I have absolutely no interest in chasing Pokémon around an augmented digital world. But, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be paying attention to the larger impact Pokémon Go is having.

Specifically, Pokémon Go may be one of the biggest steps in introducing the masses to virtual reality.

It goes by different names – virtual reality (VR), augmented reality, 360° video – but in a nutshell, it’s incredibly immersive video content in up to 8k “Super Hi-Vision” quality. Whatever the name and despite the slight differences in how they’re described, immersive video experiences are here to stay.

Take, for instance, the partnership between NBC and Samsung to release 85 hours of virtual reality Olympic content. Or that YouTube’s 360° Videos channel features an ever-growing trove of content ranging from news and product reviews, to concerts and travel experiences. (I could watch Danny Trejo eat virtual tacos all day).

And don’t forget Google VR, which is a (relatively) new suite of products and services to push the tech even more into the mainstream. Most of us are familiar already with Cardboard. The upcoming Daydream will bring your favorite apps into the virtual reality realm. And Jump uses a camera rig console with up to 16(!) GoPro cameras to create full VR experiences that can be uploaded right to YouTube.

Cool, right? We love shiny new things. But, what does it all mean for PR and marketing?

Video is one of the hottest forms of content right now. With the proliferation of VR/augmented/360°, however, the engagement and quality meters of the video content game just got a whole lot higher.

As more and more of this immersive Ultra HD and Super Hi-Vision content hits, consumers will increasingly expect this level of quality to be the norm. And with companies like NBC, Samsung, YouTube and Google making aggressive plays in the space, that may not be far away.

In PR, we’re seldom called upon as video production experts. But, we do curate content, build story lines, recommend and work with digital partners, and manage social communities. Those responsibilities and relationships make it important for us to be aware and make the best recommendations for clients. Working with clients to find the sweet spot for content, quality, format and distribution channels will only help deliver the results that move campaigns forward.

For example, imagine searching YouTube for barbeque grill reviews. Brand A’s video is a nicely done, traditional product review with sharp product images and pleasant VO. Brand B’s was shot using Google Jump and puts the viewer on the back deck in the middle of a summer cookout, creating a fully immersive experience. Which would you watch? Which do you feel would best serve your client?

Internet users spent an average of 5.5 hours each day in 2015 watching video content, eMarketer reports. And Cisco has predicted that, by 2017, video will make up 69 percent of all consumer internet traffic. In other words, video is one of the most consumed and powerful mediums for brand awareness and storytelling available to us.

Perhaps it’s time to go chase Pikachu, after all.

– Jeff Dillow 

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