It’s not surprising that the popularity of virtual reality and 360° video has been on the rapid rise over the past year. Virtual reality allows viewers to be completely immersed in an interactive, three-dimensional video…an impressive feat that hasn’t been possible (or accessible) outside of real-life experience until very recently. Now, a growing number of people have tried on a virtual reality headset at least once, and it’s only becoming more and more popular.
But despite virtual reality’s immediate popularity in the gaming and artistic realms, the marketing industry has taken full advantage of this new technology. But why? Can virtual reality really have that much of an impact on a brand?
Yes it can! According to an article in Forbes, “while the household penetration of VR headsets is in its infancy, the impact of VR based marketing programs can be far-reaching because of the viral response they can generate.” Some organizations utilize this technology on-site, or at special events, while others choose to let a broader audience experience virtual reality in their home, on their cell phones (like with Google Cardboard), or on computers. The possibilities are nearly endless at this point.
Technologically speaking, society has only uncovered “the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to virtual reality, but several marketing pioneers have found innovative ways to use it effectively for their brands. Here are a few ways virtual reality can be used for nonprofit marketing:
- To visually demonstrate how your organization helps others
- To immerse users in a branded entertainment experience, so they can make more informed choices
- To show how a brand can fit into a lifestyle
What our clients have done:
On February 10th, our client, the Tim Tebow Foundation, hosted their annual prom for special needs youth, “Night to Shine.”
According to their website, “Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs ages 14 and older. On one night, February 10, 2017, 375 churches, from around the world, hosted Night to Shine for 75,000 honored guests through the support of 150,000 volunteers!”
After this event, they also hosted their annual Celebrity Gala and Golf Tournament to raise funds and awareness for the core mission of their organization. For this event, they created a 360° virtual reality experience for their guests, where they could actually see and feel what it was like to attend “Night to Shine” with a young girl. The immersive video walked viewers through her daily life, and introduced them to her friends and family. It even took viewers behind the scenes to go prom dress shopping, walk down the red carpet, and finally experience the prom with her.
All of the guests at their Gala were given pre-loaded and prepared Oculus virtual reality head gear, donated by Samsung. When Gala attendees put the headsets over their eyes, they were immersed in the experience of one of the prom Queens. By incorporating this technology into their marketing strategy, the Tim Tebow Foundation had their most successful Celebrity Gala & Golf classic in their 7 year history, raising over $2 Million! Here’s how:
- Through the 360° virtual reality experience, TTF was able to immerse viewers (potential donors) in the “Night to Shine” experience, allowing them to get a very real sense of where their donations are going. When potential donors are given the opportunity to see first-hand where their contributions could go, they will become more likely to make a donation.
- They were also able to use this technology to visually demonstrate how their foundation is making a positive difference in the world, essentially proving why their foundation exists. Showing potential donors the full reach and impact of an organization can make them feel like their contributions are meaningful, and will encourage their donations.
If your organization is working to enhance your marketing strategy over the coming years, try incorporating 360° virtual reality video into your next event, or marketing campaign. Its impact may surprise you!
If you have any questions about enhancing your digital marketing strategy through web development, the Google Grant, or social media, contact us!
By: Emily Dietz, Business Development Strategist