How Companies are Using Virtual Reality
How Brands are Using Virtual Reality to Make an Impression
As 2017 comes to a close, it’s becoming commonplace to see virtual reality, or VR, headsets in any major retail store. Even as more companies are releasing VR technology, the front-runners in the market are also dropping their prices. All of this is working together to create a near future where virtual reality is the norm for the majority of people.
Because of this shift towards VR, it’s critical for brands to get on board early. Otherwise, they risk being left behind. While some companies have jumped in by introducing VR advertising campaigns, most of the successful and memorable uses of virtual reality have been about making connections and offering immersive experiences that are subtly tied to the brand.
Below are a few of the ways that virtual reality is being successfully used by companies to increase market reach.
1. Haagen-Dazs’ “The Extraordinary Honeybee”
Haagen-Dazs has been championing the imperiled, little honeybee since 2008. Earlier this year, the brand released a trailer for its first immersive experience titled “The Extraordinary Honeybee.”  The project will utilize virtual reality to shrink viewers down to the size of a honeybee and allow them to fly around and experience all of the problems that honeybees face.
Haagen-Dazs is hoping to create a more compelling story about the plight of honeybees in order to educate the public. By giving their audience a chance to see what’s really going on, they hope to raise awareness and get people motivated to make a difference.
They understand that branding is all about the art of the story, so they’re utilizing their storytelling expertise to create something innovative that will have a profound impact.
2. Expedia Norway’s Flam Railway Journey
Travel giant Expedia has partnered with Visit Flam, a tourism organization for the scenic, Norwegian village of Flam, to offer customers a unique VR experience.  Expedia’s first foray into virtual reality is a 44-minute railroad journey through fjords, glaciers, mountains, waterfalls and national parks via Europe’s steepest, most exciting railway.
The video will also allow users to explore scenes like the midnight sun and a view of the northern lights in full, 360-degree immersion.
3. General Electric’s “The Possible”
Tech company GE has created a series of five short films titled “The Possible” that aim to show off real-world applications of science and technology.  Each film takes users through a different, exciting experience such as flying high on hoverboards, seeing robots in the Boston Dynamics lab and cruising over salt while riding land speeders.
In addition to these immersive experiences, each film has an accompanying companion short that shows how GE is working to “make the impossible, possible.”
4. Thomas Cook’s “Try Before You Fly”
The United Kingdom-based travel company Thomas Cook is utilizing virtual reality to give its travel agents the ability to let clients experience popular destinations remotely.  The agency produced several short experiences, including a helicopter tour of New York City, and saw amazing success with the campaign. In a single year, they had increased travel revenues to New York by 190 percent.
5. Gucci’s “Soul Scene”
Couture brand Gucci doesn’t need much marketing to promote their brand. Instead, they focus on unique, themed experiences for their customers that create a sense of inclusion and inspiration. This is why Gucci’s Alessandro Michele created the “Soul Scene” virtual reality party as part of the brand’s pre-fall 2017 launch.  During the actual live event, guests were provided with specially designed VR headsets that allowed them to get a 360-degree view of the video before it was officially launched.
Creating these types of memorable experiences is exactly what brands should be using virtual reality headsets for.
Virtual Reality as a Marketing Tool
In the future, it’s clear that any brands that wish to be successful will have to include virtual reality in their marketing strategy. However, because VR is still in the early adoption stages, brands that choose to utilize it now are able to get a competitive edge over those that wait. Virtual reality is an amazing tool with the ability to provide the audience with a nearly unlimited number of new and otherwise impossible experiences. Brands should take note of the five campaigns listed above and develop their own VR strategy accordingly.
6. Lamber Goodnow – Virtual Reality in Court Rooms
Fellow law firm Lamber Goodnow is pioneering the use of VR in court rooms. Their law firm has developed a novel VR simulation device, which allows members of the jury to see, and hear, the scene of the accident.
7. Cloud Chasers – See your Bong
CloudChasers.com, an online shop for vaporizers and bongs, has created a virtual reality solution so you can see and and shop a bong in 3d virtual reality. You can pick up the bong with your hand, and spin it around.