VR could help public sector comms folk cut through audience scepticism, argues Amanda Kamin

Imagine getting a virtual tour of a blackened lung as part of a smoking cessation campaign, being able to test cutting-edge equipment located on the other side of the world or having a politician campaign in your living room.

With technology set to shake up the communications landscape, it’s imperative that communicators open their eyes to its potential.

Immersive technology, the brawn behind virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) is already working for private sector marketing professionals, and it won’t be long for its popularity begins to spread.

Comms teams across the board are facing challenging times.

In today’s world of 24/7 connectivity, the struggle for cut-through is real.

When people are being bombarded with tens of thousands of communications a day, the challenge is to communicate in a transparent and authentic way, addressing particular audience needs and views.

Amidst rising distrust of big brands, organisations and authorities, there is a real need to develop affinity with niche audiences.

This is where immersive technologies come in.

Immersive tech supplies a 3D experience, requiring audiences to engage at a deeper level with content.

Studies have shown that when the same content is presented in VR and 2D – the VR version receives a 27 per cent higher emotional reaction.

If people feel something at an emotional level, it’s far more likely to stay with them and drive them to act.

In the case of public sector comms, it really is a ‘need’ – campaigns aim to raise awareness around a critical issue or drive positive behaviour change.

With such important outcomes at stake, it’s imperative that communicators adopt tools able to break through audience scepticism and apathy to drive real engagement.


Meanwhile, the third sector has been quick to see the potential of immersive technology for fundraising purposes, with charities building this into a spate of effective communications campaigns to drive public empathy with a cause.

The private sector is getting on board, too, with augmented reality treasure hunts (no doubt inspired by the success of Pokémon Go) and VR-enabled brand experiences.

These campaigns are rarely designed for an immediate sell – they’re brand exercises, successfully driving awareness and affinity with core audiences.

Communicators should unlock their creativity, as the opportunities are endless.

There are so many ways that professionals could use these technologies to bring messages home – and into the homes of their audiences.

There’s no reason for communicators to be late to this party.

Amanda Kamin is director of marketing, communications and events at Digital Catapult

Source by Amanda Kamin

November 14, 2018