75% of top brands have VR projects

According to Virtual Reality Brand Power Index released this morning by YouVisit, 75 percent of the Forbes World’s Most Valuable Brands have created some form of virtual or augmented reality experience for customers or employees, or are themselves innovating and developing these technologies.

The tech sector is in the lead in adopting virtual reality technology, but automotive is also notable in being an early mover, Endri Tolka, COO and co-founder of YouVisit, told Hypergrid Business.

Lexus virtual reality driving simulator. (Image courtesy Lexus.)

Lexus virtual reality driving simulator. (Image courtesy Lexus.)

“Brands like BMW, Audi, Porsche, KIA, Volkswagen, Lexus, Chevrolet, and Honda have all incorporated virtual reality and augmented reality experiences into their marketing strategy,” he said.

Examples include mobile applications where potential buyers can check out the latest model from Mercedes-Benz or test drive Audi’s fastest car, he said.

“It’s clear that the automotive industry is really starting to see the value in virtual reality,” he added. “The technology is allowing automotive companies to better connect with their customers and allowing them to get in cars without actually making the purchase.”

The financial sector, known for its conservative approach to new technology, lags the furthest behind in making use of virtual reality, he said. Though even here some brands are taking steps, including RBC, HSBC and Wells Fargo.

“It’s only a matter of time until the others follow suit, whether on their own or in partnership with another brand,” Tolka said. “For example, HSBC created a virtual reality experience allowing fans of the Australian National Rugby team to ‘become a Wallaby.'”

What’s more surprising, he added, is that the fashion industry is one of the slower adopters.

“You’d think that the fashion industry would be early adopters of this technology as both are completely focused on the visual,” he said. “However, fashion is only just starting to get a taste of what virtual reality means for the industry. In our findings, the only major fashion brand to invest in the technology was Prada, which created a virtual reality experience for its Fashion Week show back in 2013.”

Another recent use of virtual reality technology by a fashion brand was Tommy Hilfiger’s virtual runway. However, Tommy Hilfiger is not included on the Forbes most valuable brands list.

“From our understanding of what the virtual reality industry has accomplished and the direction we see it going, retail and fashion seem to be the next frontier for this technology,” said Tolka. “Especially as e-commerce becomes more complex, we see virtual reality becoming a tool for retail brands to showcase their products and allow customers to make purchases.”

Why go virtual?

According to a separate recent study by YouVisit, 11 percent of the online adult population or about 23 million people, have already tried virtual reality, even before the major brands, like Oculus Rift, Playstation VR, and the HTC Vive have hit the consumer market.

A further 30 percent of online Americans aged 18 and up express a desire to try the technology, indicating a receptive market for the forthcoming wave of headset innovation and virtual reality content development.

Google recently announced that 15 million users have downloaded its Google Cardboard app, which is used to calibrate Cardboard-compatible virtual reality headsets.

“While we are excited for the upcoming launches of major headsets and think the true virtual reality experience rests in these state-of-the-art devices, we’re firm believers that mobile-based headsets like Google Cardboard will be a huge driver in adoption of virtual reality across industries,” said Tolka.

In fact, YouVisit itself has apps designed to run on mobile-based, Cardboard-compatible headsets. The company has about 250 Android apps available on Google Play, including many college campus tours, as well as its flagship YouVisit VR app, which features a variety of virtual tourism destinations. The company also has around 360 apps for iOS devices on the iTunes store, in addition to its flagship YouVisit VR app. The company also has apps for the Samsung Gear VR headset.

“Inexpensive headsets really lower the barriers consumers face to accessibility and adoption of virtual reality,” said Tolka. “It’s been said that Google Cardboard is the ‘gateway drug’ to virtual reality and we definitely align with this kind of thinking.”

