At Bank of America Merrill Lynch, we view disruption as an opportunity, not a problem. Therefore, at a time when continual change is the norm, we strive to deliver insights that help our clients understand it all and propel their businesses forward. In this case, our goal was to use virtual reality itself to explain the effect of the technology. We wanted our clients to see the business and investing potential and to show it in an exciting way, making our clients smarter and more prepared for the future. We also wanted to enhance our image as a forward thinking company. Therefore, we thought, why would we produce just a PDF explaining the role of VR in business? If we are a modern company, let's deliver a modern solution. We built a virtual one-on-one meeting with Sarbjit Nahal, our lead thematic research analyst, to explain the landscape, impact and potential opportunities of VR for business leaders and investors. We saw there was a need for this because there was very little educational content on VR and particularly its potential in the B2B space. Before our piece, there was only gaming, travel and leisure, and we wanted to be the first to produce a VR about VR as an industry. Through strong data visualization, animated statistics and compelling real life examples such as using VR in a critical medical situation over the Grand Canyon, the piece educates the viewer on the potential of VR on industries and investments.
The strategy was to create a VR piece that educated our clients, from institutional investors to treasurers to corporate management in a variety of industries. If we were the first to create content like this, we wanted to give all our clients and prospects, across all industries and sizes the chance to experience it. When designing this, we had to make it visually compelling; content a client would watch. As we know our clients are time-strapped, we took advantage of the medium and thought strategically about which scenes and concepts would interest them most. For example we put Sarj in space vs a conference room. To show revenue potential, we showed escalating gold bars that glide the viewer's eyes up and have them feel the impact of the impressive statistic instead of a flat line chart.It was key to show scenes that resonated with our clients, scenes they could relate to, and data that would support the significance of this new industry. While the VR was the centerpiece of our VR educational program, it was one of many components. In fact, the VR piece originated as a PDF report, and then flourished into an all-encompassing campaign that includes the VR film, web, advertising, SEO, influencers, social, PR, direct emails, email newsletters, 1x1 meetings and events. Specifically, we hosted educational events teaching an inquisitive audience the effect of this technology on their revenue potential, business potential and industry disruption. We also promoted and placed the film across all channels from Youtube to Twitter, from Samsung to Linkedin. We were the #3 most viewed VR on Samsung, which is impressive for a non-gaming film. We created the first ever in-unit 360 ad, where viewers saw the 360 video in the ad unit vs clicking out.We engaged with clients and prospects online through 54 social posts, including an unlock card, with record breaking interactions, and we validated both the content and the production quality with a robust influencer/PR campaign. We created a "poster" announcing the piece which was fresh and inspiring and that felt more like a movie poster than an ad unit, lending to the energy around the campaign. We felt strongly that our employees benefit from experiencing the technology and the content. We launched an internal VR campaign, spanning employees globally and utilizing our internal emails, website and intern program, and to ensure our employees could experience the content, we hosted global fairs where employees watched our VR piece. The whole project from initial concept to final presentation to channel selection was completely innovative and unique. We were the first to take a research report and turn it into a VR piece. We were the first to make a VR piece on VR as a technology and industry (first not just in finance, but in the industry).We were the first to show this technology at our conferences and have it download from Samsung and our website.
This VR film was an incredible effort, and the results add to the story.At trade shows and conferences, record numbers watched our VR and our teams were thrilled. Many clients commented about how it could apply to other industries and their own, and several asked how they could take this back to their offices to demonstrate to their teams. Some direct quotes include, "Interesting, I never associated BofAML with technology." "Wow! You are really cutting edge." And "You're company is really forward thinking." One of our goals was to enhance the perception of BofAML as a modern company and we were able to achieve this. We were the #3 most viewed VR on Samsung, impressive for a B2B financial firm in a consumer space. Amber Roy, engineer @Oculus, commented, "Did not expect this: 360 video by BofAML. Cool to see finance industry giants embracing #VR". We had several requests for the VR at events, sponsorships, 1x1 meetings and client presentations. There was a buzz about the piece amongst our audience and a desire to learn more about the technology. Our employees remarked how they would have never expected this from BofAML, and how we felt like a modern company, changing the perception of our firm and aligning with our future goals. We are honored that this reached and resonated with our audience, proving the value and creativity in the content and creation of the work.
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