LET’S BREAK
TRADITIONVIRTUAL REALITY IN PUBLIC RELATIONS
Contents
03
A history lesson
The evolution of virtual reality,
which dates back to the 1960s
04
An educated perspective
MS...
This statement certainly applies
to virtual reality, which is an idea
that has been around for more than
half a century.
I...
Virtual reality will have a deep
and positive impact on PR. That
was the prevailing sentiment at
Let’s Break Tradition: Vi...
vital, in-person experience without
having to go to a particular or
possibly distant location. Being
able to engage with c...
“As a marketer, my ultimate
goal is to connect with consumers
in more than just a functional
way,” says Samsung Electronic...
shadow, an avatar,” he tells. “She
was handed a torch that she then
handed me. I took it in my hand
physically. I felt it....
To best explain how VR will
change storytelling, and marketing
overall, Scoble turns to the New
York theater scene.
“There...
To illustrate how bullish the
business world is on VR and AR,
which Scoble feels is about three
or four years behind VR in...
At a recent marketing conference,
when Snapchat pitched this to the
ad world, its main focus was how
it would deliver bill...
Kodak PIXPRO SP360
The lens on this 4K action camera
has a 2350
field of view, but you
can install two of these back to
ba...
Ricoh Theta S
From still images to long movies, this camera allows you to explore
all of the possibilities of 360° video p...
01
Google Cardboard
With this headset, you can play
immersive games, visit new places,
fly through space, and more. This
V...
Sony PlayStation VR
Set to launch this October, it offers
a full HD 1920 x 1080 display at 5.7
inches, which offers a 100-...
15
Key
takeaways
VR has the potential to uniquely boost marketing communications
initiatives. Sure there are challenges. M...
About MSLGROUP
MSLGROUP is committed to being a
market leader in using emerging technology
in the public relations space, ...
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Let's Break Tradition: Virtual Reality in Public Relations

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Virtual reality is no longer an off-in-the-distance idea. It’s a quickly emerging trend with which wise marketers and communicators are already experimenting. Read our guidebook and start taking advantage of emerging VR platforms and tools.

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Let's Break Tradition: Virtual Reality in Public Relations

  1. 1. LET’S BREAK TRADITIONVIRTUAL REALITY IN PUBLIC RELATIONS
  2. 2. Contents 03 A history lesson The evolution of virtual reality, which dates back to the 1960s 04 An educated perspective MSLGROUP convened leading minds to underscore how VR will boost brand marcomms 06 The A-ha moment Our experts reveal when they knew VR is the next big thing 08 A brand new tale to tell An in-depth look at the ways VR will revolutionize storytelling 09 The bottom line What are the KPIs of VR? Our speakers talk business impact 11 The toy box You need equipment to start your VR journey. We offer suggestions 15 Key takeaways VR is here to stay. Marketers and communicators are only scratching the surface on discovering how it can deliver value to their efforts. Trust. Engagement. Emotions. These are three of the most important words in the marcomms space – and amplified exponentially by the unprecedented types of stories brands can tell in VR. Virtual reality can transcend space and time. It can transport people to a different world with a level of realness never before seen. Adding VR engagement to a campaign will help it be more immersive, more integrated, and a more complete experience. On these pages, you will be educated and inspired to start taking advantage of emerging VR platforms and tools. Perhaps it starts with VR’s cousin – 3600 technology, which is a simple and inexpensive path to enter the world of VR? Maybe it starts with one of the myriad products we introduce on p. 11? But it definitely starts with your willingness to dive in – now. Early buyers of the new Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones were able to receive a free Gear VR headset. The New York Times last year sent out Google Cardboards to 1 million-plus home-delivery subscribers. Facebook, which bought Oculus VR for $2 billion in 2014, is all in, too, having just unveiled an open source, 3600 video camera that it hopes manufacturers and hobbyists will use as encouragement to build cameras of their own. And esteemed tech evangelist Robert Scoble – who joined our live discussion – is so bullish on VR, he has joined UploadVR as its entrepreneur-in-residence. VR is no longer an off-in-the-distance idea. It’s a quickly emerging trend with which wise marketers and communicators are already experimenting. We are virtually certain the content on the following pages will facilitate your joining them. “2016 will see a major breakthrough for VR” Mashable “Virtual reality is set to make a splash in 2016 ” CNET “Venture capital money is pouring into the [technology] industry ” The New York Times 11 02 Attendees at SXSW in Austin got a true 360-degree perspective on the power and possibilities of VR
