Virtual reality, a new ally for brands?
New marketing promise, community of fans, data collection… Hardly arrived in the Tech landscape, virtual reality begins to unveil its advantages for brands which are constantly seeking to renew their communication or to attract new customers.
Combining B2C and B2B universes, the first “Virtuality 2017” trade fair, which was held at the Centquatre, in Paris, from February 24 to 26, gave the opportunity to show these first avenues chosen by the brands to the large participants. number (16,000 visitors according to the organizers). From the Coca-Cola factory to the IKEA virtual kitchen, via the MK2 general public space, an overview of the immersive experiences offered by the brands during this first edition of Virtuality.
Coca-Cola promises transparency through VR
Visiting the Coca-Cola de Grigny production plant comfortably seated on a café terrace, this is what the French branch of the American brand offered to visitors to its stand at Virtuality. To pass the course in terms of virtual reality, the soft drink giant called on the agency Digital Immersion.
In less than five minutes, Coca-Cola tries to explain the different stages of the production of its flagship drink, with an emphasis on the daily checks to guarantee the taste and health quality of each bottle. “Virtual reality helps us gain transparency with our customers. It’s a new way to communicate and it gives us the opportunity to show our commitment made in France.», Explains Louise Pasin, external communications manager at Coca-Cola European Partners. In fact, during the virtual reality experience, the visitor learns in particular that 90% of French production of Coca-Cola comes from the brand’s five French factories.
Independent from Coca-Cola Company, the Coca-Cola European Partners bottler takes care of customer marketing. In the B2B segment, virtual reality offers the brand a new tool to appeal to distributors (Carrefour, Auchan, etc.). “This allows us to democratize our speech and make it more accessible», Specifies Louise Pasin. However, Coca-Cola is careful not to reveal the formula that makes the success of its famous drink …
MK2 wants to attract a new audience
From cinema to virtual reality, there is only one step. At least that’s what the MK2 cinema network wants to show since the beginning of December with the opening of a permanent place dedicated to virtual reality, in collaboration with Le Perchoir, next to the MK2 Library, in Paris. The MK2 VR offers a dozen virtual reality attractions, with new content every Wednesday, just like at the movies. Less than three months after its opening, MK2 claims 10,000 visitors for this unique space in the capital. “Virtual reality is a factor of emotions. Above all, we wanted to create a place to live to discuss virtual reality», Explains Maxime Labière, director of MK2 VR.
The success of this first space gave ideas to Maxime Labière, who plans to duplicate the MK2 VR elsewhere in Paris and in France. “We have a model that works. We attract both individuals, who want to have fun, as well as companies, who want to do team-building», Indicates the director of the MK2 VR space. And to add: “We imagined that the cinema audience would be the virtual reality audience. Ultimately, this is not really the case. There is an audience that wants to do virtual reality.“
Very present in the world of video games, especially with PlayStation VR, virtual reality is beginning to interfere in cinematographic production, like the American start-up Lytro, which has designed a virtual reality camera. “There will be a standardization of virtual reality: either towards cinema or towards gaming», Explains Maxime Labière. In the meantime, the director of MK2 VR is targeting 100,000 visitors in 2017 for his Parisian space dedicated to virtual reality.
IKEA’s virtual kitchen with the French of Emissive
Designing the ideal kitchen often seems an impossible task for consumers. To remedy this situation, the Swedish giant IKEA decided to launch on February 28 a virtual reality device, designed in partnership with the Parisian company Emissive, in its stores in six countries.
Concretely, consumers who come to shop at IKEA will be able to model their kitchen before being able to access it in virtual reality. Once equipped with a VR headset, they will then be able to cook, as if they were in their own kitchen. This will allow them to determine whether the kitchen they have designed upstream meets their expectations. At the same time, this experience represents a boon for IKEA in order to study the behavior of its consumers in real time and thus generate a substantial database on its customers. “Ultimately, they want to equip all IKEA stores in the world», Says Emissive, on the occasion of Virtuality.
IKEA’s infatuation with virtual reality is nothing new. Before launching a device in stores, the Swedish furniture giant had offered the IKEA VR Experience application last year. Available on the Steam video game platform, it allows users with an HTC Vive headset to create and get around their ideal kitchen.
Animating a community, creating commitment
While Facebook does not hide its intention to increasingly integrate the emotions of its members, the virtual avatar is also potentially a new marketing lever. To demonstrate this, the digital agency We Are Social organized an unprecedented virtual conference during this fair to demonstrate the role of avatars in the age of artificial intelligence.
“More and more, we interact with virtual assistants and their avatars to create engagement“, Anticipates Stéphane Maguet, Head of Creative Technology at We Are Social. This virtual avatar could even give birth to “new personalities embodying the values of a brand», He specifies.
As when social networks first appeared, VR could bring with it new uses. “Social VR sets the scene for new conversations, it helps bring communities together. This may be the future of social media», Concludes Stéphane Maguet.