DECLARATIONI hereby certify that this material, which I now submit for assessment on the
programme of study leading to the award of Postgraduate Diploma in Management
is entirely my own work and has not been submitted for assessment for any academic
purpose other than in partial fulfilment for that stated above.
Signed ……………………………………. Date …………………………………………..Leandro Alves Barbosa
2ABSTRACTThe aim of this paper is to determine the impact of virtual reality on experiential marketing,
through the demonstration of data analysis, discussions and results found in this research.
Also exposing possible opportunities and benefits for marketers when using experiential
marketing strategies to differentiate an organisation in the market with virtual reality devices.
The management project seeks to focus on the nature of impact between virtual reality and
experiential marketing aligning literature review with a company context using Volvo Cars as
an example to support the success of marketing strategies applied
Keywords: experiential marketing, marketing, virtual reality, engagement, experience,
customer experience, senses.
3Table of contentsPageAbstract 2Table of Contents 3Introduction 51. LITERATURE REVIEW 71.1- Experiential Marketing 71.2 – Experiential Marketing Framework 81.3 – Conceptual Model of Experiential Marketing 91.4 Emergence of Experiential Marketing in various Industries 101.5 Rising the Use of Technology in Experiential Marketing 131.6 Concept of Virtual Reality 151.7 Virtual Reality and Experiential Marketing 172. CONTEXTUALIZATION 192.1 – Volvo Cars Case Study 192.2 – Strategy 192.3 – Target Audience 212.4 – Creative Strategy 222.5 – Execution 232.5.1 – General Campaign Implementation 232.5.2 – Mobile Execution 232.6 – Outcomes 232.7 – Assessment 232.8 – Market Impact 243. DISCUSSIONS 253.1 The Experience 253.2Customer Satisfaction 263.3 Brand Creation 273.4 Social Dimension 283.5 Shot Comings 283.6 Volvo Experiential Grid 293.7 Recommendations 31
43.7.1 Virtual Reality Effectiveness 313.7.2 Growth of VR in Marketing 333.7.3 Immerse Experience of VR for Consumers 333.7.4 VR versus Traditional Experiential Marketing Campaigns 353.7.5 Social Media and VR Marketing 363.8 Conclusion 38BIBLIOGRAPHY40
5IntroductionOver the decades, organisations have designed and developed many services and products
that need to be marketed in a method that will grab consumers’ attention and create lasting
memories. Only this form of interaction highly guarantees an organisation’s ability to remain
sustainable and competitive in today’s market. Severalorganisations are therefore adopting a
model of marketing that focuses on the interaction and experience of a consumer withtheir
products. This model of marketing was propounded by Schmitt(2000) in his earlier research
work to establish approaches to facilitate the interaction between the consumer andbrands.
The understanding of consumer behaviour and loyalty drivers through linking them to
organisational marketing strategy has been studied for several decades(Reichheld ; Teal,
1996). Researchers in psychology, economics, sociology and management alike are engaged
in the consistent development of new strategies for organisations to maximise their
engagement with end-users, the consumers(Schmitt, 2010; Kotler, 2014).
The emergence of information technology has created new possibilities for organisations
not only to gain a competitive edge but also to market and create experiences that will be
valued by the consumer. The incorporation of technological aspects in mainstream marketing
has opened new realms in the delivery of marketing messages, brand experience and events.
Experiential marketing is increasingly being adopted by variousorganisations to deliver
personalised experiences to their consumers(Schmitt, 2000). Experiences are slowly
becoming the new way to deliver and co-create value to the consumer. The aim of
experiential marketing is to immerse the modern-day consumers – normally holding high
expectations – within organisation brands through engagement with their senses. This
engagement is deemed to provide memorable and emotional connections and thus strongly
connect the consumer to the brand(Datta, 2017).
The ever-growing consumer market cynicism to traditional marketing and
advertisements throws constant challenges at marketers on how to deliver new strategies for
marketing that will capture user’s attention in the increasingly competitive market. With the
integration ofhigh consumer expectations, technological advancements and complexities
associated with understanding consumer needs(Schmitt, 2010), organisations are adopting
modern marketing approaches including experiential marketing to remedy this situation.
However, there is lack of sufficient literature for every industry that supports the adoption of
6experiential marketing to influence consumer satisfaction or loyalty.Though studies have
shown increased expenditure on experiential marketing initiatives(Lanier, 2008;
Wahyuningtyas et al., 2017), only a few of them reported on the immediate benefits and
impact. Moreover, these studies lack tangible evidence on the associated impacts of
experiential marketing to have an effect on organisation goals. This is attributed to the
challenges involved with the measurement of human senses, feelings and level of
engagements that further complicate impact measurements (Schmitt, 2000). This paper,
therefore, sets out to understand the impact of virtual reality in experience marketing aiming
to determine the role of virtual reality in experiential marketing and evaluate its efficacy on
Incorporation of VR technology to design and deliver experiential marketing is a
relatively new phenomenon in the context of marketing strategies; also, this research will
provide marketing practitioners within an opportunity to understand the impact of VR on
experiential marketing. In addition, will help organisations todetermine whether they should
adopt unconventional marketing approaches to deliver personalised experiences. Insights
resulting from this study may also be beneficial in cementing the important role of marketing
in the total supply chain. Lastly, this study will add knowledge base and repositories for
experiential marketing to the existing literature.
71.LITERATURE REVIEW1.1 Experiential MarketingMarketing practitioners are constantly adopting new and exciting approaches to remain
competitive and appeal to consumers. Interpreting how consumers interact with and
experience brands is a critical component for marketers in providing appealing brand
experiences (Schmitt, 2010). Schmitt further explains that this marketing model– targeted at
delivering consumers a desired experience –determines the organisational marketing success.
Experiential marketing brings forth the ability of an organisationto cooperate consumers
through brand experience, also can be referred to as event marketing, live marketing,
participation marketing, or engagement marketing.Schmitt(2000) defined experiential
marketing as a strategic basis for providing a holistic experience for consumers by focusing
on their emotions and senses.
Basically, the experiential marketing strategy seeks to engage and connect with
consumers through the creation of memorable real-life experiences. This is in line with Lee et
al.’s definition, where experiential marketing is explained as a memorable experience,
ingrained into the consumers or customers’minds (Lee, et al., 2011). Wu and
Tseng(2015)note that experiential marketing involves a broad marketing strategy concerned
with improving customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.According to Smilansky(2009, p.
5), experiential marketing is also described as the ‘process of identifying and satisfying
customer needs and aspirations profitably, engaging them through two-way communications
that bring brand personalities to life and add value to the target audience’.
Currently, in a bid to understand their customers, marketing teams are confronted with
various challenges, such as customers’ expectations, emerging technology trends and
complexities associated with the use of technological media, to take selection and purchasing
decisions. Schmitt(2000) and Yacob et al.(2016), in their research works,attributed the shift
from traditional marketing to experiential marketing to the existence and use of technology.