  3. 3. This statement certainly applies to virtual reality, which is an idea that has been around for more than half a century. In 1962, Morton Heilig (often deemed to be the father of VR) built the prototype of the Sensorama (pictured above). It was a rather large contraption in which one faced a screen that displayed stereoscopic, 3D images. The device included sound, smell, vibration, and wind. This pioneering effort attempted something that is only now becoming possible: the ability of technology to transport us experientially to a different place. CLICK HERE for an interview with Morton Heilig. In 1984, William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer hit the shelves. It is widely credited with popularizing the term “cyberspace” and giving real shape to the concept of VR by making the Web a habitable place and turning computing into an all-sensory experience. Unsurprisingly, the motion picture industry has brought the world numerous movies focused on VR. A classic one is The Lawnmower Man, a 1992 film starring Pierce Brosnan and based on a story by Stephen King. Featuring then-innovative special effects, it positioned its hero as an ordinary man who became a genius through use of VR. CLICK HERE for the trailer released ahead of The Lawnmower Man’s theater debut. Then in 1999, the Wachowskis and Warner Bros. Pictures debuted The Matrix, which along with two sequels grossed north of $1.63 billion worldwide. The movies portrayed VR as a powerful tool in the hands of villains, but truly illustrated the all-immersive power of virtual reality. CLICK HERE for a scene from The Matrix. The video-game industry certainly plays a key role in VR’s back story, too. In the 1990s, those involved in virtual reality believed critical mass was soon to be at hand when Sega and Nintendo each created gaming headsets. Sega’s did not move beyond the prototype stage, while Nintendo’s was limited by the graphics technology at the time. Still, these offerings all created a foundation upon which VR as we know it today – and as it will develop in the future – was built. In 2016, VR is much better understood to be a powerful tool that can be applied to a broad range of stories, anything in which a physically immersive experience could be useful, enjoyable, important, or interesting. And most of all, as history will show in the not-too-distant future, VR is going to be a true game- changer for brands and all the marketing and communications pros who work with them. A history lesson To understand how we have arrived at where virtual reality is today, it helps to look back at where it all began and how it has evolved “You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been” 03 LET’S BREAK TRADITION: VIRTUAL REALITY IN PUBLIC RELATIONS
  4. 4. Virtual reality will have a deep and positive impact on PR. That was the prevailing sentiment at Let’s Break Tradition: Virtual Reality in Public Relations, a live discussion convened by MSLGROUP. Top voices from the tech and marcomms worlds gathered to both educate communications and marketing pros about why VR is a must-use tool to add to their arsenals and inspire them to start experimenting with it immediately. In a wide-ranging conversation that touched on everything from storytelling to business impact to the treasure chest of amazing and available equipment, it became clear that VR is undoubtedly the future of brand marketing and communications. And for the wise but bold marcomms pro, you could easily argue it should be the present, too. In comments made following the panel, Greg Gopman, head of business development at UploadVR, a virtual reality media company, explained, “If you’re a marketer or communicator, VR is basically your job security for the next 10 years. If you’re on top of it now, you’ll be at the forefront. And it’s only going to get bigger.” An unprecedented experience With VR, marcomms pros can offer consumers a range of experiences without leaving the room – the thrill of driving the latest car; creating a meal in a high-end kitchen; ap- Our experts Moderator preciating a new home or office; participating in a historic battle; visiting a refugee camp; undergoing advanced training to finish a task or fill a role; or taking any number of interesting tourist voyages. The possibilities are endless. MSLGROUP spoke with numerous marcomms professionals who unanimously report that consumers and other stakeholders are fascinated by the prospect of being able to have what would seem like a An educated perspective Virtual reality is the future. As highlighted by leaders who gathered for this MSLGROUP-hosted panel, there are numerous reasons marketing and communications professionals must embrace it in the present Jon Hackett Director of emerging technology, Nurun Tara Kriese Senior director, marketing, Samsung Electronics America Jim Marggraff Founder and CEO, Eyefluence Robert Scoble Entrepreneur-in- residence, UploadVR Jeff Melton SVP of global technology and platforms, MSLGROUP “If you’re a marketer or communicator, VR is basically your job security for the next 10 years” Greg Gopman, UploadVR 04 LET’S BREAK TRADITION: VIRTUAL REALITY IN PUBLIC RELATIONS
