2Heads, a leading independent experiential brand marketing agency, announces the launch of its ‘VX LAB’ virtual experience workshop initiative with the aim of partnering brands in the discussion, analysis and debate of the future of the events and experiential marketing industry.
The sessions, moderated by ECD Jordan Waid and Global MD Craig Wildman, have the objective of bringing brand-side event professionals into an interactive online forum with 2Heads to discuss the virtue of emerging trends in digital/creative, debate the pros and cons of their application to the experiential market structure and importantly utilise shared economic data to shape an understanding of what end users will want from events post-COVID-19.
2Heads in-house digital and innovation team has been producing hybrid events & experiences with clients for over 20 years, and it’s with this experience that they are helping brands make informed decisions regarding the litany of virtual marketing short-termism that is proliferating the marketplace. The VX LAB creates an opportunity for discovery, inspiration and ideation that brands can use to help pivot their event strategy as hybrid and digital experiences come to the fore.
Pepe Parra, chairman, 2Heads explains why these sessions are important:
“The events industry is in this together. The COVID-19 pandemic hit our sector first and we will have a longer road of recovery due to travel restrictions and social distancing. We want brands – our clients and all others – to come through this period still front of mind and engaging creatively with their customers. The myriad of mushrooming digital solutions however are becoming a bit of a blur and we understand from conversations with clients that not knowing what the future looks like combined with not knowing which (if any) virtual alternative is the best fit, is leading to a unwillingness to do anything until there is more certainty.
There is nothing wrong with this. One thing that is certain is no one knows what the end landscape will look like and what economic pressures major brands will face as they look to strengthen and rebuild. But the one blessing of this lockdown is time. We have time to reflect on the virtual event trend as the industry flocks towards it, review the good, bad and ugly and if we partner with our clients on this journey, we will all come out wiser. For our clients, this is a chance to receive advice and ideas to determine which (if any) of the virtual products on the market can help answer the challenges they face. For us and the industry, this is an opportunity to really deep dive. We know different industries will go back to work in an altered state, but how will each sector react? What will customers need and more importantly, how will they want to interact? Perhaps the future is digitalised with greater remoter working or potentially there’ll be more demand for face to face as people crave human interaction. Perhaps it is something in the middle. What is important though is that each brand will have a different response need for us all to investigate.”
Jordan Waid had further insight on why 2Heads were well-positioned to rollout the initiative:
‘Our existing innovation and design thinking workshops are amazing – and with the new remote working culture, we’ve evolved them into the VX Lab (Virtual Experience Lab). We are so lucky because we were already actually ahead of the game. Before everyone went into quarantine – we’d been developing virtual brand worlds / meeting spaces with our R+D innovation team. We have been using the UNREAL ENGINE that powers EPIC games (think FORTNITE), along with TWINMOTION (real-time immersive 3D architectural visualisation) to create on-line, virtual environments that are habitable and can create real-time communities and networking opportunities. This allows us to continue our offering of designing ‘meaningful brand experiences’ and virtual meet-ups for our clients in a time where face to face is not always possible.
“It’s vital that every business embraces the unparalleled speed of change that’s been forced upon us due to the pandemic – the saying ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ was made for this time. The VX LAB helps businesses capitalise on the future and facilitate their own bespoke roadmap. It really is all about invention, inventing new scenarios, new concepts, new rules, new solutions, new purpose as well as new ways of thinking, new ways of experiencing and new ways of sharing.”
The VX LAB workshops are the first of a series of initiatives 2Heads will be rolling out this year to help future proof the experience industry and to support a community of creatives thinkers badly impacted by the pandemic.