Quite often, a major goal of any communication or public relations strategy is to have a significant impact on the feelings, attitudes and behaviours of stakeholders.

The rise of technology like virtual reality offers new possibilities for storytelling and new ways to impact people. As a practitioner who loves the power of the written word, the potential impact for life-changing communication programs to be implemented is both intriguing and challenging.

I am not talking here about customers experiencing the virtual crunch of a new chocolate bar or the virtual smell of freshly washed linen using a brand of washing powder.

I am talking about virtual reality being used to elicit empathy, understanding and ultimately behavioural change.

What if we could get people to truly walk a mile in another person’s shoes?

What if campaigns focused on helping people understand the lives of others? What if we could help them to understand how visually impaired people experience the world? What about understanding how anxiety affects the decisions you make?

If I can get you to feel and experience the challenges others face, does your compassion, empathy and understanding increase?

This amazing technology is being used right here in Brisbane and was recently used by Clear Thinking Queensland during their Lose your Mind campaign. This event was held in the middle of the Queen Street Mall and encouraged passer-by’s to don the virtual reality equipment and experience first-hand what living with mental illness is really like.

You can check out the amazing vision on their Instagram or read about the experience here.

We would love to hear your thoughts about the rise of this new technology in communication and public relations!