The prominence of technology and social media evolution in marketing has enabled
consumers and organisations alike to access a massive amount of data/information, including
getting intelligence on products and services(Schwab, 2017). In light of this, modern
marketing practitioners and progressive organisationsare recognising the need to change their
marketing and implementation strategies with a goal of maximising returns, specifically to
create and add value toconsumers’ lives(Datta, 2017).
8More and more organisations in different industries are innovating ways to understand
and provide memorable experiences to their consumers’notably experiential marketing.
1.2– Experiential Marketing FrameworkSchmitt, an experiential marketing proponent, explains the two aspects of experiential
marketing by describing five different types of experiences that he referred to as Strategic
Experiential Modules SEM and the tactical tools as the Experience Providers
ExPros,which an organisation marketing team could create for consumers(Schmitt, 2000,
2003). The five different types of experiences included ‘sensory experiences SENSE,
affective experiences FEEL, creative cognitive experiences THINK, physical experiences,
behaviours and lifestyle ACT and social-identity experiences that result from relating to a
reference group or culture RELATE’ (Schmitt, 2010, p. 54). SEM is implemented with the
help of tactical tools ExPros such as communications, product presence, visual identity,
verbal identity and electronic media among others(Schmitt, 2000).
Figure 1 – The Experiential Grid (Schmitt, 2000)Unlike traditional marketing, where the consumer is viewed as a rational-decision
maker interested in functional benefits and features, experiential marketing perceives
consumers as rational and emotional beings interested in attaining pleasurable
experiences(Schmitt, 2000). Schmitt also notes that these pleasurable experiences in
experiential marketing provide consumers with cognitive, emotional and sensory benefits,
replacing the functional benefits. Experiential marketing primarily immerses the consumer
directly into the brand, leading to an unforgettable feeling and mental satisfaction. Scholars
9and marketing practitioners assert that experiential marketing constitutes a communication
strategy that is difficult for the consumers to ignore; this is because it engages consumers on
personal levels. In a bid to deliver effective experiential marketing experiences to consumers,
many more organisations are applying the principles of behavioural psychology to optimise
Schmitt’s SEM. The goal is to ensure implementation of SEM with the help of ExPros in the
organisation is at its fullest potential. From a psychological perspective, consumers’harbour
varied views, motivations, beliefs, attitudes, perceptionsand influences(Vainikka, 2015).
Consumer-brand interactions will, therefore, be greatly influenced by the frequency of
occurrence and sequence upon their confrontation with either pleasurable or painful
experiences(Bhattacharjee et al., 2016).
1.3 Conceptual Model of Experiential MarketingAccording to Miles and Huberman(1994), a conceptual model or framework is a
written or visual representation that explains both in written and graphical form the variables
being studied and the presumed relationship between the variables.
Figure 2 Conceptual model of Experience Marketing(Same ; Larimo, 2012)Figure 2exhibits the conceptual model of experiential marketing, as depicted by Same
and Larimo. The critical components in experiential marketing model are represented by the
following: 1) offering or stimulus – in this paper, virtual reality; 2) the interaction; 3)
experience and value co-creation; and, lastly, 4) value, created to customers,
10companyandsociety. According to Hekkert(2006), the three levels of experience are
distinguished – depicted in figure 1 – as’attribution of meaning (experience of the meaning),
emotional response (emotional experience) and aesthetic pleasure (aesthetic experience)’
(Same ; Larimo, 2012, p. 484). These experiences,which result from the stimulus and virtual
reality, influence consumer purchasing decisions and the value co-created by customers,
organisationand society at large.
1.4 Emergence of Experiential Marketing in various IndustriesIn today’s world, experiential marketing is infiltrating every industry with more
marketing practitioners focusing on creation of new products, interaction with consumers and
modelling retail environs where brands connect to customers in an emotional and memorable
way. Major brands, marketsand industries no longer perceive experiential marketing as
auxiliary to traditional or strategic marketing; its impact and effects are steadily gaining
acknowledgment both from the perspective of consumer and organisation. This is amplified
in literature evidence, such as the study carried out in Jambi City by Yacob et al.(2016). Their
study on the effects of experiential marketing on customer’s brand loyalty in modern retail
business considers five basic elements in experiential marketing: sense, think, act, feel and
relate; they found that experiential marketing had a significant positive effect on brand
Moreover, the annual 2017 EventTrack survey results report that approximately 80%
of the global brands are leaning towards experiential marketing as a marketing strategy for
2018 and beyond(Event Marketing Institute EMI ; Mosaic, 2018). Additionally, it
announces that 2017 saw a number of organisations in various industries, spanning sports,
aviation, manufacturers, entertainments, education and engineering among others, invest the
largest sums ever in a bid to create personalised experiences for their consumers. These
experiential marketing events were integrated with other technological components like
social media apps to maximise the consumer experience. For instance, Advance Auto Parts,
an automotive company in the USA, created a mobile tour by interacting with over 50,000
people in various automotive events in the US. The experience included a social media
challenge – Rev it up – that allowed Advance Auto Parts’ customers and prospects to test and
apply their diagnostic skills(Advance Auto Parts, 2017). As argued in Forbes customer
experience write-ups(Solomon, 2016), experiential marketing should not to be complicated
but rather provide human to human special experiences in every interaction. Schmitt(2010)
11contends that it is these interactions which create unforgettable memories for consumers,
leading to value co-creation to the organisation.
Experientialmarketing is a critical component for building satisfaction, commitment
and brand loyalty(Schmitt, 2000; Zakaria, et al., 2014; Yacob, et al., 2016; Datta,
2017).Melnyk et al.(2014), in their study of experiential supply chain, found that consumers’
unique demands and experiences with products disrupted the total supply chain. Further, they
found that modern-day consumers, particularly millennials that account for the biggest
customer base, wanted more than price and availability; they valued convenience and speedy
deliveries and wanted to be involved in the co-creation of the product(Melnyk et al., 2014).
Likewise,the modern marketing manager is continuously working on innovative
marketing strategies to provide a total consumer experience; marketing is no longer centrally
focused on the functional aspects of utility and product functions. Predicting the impact of
personalised interactions and experiences between the consumer and the brand is imperative
for the ‘experiential marketer’ who needs to understand how consumers chose products,
based on their individual perceptions and experience(Kotler, 2014).This situation was best
depicted in an experiential marketing campaign conducted by WestJet, an airline industry, in
2017 to mark their 10th anniversary ‘Care for Kids’ program. WestJet created a marketing
campaign by incorporating ideas from their youngest consumers – from St Alban’s boys and
girls club in Toronto – dubbed the ’12 flights of Christmas’ extravaganza(WestJet, 2017).
This event was designed to captivate their travellers and at the same time improve the
WestJet brand. Though it was criticised by industry pundits, as the experiential marketing
initiative didn’t automatically lead to a sudden increase flight booking, WestJet marketing
strategy co-creators, their consumers, were delighted to see their ideas in action. The 12
flights of Christmas also led to an increased brand visibility, with each event streamed live
via social media for successive days, attracting large audiences(Kornik, 2017).
