Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

February 29 2016

How A Leading Fashion Brand Embraced Virtual Reality For Its Big Event

Staci Wuokko

When the first model began walking down the runway at the Coach show on February 16 during New York Fashion Week, the action wasn’t confined to the brand’s mock gymnasium on the West Side Highway in Manhattan. Thanks to a partnership with Google, Coach lovers around the world felt like they had front row seats to one of fashion’s biggest events, too.

It wasn’t simply a live stream on Google, though. Coach’s customer engagement strategy united physical retail locations with the digital landscape. Coach gave away complimentary Google Cardboard binoculars at six of its stores in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Tokyo. For Coach lovers who did not live near one of these major destinations, the brand used social media promotions on Instagram and Snapchat to offer fans the chance to win their own Google Cardboard and be part of the action as it unfolded in New York.

SEE ALSO: How 3D Printing Is Impacting The Meetings Industry

Gaining Entry To Elite Events

It hasn’t always been this easy to attend some of the events hosted by top brands in New York. With names like Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs and Lacoste, tickets for many of the events throughout the week are only available to the highest bidders. In fact, secondary ticketing companies reported prices in the $3,500 range for some 2016 shows. So why would Coach give away glimpses for free? Because it’s a brilliant marketing move. Even the biggest brand advocates may not have the time or the money to travel to New York, but they still want to be among the first to preview the newest bags, coats, and other soon-to-be-talked-about fashion trends.

"As New York Fashion Week continues to increase in consumer visibility, we find it even more important to embrace technology and social to amplify Coach’s message as a fashion brand," David Duplantis, President, Global Marketing, Coach, said in an interview with Mashable. "Whereas a traditional live stream offers our view of the runway show, VR affords the viewer the role of director; 360 offers viewers the luxury of directing their experience with the Coach show, as an attendee might. If there’s a particular look they have their eyes on, they can take a second glimpse.”

Expanding Access To Your Own Event

While your organization may not be a consumer-facing brand like Coach, you can apply its mindset to your next face-to-face event. As you develop a mobile app for your next conference or meeting, can you consider incorporating a live streaming virtual reality component that pairs with Google Cardboard? The Google Cardboard only costs approximately $20, and it syncs with a range of smartphones including iPhones. The real investment is in the app and the AV work to produce the live event, and those costs can add up. If that type of budget is out of the question, you can still take steps to elevate your digital offering. For example, the digital component of PCMA’s Convening Leaders 2016 delivered behind-the-scenes footage and exclusive interviews for virtual attendees.

Interested in more insights to help capture the attention of fans and attendees who can’t be part of your face-to-face experience? Check out “3 Key Virtual Engagement Lessons For Meeting Professionals.”

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