5 Key Principles for Effective VR/AR Trade Show Marketing

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Thinking about incorporating  virtual (VR) or augmented reality (AR) at your next industry conference? We’ve seen VR/AR installations produce powerful results on the trade show floor - like 3.5x lead generation and millions in new sales opportunities - but we’ve also seen plenty of experiences fall flat.  Successful VR/AR activation requires careful planning and a deep understanding of the right and wrong ways to use the technology. 

To help you maximize the return on your time, effort, and budget, we’ve put together five key principles for ensuring your next VR/AR trade show installation moves the metrics that matter most to you. 

1. Share the Magic 

One of the simplest but most important steps you can take toward drawing more people into your booth is to “live mirror” your visitors’ in-headset experiences to a big screen or - better yet - to multiple displays! This causes walkerby’s to pause and take interest instead of seeing someone in a headset and having no idea what they’re doing. Additionally, because some booth visitors who are new to VR/AR may be hesitant to pick up a headset or tablet, this provides a way for them to preview before committing to a demo. Remember that every person who stops to observe is a new potential prospect your booth staff should be ready to engage in conversation.  As you design your booth, decide how you want to mirror - Where will the display be placed? How can we maximize visibility from the aisles? Should we cycle between multiple participants views? If our experience is gamified, should we include a centralized scoreboard? Rightly done, your VR/AR experience should be just as interesting to the people on the outside as it is to those inside the headset.  

2. Showcase the Goods

Few things hurt us more than seeing headsets tossed in the corner in a tangled pile of wires between demos. Imagine if retailers stored running shoes this way, instead of prominently displaying them on racks! Would you ever try anything on? When your VR/AR equipment is not in use, keep it prominently displayed to intrigue and entice visitors to say, “Hey, what’s that?” After-market clings and covers can be used to add visual pop and match headsets and iPads to your brand colors. We also recommend investing in headset display stands - better yet, try backlighting them with LEDs. If you are using wireless headsets or tablets, think about your charging station strategy so it doesn’t look like an afterthought. 

3. Plan For Noise

Trade show floors will almost always louder than you anticipate, especially during high-traffic expo hours between speaker sessions. If your experience has sound (which we recommend), make sure your software developers properly EQ the experience to deal with trade show noise.  Nothing is more frustrating than investing in an experience nobody can hear on opening day. Consider branded earbuds as giveaways rather than reusable headphones! This will simplify hygiene protocols (more on this below) and allows users to leave your booth with something that reminds them of your VR/AR experience.

4. Run A Clean Operation

It baffles us how often this one gets overlooked, so, to set the record straight: NOBODY wants to put on a headset that has someone else’s sweat or makeup on it. We consider the following basic hygiene precautions non-negotiable best practices: disposable facemasks for all VR headsets, lense wipes for all screens or lenses, disinfectant wipes for everything that is plastic, and liquid hand sanitizer readily available for anyone who wants it! Equipment should be sanitized on regular cycles with a basic regimen after every user, and a “deep clean” after every 5-10. It only takes thirty seconds and seeing that you take hygiene seriously makes guests much more willing to try your experience. Believe us, people want to leave your booth with free gifts - not germs. 

5. Be Exclusive

Nobody likes long lines, but we believe short lines at your booth can be a good thing. This indicates that your VR/AR experience is good enough for demand to exceed supply, which creates a sense of scarcity and exclusivity, driving further demand. To balance this against the need to get important prospects through fast, we also recommend creating a “VIP” line or area. You can do this a variety of ways, like building in a secluded section with clear plexiglass giving a modern feel to your booth with the intention of creating privacy for higher profile clients but also “FOMO” (fear of missing out) from visitors passing by. You can also send out email campaigns encouraging VIPs to pre-reserve time slots to view your VR/VR experience during the show. We’ve found this vastly increases the rate at which they come by the booth. 

To learn more about how to utilize VR/AR at your next trade show or Industry conference, contact us for an initial consultation.

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How Augmented Reality Can Supercharge Life Science Sales Conversations

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As Augmented Reality (AR) technology continues making inroads in the Life Science sector, few areas have proven more ripe and ready for innovation than field sales enablement.

The question is, what do pharmaceutical and medical device companies stand to gain by arming their sales forces with AR tools, and is it worth the investment?

In an effort to look beyond the novelty factor and hype surrounding AR to the demonstrated, real-world benefits, we outlined some of the primary ways AR brings unique value to field sales efforts at life science organizations.

What is Augmented Reality,  Anyway?