Built from the various literature evidence, the role of experiential marketing in
modern-day marketing cannot be overlooked. Experiential marketing soars beyond telling
consumers about the organisation product or service features to a point, where, the consumers
can experience the products for themselves in sensory ways. These personal experiences and
unforgettable memories assist the consumers to not only make informed and intelligent
purchasing decisions but also interact and connect with the brand in a unique way. If
experiential marketing is designed and tackled effectively, it has been proved to give better
12returns compared to other strategies and also have the potential to win brand
loyalty(Smilansky, 2009; Smilansky, 2017). ‘Theoccurrenceofbrandloyaltyin thecustomeris
causedbytheinfluenceof satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the brand,which is accumulated
continuously, in addition to the perception of the quality of the product’ (Yacob et al., 2016,
As propounded by marketing researchers such as Schmitt, Kotler,andSmilansky,
experiential marketing allows organisations to engage with their consumers and prospective
customers effectively by adding value to their lives and leveraging brand loyalty.
Smilansky(2009, p. 10) declares that experiential marketing is ‘the new currency in the
modern marketing landscape because experiences are life, and people talk about experiences
every day’. For instance, the bond-integrated experiential campaign developed by Coca-Cola
in 2011 to drive engagement and conversation for the Skyfall movie(James Bond Museum,
2012) resulted in an increased consumer engagement and brand recognition(Palmen, 2012).
The marketing event dubbed ‘Coke Zero drives you to unlock the 007 in you’ generated a
viral effect in social media for the coke zero brands, breaking viewership and engagement
(interactions), attracting strong media coverage and entering the most shared commercials
Coca-Cola North West Europe invited real coke consumers to participate in real-life
experiences in public areas like rail stations and streets to mimic James Bond-themed stunts
and actions. Michel Palmen, the senior brand marketing consultant at that time, applauded the
event and termed it as successful, noting that the ‘consumers’ participation, real emotionsand
personal event experiences resulted in strong emotional resonance’ (Palmen, 2012).
Smilansky in her literature asserts the importance of using experiential marketing, similar to
the Coca-Cola experience, to enhance customer engagement, brand loyalty, Return on
Investment ROI and value creation among other organisational benefits. She concludes
human life revolves around such experiences, and consumers will most likely relay their
everyday happenings to friends and family to create a ripple marketing effect(Smilansky,
131.5 Rising the Use of Technology in Experiential Marketing Corporate marketing leaders are constantly on the look-out for ‘new’ innovative ways
to navigate the complex and ever-changing marketing sphere and rising consumer
expectations. To address this new consumer behaviour, organisations are increasingly
investing in technologically assisted marketing to deliver better and personalised experiences,
reaching out to not only a larger number of consumers on net but also in real time(IBM,
Schmitt(2000) attributes this rise in delivering an engaged marketing experience to the
development of three factors in the business sphere, namely, the existence of information
technology, advancement in information technology and the vast number of communication
and entertainment medium. By using information technology and its resources, organisations
can create experiences and invite consumers from any part of the world to participate
consequently, spreading information about the brand or service to a large number of potential
customers. In his earliest publications, (Schmitt, 2010) highlights the increasing importance
of internet experiences and social networking on creating online and virtual marketing events.
He stated that understanding the interactions and consumption of these medias will greatly
influence the competitive advantage of an organisation and its future in experiential
marketing(Schmitt, 2010).Indeed, the application of technology to create different forms of
marketing that appeal to SEM can help brands to develop highly scalable individualised
interactions and experiences that appeal to consumers. (Schmitt, 2010)
With the existence of these new technological models, marketerscan appeal in depth
to their consumers’ emotions, translating to improved brand engagement(Event Marketing
Institute EMI & Mosaic, 2018). To illustrate this, the conversion of a long flight of stairs at
the Swedish subway by Volkswagen in 2009 is relevant. In order to encourage subway goers
to opt for the staircase, as opposed to the escalator beside it, Volkswagen converted the flight
of stairs into an oversized pianowith each step producing a sound such as that of striking a
piano key(Mozeus Worldwide, 2018). Results manifest that more than 66% of the commuters
choose stairs over the escalator.
With the help of social media sharing, this experiential marketing by Volkswagen
reached over 2 million consumers. This example highlights the use of fun – affective
experiences, physical experiences, behaviours and lifestyle, as well as, social-identity
experiences(Schmitt, 2000) – to design marketing experiences that alter consumer behaviour.
14Likewise, this example presents marketing practitioners and researchers with an opportunity
to be seen as key players in decision making by capitalising on technology and experiential
marketing to create brand loyalty and consumer engagement.
Tapps and Hughes(2004) describe new technologies as internal change agents that
force organisation management to adopt un-conventional processes in addition to disrupting
organisational hierarchies.According to a survey conducted by EMI and Mosaic (2018),
incorporating technology in engagement marketing has the potential to increase event
attendance while lowering costs associated with hosting the event by up to 30%. Achieving
awards associated with the use of cutting-edge technology in experiential marketing requires
effective design and implementation. Organisations can also incorporate more readily
available technological platforms like a social network to drive up engagement and
Today, consumers have evolved their expectations and sought for purchasing
experiences that can deliver instant gratification, thanks to technology and faster logistics.
For example, a customer interested in purchasing a portable hard disk can access information
on this product and its features on e-commerce websites instantly. In case further clarification
is needed, the customer can use their mobile device to communicate with the seller
organisation,utilizing real-time communication apps like Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook and
many others(IBM, 2017). Once the purchasing decision is made, the portable hard disk can
be delivered to theirdoorstep via a commercial drone.
This implies that marketing teams now have a shorter duration to deliver that
personalised memory and ‘wow’ effect on prospective customers. As a result, most
organisations are increasingly integrating existing and emerging technologies to deliver
experiential marketing. Marketing managers are incorporating technologies such virtual
reality VR, internet of things IoT, artificial intelligence, cloud, big data and machine
learning to gather data and create disruptive marketing messages to various audiences(Bao &
Zhuang, 2017). Experiential marketing events that are incorporating technology are becoming
a norm with organisations such as Coca-Cola,leading their ‘Coca-Cola happiness from the
skies’ campaign(Staff, 2014).
Their marketing campaign involved the use of drones to ‘bring and deliver happiness’
to Singapore workers while marketing the Coca-Cola brand.The Coca-Cola director of
marketing communications stated that consumers were able to interact and participate in this
15unique experience, andalso allowed the company to use technology in an innovative method
to ‘deliver happiness'(Coca-Cola Company, 2014). The application of technological
platforms and advancement of information technology provides a new channel for
organisations to deliver experiential marketing events and engage with the modern consumer
in an interactive environment. Consequently, the succeeding sections of this chapter will
briefly highlight the concept of VR – its features, components and applications – followed by
a review on the relationship between VR and experiential marketing in order to address the
1.6. Concept of Virtual RealityVirtual reality VR is not an entirely new technological concept, however has been in
existence for a couple of decades through various forms. Before the adoption of the term VR,
a virtual environment was also referred to as a synthetic environment, artificial reality,
cyberspace, artificial world, or simulation technology. Bamodu and Ye(2013) note that
defining VR can be a relatively tricky task owing to lack of standard term or definition by the
different researchers and proponents. In their literature, they indicate that lack of standard
definition is further complicated by the different fields that assign it different meanings.
