R and D

What we've been up to

Apr 30, 2020

Why Consider a Customer Experience Center

"You've got to start with the customer experience and work back to the technology — not the other way around."
Steve Jobs

The workplace is changing and with this change comes opportunity for those who can adapt. Even before Covid 19, we knew that traditional ways of working were being replaced with new, digitally powered collaborations and it is now increasingly obvious that those who embrace and leverage the technology that digitalisation brings will gain significant advantage over their competitors. Not just in how they provide goods or services to consumers but how they engage with them in the first place. However, to learn from Steve Jobs, the technological innovation should be in response to a customer experience need and CX experts agree that understanding your customer inside out will be the tricky but crucial focus for post-pandemic marketing.

A Focus on Objective

We call this "mapping" the brief, a skill expert Ian Golding focuses on in his book “Customer What?” whilst quoting the wonderfully eccentric Terry Pratchett as insightful link to the "art of mapping a CX strategy: "Map-making had never been a precise art on the Discworld. People tended to start off with good intentions and then get so carried away with the spouting whales, monsters, waves and other tiddly bits of cartographic furniture that they often forgot to put the boring mountains and rivers in at all." 

The same cartographic analogy can be used for many a brand engagement design but not so for a well-designed Customer Experience center (CEC), whether physical or digital. A CEC comes with its own boundaries; its rivers and mountains, with limited time for whales and monsters. The focused permanency of a CX center has exactly that effect on its ideation; the space is focused and lean, targeting audiences with a clean clear map of the brand narrative.

Defines Sales Conversations

The success of a self-contained CX strategy that delivers on clear messaging is growing in demand as sales conversations with customers are becoming more dynamic and demanding than ever and a meaningful dialogue requires a more complex set of stimuli. Yes, an inspiring environment is important and often the first step for a brand when mapping out their CX center ‘wants,’ however in practice, we find it is key permanent stimulus touchpoints that trigger dialogue that ends up in sales.

Which brings us to the nub of why CX Centres are becoming increasing popular; sustainable sales. A means by which a brand product can be repeatedly demonstrated in its finest light to a consumer through digital content and stimulus. A sustainable, re-usable, re-definable heart of a brand that we have seen used to tangible success in many forms of CEC, whether they are a physical, hybrid or digital Innovation Suites, Technology Centres, Executive Briefing Centres, Training Centres, CX Hubs or Showrooms. Whatever the name, the guiding principles are the same.

Expands Brand Identity

Working in CEC’s for some years now, we find one question often arises from clients; I can see the value but how do I get buy-in to create one? We find the heart concept of a CEC is important here. Embodying the brand, the CEC is more than just a showcase for products and services. It becomes a place to explain, explore and expand your brand with your clients, potential clients and influencers. Our clients Playtech and Kantar who we have created physical and digital CEC’s for, understand that a powerful way to engage prospects - especially decisionmakers - is to provide them with a visually impressive, immersive demonstration. Demonstrations are built on structural creative tech and require careful planning, investment and beta-testing, hard to replicate in a short-term environment but a fundamental focus in a CEC. Nothing beats first-hand experience and if the environment is physically and digitally narrative-led, all the focus is on ‘wowing’ customers with the brand’s current and future offerings.

These operational hubs also provide valued insight into manufacturing, design, product or service capabilities, where customers see the value of working with a particular organisation, familiarize themselves with their process and discuss tailored solutions. Customer Experience Centres also provide an excellent forum for customers to build personal connections with specialists and provide organisations with the unique opportunity to personalize service and immediately respond to wants and needs. This can be reversed internally with the CEC used as centre as a training hub for employees and an educational opportunity for potential investors. - showcasing how generating real ROI can generate real buy-in.

Allows Hybrid Collaboration

As with all things brand experience at the moment, the role of the Customer Experience Centre is evolving from a tool for pure demonstration (a one-way communication) to a new focus on collaboration (a dynamic contribution). As part of this shift, many global enterprises are exploring next-generation hybrid CECs for 2021 as the new models for customer engagement, whether physical or digital. As a truly collaborative experience that involves all stakeholders in every stage of contribution, review and presentation, a successful CEC now takes clients on a journey to experience the enterprise's values, people and partnership, and leaves prospects excited and ready to engage.

