quick cuts are very interruptive once a newcomer to VR has finally got the gist of looking around and just as they start exploring, the scene changes.

 

 

Emma Mankey Hidem – Sunnyside VR

– The technology is still very limiting and there are a lot of things that either don’t make a good VR experience or can even make a bad VR experience. People get nauseous or dizzy sometimes when there is movement. And another pitfall is choosing an experience where everything is only happening in one spot – then it might as well be a traditional video. Not many people are thinking outside the box yet and are making VR experiences that are really not much different from regular screen content.

 

 

Brandon D’Silva – Virtual Guest

– I think there are people out there that see 360° content as a ‘fad-format.’ We’ve invested heavily into professional video & image production solutions and a premium user experience is not cheap. I think for VR marketing to be both cost and outcome effective it needs to be planned correctly and progress over stages rather than one-off productions.

 

 

Ilya Gandzeychuk – Program-Ace

– It is important to remember that virtual reality is just another marketing tool, not a panacea that could save a failed campaign. In today’s realm, VR can only be powerful when it is a part of your strategy, not a base for it. Don’t be fooled by its capacities, if you put bad content in virtual reality, it will still be bad. Before starting planning a budget for VR implementation, ask yourself and your marketing team:

1. How can you take advantage of VR in your industry to increase brand awareness and boost sales?

2. Is your audience ready to experience virtual reality (mentally and financially)?

3. Are there any other examples of VR marketing in your business sector? If yes, how successful was the campaign (pay attention to actual numbers if you could find them)?

Perceive the hype around Industry 4.0 technologies calmly, first, analyze the needs and demands of your industry and its attitude towards virtual reality.

 

Wanna see some cool examples of VR in marketing? Check out our case studies section here

VR, Marketing January 15, 2019 by Rick