Simply put, VR is ‘reality that does not exist’ (Dani & Rajit, 1998).
These computer-based multimedia environments, generated by computer technology,
provide users with highly interactive experiences(Kim, et al., 2000). According to Burdeaand
Conflict(2003), VR involves the use of computer and computer peripherals to create
simulated environments where users immerse themselves. The goal of VR technology is
tocreate a virtual (3-dimensional) environment or image that the end-users can perceive as
real environments, including interacting with realistically and in real-time. A critical feature
of any VR technology is its ability to recognise user inputs and immediately modify the
virtual environment in line with the user’s interaction, all this in real-time. Onyesolu and
Eze(2011, p. 54)note that VR ‘is a method for users to visualise, manipulate and interact with
computers and extremelycomplex data’. This implies that consumers can experience pleasure
and interact with the technology by navigating in the virtually created environments.
Goldman Sachs(2016, p. 10) explains that VR ‘immerses the user in an imagined or
replicated world such as video games, movies, or flight simulation. VR can also simulate
presence in the real, such as watching live sporting events’.The VR system is made up of the
two components: hardware and software. The hardware includes the computer, VRhead-
16mounted machinesand input-output devices while the software includes the system
application and VR modelling apps(Kalawsky, 1993). Some of the hardware players in VR
include Sony PlayStation VR, Samsung VR gear, HTC Vive and Oculus.
The VR system software can further be categorised into modelling and development
tools. Modelling tools include apps such as 3ds Max, Creatorand Maya while development
tools include common development apps such as C++, OpenGL and Java among
others(Bamodu ; Ye, 2013).As anticipated by most of the players in the VR industry,
including Facebook, HTC, Google and Samsung, VR will become mainstreamin the coming
years see fig 3. Similar assertions are supported by various VR researchers and industry
experts like Goldman Sachs which predicts VR to become the next big computing
platform(Goldman Sachs Group, 2016; Greenlight Insights, 2017; Orbis Research, 2017).
This position is cemented by the huge investments undertaken by organisations,notably the
acquisition of Oculus VR by Facebook at the cost of $2 billion. Samsung is also not left out;
the organization, through innovation activities incorporating Oculus VR, is also producing
the Samsung Gear VR device alongside their smart devices(Orbis Research, 2017).
Figure 3: Global Virtual Reality Industry Revenue 2017–2021(Greenlight Insights, 2017)Greenlight Insights predicted the global VR revenues to hit 15.2 billion in the year
2018 and that this growth will be sustained into the years 2019, 2020, and 2021, reaching
close to $75 billion. In the past 2 years, there have been over 300 virtual components
investments in VR, resulting in a raised capital of $3.5 billion. As such, it is expected that VR
will create new markets while at the same time disrupt existing markets. Goldman Sachs, in
17their report of understanding the next race in computing platform,indicates that as VR
technology advances, pricing points will decline, resulting in massive acquisitions both from
a business and consumer’s point of view(Goldman Sachs Group, 2016).
Owing to its several features and ability to depict real-world environments, the VR
system is currently applied in various fields to help solve complex real-world challenges. VR
can be applied in various industries including healthcare, manufacturing, business,
entertainment, real estate, gaming, militaryand aviation among many others. To answer this
study research question, I will henceforth focus on the business industry, giving particular
attention to the potential of VR application in experiential marketing.
1.7 Virtual Reality and Experiential MarketingPeople´s lives revolve around the consumption of services and goods. Organisations
are therefore constantly designing marketing strategies and brand experiences that appeal to
their consumers to win their loyalty. It is this deep commitment to select similar products or
services in the future – again and again – regardless of situational influences that help
organisations todevelop a sustainable competitive edge(Kotler, 2014). Also, a majority of
millennial consumers’ preferences are increasingly dictated by personal experiences;thus,they
are willing to pay premiums for well-crafted and meaningful experiences(Melnyk et al.,
To achieve a lasting impact, marketers are focusing their attention on technological
advancements to direct and deliver their marketing experiences.Applications such as those for
mobile marketing, e-commerceand social networks have become critical in making
purchasing decisions. Besides, social applications such as Facebook and Twitter have
revolutionised the entire approach towards customer engagement(Verhoef ; Leeflang, 2009).
Effectively, both the organisation and the consumer have become ‘mutual’ partners in the
experiential marketing cog wheel, co-creating value together(Hulbert ; Harringan, 2015).
VR provides the required tools and requisites to provide consumers with memorable
and personalised experiences. Using VR headsets and apps to deliver experiential marketing,
organisations create virtual environments where consumers can interact with their products in
more sensory forms – sense, feel, act, relate, think and even smell. Schmitt notes that this
ability to engage with consumers by immersing them into the virtual environment has the
capability to forge stronger and longer lasting connections between the consumers and the
18organisation brand(Schmitt, 2010). The role played by virtual reality in consumer and brand
engagement is immersive, memorable and impactful(Mozeus Worldwide, 2018).
For instance, when consumers put on the VR headsets, they become entirely
immersedin the experience, thereby totally concentrating on the marketing message. The
intensity of the VR experience coupled with experiential marketing means that consumers
develop strong emotions with the message sticking in the consumer’s brain. Favourable
public and media interest generated by VR participation marketing, such as that of Coca-
Cola, delivers marketing messages in unrivaled forms and to large audiences.
Availability of powerful computers and smart devices capable of rendering realistic
virtual world has increased the interest of marketing managers in using VR to deliver
experiential marketing. Coupled with advancement in the mobile device industry, spanning
the size, performance, display and reduced prices, many more organisations are getting
involved in VR technology to deliver experiential marketing.
Unlike conventional marketing approaches that provide 2-dimensional experiences to
the consumers, VR technology allows the consumer to interact with the virtual environment
effectively, hearing, feeling, and relating to the events present in it.Using VR headsets and
controllers, the consumers are entirely immersed in these graphically-real environments
creating a win-win situation. VR disruption in marketing gives consumers a chance to take
part in unique personal experiences that could potentially alter their brand attitude, purchase
decisions and ultimately behaviour (Ebbesen & Ahsan, 2017).
In addition, VR assists organisations to showcase their products and services in
exciting ways. For instance, instead of the marketer informing consumers – with limited
concentration spans and environmental distractions – on the uses and benefits of their
products, consumers can interact with the product through the use of VR headsets and learn
how to use it while fully immersed in the experience. VR also takes the consumer on a virtual
journey, entailing the organisation product or service, leaving them with a delightful and
memorable experience that only they can associate with the brand.