Ally Mansell-Cook - Brand Experience Director

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Mar 30, 2020

How to use Digital to extend the Physical Experience

What is Digital Twinning?

A Digital twin is defined as a learning system of digital copies of assets that allows a user to experience these assets virtually and also provide the company with information on what to do with assets in the physical space to achieve a targeted outcome.

Digital twinning in the events world sees the creation of hybrid events where physical experience assets are replicated in the digital world through immersive content and creative technology. Partnered with an existing conference/expo, the aim for a digital twinned event is to broadcast a message to the world without sacrificing the interaction and engagement delegates need, and to keep that message perpetuated through the consumer psyche.

Hybrid events are a form of industry evolution. With 45% of the world online and businesses increasing their digital footprint in response to sustainability and end user demands, brands have been reviewing the potential of hybrid events for some years now. As with all evolutionary processes, it is only with extreme external pressures that big leaps forward occur and the recent buzz around virtual events in response to Covid-19 has companies wondering how they can combine them with their show programme to risk-proof 2021.

Reach. Events and conferences can be repeated or extended to global audiences that are unable to attend the physical. Event networking is replicated with meeting notes capturing technology that repeats the sales process and provides teams with information they can analyse alongside their physical data.

Real time adaptation. A brand can create multiple versions of the same content – promo videos, white papers, webinars, holo- panel debates that are available on the physical.  Different people will consume information from varying types of media at multiple touchpoints and via different channels. What happens in the physical can be realigned in the virtual to repoint towards popular trends and areas of interest. Real-time positioning of content helps prospects minimize negative impacts, while maximizing opportunities.

Choice. By curating events with multiple options in the digital from data gathered in the physical, delegates can be motivated to get involved and stay connected. Specific broadcast content can be tailored for virtual attendees after assessing popularity in the physical. If the digital space stays relevant via viral messaging, there is an opportunity to create a community that shares content long after the event, much like the e-gaming evolution.

Visibility. Virtual events offer another acquisition channel for a company’s audience to discover their content and provides attendees with the option to consume the content over video, VR, AR and through digital spaces.

Longevity. Launching a new product at an event can create some serious buzz around a business. Product demonstrations and tutorials are also highly suited to the event space. However, once the physical event is over, the moment is too. By synchronising product launches across virtual events in different countries, the stimulation around a new product can be extended.

Data. A hybrid event can help businesses build their list of contacts as everyone online registers their interest. By recording the virtual event attendee experience, insights can be mapped and shared within the events team to help curate their next physical event, online post-event or offered as a gated asset on their website for other people to download.

Which events are suitable?

Conferences, employee engagement, product launches are the obvious first choices with conferencing tech and meeting applications already going through further stages of development to incorporate experiential elements. Online showrooms and experience centres will also be a natural fit with 3D content repurposed to create online digital spaces that can be experienced via AR and VR. Larger projects such as virtual events and interactive spaces that are overlaid over physical places and people will take more planning and investment - over the last two years we have built sixteen fully digitalised spaces for client Playtech - but once in situ can be used for multiple markets.

How can Digital Twinning help events for the future?

As a trend, we foresee digital twinning becoming first a priority for brands and then the norm for the world global show programme. With future developments in 5G and infrastructure, the development of internal brand event platforms will allow companies to roll-out a continuous flow of hybrid events with digital content extending the shelf life on a physical event. Once platforms are created, this allows a multitude of quick response events to be pulled together in reaction to tech advancements, end user desires and future world upheavals.

Brand commitment to sustainability policies will also be supported by digital twinning, where the event strategy is split between the physical and non-physical, realigning budgets to a greater % of output with zero carbon footprint.