  5. 5. vital, in-person experience without having to go to a particular or possibly distant location. Being able to engage with consumers in that manner is the definition of game-changing. In a recent interview, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “This is just the start. Imagine enjoying a court- side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world, or consulting with a doctor face-to-face – just by putting on goggles in your home.” As our panelists’ conversation ensued, augmented reality (AR) also entered the discussion. As VR does now, AR in the next few years will change the nature of how brands market to the masses. In all, it is understandable why VR has not taken off up to now. Tech limitations were a huge obstacle, but that’s changing. Vastly faster processing speeds and huge advancements in hardware and software now yield workable platforms. There is now an absolute ability to create an experience so real that it is able to trick the brain into perceiving you actually are in the projected environment. Ready or not, VR is here – and it isn’t going anywhere because it can take brands and consumers everywhere. Defining progress Virtual reality The creation of a virtual world users can interact with. Well designed, it is very difficult for users to tell the difference between what is real and what is not. VR is usually achieved by the wearing of a helmet, headset, or goggles. Augmented reality This is the blending of VR and real life. Applications allow for the creation of images that blend in with real-world contents. In AR, users can interact with virtual contents in the real world – and can tell the difference. The panel – (l-r) Marggraff, Kriese, Melton, Hackett, and Scoble – made it clear to the audience that VR is clearly the future of brand marketing and communications 05 LET’S BREAK TRADITION: VIRTUAL REALITY IN PUBLIC RELATIONS
  6. 6. “As a marketer, my ultimate goal is to connect with consumers in more than just a functional way,” says Samsung Electronics America senior marketing director Tara Kriese. “I want to work on an emotional level with my consumers.” Her A-ha moment came courtesy of Toms Shoes. She watched a 360-degree video of CEO Blake Mycoskie and his team on a shoe- giving trip to Peru. One of Toms’ employees was hanging out with a 9-year-old boy named Julio. “She went to his house,” recalls Kriese. “You could see how barren and basic it was. And then they captured how amazing it was for him to get these new shoes.” “This brand actually brought me, in this case as a consumer, to that place,” she adds. “I was there. Immersed. I was part of the story. I wanted to help measure his shoes. It was a really profound moment for me. It confirmed for me the amazing opportunity VR presents marketers.” Feeling is believing Jim Marggraff, founder and CEO of Eyefluence, was sold on VR thanks to an experience with The Void, a VR product with which you put your PC on your back, you have a helmet, and you’ll walk around with a partner. “My partner was in front of me and I saw her through my headset as a The A-ha momentOur experts share personal stories about when they realized VR is going to change everything Using its Gear VR, Samsung has teamed up with Six Flags to introduce North America’s first VR roller coasters. “We had folks at our SXSW booth ride in our 4D chairs and we’ve seen all those smiles Robert spoke about,“ notes Kriese. “It’s that ‘VR smile’ marketers and PR people will tap into. It returns every single time you’re in a new VR experience. I’ve seen it” Robert Scoble, UploadVR 06 LET’S BREAK TRADITION: VIRTUAL REALITY IN PUBLIC RELATIONS
  7. 7. shadow, an avatar,” he tells. “She was handed a torch that she then handed me. I took it in my hand physically. I felt it. It was probably a wood prop, but the top of it had flames coming out. I could feel the warmth. As I lifted it higher, the light changed in the room.” As Marggraff continues the story, he describes feeling the cool stone of the wall along which he was walking, the breeze that came over him as he stepped outside, and the mist from water splashing on his face. “That memory for me is as real as any real-world memory,” he notes. “In fact, I call that experience the Sully effect – as in Jake Sully from the film Avatar. One of his famous quotes is ‘Everything is backwards now, like out there is the true world and in here is the dream.’ He wasn’t sure which was which. I know exactly what he was talking about. The moment is coming soon where we will all be able to cross over and lose track of what’s real and what’s not. What a remarkable, immersive communications tool.” The magic of VR “When done correctly, VR experiences are able to trick a person’s brain into believing they are somewhere they are not,” suggests Jon Hackett, director of emerging technology at design and tech consultancy Nurun. That’s what happened to Hackett during a 3D video of him in a dune buggy in the desert. “I was going down a steep hill and my brain got tricked,” he recalls. “I fully believed I was there. I started moving to avoid getting hit by the apparatus around me. Your body just reacts instinctively. You don’t even have control over it.” For tech evangelist Robert Scoble, who just joined UploadVR as entrepreneur-in-residence, the true magic came from seeing others experiencing VR for the first time. “It’s what I call the ‘VR smile,’” he says. “You watch someone put on a VR headset and they instantly grin. They’re having fun. They’re exploring a new world. They came in thinking it was a dorky thing and now their mind has been blown. It’s that VR smile marketers and PR people will tap into. And that smile returns every single time you’re in a new VR experience. I’ve seen it.” “Who doesn’t want their brand to be around people smiling, having fun, and exploring new things?” Reasons to smile To best illustrate the “VR smile” Scoble spoke about, Samsung’s Tara Kriese presented the following two videos during the panel: The Galaxy S7: Elephant Baby video features Wesley Snipes and Lil Wayne adorning Samsung Gear VR goggles. The former calls his experience “amazing,” while the latter has to ignore him because he’s busy delivering a baby elephant. “It’s a straightforward illustration of the joyful, immersive experience VR brings,” says Kriese of the video for the Galaxy S7 smartphone. The #WeAreStrongerThanMS: Surfing video, created by Wieden + Kennedy, features San Diego surfing legend Steve Bettis. He hasn’t been able to get out into the water since 2006, when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The National MS Society teamed up with Bettis’ friend Robert Weaver to bring the ocean to Steve. With a 360-degree camera attached to his head, Weaver surfed the ocean. The video captures Bettis experiencing that through a VR headset. “Nothing about that experience could have been captured in a rectangle box,” notes Kriese. The joy exhibited by these videos’ subjects in clear. However, smiles should also adorn the faces of brand marketers and communicators because VR offers them the opportunity to build emotional connections with consumers that is unmatched by any other platform. Samsung Gear VR and Six Flags present VR roller coasters By toggling the top left icon when you click on the YouTube link, you’ll see the Toms Shoes video in 3600 as Kriese did 07 LET’S BREAK TRADITION: VIRTUAL REALITY IN PUBLIC RELATIONS
  8. 8. To best explain how VR will change storytelling, and marketing overall, Scoble turns to the New York theater scene. “There is a play called Sleep No More,” he says. “You don’t watch it on a stage. You walk into the play and it happens all around you.” He goes on to describe how actors argue and get killed feet in front of the audience. “You’re part of the play,” adds Scoble. “Marketers will use these memes to tell new kinds of stories.” Game changers The gaming world also offers inspiration, notes Hackett. “The big adjustment is you don’t need to have a linear storyline,” he explains. “You can go totally nonlinear in VR. Marketers will be able to borrow from what works so well in the gaming industry.” In fact, Hackett predicts, the rise of VR will make it inevitable that marketers, strategists, and creatives in the brand world will work with game developers to share tactics. “Marketers will want to borrow from that fidelity and complexity,” he says. “You will want to employ people from that world for their design and technical prowess, and, most of all, for their ability to craft effective narrative in this space.” A matter of trust “VR will force marketers to focus on interactive storytelling,” says Marggraff. “It’s not just branching stories that follow a path, but stories where you are a participant and your actions have consequences.” Marggraff is on the board of Rival Theory, a company that creates artificial intelligence (AI) characters that respond to you. They have emotions and memories. They recall where you have been. These characters become real to the user. As you tie all that together from a marketing perspective, he adds, it boils down to one huge word – trust. “As marketers embrace this new medium, trust becomes more vital than ever,” Marggraff emphasizes. “If that trust is violated, it’s over because brands know more than ever about consumers. Especially with VR, brands interact with you on a continuous emotional level. Trust is key to make that work.” All in the experience “We are moving from ‘seeing is believing’ to ‘experiencing is believing,“ notes Kriese, “That’s why VR is so powerful.” A brand new tale to tell Storytelling is an essential tool as brands reach out to the consuming public. VR will revolutionize the way it’s done She went on to describe Gone, an original scripted VR thriller series Samsung presented at SXSW. It was created by Skybound, the company behind The Walking Dead. As Kriese describes, it is completely interactive. Users can explore different paths and investigate different characters and objects. “The consumer trust we need to establish,” she concludes, “is beyond anything we’ve ever had before because their experiences are so personal now.” “The big adjustment is you don’t need to have a linear storyline” Jon Hackett, Nurun This original scripted VR thriller series epitomizes interactive storytelling 08 LET’S BREAK TRADITION: VIRTUAL REALITY IN PUBLIC RELATIONS
