Ready Player One! Are you ready to lose yourselves in your own OASIS? If yes, then you have probably heard about the next big thing in the Virtual Reality (VR) industry – the Wireless Adapter from HTC VIVE. The new adapter offers a full tetherless experience, immersing you in a world of its own. Of course, only if you have the HTC VIVE or VIVE Pro headsets.
It looks cool, doesn’t it? But in order to like or dislike a certain thing/experience, people usually need to try it. However, according to a Mintel’s report (2017), 76% of the interviewed people have never tried a VR headset in their lives. So, I decided to check people’s views on social media about this new product and how it has been advertised by the company to potential customers. Surprisingly, HTC VIVE promoted it only on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, so I had limited data to work with.
Where is the love?
By analysing how HTC VIVE tried to introduce the new product to new (or returning) customers, I divided my research into three timeframes – advertising period (the launch of the promo video), beginning of pre-orders period, and the first day of the official launch. The comments, categorised into positive/neutral/negative sentiment, fluctuated in the three periods despite my expectations of full love vibe.
When the promo video was released, I thought this is the most amazing thing in the world. I was like: “HTC take my money now!”, but people were showing mixed emotions. Positive comments were leading, but people were still undecided on how they felt about the product. Why was that? Short answer: the price. Commenters were complaining how expensive the product is. And this might be one of the reason why people dislike the product or cannot decide if they are favourable towards it or not. (I hit the brakes as well, HTC don’t take my money.)
Although, there was excitement when the pre-orders started, negative comments increased. As the product became available, people were more willing to pick a side – either positive or negative. The price was the main issue again, but another characteristic of the product might have started to influence the decision-making – user-friendliness. There were a lot of complaints about the adapter not being compatible with laptops, or certain wires being needed for connection. So, people might ask themselves “Why pay so much (£300!), if I won’t be able to use it?”
What happened after the pre-orders arrived at the customers? The scale between negative and positive tipped further into negative. The two problematic areas that stood out the most during the pre-order and launch period were cost and user-friendliness.
So how does HTC VIVE deal with all those negative comments?
HTC VIVE cuts the cable on engagement
Wrong wires! Apart from comments about the product, I focused on other areas such as customer service, competitors and engagement. Or maybe I should say the lack of engagement. Once the pre-order period started, potential customers were asking questions about the adapter or shipping services, but there was low or no engagement from the brand. That’s when the negative sentiment around the price and the user-friendliness increased. Many people expressed negative views about missing shipment details and lack of information. So why does HTC VIVE not answer (potential) customer queries?
Possibly, this is a communication issue with resources or strategy. Therefore, HTC VIVE should go back to basics – Public Relations (PR) and Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM). The brand should focus on improving its customer service as it can result in customer retention and increased loyalty. Another way of regaining trust of its current customers and proving themselves to potential customers is developing the two-way communication process on social media. With 76% of people not yet adapting VR, HTC VIVE has a great opportunity to redefine their services and use what they sell. They need to ensure they use available channels and sources to answer customers, listen and improve if they want to keep their competitive advantage. If people are not happy with the brand, they will go to a competitor that offers the same or similar products.
Although it’s too late for HTC VIVE to change the structure or the price of the wireless adapter, they should pay more attention to what people are saying and improve the quality of their services. By engaging with their audience, the brand could avoid another wave of negative comments. Innovation is only half the journey, communication is the other!
Mintel, 2017. Virtual Reality - UK - December 2017 [online]. Mintel Group Ltd. Available from: http://academic.mintel.com/display/796267/ [Accessed 14 Oct 2018].
Despite the growth of digital detox, more people than ever are using social media networks daily. Platforms must balance maintaining a cool brand image and continuing to cater for long-term users. A recent example is the new long-form video available on Instagram in an attempt to lure the younger audience away from the rivals YouTube and Snapchat. However, Instagram will stay the app, where people go to upload images of their lunch or recent holiday. Instagram is the platform where you can show the glamorous life you are living and boost your confidence with the number of followers you have. The time of postcards has passed…
That leads me to the first social media project I want to share that impressed me recently:
Have you ever thought that your profile should be perfect and fabulous even if your life is not?
AMV BBDO has created a new campaign to expose the anxiety and mental health issues that come with the pressure on social media. The agency designed a satirical website Lifefaker.com, where people can purchase readymade images that illustrate the perfect life you want to have. There are several packages available from “Even my dog/cat is happier” to “My Unachievable Body”.
The campaign was done for mental health start-up Sanctus.io to raise awareness of the downsides of our overly crafted online profiles, and hopefully change the perception around mental health.
I believe this is such a great campaign that indirectly shows the negative aspects of having the “perfect” online life.
But what about our behaviour on social media? People seem to have an increasingly negative attitude toward social media, but yet, we can’t bear to be free of it.
Fake news, the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Facebook’s loose data protection have been in the headlines this year, contributing to a growing awareness of the usage of social media. But what about the potential destructive role it plays in our lives?
Social Media Reality
The second social media project that amazed me was the 3D witty illustrations by Ben Fearnley from design agency Vault49. They visually communicate the ego-boosting habits and search for validation on social media.