Above the line marcom strategies have been struggling for some time with viral advertising via social media becoming increasing sought after. Digital experiences linked to social media outreach will be important in all advertising, and the ability to get two bites out of an event cherry will provide serious ROI in what could be a significant period of constrained marketing budgets

Content marketing as a primary lead generation tactic is going to increase in events, and as time and investment goes into engaging 3D content and CX, the medium by which it is delivered becomes less important as long as it reaches its target audience, leading to a blurring of output methods between the physical and virtual.

At 2Heads we believe human interaction will always be important and maybe after the pandemic more than ever as people buy people. However, with careful planning, the human rapport element of events can be recreated and prolonged through virtual scenarios that allow a 3-day show programme to continue in perpetuity. This is the power of digital twinning, a trend that has only just started to grow.

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Feb 03, 2020

2Heads Launch Innovation Lab Sessions

Do you want to expand your creative tech knowledge?

News | Nick Rosier | Digital and Content Director

New Decade. New Opportunities. New ways of working. These were all things up for discussion at 2Heads inaugural Innovation Lab workshop. The brainchild of Digital Content Director Nick Rosier and his team, the objective behind the workshop was to open up the Innovation Lab forum to the entire company.

Creative event tech is a passion at 2Heads and our digital/tech team is growing monthly, in terms of both knowledge and inventive problem-solving solutions we are offering to clients. With such progression, Nick and the team wanted to create time internally to explore and debate the potential for this knowledge in the greater event world. Launching with an insight and debate on Digital Printing, the workshops will take place every month at 2Heads HQ.

The first session created a blueprint for future sessions with the team sharing knowledge internally about what is possible, what tech is available and what we can do with that tech to improve efficiencies and our output to clients. Then the digital team opened the forum to drive discussion and some blue-sky R&D projects that could help develop real innovation.

Nick commented; ‘If you fill a room with people and show them a tech and explain how it works, they will all have a different view on how it can be used. For client operations, digital printing can create tools onsite and for a designer, digital printing allows them to question how they could express their space in a different way.’

The forum concept is key to innovation the digital team believes, as it allows time to generate ideas. Take a tech that has an few known applications and let the team brainstorm problems and client situations that we deal with on a day to day basis. By reviewing existing conventional solutions, the 2Headers as a group of people with different perspectives on the tech can generate new ways of resolving these problems and new products we can offer clients.

The aim for the Innovation Lab ongoing is to inspire people and start a thriving R&D presence within 2Heads where the digital team will be able to pick projects out of these sessions that have a real commercial value. In our opinion problem solving and creativity does not become innovation unless it has a real purpose that can be developed and turned into a commercial positive for our clients.

The next two techs to have the Lab spotlight will be our use of Arduino computer platforms at events and the experiential aspects of conductive paint. Check back in for our insights following these session or alternatively, if you would like to come along, contact us @ nickr@2heads.com

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Jan 27, 2020

Integrating CSR into your event strategy

Should CSR be integral to your marketing events strategy?

Insight | Dan Hall | Business Development Director

At 2Heads, we’re committed to designing a more sustainable events industry. We see the new decade as our opportunity to build CSR messaging into the cornerstones of our clients’ event strategy.

There was a time where ‘corporate social responsibility’ (CSR) felt like a business hygiene factor, a tick box exercise to be written once and tucked away in a corner of the company website. Today CSR is rapidly moving up every organization’s agenda and before long will be the guiding principles by which we structure, operate and communicate as companies and as brands.

At 2Heads, we envision a time when CSR propagates throughout every aspect of business and not least in the world of marketing. In our particular area of the mix – brand experience and events – brands have been slow to utilise our platform to communicate their higher value initiatives but we’re starting to see the seeds of change.

Race to responsibility

The world is waking up at exponential scale to the impact we’ve had on our environment and companies, arguably more than governments, have the power to deliver rapid, positive recompense against their carbon footprints. Microsoft last week published a bold and admirable ambition to become carbon negative by 2030 and remove all of the carbon its emitted into the environment since it was founded in 1975 by the year 2050.

