Those who have re-imagined what a product launch can be in this brave new virtual world have reaped the benefits. A case in point being Van Moof, who eschewed a traditional venue-based launch event in favour of something virtual. Which instead of being a poor cousin of a physical event, was the best expression of a true virtual-first event. Scalable, immersive, interactive and effective – the virtual launch of their new electric bike had 6000 viewers and 4400 orders within 24 hours of the event (@£1800 per bike).
So how did Van Moof have such a successful product launch? What does a product launch look like in the 21st century? And if you’re planning a product launch soon, what is it that you might need to consider?
The key point here is that Van Moof reinvented what a product launch looks like. They didn’t try to put a traditional physical launch into a digital, virtual space. They created a new, fresh and exciting event that was designed to exist solely within a virtual environment, and approached Dutch design studio Resn to take on the work.
When entering the launch, to generate a feeling of connectivity and of having arrived, press members, key influencers and VIPs, were invited to create avatars and checked into a waiting room. This helped to create a sense of community, welcome and excitement, thanks to the countdown that was running. When the countdown hit zero, the product launch began.
The focus for the design studio was this- how digitally, do we replicate the feeling of riding a bike? This was where VR technology really came to the fore. All attendees were able to virtually interact with the bike, exploring the 360 experience at their own pace. Design highlights of the bike being launched were focused on digitally. The bike boasts a hydraulic brake system and a power booster. Van Moof were able to showcase the power booster feature, thanks to Resn’s particle effect visual, whereby attendees could see the bike speeding along after pressing the boost button. This level of interaction helps create an emotional connection between the product, the brand and the consumer/ client, which studies have shown has a positive impact on sales. After the event, a VR representation of the bike stayed online, to remind people of the bike’s 6 key features.
There were pre recorded elements that the launched opened with – videos from Van Moof’s co-founders, and getting these to hit exactly the right note was another piece in the puzzle. The design studio knew that getting the tone of voice right was crucial. They consciously choose to keep in the ‘aahs’ and ‘umms” of the speakers in order to keep the voiceovers sounding human and not robotic. Another part of the brief was to match the company’s clean aesthetic, but at the same time, steering away from being too perfect and rendering the presentation unnatural.
Pros of a Virtual Product Launch
When we look at what Van Moof achieved with this product launch, we can see that it was a success from the number of orders placed. Let’s take a moment to focus on the other pros of a virtual product launch. The first pro has to be the far reaching impact your brand could achieve. A virtual launch means anyone can attend from anywhere, without any costs, or any hassle. The size of your audience grows exponentially. It’s more environmentally friendly as the element of travelling is taken out of the mix, reducing carbon footprint, and as an extra perk your delegates no longer have to spend hours on planes or gridlocked in traffic jams. It’s also a far more efficient option in the long term, when it comes to sustainability and resources.
There are 3 key elements to take away from this.
- Specificity of the design
This worked because the product launch was designed to exist within the virtual realm. To really make your online event as successful as possible, it has to be designed to happen digitally.
- Interactive and live elements
In order to stop this being a dry pre-recorded presentation of a bicycle, interactive and live elements were planned in. It was possible for the attendees to interact with a 360 virtual bike at their own pace, to really explore it and look at it from every angle. People were able to get to know the product. After interacting with the bike, users were able to submit questions which the co-founders of Van Moof answered live. Live and interactive elements build trust as well as engagement.
- Enagement, Connectivity and Excitement
The drop off rate was monitored throughout the launch event, and the design studio found that the drop off rate was very low, proving that their attention to detail had been success. And sometimes things that might appear as fairly inconsequential can make a big difference- like the avatars. Asking people to create their own avatar for the event ahead of time was a great starting point. People are already engaged before they’ve even entered the waiting room. And then having the avatars in the waiting room gives attendees something interesting to engage with and builds a sense of togetherness and connection. Adding in a countdown to the event can help create even more excitement for the reveal. Rather than listening to someone discuss a power boost feature, people were able to press a boost button and see the bike accelerate. Details like these help people stay engaged throughout a launch, and ultimately resulted in the company having 4400 orders 24 hours after the event. That maths works out.
If after reading this, you’re thinking about a virtual launch, we’d love to connect with you and your brand. At Circus, we pride ourselves on getting to know you and your brand to ensure we can create the perfect virtual event for you.
Oh, and if you’re a bike lover and you want to check out the bike that inspired this(!), you can do so right here.