"Each one of these platforms encourages a different kind of communication and the amount of time we spend on social media has skyrocketed. I challenged myself to create a visualisation of how I could represent each social platform user interaction in the most simplistic way that people could relate to and find conceptually amusing at the same time," says Ben Fearnley.
More art illustrations related to the obsession with social media, you can read on Digital Arts.
Despite all the disadvantages of social media, we cannot live without it. It helps you to connect with friends, family, express your opinion and sometimes even find a job. And as everything, social media is good if it is used in moderation. 😉
Do you have a favourite social media project/campaign? Feel free to comment below or send me a DM.
When you don’t have the opportunity to go to Cannes Lions festival and have a cocktail on a yacht in South of France, the amazing Glug people give you CANNT Festival in your city (or nearest city). So last night I attended the event in Brighton.
As I walked into the venue, I got a Hawaiian garland and I instantly loved the event. Hawaiian theme party is my kind of party! There was plenty of time for notworking (something like networking, but funnier as Glug people explain it) before the speakers.
Not surprisingly the topic of the evening was Awards. Are they good or bad? Do they bring you more work or not?
First in the spotlight were Juliet Tzabar and Dominic Minns from Plug-In Media. It’s one of the most awarded agencies in Brighton with 4 BAFTAs, so I was all ears when they started their presentation.
Dominic started with a quote “Award doesn’t change the quality of a book!”, but it contributes to your portfolio he added. It sets your reputation as an expert in your field and confirms the excellence of your work. Juliet explained the internal benefits of winning an award. It motivates the team and makes them feel great about the project. And awards make your mum proud (best feeling in the world). 😊
Matt Baxter from Baxter and Bailey shared a notion from Gladwell that if you do one thing for ten thousand hours, you become an expert. It seems about right. However, he began his presentation with three cons about awards: ridiculously expensive, exclusive and nepotistic. Apparently, it costs almost £900 for one entry at the D&AD awards and to be honest, you like the awards only if you win. So are they really worth it? Yes, because the best thing is that they give you confidence. Awards not only inspire confidence in you, but also in your clients and help them to reach a wider audience with their work.
But what do creative awards such as Cannes Lions mean for the PR industry? PR agencies are failing at the PR Lions as mentioned by Danny Rogers, editor of PRWeek. Several of the Lions were won by ad agencies and only few PR agencies were given a credit. The big campaigns were earned media-led, so it makes you wonder what’s the point of PR if big advertising agencies can produce them. Fortunately, Cannes Lions is not the only place where PR agencies can prove their excellent work. Creativity in PR matters and it should be celebrated (even if it’s not at the French Riviera)!
Why is dyslexia perceived as a disadvantage?
How do we help people who are living with depression?
Can we save our planet through renewable energy?
Why does the media push only negative stories?
These were just some of the questions posed at TEDxBrighton last Friday. We were privileged to attend this event and hear thoughts from some inspiring speakers, all offering perspectives on how we can improve the world we live in.
Creativity was the theme threaded through the sessions. Whether the challenge is in education, disabilities, mental health, globalisation, or LGBT, creativity can offer a solution.
Christian de Boisredon, founder of Sparknews, talked about how the media shows only negative stories. We hear all about environmental disasters and crimes, but we rarely read a story about a scientific breakthrough or sports achievement. What would happen if the news sources promoted more positive stories? Would it change the mood of the public? Would it inspire more people to be good and pursue their dreams?
For Tom Ravenscroft, the founder of Enabling Enterprise, and Kate Griggs, founder of Xtraordinary People the issue is in education. They argued that the focus teachers put on analytical and problem-solving skills diminishes children’s imagination and creativity. Therefore, both founded organisations that cherish creativity in children.
It was a day full of inspiration from people who are making impactful change around the world. They challenged our knowledge of the borders dividing up our planet, but they also influenced us to find our utopia. And as Vanessa Barret said, “Life is a journey. Fill it with creativity and allow yourself to be happy.”
This year there was, for the first time, a 360/VR films award category at Cannes. It was conclusive proof – if any were needed – of the growing importance of virtual reality to our industry.
VR is incredibly exciting technology – it is immersive, exciting and memorable. Anyone who has experienced that first buzz of trying out the technology knows that. It takes you to an entirely new environment, where you can feel your stomach in your mouth on the Big Dipper, or experience the spine-tingling thrill of swimming with sharks.
But the thrill soon fades, and consumers need more to keep them excited. As with all technology it is not on its own enough – it needs the spark of creativity, if it is to provoke strong emotions, be memorable, and most importantly deliver the brand message.
There are already some great examples of brands doing this well. Samsung won seven prestigious awards with its “The Ostrich” commercial. If you haven’t seen it, it is about an ostrich that learns to fly after wearing a VR Headset with a flight simulator. It makes you believe in the impossible.
Eurostar will allow passengers to find a lost pirate treasure while travelling to Paris this summer. I’m definitely buying a ticket!
Even traditional media is taking advantage of the new technology to engage readers. The New York Times won Entertainment Grand Prix thanks to its VR project “The Displaced” which shows the refugee crisis through the eyes of children - a campaign with a great message that provoked a mix of emotions.
These campaigns show the potential of VR, and we look forward to seeing, and experiencing more. Above all though brands, and their agencies must remember that while VR creates the opportunity, it is creativity that adds the meaning.
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