192 CONTEXTUALIZATION2.1 Volvo Cars Virtual Reality Case StudyVolvo is an automotive organisation which is not famously known for someone who
is at the vanguard of technological breakthroughs; however, the brand is recognised for its
reliable, steady and robust manufacturing techniques and products (Thompson, 2017). In
2014 the company decided it was time to be at the fore front of technological breakthrough
when the marketers of its XC90 SUV model determined to incorporate virtual reality in its
marketing strategies (Volvo Cars, 2018). The new model was supposed to hit the platform of
Los Angeles auto show in 2014(Mobile Marketing Association, 2014). The XC90 SUV
which was targeted for the young generation willing to purchase their first car required a
different and intelligent marketing campaign approach by the organisation.
The car needed to be discovered and introduced to the public before it reached its
dealership in order for it to be able to compete with other already established brands
(Gilliland, 2016). The best way to do this was to launch the first test drive through VR
technology in the market and allow the target consumers to have an exclusive experience
which normally is impossible to drive a car during an auto show as well as permitting
customers to trial the car months before it was accessible for the market. Volvo came up with
a brilliant plan through the Framestore Company that made it work through the excellent
results achieved (Framestore VR Studio, 2015).
2.2 Strategy Buying a luxurious car is a personal experience that every individual wants to be a
part of. Consumers are always interested in understanding how a car functions and new
features works requiring a sense of feeling and actually touching it, this was the reason why
Volvo quested to ensure that they would create an amazing experience for people to present
20the new XC90 (Mobile Marketing Association, 2014). The solution was through ten Volvo
Reality experience where a virtual test drive using the Google cardboard and Google’s fairly
priced VR headset was set (Framestore VR Studio, 2015). This VR experience combined
photo factual CGI and branded 360-unit VR camera technologies (Gilliland, 2016). Test
driving the SUV through virtual reality made a lot of sense without having the marketing car
dealer close by to distract you with unnecessary marketing narratives.
This gave the users a chance to get an accurately paranomic assessment inside and
outside the car which even involved a sunroof. It allowed the users the chance to be in the
cockpit and allowed them to have an idyllic ride through the country side which an
experience that every individual would wish to have (Framestore VR Studio, 2015). The
participants pointed out that even though the experience was a bit scary at the beginning, they
enjoyed and thought it was brilliant. This experience was brilliant in that it took advantage of
Google Cardboard and stereoscopic displays of smartphones (Gilliland, 2016).
Volvo created a virtual reality theme based on a weekend escape where the users were
given the chance to immerse themselves in spectacular scenery, the interior of the SUV and
the road itself which was an amazing experience (Framestore VR Studio, 2015). The
objective was basically simple, however at the same time overwhelming. It presented a
beautiful drive, a unique mark and even a description that permitted the customers to escape
from the experience ((Mobile Marketing Association, 2014), (Framestore VR Studio, 2015)).
This was challenging given the fact that this was the first time that Volvo was
venturing in the luxury buyer segment and it needed to begin from the first step that is from
creating frontrunners and structuring demands and pleasure around their new SUV XC90.
212.3 Target audience Volvo Reality campaign primary goal was to get frontrunners who would be engaged
by the luxury vehicle merchants once the SUV was introduced in the market. These are
people who truly understand the meaning of luxury and what it truly means to purchase a
luxurious car. The aim was to identify at least 100,000 frontrunners within the first six
months across a multi-phased campaign (Mobile Marketing Association, 2014). Direct mails
to the key influencers and event lead capture tactics were employed to initiate the campaign.
The first month generated about 34,000 front runners which allowed Volvo to
converse directly with the app operators through the use of mails, one on one paid adverts
and push notifications (Mobile Marketing Association, 2014). Through this tactic, Volvo
was able to select based on the levels of consumer commitment and their inclination for
purchase. Volvo reality basically created an on-going owned direct marketing channel
through their lead generation campaign (Framestore VR Studio, 2015).
Young tech practicality luxury car purchasers who were looking for something
distinctive and who had no deliberations for Volvo were the key target (Framestore VR
Studio, 2015). This is an audience that Volvo found it problematic to reach and motivate, but
they believed that XC90 was best suited for their standard of living. By using the Volvo
reality app, the brand became relevant to this audience in a way that was reliable and the
same time consistent with XC90 (Gilliland, 2016).
222.4 Creative StrategyVolvo was at the time suffering a steady decline in the US market portion and so
redesigning the XC90 marketing strategy was a great breakthrough for the brand (Framestore
VR Studio, 2015). The solution to Volvo declining market sales was through the Volvo
Reality which is the first world’s virtual reality drive test that can be accessed by any
individual who owns a smartphone and Google Cardboard. (Frederik, 2017)
2.5 Execution 2.5.1General campaign implementation A sequence of direct communications to the highly targeted influencers helped take-
off the campaign. The app was fist launched to about fifteen journalists who covered the
intersections of the design as well as the technology. The journalists were contacted through
direct mail packages where an explanation about the product and the campaign was offered
(Mobile Marketing Association, 2014). The application was also written about by great
magazines such as Fast Company, Digiday and Mashable; a sequence of distinct invite only
events at the L.A Auto show also introduced the application (Frederick, 2017). The launch
went public a week later where it was publicized through the use of You Tube and it was
sustained by rewarded social and organic media plus a lottery where champs were given the
chance to get into a free Volvo intended Google Cardboard (Gilliland, 2016). This operation
design was intended to help acquire the personal contacts of the consumers in-order to make
it possible for them to be sent high end direct email packages and also to help in follow up
communications where needed. (Frederick, 2017)
232.5.2 Mobile execution Volvo all throughout the digital and virtual reality interface emphasized a simple
harmony between nature and the SUV XC90. A black on black aesthetic was used to produce
the virtual reality headset as well as the promotional collateral which helped in
communicating the simplicity nature of Volvo. And for the brand to set a new custom in
sustainability, the headset technology was all produced using ecological ink (Mobile
Marketing Association, 2014). The fact that Volvo reality was available in both android and
iOS made it one of the first projects enabled by Google Cardboard to be released in a cross-
policy campaign. Volvo was basically unique in that everyone could access it through their
smartphones now that it contained two 1089p HD videos that run concurrently, compacted
and enhanced for mobile operators and it works efficiently even minus the Google Cardboard
headset (Framestore VR Studio, 2015).
2.6 Outcomes This campaign generated more than forty thousand application transfers and over
thirty-fourthousands frontrunners requested that they be among the first people to be
informed once the SUV XC90 was available in the market so that they could be among the
first to make a purchase. Communication was made possible with the Forty thousand users
through the on-going content in the application’s feed and through the iOS notification
(Mobile Marketing Association, 2014). Paid user adverts through the social media helped to
tailor audiences and to drive those to local events and at the same time border them with
mails during key publicity stages. The Volvo reality application basically denoted a new
unswerving promotion plan where the first promotion formed a new preserved network that is
perfect for a one on one communication (Mobile Marketing Association, 2014).
242.7Assessment The Volvo Reality campaign basically surpassed all the prospects with it reaping two
hundred and thirty-eight million PR sways, one hundred and fifty nine million paid media
sways and other nineteen million social media sways (Bair, 2017). There were about four
million video views and about twenty-four news stories not forgetting half million web page
views (Mobile Marketing Association, 2014).