Their ambition will hopefully be the first of many as big business acknowledges that systemic change is inevitable, whatever the economic impact to bottom lines. It’s our belief that despite the financial commitments of this cause, companies that do it early will fare better in the long run than those that delay. The contemporary consumer is switching to companies and brands that are not just in it for themselves and their shareholders. The race to social responsibility is on.

Consumers care

We all know intuitively in the wake of current global environmental issues, that society is becoming increasingly discerning about what they buy and the ‘why’ behind brands. We notice it in our own shopping habits, and you need only see the current innovations and accompanying marketing from McDonalds, Burger King and KFC as they enter the vegan space to realise even the worst offenders are cleaning up.

To add percentages to the intuition, a study by Accenture shows that 63% of people claim they buy goods and services from companies that reflect their own personal values and beliefs. If we assume that we’re all relatively fond of the planet we’re living on, then ensuring CSR plays a role within your brand marketing communications must make strategic sense.

What percentage of your event strategy is given to CSR?

Brands are beginning to give event marketing airtime to their good cause ambitions but currently as an exception rather than a rule. At Mobile World Congress 2019, one of the world’s largest annual tradeshows, only a handful of brands gave any real estate to what they do beyond ‘product’ but those that did, gained a rare opportunity to stand out. One such progressive company was Vodafone who dedicated some of its most prominent booth space to its Vodafone Foundation and partnership with Girl Effect to share how it’s supporting millions of girls in Africa through access to mobility.

There is a rare opportunity now for other progressive brands to bring their investment into CSR to the forefront of their show programme and stand out for doing so, and we are now partnering with some of our leading clients to integrate their CSR messaging with their overall event marketing. At 2Heads, we’re committed to designing a more sustainable and environmentally considered events industry and want to document this journey. Over the course of 2020 we will be publishing a series of articles and features on this subject as our own commitments to CSR begin to play out alongside our clients.

Want to know more? Contact us on info@2heads.com

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Jan 22, 2020

2Heads Honor the Decade with a Double Win

2Heads Honor the Decade with a Double Win

News | Sara Lilley | Marketing

We are thrilled to start the new year (and the new decade) with not just one but two wonderful awards for our work with world-leading clients such as Disney, Airbus, Bombardier, Rolls-Royce, Playtech, Sony, BNP Paribas and many more. The year ended on a wonderful note with our win as Experiential Agency of the Year at the Drum Business Awards and we are very honoured to have just been awarded the Best Aviation Brand Experience Agency at the Aviation and Aerospace Awards 2020 hosted by CV Magazine.

Craig Wildman, Global Managing Director says, ‘I am really proud to be part of the team that has driven this continued success of 2Heads over the last 24 months and I am even more excited about what we are going to achieve this year.
I think the reason we’ve been successful over the last 24 months is because we’ve pivoted to what our clients needed and created a full service offering with a focus on strategic, content-driven and digital work for brands who want global targeted experiential marketing to push the frontier of their events programme. We’ve also supported that pivot with full, sustained investment into our creative and digital teams that create these unique experiences for our clients.

We have been on an incredible journey with some of our large client accounts over 2019 and I believe that the strength of these partnerships is why we are getting new exciting opportunities in 2020. Clients are consulting with us on more than just their experiential branding at an event, they want A-Z full-service consideration of their annual event marketing objectives.
Going into the new decade, we believe listening and observing what a client needs to sell their services through experiential marketing is of utmost importance. By analysing a client’s wants and needs, we can build the right experience and innovative event tech that is fit for purpose. Our other key driver over the next 24 months will be partnering with our brands to deliver more sustainable marketing for their experiential events. This is extremely exciting times for 2Heads as we actively engage with clients on sustainability conversations.’

The Drum is Europe’s largest media and marketing website and one of the fastest growing in the APAC and US. The website attracts over 1.4 million users every month and has over 200,000 social media followers.

