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.
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