Bob Dylan famously sang, “the times, they are a changin’.” In today’s world, not even our own realities are safe from this adage as companies continue to invest in virtual, augmented and mixed reality technology. However, it’s not just the tech companies looking into this field; the public relations community is also testing new communication tactics via the new reality revolution.
Utilizing new VR/AR technology, public relations and news practitioners are beginning to move away from “telling” people about the news to instead “showing” it to them. Through VR/AR, broadcast and online journalists are using floating infographics in their videos to showcase data; weather broadcasters are showing what five feet of snow looks like right next to them as if the snow was in their newsroom; and big events are using mobile apps to display famous athletes or celebrities in your living room as promotional tactics.
Imagine pitching a story about a new vehicle that has more customizable features than any model ever made. It’s easy to write that down and explain it, but even easier for a reporter to ignore the storyline when they can’t experience a vehicle firsthand. But with VR/AR technology, companies can create apps that work in tandem with new mobile phones, tablets or VR headsets that take you directly into a virtual dealership and allow you to touch the car and modify every detail. To put it simply, VR/AR can create much more engaging stories and experiences that are accessible anywhere.
One of the potential biggest VR/AR disruptors for PR practitioners is the holographic press release. We already know digital has eclipsed print media, but one day the written word itself could take a backseat to rich visual creations. Rather than sending written press releases to reporters and news stations, one day we may be able to send holographic video recordings that pop up on phones like Princess Leia in Star Wars, only instead the hologram will discuss new company initiatives rather than imploring a hero to fight the Empire. Visuals speak louder than words, so holograms take that to the next level…and they are closer than you think.
Futurists such as Cathy Hackl from You Are Here Labs, the developer of the world’s first holographic press release, have already started looking towards the future to create new ways VR/AR can help communicators market new realities. Two of our very own Cookerly teammates were able to hear her speak about this technology this month at PRSA International Conference in Austin, where she delved into the topic even further:
“One day, VR and AR will be a part of our everyday living. It will help us have new and exciting experiences, feel like we’ve traveled to places we’ve never even imagined, find our way more easily in stores, help us decide what drinks to have at Starbucks and allow us to virtually compare one product to another in a new and more engaging way,” Cathy said. “Simply put, it’s a revolution of marketing, branding and communications. And, it’s a digital wave that we can’t wait to ride.”
We agree with Cathy and can’t wait to see where this possibility will take the PR universe.