How to achieve real customer engagement with a virtual brand experience.

You had to be there. For decades, the expression most used to convey that you couldn’t possibly appreciate an experience unless you were physically present.

Now, thanks to technology, that’s no longer the case.

The virtual and augmented world has brought a new dimension to our lives – and now, to the way we experience brands. B2C brands have already used virtual reality (VR) stunts for their PR impact. Many others are also leveraging the benefits of augmented reality (AR) to help their customers visualise the products they desire in the comfort of their own home.

At Torpedo, we’re helping forward-thinking B2B brands adopt this new technology – by creating virtual interactive experiences that deliver stronger customer engagement, and allow prospective customers to make better, more informed decisions. This is about more than just PR stunts. It’s about applying technology to deliver real engagement and benefits to your customers and your brand.

It’s no surprise virtual experiences and tours are a rapidly growing area of interest for B2B. Unlike events, they’re designed for an individual to immerse themselves in your brand on their terms and at their own pace. They help you to engage with customers up close and personal, when it’s just not possible for them to visit you physically.

Using real-world 360-degree video or customised CGI technology, virtual experiences allow a customer to take control and experience your brand in a way that’s unique to him or her.

These experiences become even more immersive with informative text, imagery, video, 3D models or virtual guided tours that help the user to gain a full picture of your brand, products and capabilities. We can even incorporate video chats that give a human face to your business instead of just a voice on the phone.

Here are just a few ways we can bring your brand to life in a virtual world.

Virtual tours.

Make way for a new kind of ‘site visit’. One where you don’t have to name-tag your visitors or tog them up with a hi-vis jacket. Virtual tours start when your customer or prospect wants them to. You can take visitors inside your facilities, to the heart of your brand, and let them see the full range of your capabilities. From factories and warehouses to data centres and offices, you can now let your customers ‘visit’ from anywhere.

The Torpedo team has already taken hundreds of visitors including high-value, senior decision makers on a tour of the Autodesk Technology Centre in Birmingham – and all without anyone needing to negotiate Spaghetti Junction to get there.

We also helped local company, Fine Print, to virtually open their doors to prospective customers at a time when traditional site visits were impossible. Inviting visitors to take a virtual tour of the factory (see below) meant they could still continue to demonstrate the full extent of their capabilities and grow their business at a crucial time.

Product demonstrations.

Is your marketing telling everyone how your product is brimming with the latest technology? Well now they can explore it. Using online 3D technology and VR, you can take your audience inside your products and on a journey through its inner workings, to highlight and demonstrate unique or special features.

Showrooms & technology showcases.

When you can’t welcome customers to your normal physical showroom, creating a virtual replica can give you the platform to educate customers about your complete product range and allow them to explore your full solution portfolio. Virtual showrooms should be immersive and engaging places to visit, products can be viewed online as 3D models and thanks to connected metrics, engagement can be continually reviewed and refined to ensure it is fully optimised.

Product launches.

When you can’t invite a crowd to a product launch, how do you stop its debut from fizzling out? Launch it virtually. Design an experience to create a launch space with an atmosphere and a sense of excitement. Combining this with traditional channels (such as direct mail) allows a physical component to be added too, so potential buyers will have something exciting to hand, while they’re immersed in the story behind it.

Retail stores.

A website is a great way to show and tell potential customers about your products. But why not really bring your brand to life by building a virtual store? AR and VR takes things beyond ‘a picture and a price’ and gives people a compelling space to explore. Unlike a standard web page full of blocks of technical copy, virtual environments enable a more natural journey, mimicking the real-world experience but with the added advantage of supporting product information – communicated in context – whenever a visitor engages with a product or service area.

Virtual open days.

Rather than a virtual experience that can be accessed any time, a scheduled virtual open day creates a sense of urgency and fear-of-missing-out with customers and prospects. When your business is about customer relationships, it’s a less pushy, less salesy way to make an impression.

Campaign activations.

Campaign activations deliver positive participation using different digital channels across multiple touchpoints. Events and experiential marketing in the physical sense may be difficult in the new normal, but there’s no reason a long-term relationship between your potential customer and your brand can’t begin virtually.

Galleries.

You may have a great range of products for an extensive number of applications. Yet, no amount of static images and blocks of text are going to bring that to life in the way a virtual gallery can. Imagine a space like Torpedo’s gallery that lets potential buyers browse at their own pace before selecting a hot spot, before moving images or virtual demonstrations pull them further in.

Online training & learning environments.

In the current environment, it isn’t possible for groups to easily gather to undergo product or corporate training. eLearning is an effective alternative and can be combined with virtual environments to help content become more immersive to grab and hold attention. Virtual training gives your trainees the opportunity to revisit and learn without pressure.

AR technology can assist with hands-on product training and familiarisation. It can speed up the learning process when normal training facilities are not accessible. Not only can virtual training reduce learning times, it’s especially helpful when onsite learning can be dangerous.

Is it technology worth investing in?

Today, before making a commitment to your products or service, your customers and prospects can get more information about your brand than has ever been possible. The majority of the research and decision-making process is done online before a potential customer will ever make contact, however, if your competitors are giving them a closer experience of what they’re going to get, it could move decisions in their direction.

The virtual environments that we create can be enjoyed by your audiences through a normal web browser, with no special equipment needed. For example, we recently produced a virtual factory tour for Fine Print that showcases their extensive print capabilities.

Or, for those lucky customers who have the latest headsets, we can use the same technology to create a full VR experience for them. Our virtual experiences can also be adapted to create mixed reality opportunities, taking the virtual space into the real world through an easily accessed mobile device app.

Our team will bring your brand to life using everything from the latest in 3D CGI technology to real-life 360° video. It’s also worth remembering that with the 5G rollout, a much bigger uptake in VR and AR technology is just around the corner as 5G will give VR and AR the low latency and consistently reliable network it needs to perform. We can help you get ahead of the game. Built-in metrics let you track engagement and understand what your audience interacts with. And, because it’s digital, we can easily change things that aren’t engaging as well as anticipated, to optimise the performance and user experience. We can even tailor everything to individuals for a completely personalised experience – ideal for supporting targeted ABM activity.

Let’s get real.

If you want to know more, let’s talk. We can help you share the best of your brand and build customer confidence in a way that’s never been possible before. The resulting experiences may be virtual, but the engagement with your brand will be very real.

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