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GUEST BLOG: The Wild West of Virtual Reality Marketing

Komal Sable, COO of Tengio, talks about the growing power of VR, and what marketers need to be aware of in the digital age.

The purpose of marketing is to promote, to draw attention, to build interest, and to inspire passion. Imagine now, a medium which enables you to create emotionally invested, passionate customers. A medium that can affect behaviour on the subconscious level. That medium exists today, in the form of Virtual Reality. Research is ongoing into the potential, but current studies suggest that the immersive nature of VR can be used very effectively for treating PTSD and phobias, or for training people in new skills and behaviours, making it a powerful new technology bearing a lot of responsibility.

Virtual Reality as an industry is in its infancy, we aren’t even close to uncovering the tip of the iceberg yet. However, in the last 4 months the Playstation VR has been on sale, in very limited quantities but they’ve managed to ship close to 1 million devices. Google Store has shipped 10 million cardboard devices. These numbers lead us to believe that VR isn’t just a fad; it’s here to stay as a new medium of content consumption. What is terribly exciting is that as a medium, it’s still the Wild West; there’s excitement, passion and opportunities to be grabbed if you strike at the right time.

Something that baffles me is the lack of marketing agencies embracing VR. There have been some big companies who’ve dipped their toes in VR; Coca Cola, McDonalds, Jaguar, Glenfiddich etc. but I’d personally have expected more. Marketers talk about creating compelling and emotionally authentic media content and here they have a medium that gives them just that.

If you want to market a product/brand to millennials, marketing agency can look at VR as an excellent tool to introduce new products and immersive experiences. Brand awareness and loyalty, can be achieved through the medium of VR. For example, How does a hotel, cruise or holiday company convince someone that it can offer an amazing experience when the person has never tried it?

A brochure, website or videos can take you so far, but actually taking them to the destination and allowing them to walk around the accommodation, to look at the views, to be inside the experiences, that’s the sort of tangible experience that gives a real sense of what it would be like and sells it like no other medium. Hotels and Travel companies can offer a VR experience to customer of a selected destination, before choosing their holiday. Marketers can use VR for product, educational, research, commercial, training and many more experiences. A good start is Web VR and Mobile VR, since most consumers own a mobile or web-capable device, and the google cardboard is the most widely accessible platform.

Digital marketers and Innovation heads of companies need to come up with exciting new ideas to reach out the existing and new clients, and as the hardware becomes increasingly affordable and available in the consumer market, now is the perfect time to get in ahead of the rush and to make a unique impression through VR.


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Rory McIlroy agrees 10 year Nike partnership

Northern Irish golf supremo Rory McIlroy has agreed a new ’10 year plus’ apparel partnership with Nike valued at around $100 million.

McIlroy moved across to the sportswear giant in 2013, in a partnership which included golf equipment and apparel, worth $200 million over 10 years.

However, the company announced last August that it would no longer produce golfing equipment, such as clubs, bags and balls, but would focus instead on golf footwear and clothing. Nike’s golf division fell by 8% in 2016 to an estimated £706 million, a third year of declining sales.

Part of the new Nike agreement will have exclusivity over McIlroy’s apparel, prohibiting the world number two from having any additional sponsors on his cap or clothing.

“I’m really happy to continue this journey with Nike,” said McIlroy, 27. “I’ve loved this company since I was a kid.”

McIlroy joins three former world number ones in the Swoosh clothing stable, along with veteran Nike endorsee of 20 years, Tiger Woods, and new signing Jason Day, joining the brand in January of this year.

Competition between manufactures is intense with each paying huge sums of money to ensure the top stars endorse their equipment, along with stringent contracts.

The announcement by Nike comes as McIlroy prepares to for the US Masters title at the world famous Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia this week.