  9. 9. To illustrate how bullish the business world is on VR and AR, which Scoble feels is about three or four years behind VR in terms of hitting the mass market, one need look no further than Magic Leap, a startup company working on a head-mounted virtual retinal display that superimposes 3D images over real-world objects by projecting a digital light field into a user’s eye. “Magic Leap just got a $3.1 billion investment from Google and others without having a single customer or product,” reports Scoble. “Think about that for a second.” Eyefluence is also developing a product (see sidebar right) where an entire environment can be controlled through a user’s eyes. According to Scoble, Steven Wolfram, CEO of Wolfram Research and an esteemed computer scientist, was floored when he saw it. “When someone such as Wolfram reacts in that manner,” adds Scoble, “you pay attention. Marketers and communicators might not be intro- ducing a product in VR or AR, but they will need to build experiences that use those platforms.” Moreover, VR and AR will directly impact the way people purchase things, which is as direct a business result as you can find. Time is money This year, Snapchat will be launching a connected camera developed by Epiphany Eyewear, a company it bought in 2014. The bottom lineBrands need to see quantifiable results to be thoroughly convinced of any platform’s value. Though a bit early in its evolution to gauge full financial impact, our leaders were more than ready to make a business case for VR The eyes have it What you see is what you get. Eyefluence’s eye-interaction techno- logy, created to further enhance VR and AR experiences, will bring new meaning to that oft-used phrase. Marggraff put on a pair of glasses fitted with this technology to show how users can check flight times, the weather, and photo albums. He then displayed how – with just the eyes – you could have a chat session. Doctors will be able to view a patient’s entire medical history securely, as the iris is better than a fingerprint for security purposes. The demo kept reinforcing the technology’s ability to understand intention. It reacts to the eyes’ be- havior, not just a blink. This came to the forefront during the final demo. Marggraff snapped a picture of a box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates. He gazed at the label, sent that to an outside service over the Internet, which then sent it over to Amazon. From there, on Amazon.com, he not only bought it, but shipped it to Robert Scoble – all with his eyes. As Scoble noted, “VR and AR will allow you to buy products in ways you never could. It’s mind blowing.” 09 LET’S BREAK TRADITION: VIRTUAL REALITY IN PUBLIC RELATIONS Magic Leap just received a $3.1 billion investment from Google
  10. 10. At a recent marketing conference, when Snapchat pitched this to the ad world, its main focus was how it would deliver billions of minutes, as in average time spent. That’s a KPI that should be music to brands’ ears, says Scoble, who also recalled a conversation he had with a marketer from Absolut Vodka, which recently had consumers watching a live music event in VR. “He told me the average time consumers spent was 19 minutes,” reports Scoble. “They deemed that to be extraordinary for the amount of money paid for the activation. He said they never had that kind of interaction with consumers – and this is an alcohol brand. Only VR can deliver that kind of KPI.” “Time spent is a huge metric for marketers,” adds MSLGROUP’s Jeff Melton. “Getting a target audience’s attention for longer than six seconds is so hard in an age of fragmenting channels and platforms. Anything over two minutes, let alone the 10 or 15 VR can attain, is amazing.” Emotional currency While Kriese agrees time spent is a critical KPI VR can uniquely deliver, she looks even beyond that. “Technology is not far away that will help us understand what the consumer is feeling, the emotion behind the activity they undertake in VR,” she explains. “There is so much that can be done with that from a metrics, analytics, and data perspective. VR and AR technolo- gies are getting us closer to that.” Marggraff underscores that point when discussing Eyefluence’s products. “Our technology can measure emotions because pupil dilation, for example, is a reflection of emotional alteration,” he explains. “When you’re