The future is virtual: how virtual reality and artificial intelligence can enhance your marketing

Having recently worked with some virtual reality experts on an exciting new website, it got us thinking about the future of business and marketing, and how the virtual revolution will impact it.

Augmented reality, artificial intelligence and virtual reality are already finding their way into our everyday lives, with many of us welcoming Alexa as a staple resident in our homes, and covering our imperfections on social media using clever filters.

We’re seeing more and more companies looking for interesting and unique ways to incorporate these growing technologies into their marketing, and today we’re looking at some of the best and most creative ideas they’ve had.

First of all, what are these technologies?

Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience that connects the real world with digital elements. Think about the Pokémon Go game, where they use your camera to make the Pokémon appear right in front of you. Or Snapchat filters, where you can enhance your selfies with funny faces, crowns or animal ears.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is intelligence demonstrated by machine, as opposed to natural intelligence which is displayed in animals and humans (well, most of us). Siri and Alexa are examples of AI that we use in everyday life to help us with day-to-day tasks.

Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer generated environment that uses scenes and objects that appear to be real. You usually experience VR using a headset or helmet, and use it to play games or experience simulations.

How can we use them to enhance our marketing?

There are so many ways to optimise your marketing with AI to drive better results – including A/B testing, lead management, budget and design optimisation, customer service, and general process streamlining.

These are all important and essential uses of the technology, but why stop there? The futuristic tech is also great for creating fun and exciting experiences for your customers to engage with.

If you have a big imagination, or a strong creative team behind you, you can do almost anything with AR and VR. Here are some of our favourite ways we’re seeing brands incorporate the technology into their marketing.

Virtual events

When the pandemic hit, everyone had to cancel their plans and turn to Zoom for their weekend social activities.

With lots of people joining in big life events like weddings, birthday parties, and even funerals from a virtual perspective, it wasn’t long before brands started to use the benefits of this technology for their own events.

London Fashion Week sent out invitations to the fashion elite to enjoy catwalk shows and performances from the comfort of their homes. Big conferences were held online, and press events were tailored to work just as well remotely as from the venue.

As brands started to realise the potential hosting events virtually could have, we started to see more and more exciting digital experiences in place of physical ones.

3D and 360 tours

Searching for a new home online, or thinking of selling yours? Photos and flat plans are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to marketing property these days, with shoppers looking for more detailed information before they’ll consider an in-person viewing.

We’re seeing properties on Rightmove that have utilised VR to create detailed 3D and 360 tours – so you can virtually walk through the front door and view the property from all angles, as if you’re really there.

It doesn’t stop at residential property though. These kinds of tours are ideal for universities to host virtual open days, as well as hotels to showcase their facilities and attractions from afar.

Try before you buy

In the world of eCommerce and next day delivery, brands are turning to AR to provide a “try before you buy” service for their customers.

Home improvement companies like IKEA and Dulux have created apps so their customers can see if a new piece of furniture is going to fit in their home, or whether that shade of yellow is going to be quite right for the playroom or not.

This is a really helpful way for users to make sure their purchase is a good idea before they buy it, which in turn also reduces the need for as many returns. Plus, it’s fun!

Branded filters

With 400 million people using Instagram Stories every day, it’s no wonder brands are cashing in on the potential to go viral with a custom face filter.

Beauty brands like Kylie Cosmetics, Mac Cosmetics and Gucci Beauty have used the filters to showcase their new products such as lipstick colours. Clothing brands from Prada to Adidas have joined in the game, and even corporate companies are spicing up their marketing with funny Instagram filters.

Whether you’re launching a new product, promoting an event or pushing a new campaign – branded filters are a fun way to incorporate AR in a really engaging way.

We love seeing the creative and unique ideas brands are coming up with to utilise these fast-paced technologies, and we’re sure the next big thing to blow our minds is just around the corner.

If you’re looking for some assets for your next AR or VR project, or you need a hand marketing your next virtual event – get in touch for a chat about how we can help.

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