Even in a VR and AR world, content is king and relevancy reigns

Even in a VR and AR world, content is king and relevancy reigns

There’s no denying that Virtual Reality (VR), and more recently Augmented Reality (AR), have made a huge impact on the world of marketing and advertising. They both allow you to engage in real time with a brand, creating a new, never-before felt experience – transporting you physically, mentally, and emotionally.

But are they worth all the hype? Are they really “the future” – not only of branding and advertising, but human interaction itself? And if so, how can we, as brands, respond and get in the game so-to-speak?

When it comes to experiences, AR enhances reality, blending the real with the non-real. VR creates a fully-immersive new reality, transporting consumers to another world. Both can be immensely helpful and impactful, not only in the world of branding and advertising, but also in medicine, healthcare, fitness, art, travel, you name it.

But, as VR’s and AR’s popularity continues to rise, one key thing needs to be said: just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you should do it too. Just because other brands are using VR doesn’t mean it’s right for your brand, or right for your consumer or that execution.

Which brings me to two main issues I see with VR and AR. The first is that in order to be truly successful, they have to work really well. They have to actually convince you –successfully trick your brain – that you are in fact somewhere else. This requires advanced and sophisticated technology, something that not all brands have access to. The second is that, on the flip side, if we get so caught up in the technology, we risk losing sight of what actually matters: the content.

As head of SFX Studios Peter Martin told PSFK: “There is a lot of money being invested in the technology and very little being invested in content. We need to put the technology in the hands of storytellers, not in the hands of technologists.”

Pepsi Max's Unbelievable Bus Shelter in London is an exceptional example of a brand using AR to tell its story in an effective and compelling way.

Everything we do as brands should be a reflection, an embodiment of who we are and what we believe. It should open up dialogue with our consumers, engaging and inspiring them. It should never be “cool” for cool’s sake.

Before jumping on the VR/AR bandwagon, we need to step back and think about what our true objectives are and how creating this new reality might get us there. What does it do for our consumers? How does it add value? That’s where our ultimate purpose comes in. And in this world where purpose-driven brands are increasingly sought after, it is imperative we deliver.

Real Change: We all want the same thing

Real Change: We all want the same thing

Why I’m going back to a design agency — to build brand experiences (BX) through design & systems thinking.

Why I’m going back to a design agency — to build brand experiences (BX) through design & systems thinking.