Technology moves fast, and seems to change on a daily basis. Some trends stick; some don’t. How do you know when a new product falls in the realm of a “gadget” or a “tool”? We often want to classify gadgets as “gimmicky” and tools as “useful.” But lately, that difference seems to be rapidly diminishing. The better question has become: How can this [gadget or tool] help me tell a compelling story?

Emerging technologies like 3D imagery and virtual reality (VR) are essentially about visualizing things that don’t exist. While many people associate these technologies exclusively with the video game industry, the applications in business, marketing and communications are broadening every day. 3D and VR tools are now being used to craft compelling stories in a wide variety of industries, from real estate to retail to medical to entertainment and everything in between.

Developing the story itself is quite often the tricky part.

Consider a 3D image: by itself, it may look impressive, but – in the end – it’s just an image. Instead, consider ways to create an experience or evoke an emotion through that image. Ask yourself, “What can I communicate to my audience through this image?” That’s when the storytelling process in 3D & VR begins.

  • A 3D image of a planned urban community is just an image until you include a family walking their dog. Now it’s a potential home.
  • A product rendering of a new toy is just a product until you show a group of kids playing with it. Now it’s the perfect Christmas gift.
  • A 3D visualization of a brewery is just a building until you add modern industrial decor and a performance stage. Now it’s a new hang-out.

Adding a human element allows people to envision themselves participating. It no longer becomes a product, it becomes an experience. When your audience is immersed in an experience — whether through imagery or even VR — they are no longer a bystander but an active participant in the story you’re telling. This, more than anything else, is a powerful tool for any marketing effort.

So before you dismiss an idea or a product as a “gadget”, take a moment and ask yourself, “Can I tell a compelling story with this”? If so, it might just be worth a look…

Len Sullivan, HighRock
Principal – Greater Baltimore
HighRock has been using technology to craft compelling stories for over 10 years. Want to learn more? Visit online at or catch their presentation at the upcoming Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.