Virtual reality might not be widely adopted just yet, but make no mistake: it's coming fast, and brands are better prepared. In fact, there are quite a few ways they can start benefiting from virtual reality right now.
A virtual reality showcase makes a ton of sense for products important to see in 3D, from different angles. Fashion is a great example, where seeing a suit or a pair of shoes in virtual reality can have an actual impact on the purchasing decision.
If you wonder why it's better than a rotating 3D model on a screen, well, you can mix several interactions in virtual reality in a way you can't on a laptop screen. Put the customers to the front row of a fashion show, then let them stop the show, choose an item, and take a closer look.
Cars are another great example. See it from every angle, sit in each seat, and even take it on a ride.
Due to its immersive nature virtual reality is great to measure reactions to different versions of a product, different layouts of a store, different colour palettes, etc. Companies already spend millions of dollars on such market research projects, and virtual reality is taking this to the next level.
Tesco already created a virtual reality store, and it looks stunning. We expect to see many more of these.
This is already happening. Samsung just recently "televised" its Unpacked event from Barcelona through virtual reality. Top Shop's Catwalk Experience, a campaign we covered last week is another great example.
This is going to be especially widespread with Facebook launching the dynamic streaming, something Mark Zuckerberg personally introduced at the Mobile World Congress. The Oculus - Facebook - Samsung platform has now every piece of the puzzle: the hardware, the technology, and the content distribution platform. We expect to see notifications on Facebook very soon saying something like "Coverage of the Zara's Spring & Summer Collection launch is just starting on Facebook. Watch it in virtual reality."
There are not that many virtual reality apps on the market just yet. We are talking about a few hundred titles to choose from, and then we are somewhat generous. It's the very beginning of an era, without too much noise - it's 2007 for social media, when the first companies took their first baby steps in social media.
The market saturation is non-existing to a level where a branded racing app sponsored by a car manufacturer, a sports app sponsored by New Balance, or a virtual reality logic puzzle backed by Nescafe would be on the radar of every single virtual reality user (millions of people). Sure, it's not a cheap medium, but we expect to see the first pioneers appearing in the app stores very soon.
Recruitment and internal communications
This often overlooked area of marketing and communications is exceptionally well-suited for virtual reality. Companies are in a cut-throat competition for recruiting and retaining talented employees, and VR can help these efforts immensely.
For a potential recruit there's quite a difference between reading about company culture, and experiencing it in an immersive way. Geographically distributed organisations can bring employees closer through virtual reality. We expect to see virtual tours on the career pages of Facebook, Google, Samsung, Oculus, HTC, Valve and all the big VR players very soon, with more companies to follow.