MSA Safety is the global leader in the development, manufacture and supply of safety products that protect people and facility infrastructure. One of the challenges in the business is being able to tangibly showcase its advanced product solutions in a way that helps them to understand how each product works. Secondly, as a premium product manufacturer, MSA has to effectively demonstrate the value of a higher quality product, over cheaper competitive alternatives.
Traditionally, MSA has tackled this through film; whilst this is a highly visual medium, MSA was keen to introduce more interaction into the customer experience.
MSA turned to Render to address these challenges, using immersive technologies to showcase its fall protection products in a completely new, interactive way.
Fall Protection Virtual Reality Experience
Experiential Marketing that brings MSA’s Products to Life
As MSA’s products are used in a variety of scenarios, Render and MSA agreed that a virtual reality experience would bring together the products and the context in which they are used, in an altogether more engaging format.
In the virtual reality experience that Render developed, customers don a headset and enter a virtual world where they can experience MSA’s safety products in representative context and in the very location where they will be used. Users climb up to a virtual reality roof top, using a controller to ‘clip on’ at every step before they reach the rooftop to carry out vital maintenance.
By enabling customers to literally experience the products for themselves, MSA can communicate the value of the products in seconds; decision makers can immediately empathise with the risks their workers face on a daily basis and the need for highly robust safety equipment, without them actually being exposed to the risk. The nuances of product detail can be grasped quickly and easily, all within an exciting, new and innovative format that prompts engaging discussion.
Meanwhile, MSA knows that, this virtual reality experience is an investment that will keep delivering value, thanks to the flexibility of an application that can be edited, updated, refreshed with new content, scenarios, languages and so on.
- Exciting and engaging format
- Fast communication of key product benefits
- Ability to communicate the value of demonstrably high quality products more effectively
- Future proofed with the flexibility to add new products and change content or extend language versions
- Ability to scale, positioning products within different customer environments and creating new scenarios
- Potential to record customer sessions, which could then act as a compelling visual leave behind at sales meetings that they can socialise among a wider decision making unit
This built-in flexibility and scalability meant Render could re-use the photo real, 3D assets created for the virtual reality experience, for an entirely new purpose; a complementary sales tool: a 3D interactive product catalogue app.
3D Interactive Product Catalogue App
Dynamic Visualistion that Showcases MSA’s Products in a New, Engaging Way
Building on the success of the VR experience, Render proposed building an immersive product catalogue to replace and/or augment a paper and 2D electronic version, capitalising on MSA’s investment in 3D visuals. Through a dedicated mobile and desktop app, customers can now view, rotate, zoom and toggle 3D versions of MSA’s products to help inform their purchasing decisions. A simple tap reveals specifications, multimedia and other vital information, which can be closed with another tap.
Meanwhile, an augmented reality experience is triggered in the smartphone or tablet app by rolling over the related product image in the 2D product catalogue, bringing the product immediately to life.
The app can be used in two ways:
1/ Sales-led marketing tool – sales teams can talk through individual products demonstrating USPs and technical benefits. With a wide range of SKUs available, this enables MSA’s sales team to display products that they might not be carrying with them and display them in a highly engaging medium.
2/ The app is readily available on the iOS app store and customers can use it themselves before ordering any products. The app enables them to view the technicalities of each product inside and out and to understand whether they meet their requirements, without lengthy demonstrations and lots of calls to sales teams, which increases the sales cycle and hampers productivity.
- User friendly, ‘touchable’ design helps communicate key product information more quickly and with more depth
- Customers are empowered to make faster decisions with purchaser confidence, resulting in a shorter sales cycle
- Sales teams are equipped to make the most of every appointment and can showcase a wide variety of products
The VR experience has now been produced in ten different languages and deployed in 15 countries across the globe. It is used by 70+ sales representatives and was the central feature of MSA’s stand at the world’s largest health and safety show in Dusseldorf and a European wide road show.
Sales teams are delighted with its suite of sales tools with HR recording a noticeable uplift in sales team engagement. One key outcome is supporting the sales team to secure broader stakeholder meeting attendance, including director level with all stakeholders excited to experience the VR sales tool.
“These immersive sales tools have really set us apart from the competition. MSA is leading the sector and equipping our sales teams with these tools further reinforces our position as a real innovator, which is ideal for brand engagement,” said Evelyn Webb, Global Customer Marketing Communications Manager. “Our sales teams often lead with VR and AR on a day-to-day basis now rather than PowerPoint and that’s really powerful.”
The product catalogue has enabled sales teams to take the full product range into meetings for the first time ever; it is physically impossible to do so otherwise.
Webb continued, “the photo real imagery is so life like, it’s virtually indistinguishable from reality and yet it’s also flexible. We can change colours and details quickly and easily. The product catalogue is an absolute game changer. VR has been transformative for MSA. We can see the benefits beyond sales and marketing and we fully intend to broaden the application across the business.”
Having understood and experienced the value of immersive technologies within a B2B environment, MSA is continuing to expand its range of customer-focussed immersive solutions. Watch this space for more exciting developments.
“Render is helping us transition from using 2D demo visuals to creating something more visceral, allowing our prospective customers to experience our products and how they work together for real. We’ve always used film as the core of our customer communications. But every time we needed a new version, we’d have to go back to square one by re-editing and re-rendering. Now we have an immersive solution that’s far more flexible and can be updated more easily. Render’s VR solution is an ultra-engaging communications tool that conveys products in a representative environment while empowering us with an incredibly efficient real time content pipeline."Global Customer Marketing Communications Manager, Fall Protection
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