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October 3, 2016

The Reality of Our New Visual Realities

Not too long ago, we shared our thoughts on the importance of the use of video when it comes to entertaining and delivering relevant messaging to your customers and brand fans. But what about emerging visual experiences like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)…how do they fit into your mix of engaging storytelling?

First things first, what’s the difference between AR and VR?

AR is the blending of virtual reality elements within real-life environments. Think Pokemon GO. You’re still in an actual physical space but interacting with virtual objects on your handheld device.

VR, on the other hand, is the creation of a virtual world where the viewer interacts with virtual objects. These worlds can be wildly fantastical or so realistic that the viewer believes they are in a real physical space. This experience requires a VR headset and computer or, at the bare minimum, a stereoscopic cardboard headset designed for a variety of smartphones.

Some of you might remember VR video games making a splash on the arcade scene back in the mid-90s, only to unceremoniously fizzle away. So, why would this latest iteration fare any better? It’s a fair question. After all, 3D TVs were supposed to be the future and by the end of their rookie year they were ancient history. That was only two years ago.

Well, the tech gurus promise us that this time it will be super awesome because we’re currently awash in the perfect storm of digital technology and a mobile-friendly lifestyle. There has been a tidal shift in how we interact with one another, share and consume information and experience our own world. 

And quite honestly, if you’ve even dabbled in the slightest in AR or VR recently, you know they’re super awesome…and they’re only going to get better. They’re still effectively in their infancy. You know, the Interwebs circa 1991. And look what that’s become.

But outside of the obvious uses, like video gaming and enhanced classroom education, what are the possible brand engagement applications for either platform? Well, sky’s the limit.

Looking to launch a new product? Perfect. Give your customers a sneak peek in the most epic of ways with an immersive interactive experience. Want to encourage someone to donate to your charitable ambitions in a remote part of the world? Visually transport them there so they have a 360-degree view of your challenges and needs. Want to interact with your customers in unique ways in a retail space? Consider an AR promo game.

According to Google’s principle VR filmmaker, Jessica Brillhart, “The story is everywhere.” AR, VR and 360-degree videos are powerful tools to create real emotional impact. As content creators and brand ambassadors, we love that kind of talk.

But before we get too carried away, this is not to say that these new entries into our visual sphere are replacing our tried and true 2D video experience. Maybe, someday. For now, these dynamic visual platforms are simply additional opportunities to meet your customers where they are as well as bring them into your world. At the end of the day, it’s about giving your customers the most enriching and engaging experience possible.

And these are clearly next-level storytelling opportunities where the wow factor is simply just…wow.

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