Virtual reality has applications outside the experience itself (photo credit: betto rodrigues)
Virtual reality has applications outside the experience itself (photo credit: betto rodrigues)
A view from Fran Elliott

Blog: VR can be used for more than just brand experiences

Virtual reality (VR) experiences are everywhere, literally everywhere, says Momentum Worldwide's Fran Elliott, but they can be used for more than just amazing brand experiences.

Walking through any major city these days, you are pretty likely to see a consumer experience designed to entice and engage consumers using VR, be it a full-on experience with a supporting event build or a lighter version using something like Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear.

More and more consumer friendly options are becoming available everyday too, be it from Microsoft, Sony or Oculus Rift.

Brands are frantically churning out VR experiences for their consumers, and that’s great. The more we have brands investing in VR, the better the content available on the platform will become, as each tries to outdo the other.

But the magic of VR has more applications than simply wowing consumers, it can also be used as an amazing planning and insights tool for experiential.

VR has more than one use

Building an idea in VR gives a client the ability to see a virtual version of an experiential build before it’s physically created, allowing the client to commit to something without the costly outlay or actually getting deep into production only to be told: ‘It’s not really what we are looking for'.

This not only gives the brand an advantage, but also the agency: that edgy and game-changing creative that your client might shy away from can be shown to them well ahead of time and any fears can be put to rest, leading to no dilution of your creative big idea.

VR is also a great measure for concentration points. Using eye tracking, the most engaging parts of an experience can be found before you even start the build, allowing you to learn and rapidly iterate the rest of the idea to be just as engaging.

The point is, VR allows for deeper, more immersive experiences for audiences, and that’s great, but we need to think about more than the obvious here.

VR is a powerful tool for all experiential practitioners, allowing for more effective planning and refinement of great brand experiences, be it purely experiential or in the retail space too. The days of drawing an idea on a napkin have been banished to marketing folklore, clients now expect fully 3D rendered drawings of a proposed experience to be able to make an informed decision on whether or not to invest in your grand creative idea.

Why limit yourself to static images or ‘fly-thrus’ that live on a screen when you can make that experience so much more immersive with some simple post production? After all, we call ourselves experiential experts, don’t think this applies only to the end results of what we produce; it should underline everything we do, from pitching, briefing, to planning, concept and eventually execution.

With a tool like VR in your hands, are your fulfilling your promise (and potential) as an experiential expert?

Fran Elliott is UK director of experiential and events at Momentum Worldwide.

More blogs from Fran Elliott:

Making time for brand experiences

The front line of total brand experience

Comment below to let us know what you think.

For more in-depth and print-only features, showcases and interviews with world-leading brands, don't miss the next issue of Event magazine by subscribing here.