2Heads: the use of innovative tech in marketing
Pepe Parra, Founder and Chairman of 2Heads and his team talks to Business Chief to discuss, the marketing industry and how innovative technology can be applied to the industry.
What are the current trends within your industry?
Interest in live events and budgets for experiential marketing campaigns continue to rise despite ongoing economic uncertainty in the UK. Business and brands are increasingly recognising the power of experiences in engaging their customers on a much deeper level – in fact, more than half of businesses believe live experiences drive the most value of any marketing channel. Personalisation will continue to be high on the agenda in 2020 and technology will facilitate this. Brands are now able to track the entire customer journey in real time across every touch point, from the first interaction on a stand through to a conversion. Onsite technology and social media enable consumer behaviour to be monitored and we will see marketers continue to amplify branded messages post-event with personalised communications delivered through a range of digital and social channels.
Nick Rosier, Digital and Content Director.
What innovative technology do you see emerging in the near future?
Within the live events space, experiences where technology is integrated alongside visitor engagement is key. Technology and innovation will continue to increase customer immersion during live experiences, and we will see the creation of unique multi-sensory environments by brands to connect with their target audiences. For example, 2Heads recently produced Airbus’ stand at Gamescom 2019, which created an immersive gaming environment that, alongside live streaming of an elite all-female League of Legends team, enabled the audience to participate in an event hack to replicate situations Airbus coders face every day just to keep planes in the air. Similarly, brands will be looking to heighten experiences next year by tapping further into sounds, smells and tastes - something we did for BNP Paribas at financial services event, SIBOS, in Geneva. Here we created visual prompts to reinforce subliminal brand memory by enabling visitors to produce personalised macaroons with images of their choice and BNP branding. Not only did this leave a lasting impression by connecting with customers through taste, but it also created a memorable moment that was shared and talked about outside the show and led to a record number of captured sales leads for BNP.
Nick Rosier, Digital and Content Director.
How is your company evolving alongside new trends?
2Heads has had to be reactive to every technological advancement, small or large and that is the secret of its evolving success. We have championed technology as clients are always looking for the next best thing to engage audiences. The business has to be nimble and proactive about change, making hundreds of slight adjustments every year in response to the evolution in customer experience and engagement. Investment and talent recruitment into this part of the business has significantly increased with prototypes for data capture in development in progress for 2020.
Pepe Parra, Founder and Chairman of 2Heads
How is your company utilising innovative technology (AI, ML, Big Data, robotics etc.)?
VR creates a fully immersive environment that captures the attention of events attendees like no other. It not only enhances an event experience, but offers something unique that attendees would not be able to witness at home, increasing the likelihood they would retain positive memories from the brand interaction.
Many event organisers are recognising the potential of VR, not only to wow attendees, but also for data collection purposes and for generating new business leads. By engaging human curiosity and creating unique environments for people to experience, it will increase the likelihood of a prospect engaging with you in future.
2Heads’ work with Rolls-Royce: 2Heads was tasked with crafting meaningful experiences for Rolls-Royce’s aviation business across its global exhibition programme. Rolls-Royce has transformed its business with digital innovation at the heart of its product and service offering and this concept influenced 2Heads’ 2D and 3D designers in visualising how immersive content could be used to promote the Rolls-Royce brand. 2Heads needed a way of previewing exhibition space ahead of events so its digital team created VR demos to understand what it would be like from the point of view of an attendee. This use of VR in the event design and production process ensures 2Heads can continue to create meaningful and interactive experiences that resonate with its clients and their customers at a range of global events.
2Heads at Gamescom with Airbus: 2Heads’ recently harnessed VR on behalf of client Airbus at Europe’s largest digital gaming show, Gamescom. Held in Cologne, the conference attracted 373,000 visitors and 2Heads was briefed with promoting Airbus’ commitment to diversity and inclusivity while encouraging young gamers to consider careers in software development, coding and data science. The agency created an interactive stand that provided attendees with VR headsets to witness live League of Legends streaming via Twitch from professional all-female gaming team Out Of the Blue. Visitors also had the chance to compete with them at the show. This tactic was used to create an engaging and immersive experience for attendees, increasing the likelihood that attendees would remember the event and recommend the Airbus brand to others. A first for the agency, 2Heads launched an ‘event hack’ concept which enlisted the support of show attendees to solve live clues to unlock the gaming screens by decoding encrypted messaging. This also added an additional layer of engagement for attendees. During the ‘event hack’, crowds swelled by 25% as visitors were eager to join the experience.
Craig Wildman, Global Managing Director at 2Heads Global Design.
Gamification can support business development if done in the right way and more often than not, technology plays a central role. For example, when we build a meaningful experience for our own clients, be it Bombardier’s luxury jet launch in Las Vegas, or Disney’s B2B activation at the international media fair MIPCOM at the Cannes Palais, we harness creative tech to create a ‘game’ element. The options are endless so finding the right solution for our client’s specific audience is key. It is essential to interrogate any brief that outlines how businesses will engage their target audience and it’s important to drill down and be super specific about the demographic any business is aiming to engage. Choose a creative tech that provides the maximum engagement for that demographic and ensure it is fit for purpose. For example, we use a wide range of solutions for our clients, from touch kiosks to smart LED walls to display interactive content, SD VR tours and augmented reality models that use projection to build upon realities and expand imaginations. We work through each option to ensure the right tech is used to inspire the player to participate.
Nick Rosier, Digital and Content Director.
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Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.