YouVisit’s Virtual Reality Brand Power Index

Brand Forbes Rank Interbrand Rank VR/AR Sample Activity
Apple 1 1 Apple won a patent for a VR headset and has posted job listings for VR and AR software programmers
Microsoft 2 5 Microsoft has created HoloLens, an augmented reality headset.
Google 3 2 Google created Google Cardboard, an inexpensive viewer that turns a mobile phone into a VR experience.
Coca-Cola 4 3 Coca-Cola created a VR experience for the 2014 World Cup.
IBM 5 4 IBM has obtained patents on virtual universes and augmented realities, intended to make virtual interactions useful for businesses.
McDonald’s 6 9 McDonald’s sold French fry boxes that allowed customers to play an augmented reality app.
Samsung 7 7 Samsung created Samsung Gear VR headset.
Toyota 8 8 Toyota implemented distracted driver simulation in VR at the New York International Auto Show.
General Electric 9 6 GE shared VR videos on social media, giving a behind-the-scenes look at how its products are made.
Facebook 10 29 Facebook acquired Oculus in 2014.
Disney 11 13 Disney invested in Jaunt VR.
AT&T 12 N/A AT&T created the “It Can Wait” campaign in VR to simulate the consequences of distracted driving.
Amazon.com 13 15 Amazon obtained patents for an AR headset.
Louis Vuitton 14 19
Cisco 15 14 Cisco’s StyleMe mirror allowed customers at John Lewis to virtually try on clothes.
BMW 16 11 BMW is working to develop VR goggles to help drivers park by helping them see through the car.
Oracle 17 16
NIKE 18 22 Nike created a VR video of soccer player Neymar Jr scoring a goal.
Intel 19 12 Intel created a VR camera.
Wal-Mart 20 N/A Wal-Mart obtained a patent for virtual reality shopping system
Verizon 21 N/A Verizon created a NFL VR experience.
American Express 22 23 American Express created a VR experience in which you can play tennis against Maria Sharapova.
Honda 23 20 Honda created a “Dream Drive” VR simulation.
Mercedes-Benz 24 10 Mercedes-Benz created a VR app to be used with Google Cardboard, allowing users to view specific car models.
Budweiser 25 34 Budweiser created a VR experience for the 2014 World Cup, allowing users to score goals on the field.
Gillette 26 18
Marlboro 27 N/A
SAP 28 25 SAP created a VR conferencing event.
Pepsi 29 24 Pepsi implemented a VR ad campaign at bus stops in London.
Visa 30 69 Visa created a VR retail experience at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Nescafe 31 38 Nescafe created a VR experience with Google showing users where their coffee comes from.
ESPN 32 N/A ESPN is looking to hire a gaming editor, as well as an engineer specializing in VR and AR.
H&M 33 21 H&M had a VR tent at Coachella allowing users to take 360-degree selfies and try out Oculus Rift.
L’Oreal 34 43 L’Oreal created a VR makeup mirror app.
Hewlett-Packard 35 17 Hewlett-Packard developed computer monitors with VR display.
HSBC 36 33 HSBC created a VR experience allowing fans of the Australian National Rugby team to “become a Wallaby.”
Home Depot 37 N/A Home Depot’s Technology Center at Georgia Tech focuses on innovations like VR, 3D printing and 3D scanning.
Frito-Lay 38 N/A Frito-Lay gave away Google Cardboard headsets.
Audi 39 45 Audi created a VR test drive.
UPS 40 27 UPS implemented VR experiences into training.
Ford 41 39 Ford used Autodesk software for VR simulation to test products.
Gucci 42 41
Nestle 43 54 Nestle created virtual shopping centers.
Accenture 44 44 Accenture created WeShopAR app.
IKEA 45 26 IKEA’s AR catalog shows what furniture will look like in a room.
Siemens 46 49 Siemens is working to develop virtual systems.
Wells Fargo 47 N/A Wells Fargo created a virtual maze game using oculus technology.
