Florian Fuehren

Back when “the two Steves” were working on the first Apple computer in a Los Altos garage, no marketer would’ve imagined their work would somehow affect their day-to-day business. That’s probably even more true for fashion brands, realtors and musicians, but here we are.

With the introduction of the Vision Pro, yet another tech giant has entered the virtual reality (VR) space, and we can already tell how it’s transforming the very notion of content marketing. If you’re curious about what that means for your brand, we’ll give you everything you need to augment your content strategy. 

Virtual Reality Check: What Is VR and How Does It Work?

Maybe you’ve seen someone at a tech conference or your office wearing giant plastic goggles, waving at things that weren’t there. In that case, you’re probably curious about what those people were doing, and if they just responded with, “It’s a VR experience!” that only leaves more questions.

In the simplest terms, VR is like a VIP pass to peek into alternate universes, minus the pesky interdimensional travel. Once you put on those goggles, you enter a computer-generated personalized experience that immerses you in a virtual world, which can contain anything developers — or content marketers — come up with. VR users might take a stroll at the bottom of the Grand Canyon or battle intergalactic dragonflies — all from the comfort of their living room.

So, how does that work? Well, it all starts by gathering a bunch of data, from motion sensors, eye trackers and outside cameras to understand how we naturally behave and move in our environment. Now, it takes all that data and factors in our movements while delivering VR content in stereo. 

That’s right, a core component of VR technology is called stereoscopy, and it’s basically what you’d expect based on experiences you may have had with your stereo system. By presenting unique views of the scenery with slightly different depths of field, the virtual experience tricks our brain into believing we’re observing a physical environment in three dimensions. The reason why that’s important is that past VR implementations didn’t aim to coordinate body movement and visual input, which often caused motion sickness.

“But wait,” you might ask, ”how is VR different from augmented reality, or AR?”

As we just mentioned, a VR app plunges you headfirst into a fully immersive environment, replacing the real world with a digital wonderland. However, AR only augments or enhances your reality by layering virtual elements onto your physical surroundings. Modern devices even maintain a sense of place, so you could resize an application window on your living room wall and put your music player window right above your real record player.

A New Dimension of Engagement: Benefits of VR in Content Marketing

We’re not saying every brand should run a VR ad, so we’ll discuss some telltale signs your business might benefit from one. If you’ve found yourself endlessly describing the physical dimensions of a product, chances are you’re a good candidate. The same holds true if yours is the kind of brand that could benefit from immersive storytelling, 

In traditional content creation, be it social media marketing or blogging, it can be quite complicated to convey the details of a product design. Product mock-up generators allow you to create detailed and scalable visual representations that can then be showcased through virtual tours or personalized customer experiences. With a virtual tour or a personalized customer experience, you can invite press contacts or potential clients into your digital showroom, letting them zoom into all the nooks and crannies. That can prove helpful in a range of industries — such as showing a house in real estate, demonstrating medical hardware or flying through blueprints with mechanical engineers.

For other brands, VR and AR marketing can be equally valuable by helping create an immersive experience and an innovative marketing campaign. The idea here is not to explain something technical but to establish an emotionally impactful, gamified journey that fosters a sense of connection. Customers want to recognize themselves in the brands they buy. What easier way to do that than a magical world where your target audience can try it out? You tear them out of the role of passive viewers and make them into active participants in your brand story. 

Not everyone will get the same benefits out of VR, but if your business is in the right industry, you can leverage it for everything from virtual events to personalized product tours.

From Brand to Experience: Showcasing VR Marketing Campaigns

We understand that the very notion of VR technology can be hard to grasp based on black-and-white letters on a two-dimensional screen. Unfortunately, we can’t snap our fingers and invite you into the Braftiverse for a taste just yet. What we can do is give you an idea of the VR advertising that has shown success so far.

As we mentioned, Apple recently revived the VR market with its Vision Pro headset. Fashion and cosmetics brands were especially quick to jump on their bandwagon. J.Crew and e.l.f. Cosmetics have created a virtual shopping experience, leveraging the new device’s capability to blend digital content with customers’ physical environments. To expand the experience, J.Crew even has fashion stylists join clients during their fitting, whereas e.l.f. added guided meditations and Apple Pay functionality.

But you can find examples of brands using Apple’s platform outside of industries where the product already seems like a natural fit for AR or VR. Snickers probably didn’t want to give you a virtual tour of their factories, so they went straight to marketing Olympus and designed an AR game tailored to the Big Game.

Once brands realize that an open playground falls under the notion of “experiences,” they start creating everything from virtual concerts and watch try-ons to VR real estate tours.

We can attribute the success of these brands in VR campaigns to several key factors. In cases like J.Crew’s or e.l.f.’s, the VR headset only enhances the visual appeal those brands already have. They exemplify the importance of the personalization and enriched experiences customers demand these days, especially in visually driven industries.

Snickers’ approach shows that you don’t need to be in those industries to benefit from VR, as long as immersive storytelling or gamified experiences align with your branding.

Virtual Ideas, Real Results: How To Incorporate VR Into Your Digital Marketing and Brand Strategy

So, you’ve got your eyes set on the endless universe of VR, but maybe you’re uncertain how to monetize your virtual marvels. Fear not; we’ve got you covered.

  • Virtual Showrooms: Turn your customers’ living room into a catwalk. Whether you’re selling watches, fashion or interior decoration, a virtual showroom lets users explore products up close and visualize how they fit into their personal space.
  • Interactive Demos and Tutorials: Elevate technical documentation, tutorials and product demos by making them interactive. Let customers engage with your offerings in a virtual environment and allow them to test features and manipulate products without any risk.
  • Virtual Events: Host virtual events that transcend physical boundaries. Whether you’re launching a new product or giving high-ticket customers a behind-the-scenes tour of your manufacturing facility, immersive experiences keep your audience hooked.
  • 360-Degree Storytelling: If you’re up for the challenge, VR stories can surround your audience and unfold in unpredictable ways, offering users the opportunity to explore and uncover hidden secrets of your brand story. Be prepared for thorough prep work to avoid unwanted surprises, though.
  • Emotional Connection Through Immersion: If a funny cartoon ad already makes your brand the water cooler topic, imagine how much more involved your customers will be if they can interact with your brand’s characters in a physical space. A gold mine for all humorous and storyteller brands!

Above all else, it’s advisable to follow the evolving applications of AR and VR across industries, especially when big players like Google make a move. Try to be open to new content formats and don’t impose limits on yourself based on traditional content channels. This technology is still in its infancy and nobody knows how technical possibilities and customer tastes will develop over the next few years.

The Future Is Virtually Here. Are You Ready?

Back when social media platforms weren’t a thing yet, none of us could have imagined what creative playgrounds they’d turn into. We don’t have a crystal ball, so we can’t promise that VR will be just like that, but if you stay on top of recent trends and your competitors’ latest moves, you’ll be better equipped to grow your brand as customers demand more personalized content.

We hope you’ll make VR and AR part of that journey and create immersive and memorable experiences for your customers.