Shaping Up

Recently on this blog I haven't been sharing a great deal of my current work projects. This is because we've been working flat out for months to deliver out latest campaign 'Shaping Your World'. After finally going live over a week ago it is the most complex campaign on which I have ever worked - including radio appearances, a research report, a public launch, hoarding designs and careers outreach. So, I intend to spend the next few posts giving an overview of my key (digital) tasks - the campaign look and feel, virtual plaques, stakeholder/client presentations, the website, videos and the social media strategy.

Working in the built environment means we have the benefit of having great relationships with our clients. We knew that if we could showcase completed/ongoing projects then we could highlight the legacy they add to local communities across the UK. Every site visit I go on I hear amazing stories about how they are delivered or how they are giving back to the community. Those stories are shared in the moment, but we have no way of showcasing all this great content in the longer term.

With this in mind we would create an enduring legacy touchpoint and an innovative differentiator with clients. These literal plaques would be either attached to client buildings we had delivered or would be placed on hoardings. Members of the public would then interact with them on their smartphones to link through to the campaign website and discover the details of the project itself or the build. This would be hosted by a unique avatar of a celebrity/historical figure of particular relevance to the project.

It was up to me to then look at the design of these plaques and how people would actually interact with them! We decided early on that our company branding would be kept to a minimum. This would ensure they benefited the clients as well as us but also so they didn't look like an advertising campaign.

We wanted a variety of ways for people to access the website and quickly settled on Snapcodes as an evolution of QR codes. The thinking being that the target demographic were much more likely to have Snapchat on their devices than a QR reader!

Alongside this we ran lots of trials with Bluetooth beacons. Of course, we didn't expect many people to have notifications enabled for these (or have the latest Android OS) but those who did would be alerted to the plaque's presence and content as they walked past.

Blippar's UK offices
Finally, we wanted something which made the plaque itself come to life in the form of augmented reality! After looking at lots of different solutions we settled on Blippar. Once the user had installed this app scanning the plaque meant the host avatar popped out in front of them and began curating the content. These vary from a Friendly Troll for Mersey Gateway to Emelie Sande for Aberdeen Music Hall.

Our visit to their office was particularly interesting in that we were the first non-agency clients who had ever approached them! They also had never seen their logo coupled with Snapchat's who they see as a competitor. The process was a lot easier than we initially thought too as we utilised their self-service 'Blippbuilder' (helping them iron out any bugs along the way!) The difficult part was ensuring the plaques were different enough for the plaque to register as unique but also all looked part of the same campaign.

Visiting a real live plaque in Manchester
Each of these methods would all have unique tracking URLs to ensure we could see which were being used and adjust future plaque designs accordingly. This unique collection of interactive elements led to us trademarking the plaques. Going forward we plan to add many more as part of our bid process. We already have lots of requests now that they have been spotted out in the wild!

My next post will look at how we then sold these in to clients to host on their buildings and the campaign website where the content is hosted. Why not take a look for yourself at where you can find one of our 'Virtual World Plaques?!'
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