Corporate Vision Magazine is one of the UK’s largest business strategy, analysis and insight papers with a circulation of 130,000 worldwide and 550,000 online visitors. Owned by AI Global Media, the B2B digital publishing group, CV Magazine is the premier business magazine among the 16 brands within their portfolio.

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Nov 04, 2019

E3 2020 - Catalyst for Industry Change?

Is it time the trade-show changed?

Insight | Dan hall | Business development director

E3 organisers, the ESA certainly think so with their recently ‘leaked’ proposal . The intention of which clearly demonstrates at least one industry-leading event has called time for change. 

Having digested the E3 proposal, we highlighted the following areas of interest:

  • More experience – the show floor will flex to provide new ways to engage the attendee. A central ‘coliseum’ would become the new focal point of the event and a hub for high energy entertainment
  • More layers – exhibitors will be invited to create exclusive areas for select attendees, providing money can’t buy experiences that will drive FOMO
  • More access – a digital ticket will create a new revenue stream and ways for remote audiences to access exclusive content
  • More wow – the introduction of celebrities and influencers into the show program, aiming to draw in younger audiences

So, if E3 intends to move away from its B2B roots and become a ‘fan, media and influencer festival’, we wonder what this means for the rest of the exhibitions industry and importantly, ‘you’ the exhibitor.

There is no getting away from the fact that trade-shows have slowed in growth. Exhibiting companies are less reliant on them commercially and investment in attendance (booths, T&E, time) is looked at with increasing scrutiny. The knock-on effect is some shows have that not-quite-so premium feeling which ultimately impacts the paying delegate’s experience. If the show format is going to change to counter this downward spiral, how does the exhibiting company respond?

2Heads is already working with clients on our 5- step response:

  • Experience depth – if B2B shows are set to become B2Everyone, exhibitors will need to adapt their approach to engage all types of audiences. There will always be the commercial need to meet customers via the ‘trade’ show but new efforts around booth entertainment will become necessary to appease the fan and influencer audience.
  • Content exclusives – ensuring the content presented at the show is ‘an exclusive’ will be critical. This creates an incentive for attendance and drives up the FOMO factor.  If every exhibitor were to unveil an exclusive, imagine the heightened levels of interest in the show.
  • Broadcast strategy – having a clear plan on gaining maximum exposure for an event online will become mandatory - think multiple platforms and perspectives. For example, Nike have turned their audiences into video-graphers, all sharing social stings with rare success.
  • Collaborations – we expect an increase in exhibitors working together to create new experiences within shows. This could be shared booth spaces, joint demos or leadership going head to head in debates.
  • Sustainable – as we speed towards geo-political ambitions for a circular economy, a sustainable approach to trade-show attendance is going to become vital. The whole tradeshow supply chain will need to adapt, and this will inevitably play out on the show floor in multiple ways.  The ‘build and burn’ approach can’t continue.

If you’d like help future proofing your exhibition program, we’re one click away.

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Sep 02, 2019

EventHive 2.0 Launched

EventHive 2.0 Launched | Meetings that create a Buzz

NEWS | CRAIG WILDMAN | GLOBAL MANAGING DIRECTOR

We are proud to launch EventHive 2.0; our reliable, stress-relieving event management app.

As leaders in the event and exhibition world, we are well-versed in the problems that can beset a successful activation. When we partner with our clients, we first understand what constitutes success for them and then move mountains to bring that success to life, trouble-shooting problems along the way. Over our 36 years in the industry, we learned that we can support a client’s success not only in the creation of a successful activation but in the partnering with their ‘on-the-ground’ team. A successful event or exhibition includes late nights, long hours and a busy schedule, time and space are a rare commodity with most event coordinators unable to find time for breaks and where rescheduling can be quite the stressful experience. We therefore sought to create a digital solution that could solve that problem too; a fit for purpose, easy to use system that could take the sting out of event management.

An event has many requirements placed upon it, it has a sales objective; a requirement to further the business through deals made and services/products sold, it has a marketing objective; to enhance brand awareness and position the company as a leader in highly competitive markets; it has a data objective; to understand the ROI that a global show programme brings and more importantly what clients think of the company; the customer journey.

