Via Google Images

I had a thought pop up in a meeting this past week while discussing virtual reality marketing opportunities, and I wanted to quickly share it with the community here because I think it’s practical.

A multinational retailer was visiting a few tech companies in Los Angeles and stopped by our STRIVR offices to learn more about VR. We were discussing various digital platforms and some of the work the company had done. In regards to virtual reality, there’s a super prescient opportunity that early movers can take advantage of. Here’s the kicker:

VR is the rare platform where you know, with certainty, you have 100 percent of a customer’s attention.

Take a second to fully digest that and think about how cool it is.

In most forms of traditional advertising — and I’m including the broken digital models in that definition — brands play a losing battle for attention.

When you want me to watch a commercial on linear television, I’m checking emails. When you want me to watch a pre-roll video ad, I’m scrolling through Twitter. When you want me to notice an outdoor display, I’m checking Instagram while I walk. When you bombard me with display ads, I’m clicking out as fast as possible and irritated with the experience. There’s always a second-screen experience that diverts attention.

When someone is brought into an immersive VR environment, the second screen ceases to exist and 100 percent of their attention is in the headset and engaged. That is an amazing opportunity available to any brand that’s playing offense, and that’s before we consider what science says about human recall when you “experience” information rather than read it, watch it or listen to it.

There’s no other branding opportunity in the world (at the moment) that offers that level of connection.

I don’t know what the right mix is. Of course there is still some level of value in traditional advertising — I just think it becomes more difficult to define by the year, and as we enter 2017, attention will continue to shift to these new platforms in which the customer chooses to engage. My gut says over-aggressive sales tactics will not work well on younger customers. The way into them (which, at 27, includes me on some level) is giving them something of value to engage first, which then earns a brand the opportunity to make an ask.

Anyway, this isn’t meant to say VR is the only effective solution or that everything should be done this way. That’s certainly not the case.

It’s just something to think about as we all play with these emerging platforms and decide where to place our time and dollars.

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