5D design, better known as immersive experience, is growing as a marketing and branding practice. With all of this growth, have you ever wondered if you have participated in a 5D experience or, more importantly, can you spot one when it’s happening? Here are the six elements in what is becoming the next level of brand engagement.
1. It’s a Sensory Experience
The senses impact our view of the world, our emotions and our behaviour. A 5D experience capitalizes on all five senses, stunning realistic visuals, the tactile feeling as one navigates the environment, the sound emanating from the experience, smell, virtual taste and image association (taste the lushness found in a photograph of an orange). The ideal 5D experience needs to appeal to all of our senses, and also cater to our sense of balance and discovery.
2. It Allows Participants to be Lost in Time
We are talking about a 5D experience when the participants loose the sense of time. Gaming is a great example of an immersive experience often resulting in players loosing track of time. Immersive experiences draw viewers in by creating an environment where time has no value or influence. For brand marketers, this is truly an ideal factor where the target group is so involved in the experience, that the notion of stopping seems foreign.
3. Provides a High Level of Storytelling
5D experience is the virtual manifestation of a well-written story that is visually delivered while allowing the participant full control. For an immersive experience to be relevant, it needs to be anchored in a story and all of its aspects from the scene and players to the required behaviour and rituals.
4. The Experience is Stunningly Real
Stunning and realistic visuals are the common denominator of 5D experiences. The harder our brain needs to work at discerning the information, the more taxing the chore becomes, and the harder it is for a participant to remove the boundaries between digital experience and the reality. The closer to reality, the more immersive the experience becomes. The brain no longer needs to differentiate between the virtual and the reality. Without the boundary, the brain’s processing power is now relegated directly to the reptilian brain, the brain ruled by reflex and impulse, deepening the reality of the 5D experience.
5. Allows for Multiple Participants
Humans are social creatures and the closer the 5D experience reflects our social needs, the closer the experience comes to reality. One of the key dimensions of immersion is the ability of being surprised, challenged and engaged with other participants. The ability to contribute and help narrate the story makes the 5D experience that much more realistic and it deepens the experience.
6. Intuitive and Instinctive
To the best of my knowledge, the top games do not come with extensive instruction booklets. The games are designed to reflect how humans interact with their environments and as such, immersive experiences are intuitive. Intuitive thinking is not a conscious process and relies on the senses, sixth sense and instincts versus rational thinking. Similar to being stunningly real, 5D experiences rely heavily on the participants’ intuition and instincts to navigate the experience.
5D experiences exist in many forms and anyone who has viewed an IMAX movie, played one of the leading video games, or visited an interactive display in a museum or art gallery has participated knowingly or unknowingly in an immersive experience. As the use of this approach continues to gain momentum, it will become harder to determine what is immersive and what is real, what is virtual and what is reality.
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