Virtual reality, the future of public relations?

Virtual Reality (VR) is fast becoming the new kid on the block in the ever changing technology tug of war between the major tech companies. It has been predicated by Business Insider to be worth ‚£1.9 billion by 2020 and everyone from Samsung, Facebook, Microsoft and Sony have all turned their hand to VR. We for one are excited to see what the future holds for virtual reality, and how it can be utilised in public relations.

VR can take you around the world, help you explore cities you’ve dreamed of visiting, allow you to immerse yourself in a video game and let you take a trip to the cinema complete with giant screens, all from the comfort of your own home. But what does all this mean for the future of PR and how will virtual reality public relations find its place in the market?

I think the key to its success lies in its seemingly endless potential to create virtual landscapes in which the user can explore. Combined with the creativity and imagination of talented PR professionals, then virtual reality PR can revolutionise how we run campaigns.

Let us consider a practical example. Foxtons Estate Agents in Islington has launched its first exciting virtual reality venture, with virtual property viewings. You are now able to view countless properties in a short space of time just by visiting one office. The cost, stress and time consuming nature of property hunting could all be combatted with the use of virtual tours. The ability to view a number of potential properties before deciding which ones to view in person can help increase an estate agent’s productivity no end. Rather than having to travel from property to property, they can simply fit their client with a VR headset and show them round countless properties without having to leave the office. Not only will this save them time, but it will also help to save the environment, cutting down on the amount of travel each agent and potential buyer undertakes.

However, it’s not just house buying where VR has potential. We’ve all heard the saying “try before you buy and we’ve all spent hours trawling the internet looking at pictures of sandy beaches and hotel pool sides. Now, imagine if we could walk down those sandy beaches, relax by the hotel pool and soak up the atmosphere of a bustling city nightlife all before we book our flights. Virtual reality holds the key to letting us do that and the PR industry needs to be hot on its coattails.

One of the key positives VR has over other forms of media, and arguably the main reason the PR industry needs to capitalise on this emerging trend, is that there are no distractions for the consumer. The best PR campaigns have the power to grip the consumer but the weaker campaigns are often filtered out among the many news stories we see day to day. VR’s advantage is once the headset is on, you are completely immersed in the media, you chose where you look and what to focus on. Every part of it, every turn of the head, can be intricately planned for the best results and the biggest impact.

Not only that, but VR provides the opportunity to control the environment, the weather, and minimise potential risks. No amount of planning can predict the unpredictable in PR, however VR allows you to fix potential issues, it gives you the capacity for a take two or a do over before immersing the audience in the finished content.

This huge potential is what is getting us excited about VR and we cannot wait to be part of its introduction in to the world of public relations.

Do you have any thoughts on how VR can make its mark in the PR industry? Let us know on twitter @WolfstarPR

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