Augmented Reality, experienced on a smartphone, tablet, or smart glasses (e.g. Magic Leap or HoloLens), transforms your physical surroundings by overlaying supplementary 3D objects and animations. These virtual objects appear within your existing space as if they are physically present, and can often be interacted with by tapping the device screen, using a handheld controller, gesturing, or providing voice instructions.

The Next Evolution of Visual Aids

We are often asked how Augmented Reality sales tools differ from other Digital Sales Aids (DSAs) and software-based Interactive Visual Aids (IVAs). While many of the same benefits typical of IVAs apply to AR - helping reps stay on script, accessible cross-device content,easy updates, and deep usage analytics - we believe AR offers a number of game changing features that traditional IVAs lack. These “unique affordances” of AR enable sales representatives to instantly setup and perform attention-grabbing demonstrations, have deeper, longer, and more memorable conversations, and most importantly, increase the chance that information shared in a meeting drives real world behavior change.

Lets dig into each of these benefits in more detail:

How AR Grabs Attention

Provider’s time is in high demand, and most pharma and med device reps struggle to snag more than a few spare minutes to share new product information. Setting up an anatomical scale model or flipchart at a busy office is often out of the question. The more realistic scenario is a “drive-by” hallway conversation where every second counts -- here an Augmented Reality tool can be indispensable. Because AR can instantly superimpose an attention-grabbing 3D demonstration anytime, anywhere, it has the power to create the frame-breaking moment a rep needs to wrest a few minutes of a busy HCP’s time. By transforming a provider’s otherwise mundane, everyday surroundings into a live performance stage, AR brings something unexpected and extraordinary into the workday. It’s one thing to squint an anatomical heart on a printed pamphlet; placing a full sized cross-section of that heart, alive and pulsating on the table in front of an HCP, has a radically different effect.

How AR Supports Higher Quality Conversations

After the initial “attention grabbing” moment, Augmented Reality tends to naturally spark an in-depth conversation between HCPs and reps. When the molecules in a Mechanism of Action Animation miraculously swirl around two people in 3D space, it just feels too strange and awkward NOT to begin to reflect out loud together on the experience you suddenly find yourselves sharing. This inherent conversational aspect of AR - and its ability to support collaborative experiences - is one of the attributes that most differentiates it from Virtual Reality.

We see best-in-class Augmented Reality playing the role of humble backing vocalist rather than lead singer. If conversation quality is measured in terms of depth and duration, the goal of an AR application should be to move the needle on both of these metrics without overpowering or distracting. When reps are confidently and independently facilitating discussion, the AR tool fades into the background, reimerging as needed with a new visual or interaction to provoke additional insights or nudge the conversation along. This well choreographed, conversational “guard-railing” should already greatly enhance the chances an HCP will recall the interaction later, but the visuospatial aspect of AR adds a nice added insurance policy: our brains are wired to intuitively interpret and remember content we experience three-dimensionally, leading to higher likelihood that some portion of the information delivered will actually stick out in memory.

How AR Drives Real World Behavior Change

A primary objective of life science sales reps is to use evidence-based information to shift HCP’s existing beliefs and prescribing habits. This can be particularly challenging as medical science rapidly advances but providers remain attached to prior understandings of treatment options. We know from our work in the training space that workers who practice skill-building using AR have improved productivity and make fewer errors when they return to the field, suggesting that virtual learning is re-integrated in daily activities. Even more encouraging is new research from Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, which shows subjects subtly change their otherwise “automatic behaviors” when they are exposed to AR content. Over tim,e usage analytics and CRM integration can play a growing role in connecting the dots between exposure to AR content and subsequent behavior change, closing the feedback loop so experiences can be continuously refined to drive greater real-world impact.

Interested in Learning More?

For those wanting to further explore AR-based sales enablement, check out these articles from Harvard Business Review and Forbes. Now, go forth and innovate!

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Captivate Your Audience With Immersive Learning

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I recently had a daughter, and watching her grow and change has been fascinating on multiple levels. Perhaps the most incredible thing to witness is how she is beginning to understand and conceptualize the 3-dimensional world around her. The cognitive milestones she is passing are universal, and each and every one of us has followed a similar trajectory. In fact, one way of thinking about our growth as individuals, from infancy to childhood, is as quite literally the process of building a mental framework of our 3-dimensional reality. A toddler can see a block on the floor, can estimate the space between her hand and the object, and can reach out and grab it with practice. She can then try to put that block on a table, and if it falls on the floor, she will know to step closer to the table next time. In this way, action by action, month by month, year by year, all of us become masters at intuitively understanding 3-dimensional space.

