When it comes to new and exciting technology, Virtual Reality is arguably at the top of that list. It both revolutionizes how we can consume media, but also has the ability to completely immerse an audience. With that though, comes of course the intimidation factor. The term “virtual reality” isn’t really the most consumer-friendly when it comes to both trying to view content, as well as create it. You’ve probably thought to yourself, “great, another piece of equipment I need to buy?” or probably even imagined the “countless hours” it must take to create something that seems so out of our reach. But of course, this is the part of the blog post where I tell you you’re wrong!
It’s a bit easier than you think
Did you know that your own smartphone is most likely capable of producing VR content right now? Ever heard of the good ol’ 360 photo? Your phone is most likely capable of taking one of those, and guess what! That is considered VR content. If you post that to Facebook right now, Facebook has the ability to recognize that photo as a 360 photo, and will allow you to move your phone around the virtual space to see every angle of the photo! That in itself is one of the easiest ways to create VR content. But how might this be relevant to marketing? It’s simple really.
If you’re a brand or business, chances are you probably have a social media presence in which you post pictures of your facilities, especially if you’re a dining establishment or in the service industry. Well, 360 photos are literally the perfect way to showcase your facilities, without cluttering up your feed with post after post from each angle of your building. One photo, and you’ve more than likely wowed your audiences by giving them the chance to immerse themselves in your space without even having to leave the house. Like I said, it’s a simple yet effective tool to catch a few eyes and show off your space in a unique way. But for all you “go the extra milers” out there, this next part is for you.
It’s more about the story than the hardware.
Remember earlier when I was joking around about how creating VR content might require you to purchase some expensive new gizmo? Well, it’s actually a lot more affordable than you might have originally thought. Here at the Pixel Labs office, we use the GoPro Fusion 360 to shoot most of our VR content. It’s small and compact, shoots quality footage and images, and the best part? Right now it’s only a cool $250 to pick one up. Sorry, but this isn’t a GoPro sponsored article (yet), but we can’t help but rave about this thing. We’ve taken this thing down the drop slide at Lost Island, into brand new home listings, and even stuck it on top of one of our drones for a real Aladdin magic carpet type experience. The possibilities for this are endless, and if you’re willing to put in some time to learn the ins and outs of this device, it can really increase your marketing game.
Take, for example, the real estate market. Agents are already taking advantage of 360 photos and VR content, but imagine if they upped the ante even further and began producing full-on 360 video tours! In the era of covid, this seems like an idea too good to be true. To be able to fully immerse yourself in the listing, with a virtual listing agent giving you the lowdown on the house, all from the comfort of your current space. We tend to think this is a pretty good idea (wink, wink).
Experience VR before you say no to it.
But seriously though. If you haven’t considered it yet, take a look at the possibilities of VR technology. You really never know what it could do for your business or brand! If you would have asked me 5 years ago if I thought I would have hands-on experience making virtual reality videos, I would have called you silly, but the reality (pun intended) is that virtual reality is so accessible these days. So whether you’re a marketer, a business or brand, or just a content creator looking for the next cutting edge tool to have at your disposal, look no further than virtual reality.
Every business should not be afraid to get a haircut. What that means is businesses should not be afraid of rebranding. People don’t keep the same haircut from when they were children. Why should your business or creative content not be allowed to do the same? What follows is an example of this on a smaller scale. The story of how the PixelCast turned into Raisin’ Brand. Under the structure of three things to consider before you rebrand that the part-time employee writing this only thought about way too long after being tasked with the job to innovate the Pixel Labs podcast.
1. Where did you start?
It’s important to think about where you started. For the Pixel Labs podcast, PixelCast, it was two young creatives who wanted to share their thoughts and opinions when it came to the creative world around them. Pixel Labs is a branding and marketing agency that was founded on creativity. The PixelCast was a good way to increase the following for the company. Additionally, it provided more content for employees to produce. It was simple and didn’t take up too much time.
