Tips to Designing Your Company’s First Ever Briefing Center
By Eileen Page, VP, Digital / Technology Innovation, InVision Communications
Your company is experiencing a surge of growth, and the importance of aligning to your core, high-value customers has never been greater. In order to communicate your innovative product(s), shorten the sales cycle, and drive upsells with customers, management has requested that a briefing center be stood up – pronto. And you are tasked with this monumental task. Where do you begin? How do you plan? What do you consider? How do you execute? Here are the steps that will get you there.
Before we dive into the tactics, let’s take a step back to recognize the value that briefing centers bring. In a world where digital has taken over so many of our business interactions and customer touchpoints, the importance of face-to-face interaction supported by technology and interactive content cannot be overstated. Briefing centers offer your customers a highly customized and personalized opportunity to connect with your brand and build a deep understanding of your business and products. It can also create an opportunity to discuss unmet needs and possible solutions for your customers. With the right design, your briefing center can be one of your most valuable sales tools.
According to research by the Association of Briefing Program Managers (ABPM: https://www.abpm.com/), briefing centers have a real impact on business, too. They point to three core benefits:
1. Strengthen customer relationships: 87% of those polled by APBM said their briefing center contributed to strengthening relationships with the host company. In fact, 90% would recommend the company based on their briefing experience.
2. Speed up the sales cycle: 71% decided to purchase products or services that were introduced/discuss in their briefings. 72% said the briefing center influenced their decision.
3. Uncover upsell opportunities: 74% said the amount of their purchase increased by an average of 31% as a result of the info presented in the briefing. 79% of respondents said they discovered additional solutions in the center that would be useful to their company.
With all of that in mind, what steps do you take to design the best possible experience? Our recommended approach centers around three core steps that we apply to client engagements at InVision: Clarify, Personify, and Amplify. Let’s dive in:
1. Clarify the Strategy: Every great execution starts with strategy and builds from there. IVC partners with our clients to identify their business objectives - what solutions, products, messages need to be conveyed. Next, we brainstorm all of the possible creative ways that are best suited to tell your brand story. We hone in to match the right solution, or sets of solutions, to best tell the story about the product: digital storytelling. Some of the techniques we employ to convey content and product details are interactive demos, touchscreen builds, interactive AR/VR, motion and video media, digital prototyping, and more.
2. Personify the Approach: The most successful briefing centers put the customer first and take visitors on a journey through their product and solution suite – with intended stopping points and driving to certain outcomes. Who’s your core customer? What’s your briefing center UX/UI? Where you place certain artifacts matters; aim to build a brand experience that helps bring customers towards the solutions that are most suited for them. Plotting the journey allows you to determine data capture opportunities along the way, to follow up with visitors or further customize any subsequent visits. Note that journeys can be self-guided or facilitated, and that experiences don’t have to be linear to be successful. A self-guided “choose your own adventure” approach can be highly effective so that each attendee’s experience is personalized to their interests.
3. Amplify the Experience: Last, determine how you will support, evolve and optimize the briefing center on-going. Consider how you will staff the center; a successful briefing center necessitates that subject matter experts are present at all times that customers are present. With this intimate opportunity to get close to your customers, don’t squander the opportunity to go deeper if clients ask tougher, more complex questions. And, like any activation, it’s never a “one and done.” Be prepared to continuously measure the response to the briefing center (e.g., install a digital survey upon exit). Measurement will help you tailor future modifications to the briefing center experience, provide data to management, and help justify the investment to your executives.
We practiced these core steps when we helped design DuPont's Silicon Valley Innovation Center. We created multiple stations for visitors to learn and interact with DuPont products.
In conclusion, briefing centers offer a unique opportunity to connect with customers in a captive, face-to-face environment that immerses them in your products and solutions. In turn, prospects visiting briefing centers are typically yearning for meaningful conversations about their core challenges, and how your solutions can make the difference to their business. For this reason, how you design the briefing center experience is essential to your company’s marketing efforts and sales growth.
Have you been tasked with your company’s briefing center? Reach out, we’d be glad to help map out your strategy, design, content, and execution plans: firstname.lastname@example.org