What’s Next in 2018: Virtuality as a Public Relations and Journalistic Tool
By Amanda Livingston
Following last week’s post on drone journalism, this week we’ll look at how virtuality will continue to develop into a vital storytelling tool both in journalism and public relations.
Virtuality is a means of using technology to create dramatic, immersive experiences which allow people to see things in four dimensions. In a virtual experience, participants feel as if they’ve literally been transported in some way, to another place and time, depending on the execution. In the public relations business, we’ll be using virtuality in a variety of ways including virtual reality, augmented reality and 360-degree video. Says David Title, Bravo Media, an experiential marketing studio that has produced virtual experiences for clients including Unilever, Keurig, Saks Fifth Avenue, CBS and Rio Tinto Diamonds, “ In an increasingly noisy and distracting environment, virtual reality experiences offer something truly unique – the completely undivided attention of the viewer. That focus drives results. In the past six months, we’ve seen a significant increase in new VR projects across industries including automotive, travel, pharmaceuticals and even financial services. Use-cases reach beyond consumer marketing, as, for example, Bravo’s work with KPMG to use virtual tours of their new Ignition Centers as part of their recruiting efforts.”
As Title notes above, the medium has tremendous value for for marketers and public relations professionals. Virtuality can bring a company and brand alive in a uniquely dramatic and memorable fashion. People can, through virtuality, travel the world, see live concerts, attend sporting events, watch how products are made and used. Virtuality is a phenomenal journalistic resource. I’ve become a big fan of The New York Times’ The Daily 360, a captivating series that produces a 360-degree video from somewhere in the world every day. In a recent article, Pioneering Virtual Reality and New Video Technologies in Journalism, reporter Marcelle Hopkins notes the paper’s commitment to V.R. “…V.R. is great for creating a sense of place. We often use it for stories in which the place is important to the story and being there can create a visceral experience that is rare in other mediums. V.R. can transport our audience to places they otherwise couldn’t or wouldn’t go, as in “The Antarctica Series,” which takes people below and above the ice of Antarctica.”
Stay tuned for more of What’s Next in 2018.