2.8 Market impact The Volvo XC90 VR drive test was the most successful implementation for the brand
that saw its sales shoot up. The first edition of XC90s got sold out in the first two days which
was a great achievement (Mobile Marketing Association, 2014). Within the U.S, the XC90
sales reached 12,665 in the year 2015 which basically represented 18% of the total sales
within the U.S. the sales continued to rise and in the year 2016 the sales surged with 412% in
units that were sold from the month of January to September and 41% of all the Volvo
products that were sold within the U.S were SUV XC90s (Bair, 2017), (Framestore VR
Figure 4- The increasing unit sales after marketing strategies implemented through XC90
(Source:Seeking Alpha Stock Market Insights)
253. DISCUSSIONS3.1 The experience The concept of virtual reality has been interpreted in a number of ways by
practitioners and academics, they however all agree that virtual reality incorporates a series of
technologies; which allow real time mix between what is real and the digitally generated
layers of information and imagery that enhance the specific reality. This is further confirmed
through the results from the case study of Volvo XC90 VR test drive. Virtual Reality (VR)
research studies such as (Datta, 2017; Schmitt, 2010; Kotler, 2014) show that the use of
virtual reality as a form of experiential marketing has been raising a number of controversies
in regard to its long-term benefits with the fact that it is only used as a promotional tool.
The results from the literature review show some concern in regard to customer
satisfaction through the creation of the perceived experiential value. The manner in which VR
is been used in marketing campaigns judging from the case of Volvo XC90 can be viewed as
a form of experiential marketing mainly because it focuses on both the product and the whole
customer experience. As expressed by Datta, (2017), using VR gives the customers the
chance to experience what they want and it is an effective marketing tool because it the
amazing experience that they have that motivates them to go and tell their friends about it and
hence more customers and sales increase.
Most of the consumers that were selected to try out the Volvo XC90 VR experience
expressed very positive responses illustrating some of the advantages of using VR as a
marketing venture some of them included; time saving and convenience in that you do not
really need to get into the vehicles and take it for road test to experience its effectiveness
concurring with the thoughts of Schmitt (2010). This basically confirms some of the findings
from the literature review in regard to VR experiential marketing, where most of the scholars
26for instance (Lee, et al., 2011; Schmitt 2000; Smilansky2009) agreed that VR is a mean of
convenience applied as a tool inside experiential marketing, dealing with human´s sense,
feeling and thinking as a result engaging and making easier brand´s perception and relation as
described in the experiential grid framework created by (Shmitt, 2010).
3.2 Customer satisfactionCustomer satisfaction is an important element in any business and its marketing
strategy; it is viewed in two different perspectives one being the transaction specific that
refers to the value perceived by the customers after they finish one specific transaction
(Smilansky, 2009). The other one is the cumulative aspect that comprises of the customer’s
overall experiences throughout the purchase process. The perceived value of customer
satisfaction which motivates the purchase choice occurs even at the pre-purchase stages
which are the marketing stages. Customers in the experiential economy are no longer focused
on the products but rather on the experiential consumption and in this case functional utility
is either taken for granted or viewed to be irrelevant.
The component of enjoyment in VR experience emerged which confirms the findings
of the literature review which illustrates that enjoyment is a prime aspect that is searched by
consumers as when they are engaging in a consumption experience (Wu and Tseng (2015);
Schmitt, 2003). Every consumer illustrated that the Volvo VR experiential experience was
fun and most of them agreed that the appealing experience is one that could trigger their
choice in purchasing the Volvo and they were eager to share the experience with their friends.
Experiential marketing as is illustrated in many studies treats consumption as a holistic
experience and this recognizes both the emotional and rational drivers of consumption
(Schmitt, 2010; Schmitt, 2000; Bhattacharjee, et al., 2016). VR has a great influence on the
pre-purchase stage because of the fact that it has the power to place the product or even the
27service at the hands of the users (Hekkert, 2006). This gives the users the opportunity to test
the product that they are interested in as if they already own it and this entices the prospect to
commit to buying the product and even trigger the purchase.
Experiential marketing creates value in that it refers to customer perceptions of the
services and products through direct use and indirect observations (Same & Larimo, 2012).
This fact is illustrated by the case of Volvo XC90; the case study shows that experiential
value created can induce the satisfaction of the customers. Many scholars believe that
customer satisfaction has a crucial role in the success of any business and it is essential in
increasing the overall profitability (Miles and Huberman 1994; Vainikka, 2015). When a
consumer is satisfied with a certain product which is incited by the marketing strategy, they
are likely to buy the product again and they are also inclined in promoting the product to
other people and at the same time ignore products from the other the other competing brands.
3.3 Brand creation Volvo XC90 VR experience in their marketing illustrates that the importance of
experiential marketing is recognized as a means of creating value of the end consumer. This
is the future competitive edge for the companies and this helps in motivating the customers to
make faster and more positive purchasing decisions. Another theme that was emergent in the
whole Volvo XC90 experience that is similar to the literature review studies is that of
creation of brand attitude. Brand attitude is the primary emotional value that affects the
purchasing decisions and hence the satisfactions of the customers (Zakaria, et al., 2014;
Kotler, 2014). One of the elements of brand attitude emerged inform of reliability and
trustworthiness of the VR application in relation to Volvo. The participants chosen to
experience the Volvo XC90 VR test illustrated some sense of trust towards the brand because
of the fact that it allowed them to het personally involved in trying out the product without
28having it presented to them in form of an advert. The participants felt this experience was
enough for them to rely and trust the Volvo brand which confirms the findings from the
literature review that illustrate that VR experiential marketing is effective in increasing brand
3.4 Social dimension One key component that is missing in the literature definitions of virtual reality is the
social dimension, the feeling of socialness that stems from the perception of and interaction
with others. Various contributory factors from the VR delivery system, social influences and
psychological drivers will influence the feeling of socialness in virtual environment (Ashley
&Tuten, 2015). People encounter social cues within the virtual reality experiences that
contribute to the feeling of socialness as is evidenced by the responses of the participants of
Volvo Reality experience. Virtual reality gives the marketers the chance to offer prospective
customers a convincing experience of a produce, service and place without having them
essentially having a physical location or even product (Elgan, 2015).
This is effective because it provides progressive, rich and immersive standard that has
the aptitude to convey unique, high influence and unforgettable messages while at the same
time engaging both the audience and potential consumers. The immersive nature of virtual
reality exceeds that of the traditional marketing tools and the authenticity for some
circumstances dependent on the collective co-construction and corporeal ethnic artifacts.
3.5 Short comings There were some short comings that could hold the consumers back from trying the
VR experience that were witnessed in the case of Volvo XC90 VR experience including fear
of the harmful effects it could have on their health and also the fear that what they see in VR
could not be the same case in reality after they made the purchase of the product. This
29confirms the findings from the literature review that illustrated that there some problems that
can be associated with VR experience including motion sickness that is experience by some
consumers after viewing the content (Jang et al. 2002). A VR experience that is not well shot
can affect an individual’s sense of balance thus creating nausea feelings and hence reducing
Though there is little research on the use of VR, more markets are inclined to consider
VR experiential marketing which is a serious direction for brands’ future. There is little that
is known about the long term effects of using VR which calls for prompt clarifications of the
future effects of this form of marketing. Most of the brands for instance Volvo, Coca-Cola
and Wal-Mart among others that have embraced the use VR in their marketing have done it in
order to explore the possibilities of augmented reality in the hope of catching the attention of
the consumers (Mozeus Worldwide, 2018). This are large corporations that have been using
this technology to help promote their brands and this is a trend that is not expected to stop
because these companies feel the positive effects that these marketing tool has on them.