Unfortunately, as we enter grade school, most of our accumulated societal knowledge is taught not in 3D, but in 2D: through books, on a computer screen, or with a blackboard. The reasons for this are largely pragmatic; it was impractical and in many instances impossible to fully immerse students in environments that can teach them about most subjects, and there was until very recently no alternative. We are forced to learn through symbols on flat surfaces, and we are thus forced to learn by translation: translation of words, figures, and pictures into 3D scenes, relationships, and schemas.

Educators have sought countless ways to deploy this status quo learning paradigm at scale. For example, in the early 2000’s e-learning (essentially using the computer and the internet infrastructure to deliver and assess curriculum outside of the traditional classroom) became popular among businesses and still remains popular today. We get it - it’s easy to access and deploy, but be honest: do you find yourself opening up other tabs and distracting yourself with what’s in those other tabs instead? We thought so.

There’s always an opportunity for more immersive learning with role-playing or live trainers, but while these may be highly memorable, they aren’t scalable or consistent. Ultimately, nothing will have as much of an effect on an employee than the training they have on-the-job.

With virtual reality-based learning, you can replicate that real-world practice at scale and gain a more captive audience, leading to increased engagement, retention, and deeper diagnostic insights. This new kind of learning will inevitably lead to more informed decision-making for your business.

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Featured Training Project: Unconsious Bias Simulation

In a recent partnership with Red Hat, we developed two virtual reality modules to supplement existing, classroom-based training on unconscious bias. The simulation immerses learners in live-action hiring and performance calibration situations, challenging them to identify biased moments in the conversations they observe. Participants are then asked to indicate how they would take corrective action. In addition to providing a safe practice environment for soft-skill building, the simulation serves as an assessment tool, providing the Leadership & Development team new insights on the organization’s proficiency at identifying and engaging instances of unconscious bias in the workplace.

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Celebrating the Lucid Ladies

From left to right: Stacey Krug, Nicole Benham, Stefani Gibbs, and Nadia Setzer

From left to right: Stacey Krug, Nicole Benham, Stefani Gibbs, and Nadia Setzer

As a fast-growing tech company committed to building a diverse, inclusive culture, we wanted to celebrate International Women’s Day this year by highlighting the personal stories and tremendous contributions each of our female team members make to Lucid Dream!

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Nadia Setzer, our Chief Financial Officer, has been alongside our Co-Founders since Lucid Dream was started.  She began by providing CFO services part-time while continuing to focus on her own women’s empowerment business, which she still runs today. As a certified Integrative Health Coach, she helps women learn to honor aspects of themselves that often go overlooked and undiscussed - power, intuition, competitiveness, emotion, sisterhood - through women circles, group workshops, and other holistic retreats she leads. As we’ve continued to grow, so have Nadia’s responsibilities. In addition to typical CFO responsibilities like compliance, payables, receivables, and other financials, she also oversees HR processes and initiatives. With a focus on the people first, technology second, she brings a unique perspective as a member of our senior leadership team and has an important voice in the direction of Lucid Dream. Not to mention, working alongside her husband - our CEO, Joshua Setzer - makes this innovative journey in VR/AR extra special and meaningful.

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In early 2018, we hired Stacey Krug to be our Director of Client Success. Stacey’s goals didn’t always align with being at the forefront of the tech industry. In her college days at The University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (UNC), she double majored in International Studies and Women’s Studies with the intention of going to law school. With both parents as attorney’s, it was a natural progression, but it wasn’t until a friend recommended her for Apple’s Leader Program that she seriously considered an alternative career path. At Apple, she quickly found an interest in understanding how computers work, how to repair them, and how to serve customers. One of her favorite parts of this opportunity was taking on the angriest customer or one that would request a male technician to prove her ability should be taken as seriously as her male counterparts. This was just the start of her progression in tech and 8 years later, it wasn’t going to be the last time she was one of few females on her team.

Now at Lucid Dream, Stacey is in charge of client partnerships while ensuring projects are developed to launch on time, on target, and on budget. As a Certified Scrum Master, she also works closely with our  Creative Services team to continuously refine and improve our agile VR/AR development process - “Real-Time Iteration.” In addition to her hard work at Lucid Dream, Stacey is a Co-Director for the local Women Who Code Chapter, an international non-profit dedicated to creating a world where women are proportionally represented in every level of the tech industry. Every day she reflects upon how she “can be the change she wants to see in the world” and her time connecting with other women in this industry is one way she’s trying to live up to that.

