For some businesses, sharing a company’s values, goals, and purpose with customers is equally as important as showcasing their products and services for sale. Having their customers learn and understand more than their sales message allows them to truly connect with the brand; learning about how the brand makes a successful impact on local communities, the sustainability and commitment to the environment, their global reach, and the “what makes us come to work every day”. Creating a brand experience that brings a user into this reality you craft for them, one that they can witness and interact with, will help not only in converting potential customers into buying customers, but into possible advocates for your brand. Because when they purchase and everytime they use your product, they will remember the feeling that this brand brings to them and an experience that they want to share with their friends, family and colleagues.
In this article, I am going to specifically point out details about two automotive companies that could use this type of virtual reality experience but it can be applied to any company where you want your customers to understand who YOU are. I am going to be talking about Ford and Chevrolet, and to be up front that I own vehicles from both brands and love driving them both! Now obviously these companies are both competitors, they have created great vehicles for a long time and have been staples within the auto industry since the very beginning. Let me shed some light on what I believe their values and purpose are that drives them forward.
“The purpose of any company should be to make people's lives better. Otherwise, it shouldn't exist.”Ford’s Executive Chairman, William Clay Ford Jr.
This is a powerful statement and introduction to what the company does both inside and outside the business. Ford helps communities and enriches people's lives through the Ford Motor Company Fund. They are committed at creating a better world that we live in through their sustainable practices, global reach, and creating a positive impact on the world.
Chevrolet may be about quality, safety, and innovation but they too are committed to better the communities that they are a part of through Chevy Cares, Chevy Salutes, and Chevy Youth Sports. Each of these enriches the lives of people that they touch, whether it is through cancer relief, empowering kids through the power of sports, or honoring the active service members, veterans, and their families.
It isn’t like these companies aren’t already marketing and showcasing these aspects of their business. You can find videos, websites and other traditional marketing materials of all these aspects but none can truly showcase the impact or create an emotional experience like virtual reality. Let me take you on a journey into a virtual reality concept that could do just that for these businesses.
Cold, you feel a chill as you stare out into the blackness of nothing. A single small light seems to emerge in the vast sea of black. A faint sound, almost like a whisper, invites and draws you in with warmth and calmness. Another light and another materialize all around. And colors, beautiful swirls of yellows, blues and purples blend together to create elegant works of art within the darkness. That cold shudder is no more as the warmth of these colors swirl around you as you realize you are hovering in space and the Earth slowly rotates in view with the sun shining magnificently across its body revealing the stark contrast of night and day. The bright lights of the cities begin to emerge as you can see continents and the vast oceans that cover the surface of the planet. It’s a magical feeling as you calmly witness this event unfold.
Colorful beams of light radiant upwards from a multitude of locations on the continents, revealing important areas that intrigue your sense of wonder and curiosity. You reach out to touch and to your delight you have activated it. The world responds and reacts to your command as it rotates and zooms in to this area of interest. Additional detailed areas of interest reveal themselves along with highlighting details that make your business special. A voice surrounds you as they narrate what you have just activated, informing you about the impact your business brings to the local community and the sustainability of your factories. Interactive graphs encourage you to touch and interact while inviting you to dive even deeper into the experience.
A uniquely shaped block catches your attention as you wave your arm towards it. A miniature mine materializes over the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in Africa, showcasing a cobalt mine. A chain stretches from there to a refinery in China, and then onto a battery factory in South Korea and finally to a United States Ford plant. The narrator's voice calmly talks to you about blockchain and how it is being used to validate the ethical sourcing of cobalt that is being used in their vehicles. (Ford, along with IBM)
A wreath hovers gently over the state of Maine as you reach out to touch it. It swirls around you as stylized American flags and service members saluting wreaths being placed on headstones in Arlington National Cemetery pixelate in around you. Just the other day thousands of volunteers placed these wreaths for the annual Wreaths Across America Day but not everyone gets the opportunity to be a part of it. But by creating this memory you help share the importance of this event and remind everyone of the sacrifices made by the brave men and women of our armed services every day. (Chevrolet has sponsored the escort vehicles transporting the participating Gold Star families and veterans for the last four years in addition to sponsoring 4,000 wreaths being placed in Arlington.)
As the experience comes to an end and you remove the headset and handover the controllers, you reflect on the positive impacts that they make to our communities and to our world. This is an experience worth seeing, worth sharing, and worth creating.