Three ways VR can make your next event a hit
The days of static events are behind us, says Miranda Carter, and it’s time to make way for VR to increase engagement and enhance attendee experience.
Virtual Reality is the next big thing for marketers, and like it or not there is no escaping it if your marketing role takes you into the realm of events.
In a world where ‘shareability’ is key and attendee engagement is the most important KPI for measuring event ROI, we can no longer rely on stunning decor and funky food and beverage to counter the overload of static presentations. Attendees are savvier than ever and want something extra from the events they attend.
For as long as ‘events’ have existed, the onus been on event managers to find creative ways to get attendees actively engaged. Participatory immersion and interaction are key to creating a memorable experience and are dollars in the bank for the event organiser. VR ticks all of these boxes and is relatively easy to implement, even for events which are not tech focused.
Determining the right VR solution for your event does require a little thought. It needs to align with the audience, be appropriate for the venue and complement the content. It is important to ask yourself what you want to achieve by using VR at your next event.
- Are you trying to connect with your customers?
- Are you trying to educate them on a new product or proposition?
- Are you trying to build brand loyalty or awareness?
- Are you creating a lead generating opportunity for a partner?
Here’s three examples of how VR can be integrated to boost your next event and create an unforgettable experience for your attendees:
Entertainment is a must-have for most events to help create atmosphere, transform the delegates interactions from business to personal, and of course act as a transition during session breaks. This is a great opportunity to set up interactive VR stations where attendees can explore and play around.
This can be in the form of gamification – providing a bit of fun for the participants and the spectators alike – while offering a means of boosting networking opportunities between
attendees. Additionally, it may be the first time attendees have had the chance to interact with VR.
These entertaining activities also significantly increase the likelihood of social media sharing which nets you two outcomes with the one activity… providing delegate engagement and
generating broader awareness of your event and brand.
Taking your customers on a journey
Events are opportunities to give insight into locations, organisations, products or industries. Setting up 360 degree tours are a great way of taking people on a tour of a factory, a city or
even to the future, without the logistical load of organising an external tour, or time travel. VR creates opportunities for marketers to let customers really ‘feel’ their product. Where written case studies, static imagery and even video material is all based on a one-way communication model, VR enables customers to fully experience the product – and experience it in a memorable way – rather than merely observe.
The possibilities that VR presents to marketing teams are limitless. With a sense of discovery and adventure you take customers through a world where your offering is front-and-centre as they experience first hand the value it could present to them. Using VR to showcase a new tourism destination, eco-friendly solutions for their city or a new design for their office, will create a lasting impression.
No more death by Powerpoint
Humans learn best through personal experience, so it follows that creating opportunities for hands-on activity gives you more control of the delegate’s learning journey. Implementing VR to achieve this doesn’t have to be difficult and is a great alternative to death by Powerpoint. From small speaker sessions to exhibit hall booths, the content can be delivered in a way that is truly engaging and memorable.
To make presentations come alive with VR all it takes is two pictures, one for each eye, a caption and a transition. As long as you have some type of VR glasses like Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear, you’re good to go.
While people often feel intimidated by new technologies, particularly if technology isn’t their industry, grabbing a hold of this trend early can really set your event and brand apart. As
differentiation becomes increasingly difficult for marketers to achieve, it is those who embrace the rapid advances in technology such as VR that will continue to surprise, amaze and engage their audience.
Miranda Carter is director of marketing APAC at etouches.
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