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Virtual Reality – experience is believing

28 September, 2016 Reading: 2:39 mins
Sarah Reakes

By Sarah

Sarah reflects on her recent VR experience and wonders how this can be applied to marketing.

Virtual Reality – experience is believing

So I have to confess that I haven’t paid that much attention to VR. I have read blogs and articles, seen VR start-ups emerge and watched videos about communication using VR, but I had never actually experienced it for myself – that is until last week.

I offered my eldest daughter a choice of three exhibitions in London we could go and see together and she chose the Bjork Digital at Somerset house, billed as ‘an immersive virtual reality exhibition from Icelandic icon Björk’.

I am not particularly au fait with Bjork’s music, knew little about the artist herself and additionally had no idea what to expect from the VR experience. However, keeping an open mind and hoping to please my 17 year old, off I went.

Seeing is believing and I am now really excited about VR! The exhibition progressed from a simple VR experience during which I felt slightly foolish as I spun around on my stool to follow Bjork on a rocky shore, to a fabulous and rather magical rendition of the singer made up of sparkling, glitter like particles…really I was quietly rather blown away.

And it has started me thinking about the possibilities for marketing and creativity – how we can create immersive experiences for consumers, to demonstrate how products/brands work and the benefits they offer etc.

Of course, I had read all this but it wasn’t until I experienced it myself that the realisation of how powerful this experience can be really sunk in.

It’s not only the application in my industry that excites me, but the possibilities it opens up for education and to give people experiences they might otherwise never have. It makes me excited for a future where no matter my location or ability I may continue experiencing things that otherwise might no longer be possible and one where my children have a whole new dimension in their experience.

It also made me think about the need for us marketers to stay fresh, to get out and see the world as others do. In short, to push ourselves outside our comfort zones. It’s all too easy to sit back and think we know.

The world is a different place from when I began my career in marketing. A campaign is more likely to launch with a digital expression than an A4 ad or a TVC, Slack not fax or phone is my default communication tool at work and I use Snapchat to summon my 17 year old down for dinner!

Over the last year I have worked on campaigns running across multiple digital channels from Instagram to LinkedIn. I have learned about SEO, AdWords and analytics. In fact I am no longer the marketer I was back in 1995. Sure the fundamentals are the same but there is a whole new exciting world out there and I for one can’t wait to get my teeth further into it. I’m now awaiting my first opportunity to develop a campaign exploiting VR.

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