It was a nice haircut, to follow the previous analogy, but it wasn’t top dollar. It was hard to have a defined audience because it was ultimately a pop-culture creative podcast. Only really discussing ideas employees knew about from news sources and other social media platforms. There was no real direction for where PixelCast was going. It was as if a stylist was just hacking off chunks of hair hoping it would work out. Then leading to Pixel Labs growing their hair out when it came to the PixelCast and just not doing it.
2. Where are you now?
Much like thinking about where you started it’s important to think about where you are now. What have you been doing a lot of? Could you be doing things differently to spice it up? Do you have time and resources to revisit old ideas? For us it was the last one. We had new employees and interns who were eager to have a project of their own. Having multiple people working on a vlog seemed a bit much, which brought the team back to the PixelCast. A haircut was long overdue so instead of taking it to a professional the scissors were handed to the intern because no real harm could be done.
The team spitballed a few ideas and decided the best approach to gain a following with the PixelCast episodes should be pre-recorded and scheduled like the vlog. Previously most were done by going live on social media. More importantly was the idea to bring on guests to share their thoughts, opinions, and stories. The haircut now was starting to take shape. One guest after the other was sharing what they knew about the creative world. Now guests could help build our following. There’s more incentive to share these episodes because people like to promote themselves. The more we produced the more we started to like the shape of the hair. Until one day we took a step back and realized it was a bowl cut. It was all one layer. Creatives, mostly video creatives, would come on, catch up with the team, tell some fun stories, and leave people with some words of wisdom.
This format wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what we were exactly looking for. All it did was reaffirm people that all we do is video production. Not marketing, not branding, not graphic design, video production. Additionally we gave them no valuable resources to use. It was just asking people we knew questions and they would tell us what they did. It was a simple haircut that no one would look twice at. A haircut that wasn’t us.
3. Where do you want to be?
Day after day we would look in the mirror and wonder why no one has noticed our new haircut? Our guests noticed it because we invited them in and showed them why it was a good haircut. Everyone else just saw hair. We knew we wanted to do something different but didn’t know what. We began to talk as a team. We asked questions about how we could promote features of our company that people necessarily know about. We started in video production but we were growing into something more. A branding and marketing agency that can also handle creative work. How could we convey this message? Have guests come on our podcast to talk about branding and marketing. Have a solid mix to show who we are becoming but not let them forget who we were. We thought about our audience and realized if we wanted to develop a following we needed to offer more value. We didn’t want to just share experiences we wanted to educate people on branding, marketing, and creativity. We want to give people a reason to look at our new haircut, not just show them and explain why it looks so good.
Ultimately leading us to Raisin’ Brand, a podcast about all things branding, marketing, and a splash of creativity. Showing how they all can work together and how listeners can make it work for them. We looked at our bowl cut and imagined flowing locks that are feathered and layered. A look to make people go “I want that.” However, our bowl cut was too short for layering and feathering. Letting it grow back out would take too long. So we shaved our head so to speak. Erased PixelCast from existence and started fresh with Raisin’ Brand.
Now shaving your head to grow your hair out might sound counterproductive. Why start at square one when you already have a full head of hair? The answer is to make a statement. We wanted to show everyone we weren’t PixelCast any more, we were Raisin’ Brand. We wanted to start fresh and our three followers noticed. Because they started sharing our Raisin’ Brand promotions. Rebranding is making a statement, showing the world who you now are. You don’t change who you are. All you have to do is simply cut your hair.
By now, we’re sure you are posted up in your home working remotely in efforts to keep yourself and your team healthy through this pandemic. We don’t blame you, we are too! Some of us though are not experienced in what it takes to be effective at working remotely, and that is why we reached out to a couple of people who we know have done it well. We wanted to get their advice and share it with you all in hopes that their knowledge can help you through this tough time of isolation.
One of our team members, Reese, has had a lot of experience in the past with working remotely, while he doesn’t do it on a day to day basis for his full-time gig, he does work remotely for us and it has turned out pretty well. Ben Stineman, on the other hand, has 12 years of consistent experience working remotely for some of the biggest companies in the country. Below are a few tips from each of them that we thought you could use to help you out a bit. There is some overlap, and we left it in there intentionally to reinforce the importance of the tip when both of these guys are referencing it in their own experiences.