challenged by a hard math problem, for instance, your pupils dilate as you figure it out in your head. That can be measured.” Another benefit brands will get from VR and AR is true empathy. The more you understand consumers’ emotions, notes Marggraff, the better you communicate with them. “As VR technology gets more so- phisticated,” adds Hackett, “it will be able to read and even mirror your facial expressions. As a marketer, you’ll get a richer understanding of how people are experiencing the world they’re in. That’s so valuable.” The path to transaction In addition to the new metrics they bring to the table, VR and AR will also amplify measurements marketers gauge on other platforms. For example, as Scoble points out, brands basically have three goals on Facebook. The first is to slow people down so they don’t just rip through the feed. Second, you want people to click a link, which fewer people do than slow down. Finally, you want to get a consumer to convert into an action – whether it’s leaving a comment, liking something, or, the ultimate goal, buying a product. Those are all measureable activities on Facebook that certainly translate into VR. Scoble was equally excited about B8ta, a new retail store that opened in Palo Alto, California, last year. “It’s a brick-and-mortar shop with cutting-edge gadgets for people to try,” he explains. “A camera sits over each display to watch dwell times. Do consumers touch? Do they transact?” The data gleaned is sold back to the manufacturers so they can measure the relative popularity of all these products. “Another example of new ways to measure the likelihood of a transaction,” notes Scoble. “That is a KPI any marketer will find useful.” “Getting a target audience’s attention for longer than six seconds is so hard. Anything over two minutes, let alone the 10 or 15 VR can attain, is amazing” Jeff Melton, MSLGROUP 12.2 million The amount of VR headsets forecast to be sold by the end of 2016 Source: Piper Jaffray $30 billion The amount of money the virtual reality market will generate by 2020 Source: Digi-Capital $62 billion The VR market headset will grow to this level by 2025 Source: Piper Jaffray $88.4 billion This is how much the video- game industry generated as of last year. VR hardware, games, and apps are poised to become a major part of this growing market Source: Digi-Capital VR by the numbers 10 LET’S BREAK TRADITION: VIRTUAL REALITY IN PUBLIC RELATIONS
  11. 11. Kodak PIXPRO SP360 The lens on this 4K action camera has a 2350 field of view, but you can install two of these back to back for the full 3600 . Photo editing and stitching software is included in the purchase. Bubl The 360° spherical camera can capture spherical photos and videos with no blind spots. Also has options for recording in HDR and time-lapse photos. Nikon KeyMission 360 Waterproof, shockproof 360° camera with dual lenses and image sensors, which produce a single immersive, ultra-hi-def video and still images. Easy to use and can withstand the elements during travel or sports. GoPro Omni VR rig Announced in April 2016, GoPro’s first all-official 360° rig offering will hold six cameras that capture footage simultaneously to create a single, high-resolution 360° video. Since 2014 the virtual reality market has nearly doubled and companies are racing into the head-mounted display market. In addition, 360° video can already be viewed on YouTube, Facebook, or with a VR headset, and now many manufacturers offer 360° cameras to shoot high quality, immersive video and headsets to view these videos. On these pages we share some of the equipment you can use to begin experimenting with this new technology: The toy boxReady to start your VR journey? Here are a plethora of equipment options CAMERAS Photo/video editing Along with these cameras, you can take your 360° images and videos to the next level with editing software. For example, MSLGROUP used Mettle’s inexpensive SkyBox Studio to create a 360° invitation to its SXSW panel discussion. Ready. Set. Action. 1 Experiment. Send a client or brand manager an unexpected, short enjoyable VR file that relates to their work. A good impression is guaranteed. 2 Look around. Go online. Start with YouTube. Check out some of the best VR content out there and use it as inspiration. 3 Ask around. Talk to non-PR pros who have developed VR content. You’ll get a broader un- derstanding of what is possible. 4 Brainstorm. Now tap the most creative minds at your company. Share what you’ve learned and start pondering the potential role VR can play in client campaigns. 5 Engage your client. You need not bring them a fully formed idea. Speak to clients immedi- ately to gauge their interest and excitement in VR. Convince them this is a growing category they must get involved in – and show them how VR can boost current and future campaigns. VR excites you. Get them excited, too. 11 LET’S BREAK TRADITION: VIRTUAL REALITY IN PUBLIC RELATIONS You have the equipment. Now we tell you what your first steps are.