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Next up: Stefani Gibbs, our Office & Logistics Manager. With a degree in Speech Pathology from Hofstra University, you wouldn’t guess she would eventually work for a virtual and augmented reality company. But being two months in, Stefani’s organized nature and attention to detail are shining brightly. She’s basically the Marie Kondo of Lucid Dream. Organizing is something that she’s passionate about and it’s clear she’s very good at it. She has created a stable system for continuous growth around our office (before she arrived - logistics management was beginning to become chaotic around here!). The logistics work she does allows Lucid Dream to more effectively and seamlessly support both the internal needs of our commercial and product staff and the external needs of our clients as they deploy VR and AR experiences around the world. “I like that I’m a part of the planning process for how things should be run to drive our business’s success,” she explains. In addition to logistics, she plays a lead role in team and culture building efforts through a variety of events and activities she organizes including group outings, community services projects, and monthly lunch and learn’s.

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Shortly after Stefani, Lucid Dream made their fourth female hire - me! As Marketing and Events Manager, I’m responsible for all things marketing, communications, brand, and events. It's intense to wear this many hats, but I’m no stranger to the startup life! Before joining the Lucid Dream team, I worked with two other companies within the American Underground (the Startup Capital of the South), helping build an idea from the ground up! From project management to operations to sales and marketing, I’ve learned to adapt to the needs of growing businesses, but I was always hungry for something more creative. Our Co-Founders trust me enough to feed that hunger and I’ve hit the ground running with projects including a web rebrand, a busy events calendar, and our first promotional video.  

With ⅓ of our team being women, we have plenty of work left to do at Lucid Dream, but we are on our way to building a gender-balanced team and embracing this year’s theme of #BalanceforBetter. Our celebrations this year will consist of attending international conferences, hosting empowerment groups, watching Ted Talks from the most influential women in tech, and even participating in VR events on Altspace. How will you celebrate 2019’s International Women’s Day?

Stay In The Know:
To stay up-to-date with what’s happening at Lucid Dream, follow us on social @LucidDreamVR or come back to our blog for more.

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New Year, Big Plans.

Greetings from our new digs!

After outgrowing four office spaces in three years, we’ve finally found a new home in the heart of Downtown Durham. Surrounded by the entrepreneurial spirit of the American Underground and the bustling energy of local businesses, we’ve created an inspirational new space and a platform to engage more closely with the local community.

I sat down with our co-founders, Josh and Mike, to understand the vision behind the new location and why they chose to settle on a busy street corner in the ‘Startup Capital of the South.’

Why did you choose to move into this specific office location?

Josh: Toward the end of last year, it became obvious that we were outgrowing our space at the American Tobacco Campus. We didn’t know how realistic it would be to stay within the American Underground (AU) given the nature of what we do, but even with our list of unique needs they totally came through for us! After walking through the new space we could immediately see our team growing and thriving there. As a Durham-born company we always wanted to stay downtown, so we were thrilled with the outcome.

Mike: A corner space in the heart of downtown Durham felt appropriate for this stage of our business and where we want to be. We’re inescapably in the pulse of downtown now. As Durham grows, we will grow with it.

What was your vision for your new office space?

Josh: With this move, we really wanted to get it right so this can be our home for a while. We wanted to maintain the open plan, but also divide it into discrete collaboration zones. We thought a lot about how the physical layout could be most conducive to collaboration, and we kept everything modular so it could evolve as our company evolves. We also had fun with the decor, especially the artwork. We are drawn to images of dreamlike experiences and cyberpunk landscapes that challenge the way people think about the nature of reality and the relationship between humans and technology.  

Mike: As a VR production studio, we have unique needs for our space, for demoing, ideating and storyboarding, and all of these things we’re trying to facilitate by the way we’re setting our space up. I like that any AU guest or member, or even people walking down the street, can look in and see people with headsets on and wonder what’s going on in there?

As a ground-level corner unit with windows on all sides, we are providing the general public with a direct window into how virtual and augmented reality content is actually created. I don’t know of anywhere else in the Southeast where you can experience that!

The light, the connection to the city, and the connection to the AU also play into the vibrancy and energy I feel in this space. VR is, in a very real sense, stepping into another reality, so when anyone steps into our space, I want them to feel that new way of looking at things. This is the space we’re going to be in for quite some time and as we grow, I couldn’t think of a better place to be.

So, there you have it! We’ve settled in and with more room for client demos, free workshops, and collaboration. 2019 is shaping up to be a great year!

Stay In The Know:

We plan to host many community events this year, including a casual Open House event for American Underground members and neighbors. To stay up-to-date with what’s happening at Lucid Dream, follow us on social @LucidDreamVR or come back to our blog for more.

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