3. VR is: STILL UNIQUE
Good for: BUILDING AWARENESS
For now, and most likely for several decades to come, VR experiences are dramatically different from anything else in content world. To put it straightforward, they are simply more exciting and induce more curiosity. This is perfect for awareness campaigns, regardless of whether it’s a brand or a condition that is to be put into focus. Virtual reality can serve as a kind of highlighter for the selected points in a strategy. Of course, not everything should be made 360°! The key points, however, deserve such treatment. The incredible power of VR/AR will then draw attention to the rest of the content. It’s up to the strategist to decide whether the virtual experience should be a starting point for future interest (as is now becoming common for patient engagement), or a highly spoken-of “bonus” for a circle of specialists. Both ways are possible and both ways lead to increased awareness.
Retaining interest (Because you need every effort to pay off)
Now, the skeptical part. At some point, we all think something like: “Okay, so we’ll do this VR trick because it is popular. Of course it will draw attention. Maybe someone will get the information they needed. Then what? Will the crowd say thanks and flow over to the newest VR attraction?” Converting amazing tactics into customer relationships is a point of concern in any sphere, and yes, VR is not a tool for total lead conversion. However, in case with pharma, there is only one thing that needs to be solved.
This one thing is the… Well, what do you associate VR with at the moment? Is it gaming? Entertainment? Exactly this is what many are thinking, and exactly this is the beast to overcome on the way to true engagement. At this point, VR content is (for many people) a fancy “toy” all on its own. What pharma needs to do is to supply the VR experience with real value. It is being done now, of course, but the common mistake is that some demonstrate the VR when they should be demonstrating information. For now, it is OK to say “look, we made a fun simulation of being inside a human elbow joint, look at what colorful graphics we’ve got!” In a year, medical specialists will start to ask more questions. It is the content that matters – even with VR.
To solve for value, one needs to take into account the audience, then answer the question: what information will they need? For pharma, the audience can be either patients or doctors, and the type of content they want is, of course, different. This means that there’s no such thing as universally relevant VR simulation. Furthermore, after providing the VR experience, any pharma strategist needs to follow up with exactly the content that the audience craves. Then the glitter of uniqueness will not wear off, as the customers’ interaction with the brand will remind of the VR experience, on the one hand – and instigate further interest, on the other. Bonus for the marketer – after having followed up on one VR “event”, you will feel much more confident preparing for another one.