3.6 Volvo Experiential GridSEMSense: The experience around virtual reality technology provides sensory sights and
sounds through VR headset for users and potential consumers when exposed in 3D
environment reality dimensions stimulating human’s sense.
Feel: To be the first organization to implement a virtual reality car test drive makes
consumers to express moods and emotions such as excitement, amusement, surprise,
enthusiasm and admiration through a different and original approach by the brand, providing
a modern technology. As a result, consumers are more likely to respond to engagement and
interest synergy with the brand when having an exclusive experience.
30Think: It has been challenging for Volvo to be recognized in the market as a
technological and innovative car company. By using new marketing strategies through
experiential approach to differentiate and reposition the organization in the market when
following new trends and technologies. This distinctive approach makes consumers think
about the experience they had and possibly change their perception and concept built around
the brand previously.
Act: The proximity with the targeted audience (young consumers) through an event
providing an exclusive experience, to directly engage and connect with them, who are always
willing to try new things, interests in technology and new stimulations.
Relate: Brand influencing as a result through the process of buying behaviour
decisions. And experiential marketing strategies become easier to be remembered when an
individual had any previous sensory experience than exposed to the traditional marketing
communications where information is not collected by consumers.
EXPROS:Communications: Direct Communications (Publications – magazines/newspapers),
Email Marketing (targeting journalists), Event Customer Experience (Los Angeles Auto
Show), Digital (paid, organic and social media).
Identity: Self-identity built through technology devices and sensory motivation
through interaction and engagement.
Product: XC90 CarCo-Branding: not applied for this organization.Environments: Physical and DigitalWebsites:https://www.volvocars.com/us/about/our-points-of-pride/google-cardboard
the website allows users to download the app through mobile devices to have a VR car test
People: Qualified professionals in VR technology support, marketing managers and
advertising agencies support.
313.7. Recommendations3.7.1 Virtual Reality Effectiveness Getting into a store and being able to see the available products on a screen in real
time through a webcam and even getting the chance to interact with the 3D presentation are
an experience that is hard for any individual to forget. These types of applications have
invaded the marketing world because of what is known as virtual reality (VR). Experiences
have become the eventual phase for delivering value to the consumers. When most
economies sere still focused on being agrarian, the concept of product in itself began by only
including raw produces, turning into goods with the coming of the industrial revolution. This
concept further grew where services and intangibility were included with the moving of the
working force into the third sector (Manoukian, 2017).
Consumers in today’s era seek personal, memorable and meaningful experiences in
the course of the purchasing and people do not mind paying extra for a meaningful and
tailored experience. Marketers try to immerse the consumers within the brand by engaging as
many human senses as possible but their end goal in the end is to just essentially form an
unforgettable and expressive link between the purchaser and the brand (Goel&Prokopec,
2009). The marketers understand that this connection will help generate consumer loyalty and
at the same time influence the decision to purchase in the future. People are attracted to
authentic, transparent and honest brands and this means communicating honestly about
products and services offered, all which is offered by experiential marketing.
323.7.2 Growth of VR in Marketing Experiential marketing is one of the best ways to go when it comes to make impact
through brand awareness, this is an element that is growing at an impressive rate and the
kinds of campaigns that are the best performers are changing (Hall & Takahashi, 2017). It
offers authenticity in that is develops campaigns that are designed to educate and share
products with the consumers while at the same time having a conversation with them to
understand what they want and need (Barnes, Mattsson, & Hartley, 2015). Things such as
product sampling might have made an impression on customers in the past, but today brands
need to work extra harder in order for them to get the response that they want. A live
marketing event needs to be engaging, sharable, immersive and one that can be easily
integrated with live marketing computerization software in order for it to bring along healthy
return on the investment brand (Goel&Prokopec, 2009).
Figure 5 Growth Projection of Virtual reality between 2016 and 2025 Source:(World Economic Forum, 2017)
333.7.3 Immerse Experience of VR for Consumers Virtual Reality is an immersive experience for consumers especially in the digital era,
it is millennia driven approach to digesting and interacting with content. The consumer
populace today is addicted to technology which makes it very hard for them to be easily
impressed and impacted, VR however creates an impact factor that helps to impress and at
the same time keep them engaged (Hall & Takahashi, 2017). VR does not just show or say
something; it creates a wholly new practice that people can participate with. It lets people
create a comprehensive world through the use of a pair of glasses; the consumers get the
chance to look at the virtual space like they are actually there which brings immersive
experiences (Manoukian, 2017). Consumers value experiences over material items and this
makes VR the best way for brands to tap into these experiences, ensuring that they provide
novel experiences that help in promoting their experiences (Goel&Prokopec, 2009).
Phrases such as ‘cool’, excited and fun are constantly used with the VR experience
which is a basic illustration that VR clearly hold a lot of appeal when it comes to marketing
as compared to the traditional live marketing experiences and so every brand should strive to
adopt this method in their marketing. Experiential marketing is all about creating an excellent
consumer experience to ensure that people enjoy which will play a great role in ensuring
significant return on investment. Incorporating the use of VR as part of live marketing
campaigns is the most effective way of driving engagement and at the same time providing
an outstanding experience for the participants. (Schmitt,2010)
Customer experience is an important element in virtual reality, there are three key
aspects that construct consumer VR experience and they include; presence, socialness and the
nature of experience. Each of these aspects is established on rich but naturally separate
streams of literature, the presence of computer interaction and the socialness from social
34psychology (Barnes, Mattsson, & Hartley, 2015). The most important one of this is presence
that can be defined as the logic of being in a setting by the means of a communication
medium. There are two key dimensions of technology that lead to the feeling of telepresence
that is experienced by human beings and they include; vividness which is all about a
technology producing a sensory rich mediated technology and interactivity which is the point
to which operators of a medium can impact the form and content of the refereed setting
(Barnes, Mattsson, & Hartley, 2015). Simply put, vividness is all about the realness of VR
environment and the way that it appears to the users. Presence is basically the successful
enactment of consumer intentions within the VR environment where technology is not
A key element that should be focused on by the marketers is ensuring that high
quality customer experience through the provision of environmental cues. The development
of such cues in the delivery of VR content must attempt to accentuate positive experiences
through use of positive cues and also reduce the prevalence of any possible negative cues.
Positive environmental cues act to affirm a positive experience, creating stronger more
memorable impressions on the consumers; for instance, visual and aural cues can provide
information about what the VR consumer will experience next and hence act as a priming
tool (Ashley &Tuten, 2015). Such cues can also act to encourage certain types of in world
behaviour such as arrows or other signage to help encourage a consumer to press a button to
activate a module of experience content.
