Awards case study: Lloyd's Register uses virtual reality (VR) to drive tangible business results for its training offering

Find out how Lloyd's Register (LR) achieved something very few B2B brands have: create a meaningful VR experience that drove tangible business results 

This submission won the award for 'Best digital customer experience' at the B2B Marketing Awards 2017: 'VR with trousers as well as mouth' by Lloyd's Register.

The campaign's solution links directly to and addresses a specific challenge within the oil and gas industry: how to make safety training a true digital learning experience, while remaining engaging and informative, and using the latest digital technology.

The impact from the creation of the LR training simulator has exceeded all expectations, resulting in: a 23% increase in bookings for LR's training services since its launch in May 2017; deepened c-level engagement with the industry, through three board-level appointments to discuss the solution in more depth, resulting in one-day workshops with three key target accounts; and 42 press articles covering the solution, raising engagement and the company's profile in the industry.

About

Founded in 1760, Lloyd's Register is one of the UK's oldest companies. The breadth of the business spans the marine, energy and quality assurance markets.

The principal aim of LR is underpinned by its brand promise 'Working together for a safer world', with the word safety part of the company's DNA.

LR's employees advise and support some of the world's largest and most complex engineering projects, in over 80 countries around the world. Employees ensure that projects and assets are safe, operating at the highest levels of performance and ensuring risk is minimised.

Strategy

The energy sector accounts for just over £150 million of the Lloyd's Register groups' revenue circa £800 million.

Due to the drop in the global price of oil, Lloyd's Register's key clients in the oil and gas sector had started to delay (or cancel) a series of key projects, which were related to exploration and production. Basically, LR clients were having to cut costs in order to remain profitable.

One of the service offerings Lloyd's Register provides is training clients around the world in how to operate and perform tasks to highest levels of safety. The consequences of a lack of training or understanding of any issue can be catastrophic, resulting in death, which, regrettably, the industry has seen over the years.

Objectives

From discussions with LR's training director, the company identified the need to enhance its training portfolio in a number of ways, in order to:

  • Illustrate to the market that training was still of critical importance, despite the industry downturn and desire of clients to cut costs.
  • Rapidly raise LR's profile in the market, to drive new business.
  • Create a 'wow' factor - because while safety is critical in the industry, the company needed to get people really engaged in the subject and put LR at the heart of that conversation.

Target audience

Health and safety executives in key accounts - these people are responsible for ensuring the safe operation of their business operations, both from a people and also a process perspective. Ultimately, they inform the business of what training needs to be carried out. They were key influencers in the buying decision of LR's training services.

Any employee who operates in the oil and gas sector - these people have to be aware of the safety challenges of working in this sector. LR wanted to drive real engagement surrounding safety issues, and encourage them to want to learn and see more.

Media, channels or techniques used

Working closely with its partner Polar Media, the company wished to achieve the following:

  • Illustrate real-life safety incidents and the impact they could have
  • Establish a 'wow' factor
  • Create a true learning experience from the campaign, to help spark a debate.

Working with the training team, LR looked at three real-life safety incidents, where tragically individuals had lost their lives due to mistakes that were made while working. Polar Media then developed an outline solution, where VR could be used to illustrate each of the incidents.

The key reason for using VR was so the user could be immersed in the environment – hence creating the 'wow' factor. But the beauty of the solution was that LR could then use the technology to physically test the user's knowledge, based on what they've seen - generating high levels of engagement.

When the offering was launched at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, LR was able to 'test' a user's knowledge - which enabled the team to feed into its press positioning, complemented by publishing the statistics on how many individuals identified the right answer to the safety scenarios.

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Lloyd's Register's Virtual Reality Training at OTC in Houston, Texas

In addition, LR wanted to illustrate the potentially catastrophic impact any failure in the safety process could have. However, the company didn't want to create a 'blood and gore' experience/environment, so it used crash test dummies to illustrate the impact the incident could have.

Lloyd's Register had turned VR from being 'all mouth and no trousers' to offering a tangible solution that firmly had its trousers pulled up.

Timescales of the campaign

  • January-February 2017 – Research and planning around how marketing could assist LR's training team.
  • February 2017 - Engaged with Polar Media on building scenarios with the training team.
  • March 2017 - Testing of VR solution with LR staff.
  • April 2017 – Final round of testing.
  • May 2017 – Campaign launch.
  • June-present day – ongoing development of solution to build further scenarios.

 

"Due to the downturn in the oil and gas sector, we'd been looking at ways in which we could drive interest in our training portfolio in a rapid and effective way. What we've done with the LR training simulator is illustrate to the industry that we're using the latest technology to help keep safety training engaging and relevant: while also driving new business opportunities, all with an engagement level we just haven’t seen before." - Luis De La Fuente, head of training, Lloyd's Register Houston.