During a Gorkana webinar yesterday, Matt Glass, co-founder of Cultural Reality Co., and Dynamo’s head of VR, Nick Morey, offered up their top tips for what impact VR could have on the PR industry.
Virtual Reality is set to be one of the big technology trends in 2016, with the BBC declaring it to be the year that “VR goes from virtual to reality”.
In January, Dynamo launched a dedicated VR division, led by Nick Morey. Visual computing company NVIDIA came in as the division’s founding client briefing the agency to promote its VR graphics, which led to the team taking journalists into “the world’s most realistic simulation” in below zero temperatures to show off Everest in VR.
Matt Glass and Charli Morgan, The Cult PR founders have gone a step further and, in February, launched a separate VR company, Cultural Reality Co., in anticipation of the launch of Facebook-backed VR headset Oculus Rift. CRC offers to help journalists, as well as PR and marketing firms, use VR in their jobs.
In an exclusive webinar briefing with Gorkana, Morey and Glass offered their top tips on what VR could offer for PRs:
It’s not a fad
There has been initial resistance to the idea of VR, according to Glass. “Big players have a lot of money resting on this. Samsung, Facebook, Nokia, Google, Apple (maybe) want this to succeed. It’s an industry that’s here to stay,” he said.
VR is new so be realistic
There are limitations. Brands might think they can drop their target customer into an all singing and dancing scenario, having them “back flip off a helicopter”, but the technology is not quite there yet. Be realistic.
Experience is everything
You can watch videos, listen to podcasts or play games, but you can only ever “experience” VR. The only way a brand will know whether VR will work for it is if it’s tried, tried and tried again, Morey and Glass insisted.
Look to the games industry
Go to games events. You’ll get a much better insight into the development process, Morey suggested, and you’ll witness some “breathtaking” creativity. This will help you shape ideas and build a VR campaign that is both realistic and fits with your brand objectives.
The ‘isolation’ of VR is a golden opportunity for brands
An advert on the TV or in a magazine can be skipped or ignored. When someone is looking at your virtual reality video, they are only looking at whatever it is you’re putting in front of them. You decide what they experience.
Take the PR stunt to another level
Consumers can experience a stunt, not just watch it. But, unlike physical events, you also don’t have to worry about the health and safety implications of a flashmob, or whether people will turn up, or if you’re allowed to film in a certain location.
There needs to be an emphasis on quality over quantity
What medium do you actually need? Would a 2D video or experiential activity suffice? If you want to create an experience that is currently unachievable (has the building you’re promoting been built yet?), VR has something to offer.
VR is expensive
In effect VR can be a website, an e-commerce store, an app and an experience all in one go. But there are matching production costs.
VR can’t be an afterthought in a campaign
A good quality two to three minute VR video will cost around £30,000, Glass suggested, and VR content can take a relatively long time to create.
Are you PR-ing your brand or are you PR-ing VR?
Finally, is it a fun experience? There’s no need to show off too much. “It’s like having too many special effects in a movie,” Glass added. “After a while it can get boring”.
Here’s what some of you had to say during the webinar:
— James Mercer (@James_Mercer_PR) April 27, 2016
— Sarah Louise Keeble (@QuiBelleSLK) April 27, 2016
— James Berg (@bergy300) April 27, 2016
You can find about more about our Gorkana webinars here.