Virtual Reality in the Boardroom
Much has been said about how Virtual Reality (VR) is changing the game for brands, enabling marketers to truly let consumers inside their brand story. The technology is in high demand across all industries, with many sport-related case studies recently, allowing for first hand experiences, providing new and exciting ways for brands to engage with their desired audience. However, less has been spoken about how sponsorship sales professionals can potentially use VR to their advantage.
Take the property market, VR is growing considerably in popularity as a way of marketing – and in the prime London market, whose investors often rather inconveniently live thousands of miles away from the properties they want to view, it can be a very handy tool indeed. The use of VR in property is already a $1bn industry globally, and Goldman Sachs estimate that is set to treble by 2020. Not to confuse sponsorship sales professionals with estate agents, but there is scope to learn from how VR is being used to good effect in their industry.
A sponsorship sale is often a longer process than many other business purchases, generally due to sponsorship impacting on multiple teams within in a brand, meaning considerably more internal discussions take place before a deal is confirmed. Therefore, sponsorship sales professionals are constantly looking for ways to minimise the obstacles during the process, and VR, if used correctly, could well eliminate several of these:
Understanding – Allowing potential buyers to really understand the essence of an event without physically being there is an art that sponsorship sales professionals have been trying to master in boardrooms for years through tone of voice, photos, and videos in presentations, and there is no doubt that many potential sales have broken down as a result of opportunities not being communicated effectively to brand managers. VR could well hold the key here and be the perfect tool to overcome this.
Clarity – A common scenario and potentially one of the most frustrating responses for any sponsorship sales professional is the decision by a brand to hold off until they have assessed the opportunity ‘in the flesh’. This can be a genuine declaration of interest, although can also be used as a ‘fob off’ from a brand manager who is too polite to say no or loves a freebie. With the introduction of VR into the sales process, brands could gain clarity about the opportunity and sponsorship sales professionals could gain clarity simultaneously around whether the proposition is truly viable for the brand, thus speeding up the sales process.
Impact – A key attribute of a good sponsorship sales professional is the ability to constantly come up with creative brand activations and communicate them effectively. Use of VR in these situations also has the capability to further enhance the impact of these concepts and really help bring a potential brand partnership to life.
VR in the boardroom is something that may not sit well with some, but in our increasingly tech dominated world its occurrence will surely increase, and if used effectively in sales pitches, it could well soon become the most vital tool for a sponsorship sales professional.