That is a lot of expectation and requirement placed on an event, and what carries the weight of the expectation? Not only the environment itself, but also the meeting schedules; the meetings themselves the microcosm of the overall’s event success. Combined in a molecular chain of scheduled appointments throughout the year, the success of the global show programme is dependent on each one obtaining its objectives. One unexpected change to the programme, one problem with the management platform and the event can have a very different outcome to the one desired.

Some years ago, we experienced this first-hand. A client of ours, a world-leader in every way, was running a series of events in an activation 2heads designed. Early morning, we witnessed the client’s coordinator blu-tacking paper to the meeting rooms. A colleague stopped her and explained the meeting had changed. They amended the Rota with a pen. It was the only way they could make adaptable last-minute changes. Lose that bit of paper and the customer experience would be very different. This may sound glib, but EventHive was born out of understanding the need to put the customer journey at the heart of an event with a scheduled meeting platform that is fast, easy and efficient for all end-users. No three-day training courses here.

EventHive started life in 2012, then known as EventPro and beta tested by aerospace client Bombardier. Following this initial success, the software was developed with clients for clients and was officially launched in 2016 for use with Freemantle, Disney Media and Endemol Shine group. Since then EventHive partners with over 20+ clients, including world-leaders such as Airbus, UTC, BNP Paribas and Fox, managing crucial time and space at over 100 events for 23,000+ meetings. More importantly, it has provided 6,000 client users with the solution they need to make their live events a success.

Building upon the happy testimonials of our clients, we set about developing EventHive 2.0 which has now been launched to the market and enjoys a new home at www.eventhive.com. This robust software was created to allow clients to manage meetings with a dynamic range of flexible communications, capture data and ROl, and streamline global event programmes. Clients can keep all meeting information for the entire event in one centralised, simple solution and receive real-time oversight of things as they happen.

Adaptable for any event, from any device, in any global territory, EventHive allows you to capitalise on the investment of the time and space that events can drain, whilst channelling your event planning and helping you shape your subsequent strategic thinking.

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Aug 09, 2019

We Reveal Record Results

We Reveal Record Results

NEWS | CRAIG WILDMAN | GLOBAL MANAGING DIRECTOR

As our 36th year of trading drew to a close, we took a moment here at 2Heads to reflect on 2018/19 and the journey we have taken.
Our fantastic 2018/19 business results builds on a record period of growth for the agency, with a reported 118% increase in turnover over the last five years to £23.5 million and global brands added to our roster including Shangri-La Hotels, LogRhythm, VAS Aerospace and Meggitt.

To spearhead our continued growth strategy, we’ve also bolstered our senior operational team with a trio of appointments to its head office in Marlow. Nick Rosier joined as Digital and Content Director, Rebecca Lilley as Global HR Director and Eamon Campbell has been appointed as Finance Director. Over the last year we also worked strategically to re-orientate our project-based operating model to focus on clients with high growth potential, while improving agility and responsiveness.

The results speak for themselves, with the delivery of global show programmes for world-leading brands including Rolls-Royce and Bombardier, and a recent Disney Advertising Sales’ debut at Cannes Lions where we harnessed the power of crafted brand suites. It is with thanks to the creative talent we possess within our team and their commitment to providing a quality service offering, that we are able to report consistent growth over the past five years and almost double in size while still remaining true to our mission of providing innovative and meaningful experiences for all clients. I am very proud of every member of my team and look forward to seeing what the next business year will bring.

Read more Press @

https://standoutmagazine.co.uk/2heads-announces-record-period-of-growth/

https://mitmagazine.co.uk/news/2heads-announces-118-per-cent-increase-in-global-turnover/

https://www.citmagazine.com/article/1593436/record-five-year-growth-agency-2heads

http://fieldmarketing.com/news/2heads-reveals-record-results/

https://www.prolificlondon.co.uk/marketing-tech-news/business-appointments-and-recruitment-news/2019/08/2heads-adds-trio-directors

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