A Brand New Tale to Tell

Storytelling is an essential tool as brands reach out to the consuming public. Our experts  – Robert Scoble, Entrepreneur-in-residence, UploadVR, Jim Marggraff, Founder and CEO, Eyefluence, Jon Hackett, Director of emerging technology, Nurun and Tara Kriese, Senior director, marketing, Samsung Electronics America explain how VR will revolutionize the way it’s done.

To best explain how VR will change storytelling, and marketing overall, Scoble turns to Broadway. “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 in the play get killed or have sex 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.”

VR playbook coverGame 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 with the consumer is violated it’s over because brands know more than they have ever about an individual. Especially with VR, brands interact with you on a continuous emotional level. Trust is essential 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.” 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.”

This article is a part of MSLGROUP’s VR playbook – Let’s Break Tradition: Virtual Reality in Public Relations. For more information about VR and PR, contact: Jeff Melton, SVP, Global Technology & Platforms | e: jeff.melton@mslgroup.com | p: 1 (646) 500-7740