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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 and Marketingis 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 ……

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..Leandro Alves Barbosa2ABSTRACTThe 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 3143.7.1 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 38BIBLIOGRAPHY405IntroductionOver 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 of6experiential 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 consumer behaviour.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. Scholars9and 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 loyalty.

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 better12returns 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, p. 129). 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 list(O’Neil, 2012). 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, 2017).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, 2017).

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 interactions. 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 this15unique 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 research questions.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, in17their 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., 2014). 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 the18organisation 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 present20the 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 Studio, 2015).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 scholars26for 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 the27service 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 without28having 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 awareness. 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. This29confirms 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 telepresence. 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: the website allows users to download the app through mobile devices to have a VR car test drive experience.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 social34psychology (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 visible. 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 a35supermarket 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, 2014).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 important37in 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 benefits. 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 that38marketers 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 that39there 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. 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