“You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you are going to have a strong superstructure.”
– Gordon B Hinckley
The two most commonly asked questions
The extended reality (XR) space is a subject of significant global attention with booming interest from media, business analysts and clients. It also boasts exponential growth statistics. When clients call us in for a first meeting they often have elaborate and exciting ideas of what they want to achieve. Then comes the first question “what will it cost?”, followed by “when can we see the first visuals?”.
This is a slight exaggeration, of course, but it is not so far from the truth.
We love to work with enthusiastic clients, they are truly the best! But our tried and tested philosophy is based on the “first things first” motto. So what do we mean by that?
Setting a solid foundation
Let’s say you want to visualise a generator in a car.
You first need to understand how the generator works. You also need to understand the generator’s role in the context of the entire car. Once you understand both the generator and the car, you will be better equipped to proceed with your extended reality foundation and the storyboard. Then it’s the time to move onto the cool bit, the production and delivery.
Start by grasping big picture – then unleash the extended reality superpowers
OneReality philosophy lies in an understanding of both the product /service area, for the upcoming extended reality production and the business or environment in which it operates. If you understand your clients’ business model, their “business generator”, and how the business functions, you will be in a much stronger position to recommend the most efficient and robust course of action for their desired outcome. This approach saves the client money and time, and also delivers a bedrock which is secure, stable, and ready for future expansion.
Let’s go back to the example of the car generator for a minute. It is hard, if not impossible, to create a dynamic and engaging experience of a car generator when you are unclear as to how it actually works and how it integrates with other components.
Your client undoubtedly knows how their generator works. But we cannot expect them to have a full understanding of what extended reality is and how it can be applied to achieve the maximum value in their specific business. That’s why they are talking to us.
Maximise the ROI
So, before we can deliver a realistic budget, let alone the storyboard and creative plans, we first engage in a process of understanding the client’s business in-depth. This is an essential first step to help to foresee how, and where, the best extended reality momentum can be achieved, and how the extended reality superpowers can be best applied.
We have found that by taking this approach, by taking the time to really understand our clients’ business, we can deliver enhanced return on investment (ROI). We see it as a measure of success. It provides a win-win-win scenario where our client benefits, their clients or end users benefit, and so do we. Our success is measured by our clients’ success!
Beware of the early creativity trap
It is very tempting to brainstorm the creative stuff first. Let’s face it, this is where the excitement really is. Business models are considered exciting by some, but many think the creative elements are more entertaining. Beware of the creativity trap!
Moving to the creative part without a solid foundation is a recipe for problems later down the line. An accurate budget can only be given if the project has been created from the ground up. Strong foundation first!
I’m a creative person not a business genius
You do not have to become an expert in your client’s business, but the more familiar you are with it, the better. An understanding of their overall business processes and their future path will take you a long way.
Below we list 10 areas that we find helpful to understand in more detail before embarking on a storyboard. This is not an extensive list, and it should be tailored to the specific businesses. But it gives an idea of areas to explore and consider before diving into a new extended reality project.
10 areas to explore before starting an extended reality project
1. Client objective
What does your client want to achieve with XR? Why have they chosen to use XR? Is it because it’s a modern technology or because it can be used at a distance? To save money on travel costs? Is the objective to enhance understanding of a product or service, increase sales or other? In many cases there will be multiple reasons.
2. Target market
Who will this extended reality production be aimed at? Perhaps staff, customers, their clients, media, politicians, resellers, international or domestic communities.. There are often multiple audiences.
What are the three overriding messages this XR production will deliver?
This is not an easy question. Many find it hard to reduce the messages to only three but once this is done, it makes the production much clearer. Under the main message, one can create sub messages. This is an extremely valuable part of the process.
The messages agreed on should tie in with the corporate messages the organisation uses. Sustainability and safety are two messages that resonate well, but they must be made in earnest with concrete delivery mechanisms and measurement.
In a subsequent article, we will focus on purely the element of message creation and how to guide your clients through the message formulation process.
4. Mission, vision and tagline
Often you can find these written on the client’s website. They are very useful pieces of information. They give an overview of how the company presents itself publicly,what they say, aim to do, for whom, how and by when. These should tie in with the messaging for the extended reality production.
What does the client sell or do and what is their value proposition? Before embarking on a new extended reality project, you will need to explore their position in the market, competition, and size.
It is also important to determine whether they are local or international and whether the XR production will be required in multiple languages or one. Are they a premium brand? Or are they a B2B or B2C brand? Are they already known? These and other questions will help you identify their key offering and market positioning, which will aid the creation of the XR project production.
6. Sales process
How do they sell their products or services , and who are their customers?
This ties in with points two and five above, but is more focussed on sales. Do they meet their customers in person? Do they participate in events? Do they have resellers? Do they communicate with customers over Zoom? A true understanding of use cases and personas in the sales process will make it easier to design and implement XR in this process.
7. Process for education
How do they educate their employees?, What are the desired outcomes? What formats do they use, and what are the costs associated with the education? Do people have to travel to participate and does it cause disruption in their daily work?
An understanding of the challenges and opportunities in this process will help to design a better XR solution. This solution in return may speed up knowledge transfer, save money, and result in increased safety, sustainability and efficiency.
8. Team and contact people
Who you, the XR provider, will be liaising with on a daily/monthly basis and who is the person responsible for overseeing the project? How will you communicate with these people – in person, Zoom, email, phone? It is important to bond two teams together to ensure efficiency in communication and delivery. Also it is vital to gain an understanding of how your client’s design processes work..
9. Measurement and future plans
What measures will the client be looking at to determine whether this project is a success?
Many companies have specific measures they need to include. It is very important to understand these, and know what data points are needed to be included to fit into their analysis models. An agreed way to measure the success is critical – both for the client and for the XR provider.
10. Understand the future plans
Exploring and understanding a client’s planned growth and vision for the company (and for XR), will be helpful in developing the right foundation, a groundwork which can be built upon if necessary. Knowing this from the start saves costs and time. It may also impact the budget. Some activities may be more cost effective if planned for from the outset rather than adding them in later. This point will often dovetail with measurement as certain factors may need to be met before more work can be done, hence, having an understanding of all parameters from the beginning is extremely valuable.
Foundation set – time for the cool stuff – the extended reality superstructure!
Finally let the real XR superpowers out and move onto the creative elements starting with the storyboard.
You will now have an excellent foundation ready to support the project and maximise the results.
Together with the client, you can now move forward to the final delivery stages. You hopefully exceeded the client’s expectations by delivering another XR superstructure, a masterpiece to the market, on time and within a budget. A win win for all – your client, their customers and you!
To read more about extended reality adoption in the enterprise settings, click here to head down to our Insights Enterprise section.