Through VR, brands can create an immersive experience that showcases their products before consumers even make a purchase.

In 2018, global spending on virtual and augmented reality will reach $17.8 billion. Where virtual reality (VR) was once a futuristic technology without clear applications, it’s found a devoted following among marketers who want to reach customers in a more impactful way.

From previews of planned home renovations to tours of industrial facilities in the B2B space, VR offers the flexibility to reach a wide range of customers within a highly engaging medium. By incorporating visual, auditory, and aural effects, VR can be used to create fresh, memorable interactions that can’t be replicated with more static forms of media.

To understand just how promising the future of VR is, check out these five examples of what compelling VR marketing looks like for innovative brands.

1. Lowe’s: Holoroom

When renovating your home, visualizing how everything will look once it’s in place can be a challenge. To help customers avoid buyer’s remorse, Lowe’s created the Holoroom, a VR experience worthy of The Sims that allows customers to preview what their DIY projects will look like upon completion. By working with a Lowe’s associate in select stores, users can put together rooms, don their VR goggles, and then jump into the simulated space to see how it suits them. If customers want some time to mull over their interior design decisions, they can take the simulation home on their phones with Google Cardboard.

2. Volvo: XC90 Test Drive

They say a car loses half its value the moment you drive it off the lot, but what if the car never leaves the dealership? With Volvo’s new XC90 model, consumers can take to their phones to simulate a relaxing mountain drive. Users can scope out the interior of the vehicle from the driver’s seat while the VR experience guides them along winding roads and riverside tracks. While a visit to your local Volvo dealership is probably recommended before you make a purchase, XC90 Test Drive does make for a fun introduction to one of Volvo’s newest models.

3. Merrell: TrailScape

In what the brand calls the first commercial walk-around VR experience, Merrell’s TrailScape gives users the sensation of hiking along a treacherous mountain ledge and across a creaking bridge. The company’s use of VR induces an adrenaline rush that mimics what a real hiker in similar conditions would experience. Because Merrell is widely known for its outdoor gear, TrailScape aims to subconsciously persuade users that it’s better to make a solid investment in durable trekking footwear now rather than regret cutting corners later — and on the side of a perilous mountain, no less.

4. Key Technology: VERYX 360

The B2C space doesn’t have an exclusive claim to VR marketing, of course. For brands with a B2B focus, immersive technology can enable more in-depth demonstrations of what separates your product from the rest.

For example, Key Technology designed a VR experience around VERYX, its digital food sorting platform. Ideal for professional exhibitions at which brands must present the unique selling points of their products while surrounded by competitors, VR helped Key Technology stand out from the pack. With VERYX 360, the manufacturer takes potential customers through the system’s digital sorting infrastructure.

5. Cancer Research UK: The Life Garden

The goal of marketing isn’t always to sell a product or service. Sometimes, campaigns are designed to raise awareness or solicit donations for charitable causes.

With over 100,000 gifts left to the organization through individuals’ wills, Cancer Research UK wanted to commemorate this generosity. To accomplish this, they designed the Life Garden, a “VR tribute garden” that represents each donation with a flower. The garden will grow over time as the organization accepts more and more gifts, allowing families of those that have passed away to take solace in the impact of their loved ones’ donations.

Author Jake Dawe

Jake works with our clients and L&T's content management team to create and publish cogent, effective marketing content. A recent graduate of Yale University with a B.A. in American Studies, Jake pursued independent research that traced the evolving voice of ``Shouts and Murmurs`` over ninety years. When he's not writing and editing, Jake is probably watching The Crown or making up for four years of lost pleasure reading. Thanks, college.

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