  12. 12. Ricoh Theta S From still images to long movies, this camera allows you to explore all of the possibilities of 360° video production. It’s equipped with advanced functions such as HD live streaming (share in real time) and live view (check the exposure and white balance while shooting). It also has 8GB of memory. Orah 4i This is a prosumer-level 3600 camera that can also support live video. And at 3.1 x 2.7 x 2.5 inches and 17 ounces, it’s light enough to put in your backpack. Time to exercise By yourself Get a 360° camera and spend a week taking photos and videos. It’s the best way to learn the nuances of capturing content. You’ll probably even get folks stopping you on the street to ask what you’re doing. Upload the videos to Facebook and YouTube. Your Facebook friends will not be able to avoid being impressed. And on YouTube, you can keep the videos unlisted so you can share them privately. And if you haven’t already, order a VR headset and view your own content. And if you need further inspiration, check out these sites/ apps to see more: 1. New York Times VR 2. Jaunt 3. Vrse With colleagues Conduct a meeting as you normally would, but put a 360° camera in the middle of a conference room table. Make sure everyone knows it’s recording. Pass around a headset and watch the content you just recorded. Gauge how everyone feels, what they think, how they were impacted. Brainstorm about clients you foresee as strong and immediate fits for VR. At this point, take the camera off the table and start walking around the office with your colleagues capturing content. This is the best way to learn the nuances of staging. Once done, gather for another meeting and put up a storyboard showcasing the recently created content on one wall. Next, on the other three walls – and without changing the story – illustrate what is happening in the other directions. 12 LET’S BREAK TRADITION: VIRTUAL REALITY IN PUBLIC RELATIONS With equipment and the right attitude in tow, here are some exercises you can do right away: Samsung Gear 360 Dust and splash resistant, the front and rear lenses capture 180 degrees horizontally and vertically, creating a seamless, complete 360-degree field of view. Every experience is recorded in 3840 x 1920 hi-res video and 30MP photos. You can shoot, stitch and edit, view, and share easily. With bright F2.0 lens, Gear 360 is compatible with the latest Galaxy smartphones or your PC. CAMERAS
  13. 13. 01 Google Cardboard With this headset, you can play immersive games, visit new places, fly through space, and more. This VR experience is simple, fun, and affordable – it starts with a simple viewer anyone can build or buy, coupled with a variety of apps. IonVR Its MotionSync technology creates a smooth, high-quality mobile VR experience that works for screens 4.5” to 6” across platforms including Android and iOS. Its hardware- based solution reduces motion blur and makes longer-form content possible. The toy box iPhone Android 13 LET’S BREAK TRADITION: VIRTUAL REALITY IN PUBLIC RELATIONS Merge VR Sculpted from soft foam, these are designed to fit comfortably on any face. Compatible with Android and iOS devices. Your phone already does 3600 and VR! Compatible with every smartphone (though larger screens work better) Watch 3600 videos – Facebook Watch 3600 videos – YouTube Third-party apps HEADSETS
  14. 14. Sony PlayStation VR Set to launch this October, it offers a full HD 1920 x 1080 display at 5.7 inches, which offers a 100-degree field of vision. It will work with 46 million PlayStation 4 consoles. Sony has signed on 230-plus development houses to create VR content. Lasting thoughts 14 LET’S BREAK TRADITION: VIRTUAL REALITY IN PUBLIC RELATIONS The panel concluded with each leader being asked the one major point they wanted marcomms pros to take with them about VR. This is what they shared: You can’t be told what the experience is like. As marketers, you must try it. Then try and craft story for it. It’s trial and error, but don’t get discouraged. Dive in. It’s OK to fail a few times. You’ll see what works. Then go from there. I’m very bullish. The smartphone is a VR machine, so this can be scaled quickly. Everyone wants to get in on this medium. It’s still small, so now is the time for marketers to test things. Soon, it won’t be small. After initial fears that VR was isolating, I realized it will likely connect us more than any technology ever. It not only increases our connection with others, but it actually makes the quality of those connections stronger. VR will be a key player as the next 10 years will see more mind-blowing products than the last 40. And it makes people smile. If marketers and communicators can’t take advantage of that, what are you doing in the industry? Oculus Rift Uses state-of-the-art displays and optics designed specifically for VR. Its high refresh rate and low- persistence display work together with its custom optics system to provide