The consistency of design of environmental cues is paramount; if they are properly
designed or utilized it can create an unpleasant experience for the consumers who follow the
wrong path. In the same way, negative cues in VR should be removed or reformulated into
neutral or positive cues, for example a product that is not available in the VR shelf in a
35supermarket should not be marked as ‘an available’ but rather ‘coming soon’ or get it
removed to avoid giving the customers a negative perception (Ashley &Tuten, 2015).
3.7.4 VR versus Traditional experiential marketing campaigns VR is more engaging as compared to the traditional experiential marketing campaigns
both in regard to encouraging the participation and engagement of the viewer’s emotionally
(Goel;Prokopec, 2009). What this means is that similar content that is presented via VR
could prompt a much greater reaction than it would on a traditional stand. When the viewers
are emotionally engaged in the experience that is provided to them through the VR, it makes
them have a stronger connection to the brand and they are at this point likely to engage after
the VR affair is over. Using VR basically increases the chances of people purchasing a
product even when they are not interested in a brand all because they liked their VR
experience (Manoukian, 2017).
The impact of VR is also measured through the excellent motivator of word of mouth
marketing, when people enjoy and love their VR experiences, they will always advocate for
them to their friends, family members and colleagues which basically increases the
opportunity for more sales of a product.Virtual Reality is an effective marketing tool in that it
creates the opportunity of linking VR with other social media campaigns which is another
great marketing tool. There is also the chance of the brands getting valuable information on
the consumers and their interests in the brand before and after their experience. This is an
effective opportunity for the brand to understand the market needs and hence make the
necessary changes to get more consumers and make more sales (Lehdonvirta;Castronova,
363.7.5 Social media and VR Marketing People can share their photos while they are experiencing their VR in their social
media pages which will help reach more people who may find the experience fun hence more
sales. Social capital and social interactions are key elements in encouraging consumer
engagements, from a marketing perspective; social networking provides an important
medium that enables the world of mouth communications impact (Ashley ;Tuten,
2015).Word of mouth has over the years been recognized as a significant element in
dispensing product and market information. Such information tends to be more reliable and
also have more reliability and plausibility for the customers than formal promotion.
Recommendations through the word of mouth impact via the social media can have
more commercial value than traditional marketing methods which can affect purchase
behaviour through embedded information and persuasion (Hung ; Li, 2007). The elasticity
of word of mouth on social media appears to be high on privately consumed products that are
suitable for VR experiences.
The word of mouth in social networks is strongly linked to their social capitals that
include tie strength, trust, shared frame of reference, normative and information influence.
More recently social presence theory has been applied to various computer-generated
environments which include virtual worlds and virtual reality. This has extended the concept
of social presence to fit the concept of virtual reality. Social presence is multidimensional and
it consists of co-presence within the virtual environment and there is also the psychological
involvement and also the behavioural engagement within the virtual reality setting (Hung ;
Li, 2007). Social interaction with the consumers that are present in the virtual reality world or
with those that are in the extended social network channels that are accessible are important
37in creating a high-quality VR experience that is manifested in positive consumer outcomes.
Consumers have the ability of influencing one another directly or indirectly.
An experiential campaign that does not have a plan for analysing the results is
senseless, working with traditional marketing campaigns makes it very hard to capture the
required consumer data that can help understand consumer experiences and how they affect
their purchasing options (Manoukian, 2017). VR however makes it easy in that it is easy to
capture the data before, during and even after the experience. It is very easy for the
consumers to offer details about themselves when they having a unique experience and this
makes it very easy to make a follow-up marketing analysis. VR allows give brands the
chance to closely track the successes of their events by making an analysis of the data that
they have captured through the experiential marketing software (Lehdonvirta;Castronova,
2014). These analyses help the brands to change the experiences in regard to the data
retrieved from the consumers which basically improves the overall VR experiences and
Staying ahead of the curve and knowing all the latest trends within the market always
means being effective and making great profits and it requires a different dimension of doing
things. Virtual reality is that difference that helps brands stay ahead of the curve and it is
should be the goal of every brand to adopt this in their marketing. VR is the best marketing
strategy and every brand should strive to incorporate it in their marketing, it not only provides
a unique, engaging consumer experience but also encourages social media sharing and it is
easy to integrate. Virtual reality provides the effective platform for experience marketing
where most industries focus on evolving and providing outstanding dealings for the
customers with financial values in the transformational aids presented by the experience.
In experiential marketing, the consumers are normally rational and at the same time
emotional which is why they seek pleasurable experiences (Elgan, 2015). The only way that
38marketers can provide this experience is through the use of VR which is the medium for
experience provision and which aims to create holistic experiences that integrate personal
experiences into an organized whole. When adopting VR for marketing, brands should seek
to provide an experience that engages all senses, creative and cognitive, and one that is
related to social identity (Elgan, 2015).
A perfect VR experiential marketing campaign should dazzle the consumer senses,
touch their hearts and also stimulate their minds. Consumer experiences should be designed
around themes that include mementos in order to help create memorable experiences,
accentuating positive cues while at the same time removing the negative cues.
3.8 Conclusion Virtual reality provides the prospective channel for conveying experience marketing
to the multitudes (Barnes, 2017). From the case example of Volvo reality, there is clear
prospective for the future given that many commercial openings are developing. The
immersive value of the media exceeds that of other mediums of marketing. The socially
allied nature of mobile devices means that instead of providing VR in stores, brands are
increasingly likely to improve downloadable applications for the shoppers. Empirical
marketing content can be extensive, immersive and also theoretically social and partaking
hence generating a probable virality (Ebbesen ; Ahsan, 2017). The technology powered
marketing innovation can hypothetically transmute marketing by joining the emotional
influences of experiential marketing with the pathological scalability of web promotions.
There is concern when it comes to thinking about successful VR adoptions in the
future especially with the possible matters of cost and inadequate appeal to the audience. The
earliest adopters of VR are undoubtedly mobile and gaming fans and the industry has grown
and it continues to grow with the continued use of VR for their marketing. This means that
39there is hope that these concept of VR as a marketing tool will continue to grow and help
brands generate more profits in their products. With increased adoption of VR by various
brands, the accessibility of VR is becoming easier. VR headsets have become a low cost
product which is likely to boost adoption even though they require other computing devices
such as a smartphone which have also become very accessible in the world today. One
challenge that is in the VR industry is the fact that there is not much technical expertise most
especially in VR marketing which is still developing. As expressed by Palmen, (2012), the
hard skill sector of marketing involves quantitative and computing skills but it is already
catching up, the infrastructure and standards for supporting VR is still not well developed,
there are many competing platforms, different standards for operating systems and a
multitude of manufacturers. Although there are some standards for video content, there are no
clear standards when it comes to providing fully effective VR application software guidelines
(Bamodu and Ye, 2013). This is likely to provide continuing fragmentation in the VR market
and a barrier to growth until standards are formed and one actually becomes dominant.
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