Tips from Reese
Utilize presence effectively. If you are at lunch…say so.
Have a dedicated space to work.
Get up. Shower. Put on real clothes. Have a cup of coffee. Eat breakfast. Stay in your normal routine. Working in your pajamas is great for a day. For a week, it can be a problem.
Communicate with the group as if you were there in person. If you have a one on one conversation but your intent is to have that conversation be heard by others, they won’t hear you unless you bring them into the convo.
Set an hourly timer to get up and take a break. It is easy to get sucked into work for the day. You need to step away for a few minutes every hour.
Take a lunch break away from your desk. Again, it is convenient to work through lunch but it isn’t healthy.
Do your best to socialize outside of work. If that means playing an online game with friends, do it. If it means movie night with your roommates, do it. Force yourself to keep a social life.
Be available during normal work hours.
Tips from Ben
When you get up, do a morning routine as if you were going to leave where you live and go to work. Take shower (if that’s a morning thing for you). Put actual pants on. Get a coffee. etc.
Don’t work from the couch – have a desk or sit at the table if that is what you have.
Try to isolate from your housemates / family / SO – if that means setting up a small table in a bedroom, do it.
Slack is great for communication, but it can also be distracting. Try to resist the habit of responding to everything immediately so you can have blocks of concentration time.
That being said, communication as a remote worker takes more effort for some people. If you need something, say something. Also, if you need to step away from your work area, let people know. Have a dedicated OOO/away slack channel for this.
Resist the urge to do things like watch Netflix or play games – be an adult and control yourself. You are being paid to be productive for the objectives set forth by the people that pay you, not play/chill.
If you spend time on video conferencing or do anything network intensive, get ethernet cable from your router to your computer – wifi will let you down, consistently.
So what do you think? Are you up for the challenge of working remotely? Will these tips help you through the Coronavirus pandemic? Let us know in the comments below what you think. If you have any of your own tips, drop them down there as well.
When I was first asked what I am thankful for, I instantly thought of my family and my husband. There are also so many other things I am thankful for, that it was difficult for me to narrow down. I began thinking of my interests. Something that I do almost every day is some form of graphic design. Whether that be designing social media posts, newsletters, posters, small animations, illustrations, etc. Designing is something I love to do and helps define who I am.
While I was a college student working toward my bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design, I loved learning about the history of graphic design. It was so interesting being able to see how much design has evolved. Design can even be found over a million years ago in caveman carvings. If you are interested in reading a brief history on graphic design, I would suggest this article: https://99designs.com/blog/design-history-movements/history-graphic-design/
There is such a rich and ever changing history of graphic design, and it has made me thankful to live in the 21st century with advanced computers, affordable design programs, fast reliable internet. The design world has expanded so much in my twenty-four years of life. Some things went from being non-existent, to a daily part of almost every designer’s life.
While design has constantly changed throughout history, I truly do believe it has changed more in the last twenty-five years than in the last few centuries
It used to take designers days, weeks, or even months to create something from start to finish. Now, it can take as little as hours or minutes. While I love where design has come from, I am truly grateful to be alive in a time where design has grown in leaps and bounds! It’s an exciting time to be a designer or in the creative field!
The Pixel Labs team has been working with The Art of Education since almost their beginning. Overtime, our team has had the privilege of watching them not only grow but go through an accreditation process to become The Art of Education University.
The bulk of the work we do for the AOEU team consists of creating content. We create every piece of content for their curriculum and subscription services. The multi-camera shoots and unique challenges to creating video courses has been an ever evolving process. Due to this, we learn something new on ever shoot, which is a lot. We travel almost monthly across the country capturing content for their website. This gives us an opportunity to refine the process each and ever time.
Beyond the Education
Beyond the course and subscription content that we shoot, we create content for their biannual digital conference, Art Ed Now, and create culture pieces that serve as recruitment content for new presenters and team members.