The story began when IFS decided to relocate their UK office. The challenge: to totally reimagine how they use their space - so they could demonstrate their products to each client in a more impactful and engaging way.
The solution was a custom-built Experience Center, commissioned by Chief Digital & Information Officer at IFS, Sal Laher.
Every part of the IFS Experience Center runs on the Hyro storytelling platform, which gives them the flexibility to create truly personalized experiences - from start to finish.
Hyro: Granular, Persona-Driven Storytelling Made Easy
The Hyro platform has been crucial for helping IFS create storytelling experiences that speak to each customer. IFS’ software products are used by people in diverse roles and across many industries. As a result, their storytelling has to address distinct, complex personas to have impact.
Doing this ‘the old way’ with a demo in the boardroom would be much harder, involving a cumbersome process of logging in and out of different user accounts. Even then, the ability to address specific personas was somewhat limited. Now, they can follow complex story threads in a seamless way whenever they demonstrate their capabilities to customers.
“Just from the technical point of view, the IX completely beats what you can show in the boardroom just on a plain PowerPoint, just on a single screen.”
- Rauf Sarwar, Principal System Engineer, IFS
By using the Hyro platform, it’s easy for IFS to create customized experiences, which are highly relevant to each specific visitor - whether they’re potential employees, clients, students, partners, or members of the wider community. It’s a powerful tool that allows IFS to project their presence into key industries with a seamless, professional image.
IFS is winning more deals and attracting top talent to their workforce with their cutting-edge Experience Center. Demonstrating their solutions in a targeted way with persona-driven stories has a powerful impact on customers, who can instantly see the benefits for their situation.
But the value of IFS’ Experience Center goes far beyond demonstrating their software. It has cemented the company’s status as an innovator, and helped build good working relationships with partners and their community.
By using Hyro to create personalized experiences, IFS is making deeper connections with their customers while showing expertise in their key industries. Their Experience Center enables IFS to demonstrate their holistic value as a company and trusted partner, and not just ‘sell’ the solutions they provide. For example, sustainability is woven into their narrative as a core value of the company.
As each experience is tailored to the visitor, they feel it’s made just for them, from start to finish. This has a powerful effect because, from the moment they walk through the door, it’s clear that IFS has gone the extra mile to roll out the red carpet.
IFS has also seen additional benefits such as using the Experience Centre to launch new product releases; brand activities; and town halls globally by utilising both Hyro and MS Teams.
How Hyro Unlocks More Agile Storytelling
To manage their messaging, IFS uses templates that simplify and streamline the creative process. However, this doesn’t mean that they are constrained either – the Hyro software enables a non-linear experience that can respond to customer questions, jumping straight to the most pertinent storytelling assets in a moment.
So, presentations are never linear nor scripted, but follow the thread of an engaging conversation.
“Although we've got a template of an ideal way of telling the story, it's really easy to quickly skip 10 slides forward based on the kind of discussion and conversation that we're having in the room. That kind of non-linear experience is definitely a lot more powerful.”
- Zeinab Jobber, Associate Solutions Architect Presales, IFS
All this is also done and controlled by touch sensitive screens, cameras that follow the room for MS Teams, and dolby sound.
Digital Storytelling Best Practices
Immersion in the customer’s world
By showing customers that they understand their perspective with customer centric storytelling, IFS starts building a good working relationship straight away. This begins with immersing visitors in their own world, using their own company’s branding, logos, and industry-specific content. Next, these stories are connected to their powerful solutions, which are demonstrated for each customer. They even use sample data that directly reflects their situation, so the demo has real impact for them.
A multi-stage journey
IFS uses each part of their Experience Center to its advantage, creating a multi-stage journey that makes the customer visit more memorable. Visitors are greeted by a personalized welcome message in the reception on large screens, then move to the boardroom for an introduction, have their socks blown off by the IX, and then sit down for further discussions with refreshments. Or maybe they arrange things differently, if needed. Each stage is tailored to the visitor, delivering the most impact.
By combining physical with digital (a.k.a.: ‘phygital’) elements in the IX, it’s possible to make a better connection between what’s on the screen and what’s going on in the real world. IFS uses a working model factory for this, to demonstrate their IoT solutions. They intentionally ‘break’ part of it, and stage a demonstration based on the real-time data, with an error message appearing on the screen as soon as the factory malfunctions. Visitors can immediately see the impact, and see how the software solves these kinds of problems using remote sensor data.
Open for remote working
To begin with, IFS took a conservative approach regarding who was involved in the creation of content for their Experience Center. However, IFS has gained strong advantages by opening the Hyro platform and the IX to more users, including remote workers. In retrospect, this achieves better results, and IFS recommends this approach.
Every experience is made in a modular way, with each piece of content supporting distinct messaging threads. These include core modules about the company’s culture and history, as well as testimonials from (similar) customers, analyst insights, and specialized industry modules.
IFS focuses on stories that paint a big picture of their whole organization, so customers get a sense of their values and how they align. Deep industry knowledge is enhanced by a broader context that shows how IFS helps improve sustainability for its partners, as well as its own operations and wider communities.
IFS’ storytelling is primarily driven by detailed personas, but also needs to address specific industries and pain-points. By creating a variety of templates, new stories can be rapidly assembled using standardized and personalized components. This also gives some editorial control over every experience, even when multiple teams are working on their own projects.
Designated experience lead
While companies get the greatest return from enabling the most users to wield the power of storytelling, it’s still important to have someone who’s ultimately responsible for Hyro, and who can exercise editorial control over content and permissions. The goal of this ‘Gatekeeper’ role is to enable secure access, not block participation.
An investment that delivers real business value
By investing in a cutting-edge Experience Center, IFS has created a unique and impactful way to present the company’s value to the customers and communities it serves. It has become an indispensable asset that enables amazing persona-driven experiences. They’ve gained the ability to demonstrate their solutions in an immersive, customer-centric way, while linking them to the greater value of their company overall. For IFS, going back to the old way of doing things just isn’t an option, and the company is already keen to offer these experiences at some of its other offices around the world.
For companies considering this kind of investment, Sal Laher, CDIO at IFS has some clear advice:
“You're going to invest in this; you’ve got your business case. The best piece of advice I will give is to also invest in the people and the change management. Once you invest in the people, the training, and maybe someone who’s dedicated to the IX room and becomes an expert on it, you'll get the benefits.”
- Sal Laher, Chief Digital and Information Officer (CDIO), IFS
Interested in learning more about Customer Experience Centers (CXCs) and how Hyro can give your AV hardware more capabilities and versatility
Read more about Experience Centers, or learn more about the Hyro Storytelling Software here.
Innovation Room: IFS, London, United Kingdom