Fox 48 N/A Fox is teaming up with Oculus to create VR movies.
Pampers 49 30
Ebay 50 28 Ebay’s pop up innovation lab and ebay fashion app both incorporate VR.
Hermes 51 46
Starbucks 52 76 Starbucks created an augmented reality app for holiday cups.
MasterCard 53 88
Danone 54 51 Danone created an augmented reality game.
Cartier 55 58
J.P. Morgan 56 35
Caterpillar 57 61 Caterpillar uses VR to train staff.
Zara 58 36
Kellogg’s 59 32 Select boxes of Kellogg’s New Zealand Nutri-Grain cereal contained VR goggles.
Kraft 60 N/A
Colgate 61 50
Chevrolet 62 82 Chevrolet created an off-road VR experience “CoDriver” for its Chevy Colorado truck.
Coach 63 N/A
Hyundai 64 40 Hyundai displayed Avatar Drive at its IDEA Festival.
Rolex 65 N/A
Lexus 66 N/A Lexus is using VR technology for virtual test drives.
Volkswagen 67 31 Volkswagen created the GTI Roadster downloadable in Gran Turismo.
Thomson Reuters 68 57
Santander 69 75
John Deere 70 79 John Deere created a VR intro to its new tractor.
Chase 71 N/A
Bank of America 72 N/A
Canon 73 37 Canon created its own VR headset.
Prada 74 70 Prada used VR at its Fashion Week show.
Nissan 75 56 Samsung created a “Gear Indie Channel” including an experience in a Nissan GT-R.
Red Bull 76 N/A Red Bull created a 350-degree VR experience of the Red Bull Air Race.
Philips 77 42 Philips launched an AR app allowing customers to see how a new TV would look in a specific room in their house.
Porsche 78 60 Porsche worked with Odyssey installation to create an immersive brand environment.
Sony 79 52 Sony created the PlayStation’s Project Morpheus.
FedEx 80 92 FedEx created a state-of-the-art virtual reality flight simulator for training.
Citi 81 48
Boeing 82 N/A Boeing used VR as a marketing tool at the Paris Air Show, handing out Google Cardboard.
Adidas 83 59 Adidas implemented NEO concept stores in Europe allowing customers to virtually try on clothes.
Subway 84 N/A Subway created a store simulation game competition.
Chanel 85 N/A Chanel’s Virtual Book is a catalogue in VR.
RBC 86 N/A RBC created an AR app to locate nearby ATMs
Allianz 87 55
Goldman Sachs 88 47
Ralph Lauren 89 83
Heineken 90 95 Heineken had a virtual wall at the Ultra Music Festival.
Exxon Mobil 91 N/A Exxon Mobile created a VR experience to be used with Google Cardboard.
Target 92 N/A Target created uStyler room makeover tool to create a virtual room.
Panasonic 93 64 Panasonic demonstrated its virtual reality “Future Mirror.”
Hershey 94 N/A
LEGO 95 N/A LEGO has created games with VR content.
Lancome 96 N/A Lancome is featured in FaceCake Marketing Technologies’ augmented reality mobile app.
KIA Motors 97 74 KIA created K900 virtual experience.
Sprite 98 72 Sprite’s Slam Dunk contest was recorded in VR.
MTV 99 80 MTV livestreamed the red carpet of its “Video Music Awards.”
Estee Lauder 100 N/A

 

maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • lmpierce

    This is a kind of déjà vu. I clearly remember the same kind of rush to presence in Second Life by major corporations eager to be a part of a new technology that they wanted to use in the service of marketing – and that approach is long dead and gone. This time, however, a cursory overview of the sample activities suggests a more functional approach to using VR, so that even if marketing is a major aim, there seems to be a bit more substance to some of the purported intentions. I’m curious, however, what Hershey plans to do with VR – I mean, really, only the actual eating of chocolate carries any value. On the other hand, the Wells Fargo virtual maze game sounds like a vapid ‘me too, I do VR’ approach just for the sake of name inclusion in lists like this.