We say that necessity is the mother of invention.
Many brands stood out during the Covid crisis and turned to the online world to connect with their consumers, and deliver out-of-the-box, creative brand experiences.
With the restrictions slowly being lifted, we thought we’d test a few of those virtual experiences for you to see what we can, and should take forward into the new normal. Here’s our take out.
Mecca virtual skin consultation
Tested by: Meredith Cranmer, Managing Partner ANZ
For some reason Iso life has been playing havoc with my skin, couple that with running out of everything all in one go, it was time for me to go on a beauty spree. I’m a mostly all-natural, order-online kind of girl, but when a friend mentioned that Mecca was offering virtual consults, I thought I’d give it a go.
It was super simple. I booked an appointment online with my local store, they then called me at the booked time and asked if I was free to facetime. From there, my friendly Mecca consultant, Liz, quizzed me on what I was after, and what my usual skin care routine was. She then offered some new suggestions, in addition to my usual.
With a few products out of stock, she quickly figured out which store she would order in from for me to collect. It could not have been more simple or seamless. What I liked about it most was that it bridged the gap between an online store with a virtual assistant, to being able to talk to a real person, without having to go to the store to browse.
I hope they continue this service post Covid, as it really did add value to my life. I do want to talk to a person, but don’t really like shopping (young children can kill any sort of shopping experience). Collecting from my local store was really easy, I ended up buying new brands and I bought more than what I was after (welcome upsells to time-poor Mums like me are awesome!).
Key take out: If you have credible, trained and passionate local store staff, why not keep it simple and offer virtual consults over Facetime or WhatsApp. Make it easy for people to do business with you whilst maintaining a personalized, local service.
Cost: Consult free of charge, only pay for the products you purchase.
Tested by: Maeve Wadsworth, Senior Account Executive
Before iso life, I had recently attended an 80’s aerobics class called Retrosweat at a Sydney gym. Our instructor Shannon would dress in her fluro lycra and mullet wig, as we’d grapevine, step ball change, high kick and squat ourselves through a 45-minute jazzercise-esque workout.
Since social distancing restrictions have digitally transformed how people consume fitness classes, Retrosweat have launched their online VHS Workout Club, through which you’ll get access to home workout videos, complete with killer nostalgic playlists (Earth, Wind and Fire anyone?).
So far, I’ve completed three of the five workouts released. Every episode is themed, with names such as ‘That Seventies Workout’, ‘Palm Springs Workout’ and ‘Synthwave Sweat’ to ensure each episode is new and exciting. Shannon goes all out with propping, set and engaging social media to keep aerobic goers entertained.
The result? Yes, my family may have fallen witness to my uncoordinated 80’s moves as I’ve transformed the living room into a dancefloor, but I’ve also been enlightened to how such a brand has effectively created a unique digital experience that genuinely connects with people. Since going digital, it’s created a cult following seen through social media.
Shannon has taken advantage of digital by amplifying her 80s aesthetic in every corner that she couldn’t in a physical studio. She’s embraced the new demand for interesting, at-home fitness libraries, and established a distinctive niche that sets her apart from the rest.
Key takeout: Even if your business initially depended on face-to-face interactions, you still have potential consumers out there – you just need to fight harder for attention. Reach them through livestreaming or pre-recorded video and amp up the brand through digital tools.
Cork & Chroma
Tested by: Stephanie Babin, Senior Account Director
I wanted to use my free time to reconnect with a childhood hobby. After trying the in-real-life Cork & Chroma art studio in Sydney (where you gather friends whilst painting and drinking wine) I thought I’d give the online quarantine sessions a go and channel my inner Picasso.
After ordering my ‘art kit for one,’ I picked the image I would attempt to recreate and booked my virtual seat. On Saturday night, I set up my home studio and settled in to paint.
I was pleasantly surprised to see 40 or so other attendees, families, couples and singles of all ages (majority with wine in hand) ready to create. Our teacher and artist, Sophie, greeted us on Zoom before talking us through the session details. Each step to achieve the artwork was streamed and clearly explained on the chat before the music was turned on to let our creative juices flow. All this whilst sipping a cocktail in the comfort of my living room. The session ended with a group photo, and it was actually great to see everyone’s final masterpiece. Will the painting go up on my wall? I highly doubt it, but it was an awesome three hours spent!
Key Take Out: Just like in real life, the customer experience plays a crucial role in the digital transformation. Invest in setting up a page or website to clearly explain what the online experience entails and what material is required, and then facilitate a seamless delivery when required.
Cost: Art kit for one $60 AUD. Online session $20 AUD.
Digital ghost hunt
Tested by: Carl-Stanley Jones, Account Director
Since I was a little kid I have been fascinated by the paranormal. I blame one of my closest friends. He used to tell me stories about strange things goings on at his house like taps turning on and off aggressively throughout the night, and his siblings actually seeing ghosts! I’ve been a ‘believer’ ever since. I knew my best mate wouldn’t lie to me, and to this very day he still stands by his word. I really hope it wasn’t a very elaborate joke!
I had been on a couple of ghost tours in Sydney, but none of them really scared me. The Digital Ghost Hunt immediately caught my attention on Instagram. The event was called The House, and it’s no ordinary house. It is the actual location that the conjuring movie is based on. The residents recently moved out allowing a family, who are just as fascinated about the paranormal as I am; to move in. As we are all in lockdown mode, they thought they would share with the world. And for a whole week the family did just that, with cameras set up in all the rooms where activity has previously been reported.
I logged in Sunday morning (around witching hour over in the States). I had a choice of selecting individual rooms that had audio or a Multiview (like a CCTV security office set-up) which showed all the rooms on one screen. Down the righthand side of the screen was a chatroom to discuss the goings on with fellow hunters, as well as schedules of interviews/seances/how to use paranormal equipment, etc.
I was on edge the whole time viewing, in spite of feeling a little strange watching a researcher asleep snoring in the house. I was also absolutely hooked (I may have spent over 4 hours on this).
Did I see anything you may be wondering? No, nothing worthy of reporting. However, there were a lot of sounds coming from many rooms in the house, including footsteps, whispers, creaking of floorboards and door latches going crazy. That was only from watching in one evening too, with no provocation. And I’m sure it will only get more intense as the week goes on.
I can truly say it has hands down been my favourite virtual event during this period with a mix of community feel on the chatroom (comical at times) and gaining access to a house you would never usually be allowed access to.
Key take out:If you have people that are passionate about your product and offer an exclusive experience, then blend this with a sense of community during a time when that feeling is lacking, and you’re on to a winner.
Cost: $19.99 US dollar ($29 AUD)