We've finally seen the dawn of consumer-friendly virtual reality headsets, which are being produced and sold from a variety of companies, from Samsung to Facebook. When a new technology like this hits, it's always tricky to say just how important it will be to the average business. Obviously VR has its place (kids love it!), but what does that mean for your marketing efforts? With VR appearing more and more at trade shows, event booths and mobile apps, it's time to talk about all the ways virtual reality can be used to bring in more business – including a couple options that are perfect fits for the LBM industry.
This is the most common usage of VR tech right now. Let's face it, looking at virtual reality footage of a sunny field or soaring flock of birds does almost nothing to directly impact a brand. But it does have a very, very strong wow factor, which is why we are seeing VR being used to attract attention. It's the brand equivalent of wildly waving your arms in the air, but it works. If you want to bring in a lot more traffic and show off some cutting-edge tech, you can do it with VR, and the content doesn't even need to be closely related to your own offering.
This is almost the opposite of spectacle: You see, VR can also be used to provide a very detailed look at a product that other technology cannot provide. One of the best examples we've seen is fabrication and modeling, where clients can take a close, 3D look at their products before they are extruded or installed. This allows companies to show exactly how products work, or how a construction site will be transformed into a building, or how small changes in form factor can meet new design goals. VR can be a very powerful, useful tool for high-level clients and product customization!
This is similar to the Environment usage, but more focused on services and quality control. VR can be used to take clients on a digital tour of the production process and machinery. This allows production companies to show why their processes are superior without giving too much away. Or, it can simply be used to give a quick tour of facilities and amenities, depending on the goals.
We've already seen how VR headsets can be used to create digital classrooms that span the world. That's cool, but outside of employee training it doesn't seem to have much impact on the business world. However, in a broader sense there are a ton of applications for education-focused footage. Imagine teaching a new client how to use one of your tools by making it look like they are actually holding and using the tool, on site, as it was meant to be? Or how to troubleshoot that same tool as if it's happening in the real world.
Most of the points we just covered can be tailored a slightly different way and used for recruitment. From getting applicants acquainted with your company or offices (even if they aren't on site) to attracting new potential employees with spectacle, VR is a great way to capture the attention of the younger generations and locate talent.
Yes, all of these options are "marketing" in some sense of the word. But we're ending with a look into the future: Think about all the ways online video is used today (a technology not available only a couple decades ago), from humor to ads to GIFs and many more types of marketing content. VR is headed that direction as well, so it may be smart to gain some experience in developing VR footage today, rather than being caught off guard.