incredible visual fidelity and an immersive, wide field of view. Jon Hackett Nurun Tara Kriese Samsung Jim Marggraff Eyefluence Robert Scoble UploadVR HTC Vive The Vive offers a 110° field of view for captivating immersion while experiencing VR. This headset has 32 sensors for motion tracking and features an adjustable strap plus interchangeable foam inserts and nose pads for customized comfort. Compatible with Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 edge, Note5, S6, and S6 edge Requires additional source Note: The HTC Vive and Oculus Rift need a separate computer, with hardware specifications. Sony PlayStation VR will work with the PS4 Samsung Gear VR Powered by Oculus and utilizing each phone’s Super AMOLED display, wide field of view, precise head tracking and low latency, the Gear VR brings reality to the virtual. Note that while this headset is only compatible with the above phones, the Gear VR has its own content store and library with customized experiences. HEADSETS
  15. 15. 15 Key takeaways VR has the potential to uniquely boost marketing communications initiatives. Sure there are challenges. Most will discover a learning curve. Some of the best equipment is pricey – and not all of it is easily accessible right now. There is even the potential for motion sickness. However, every great platform comes with growing pains, but there are myriad powerful reasons for PR professionals to dive into PR right now. Below we offer a half dozen: Strategic benefits 1 Longer engagement time Time spent with a brand is a huge metric for marketers. Seconds’ worth of attention are usually what consumers will give. VR has already proved that it can hold people’s attention for multiple minutes. This keeps brands top of mind, increases recall, and greatly enhances potential action. 2 Deeper emotional engagement As underscored by the numerous videos shared on earlier pages, VR makes consumers part of the brand experience. Whether by building empathy for others or eliciting feelings that can only come from personal involvement, VR uniquely offers an immersive experience that will stay with users forever. 3 Increased trust VR helps replicate the communication and transmission of sophisticated human cues that build trust: direct eye contact, a strong presence, and warmth. You build real relationships with brands on VR. Inasmuch as trust is the foundation of any relationship, this could have enormous implications in brand marketing, corporate counsel, even public affairs. 4 Simplifying the complex No level of language, images, or explanation compares to placing someone within an experience. In VR, users interact in a way that allows for a much more sophisticated and holistic understanding. They get information much more quickly and can comprehend it much more thoroughly in VR. For brands, this enables consumers to appreciate their products, points of view, and mission in ways they couldn’t before. 5 Greater devotion When HBO did a touring exhibition for Game of Thrones, it included a VR experience called “Ascend the Wall.” Presented as a gift to fans, the VR program sparked fervent enthusiasm, yielding abundant social media engagement. Fans who couldn’t attend expressed palpable envy. It also stoked greater anticipation for both the upcoming season, as well as past episodes. Fans became even more fanatical about the show. 6 Condensed sales cycle From real estate to travel to lofty purchases, VR can be used to jump-start a consumer experience when it’s difficult or impossible to introduce the product itself. For example, MSLGROUP client Student Castle provided a way for its customers to view and experience university housing. Due to that connection to the brand, VR can help people make decisions faster and with greater confidence. LET’S BREAK TRADITION: VIRTUAL REALITY IN PUBLIC RELATIONS
  16. 16. About MSLGROUP MSLGROUP is committed to being a market leader in using emerging technology in the public relations space, and we’re enthusiastic about the enormous potential for VR and 360. We’re fortunate to be able to move early in this space, turning to the experience and knowledge of our colleagues across Publicis Groupe that have already created impressive VR work for clients. With this guide, we aim to help educate brands and companies to understand what the possibilities are for using VR to support and enhance campaigns. VR is part of our RADAR program, devoted to new technologies that we are sharing with clients. Special thanks to Nathan Beers, Sarah Frueh, Jon Hackett, Clare Hutchings, Jeff Melton, Mike Standish, and Archie Smart for their time and thoughtful contributions. For more information about VR and PR, contact: Jeff Melton SVP, Global Technology Platforms e: jeff.melton@mslgroup.com p: 1 (646) 500-7740 MSLGROUP 375 Hudson Street New York, NY 10014 USA Produced by Haymarket Media © Haymarket Media Group Ltd.

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