Best Practices: Three Strategies for Creating Group VR Experiences
Virtual reality demos have come a long way since their inception. In the beginning, event attendees strapped on a headset and sat static in a chair to experience the content by themselves. Today, VR engagements entail physically moving around a space, and in many cases, doing so in a group setting. Because, isn’t every experience more fun when you have others to share it with? Here, three best practices for formulating a group VR strategy.
Make it Social
Group VR experiences inherently provide an opportunity for participants to interact with one another, and most brands use that to their advantage. Like Jaguar, which leverages a shared virtual reality experience to launch its electric I-PACE concept car. Just before the Los Angeles Auto Show, the brand simultaneously gives celebrities and influencers in both L.A. and London a chance to view the new vehicle with VR content that reveals its key features. Four waves of attendees go through the 35-minute experience, sitting together at round tables and equipped with HTC Vive Business Edition headsets powered by Dell Precision workstations. Participants get a rare virtual ride in the driver’s seat while catching a 360-degree view of Venice Beach. Throughout the group VR experience, they can see the hand controllers of attendees to their right and left, as well as hear the comments of participants in both L.A. and London, generating far more excitement and buzz for the I-PACE—and the Jaguar brand—than a solo VR journey.
Give Them an Adrenaline Rush
Arguably the best part of riding a roller coaster is the rush of adrenaline you get free falling from the ride’s steepest hill, and then, of course, the shared sense of joy (and relief) everyone feels after making it through alive. Samsung brings that concept to CES, where it offers a group VR-fueled amusement park-like ride. The Samsung Galaxy Experience Zone gives attendees an opportunity to ski or ride down a virtual mountain, speed through a skeleton track at 120 mph or fly alongside Pterodactyls. The brand’s VR headsets provide a realistic visual environment, while a killer simulator jolts groups of participants around at the right moments to make the physical experience more realistic. The takeaway? Adrenaline-pumping experiences, real or virtual, are always more fun when you’re riding the wave of emotions together. Go group VR!
Focus on a Shared Passion
Savvy event marketers find ways to tap into their target demographics’ passion points, understanding that fueling those passions also fuels the consumer’s affinity for their brand. The concept can also be applied to group VR engagements. A prime example is the lead-up to Elton John’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour. To promote the tour, events in New York City, Los Angeles and London invite press and fans to explore the musician’s history through a group VR experience. Participants are transported to the Troubadour in L.A. for John’s first U.S. concert, for instance, as well as to his famous performance at Dodgers Stadium, where the virtual crowd chanting “Saturday” inspires some of the VR participants to chant it in real life. A large portion of the attendees are, after all, diehard fans of the iconic singer. John, of course, isn’t marketing a product or service per se. But brands can leverage the concept behind his tour strategy by finding a passion point shared by their target consumer and offering a group VR experience that enhances it while mapping back to the brand and its messaging.
Like any technology, virtual reality continues to evolve, and brands using the tech have to progress along with it. Right now, that means getting attendees out of their seats, into a group setting and interacting with fellow participants, because when it comes to VR, sharing really is caring.
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Posted by Dyan Cornacchio | Request as a Speaker
Social media and creative writing connoisseur. Obsessed with my golden retriever, pop culture, and pizza. Nothing makes me happier than being home on LI, relaxing at the beach with my family.