Can Virtual Reality Marketing create empathy?
This question came to my mind as I re-analysed the marketing strategy of Toms, a quite well-known shoe company with strong philanthropic values. Stating “the stories behind your impact" in the company’s webpage, Toms provides a clear and understandable explanation to their customers of the positive influence of their purchase in others.
How they do so?
Toms gives away one pair of shoes (among other things) for every pair of shoes purchased. The initiatives of this ethical and ingenious company were accompanied by a powerful communication campaign back in 2016, which led Toms to the spotlight with a short 360-video in VR.
The video showed the employees of Toms on a trip across Peru doing what they promise to do “give away shoes to those more in need" and the reaction of the young local students of a school. By using the 360-vision feature, the company did not only enhance their transparency policy but also intensified the feelings towards the brand and the idea of purchasing the shoes of those watching by allowing them to feel as “one more" in their mission.
Using Virtual Reality marketing to secure values transmission further:
While Toms aims were clear online where you can read and have a clear idea of their initiatives, the company struggled to transmit its values during the in-store experience, especially to those not yet familiarised with the brand. This potential threat to their growth, as their values proved to be what made them more special among their potential customers, was resolved in a magistral move from Toms.
Instead of using this excellent marketing campaign exclusively online, where it could potentially reach a broader audience, Toms decided to use it in the flagship stores too and became even stronger after that decision. From that moment on, possible buyers could see with their own eyes the same that could be viewed online: the greater impact of a simple purchase.
Then, is Virtual Reality a powerful marketing solution?
What is great of Toms communication strategy is that it provides an answer – other than research papers and Virtual Reality talkers – to those who question if Virtual Reality marketing can help to spread empathy towards those who consume it: +93 million shoes donated until 2019 and +100 million expected by 2020. Can you see why?
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