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Is Oculus Rift Set to Deliver the Elusive ‘Penny Drop’ Moment for Marketers?



FITCH EMEA's Alasdair Lennox believes brands need to start considering the serious business benefits of virtual reality

Is Oculus Rift Set to Deliver the Elusive ‘Penny Drop’ Moment for Marketers?

It’s no surprise that interest has grown quickly around Oculus Rift, following the news that the revolutionary headsets are being shipped to consumers from early 2016. 

In the exciting world of virtual reality, these headsets have made big strides and are bringing what was once unobtainable within reach of the mass market - a stand out high quality virtual reality experience at an affordable price.

As a result, brands and marketers can really start to leverage the key benefit of this technology which is set to enable them to articulate the intangible advantages their product or service has to offer, by selling an aspiration or lifestyle. With Oculus Rift, marketers can use virtual reality to communicate the intangible aspect that ultimately drives emotional attachment. This can create a ‘penny drop’ moment with potential customers that pushes them towards a sale – when they realise your brand is the right choice for them.

To highlight the strength of virtual reality for brands and retailers in delivering this ‘penny drop’ moment we worked alongside DIY brand B&Q to create a pioneering new retail brand for them called VIVID in China.

What made this retail store so different is that it was able to deliver an immersive consumer experience. To do this it enabled people to build their dream apartment in the store, and once their dream abode is created they could go into a 4D augmented reality space, put on a headset and virtually walk around the newly designed apartment before it’s been built. They could wander around the different rooms of their apartment, look up and down, from left to right, at different floor finishes, they could pick up vases, turn on the lights and the taps – almost smell the bread baking in the kitchen. 

It’s this 4D augmented reality experience that brings the dream to life – spurring people on to commit to a product and part with their money. This example highlights virtual reality can create that magical moment that has so far eluded marketers. It has the undeniable ability to transport customers to a different world that’s beyond the realm of their wildest imagination.

Where once virtual reality was considered to be all about the lucrative gaming industry, it’s obvious it can be used for so much more. It can be employed by brands to create never before fathomed dream-like experiences and form a strong bond between the brand and consumer. 

There’s really no limit when it comes to virtual reality and where it can take us. It’s an exciting time and let’s just hope the penny drops with marketers in terms of all the Oculus Rift can accomplish.

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