A metal chute to my right, a timer to my left, and a large conveyor belt in front of me—I quickly grabbed an oversized box off the belt and tossed it down the chute. When I saw the next package, I knew I needed to stop the belt and remove it—and I did it just in time! Sure, it was virtual, but I felt completely immersed in the reality of a shipping warehouse employee.
Cookerly Public Relations is always looking for new innovations for its clients, and we recently had the opportunity to learn more about virtual reality on a tour at Foundry 45, an Atlanta-based company that creates dynamic virtual and augmented reality experiences for a variety of organizations. Not only did we learn more about virtual reality and how it’s impacting the PR industry, we had a blast experiencing Foundry 45’s products.
During the tour, our team saw how virtual and augmented reality experiences have impacted different companies’ employee training programs. Virtual reality brings a new dimension of learning to training programs by offering employees the opportunity to experience and prepare for different occupational situations before starting their jobs. Training programs are just one area in which VR and AR have had an impact. There is plenty of room for virtual and augmented reality to have a positive impact on other areas within public relations. A few examples:
- Pitching and storytelling: by creating hyper realistic digital renderings of the worlds of brands and clients, public relations professionals can engage their key audiences and elevate pitches by providing virtual reality footage alongside traditional pitch materials. Imagine pitching a Fourth of July story including a virtual reality clip where the reporter is immersed in the fireworks and festivities of the event.
- Non-profit messaging: because virtual reality allows participants to fully immerse themselves into a designated world, non-profits will be able to capitalize on how VR makes experiences of others more tangible for the rest of us. Think of how impactful it could be for a non-profit dedicated to STEAM education to “transport” students to rock formations in National Parks.
- Brand positioning: by implementing virtual and augmented reality tools into their mix, brands can engage with a wider audience, and even reach new key audiences that are younger and more tech-savvy. If a clothing brand implements a try-on-at-home virtual reality experience in its online platform, the company could see an increase in engagement from millennials and fashion-forward folks.
I left our virtual reality tour with two feelings: excitement and gratitude. Virtual reality offers unlimited creativity for personalized applications for public relations, and it’s exciting to intern at an agency where the team is constantly brainstorming new tools like virtual reality to keep programs vibrant. I also felt a deep appreciation for the fact that I had been included. In addition to giving interns opportunities to engage in agency life—from drafting pitches to joining client calls—Cookerly gives their interns the opportunity to participate in events to advance their learning even more. While the benefits of using virtual reality in public relations are still crystalizing, the benefits of my everyday reality as a Cookerly intern are very real!