We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Tracey Shappro a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Tracey, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today So, let’s start with trends – what are some of the largest or more impactful trends you are seeing in the industry?
One of the biggest trends I’ve seen in our industry is that brands are increasingly embracing experiential technology along with digital media to create immersive and interactive experiences to enhance their marketing and live event strategies to extend their reach and brand engagement. In a rapidly growing digital economy, audiences are looking to engage with brands in more meaningful ways across an array of formats and smart technology. We are seeing brands across industries answering that call in new and innovative ways with impressive results.
One area we are seeing rapid growth in is interactive technology. Interactive experiences can take on many forms, including dynamic presentations, interactive touch and augmented reality to name just a few. At VISION, we use game engine technology, creative content and custom programming to produce graphics-rich, responsive applications and presentations that allow both our B2B and B2C clients to have marketing and sales tools that are more dynamic than ever before.
For example as a B2B application, VISION recently developed an animated interactive experience for our client ChampionX that takes their oil and gas industry customers on a visual journey through ChampionX’s subsea solutions. This interactive application was designed to be used on ChampionX’s website as well as via touch screens and mobile tablets—maximizing its flexibility and impact as both a marketing and sales tool. It has been an extremely successful marketing tool for them especially in the field where their large subsea products are not easy to show. Now their customers can explore their products easily with the touch of a screen in a highly responsive manner.
Another B2B example of an effective interactive experience VISION produced is for our client Baker Hughes who wanted to create an interactive welcome experience for employees in the lobby of their Western Hemisphere Education Center, one of only two training centers of its kind in the world. VISION helped design a permanent installation technology-based solution for their lobby experience using a combination of animation, motion graphics and video with state-of-the-art presentation technology to create a 35-foot-long multi-touch interactive table that showcased Baker Hughes’ more than 100-year history of energy innovation. With a touch of the table, Baker Hughes employees can explore the company’s patents, key company milestones, product offerings and global locations in a fun and engaging manner.
Augmented Reality (AR), is also growing in applications across many industries, including retail, entertainment, medical and energy spaces. At VISION, our programmers develop custom Augmented Reality experiences to achieve a wide variety of marketing objectives. An example of a B2C AR experience VISION produced is for client Messina Hof Winery, who wanted to use Augmented Reality to turn their wine labels into engaging customer experiences in tandem with the launch of their new Harvest Green Winery location. VISION created a special three bottle AR experience with 3D animation, voice-over narration and sound design that shares the story behind Messina Hof’s Harvest Green wine collection. We supplemented the AR experience with the creation of an APP which allows Messina Hof customers to further explore wine pairings, recipes and learn more about Messina Hof’s legacy of wine making success.
Another immersive technology that is gaining more traction is 3D Projection Mapping. While VISION has been using 3D projection mapping technology for many years to help clients create spectacular, large-scale immersive experiences for product launches and experiential applications, we are seeing it being used now in more unconventional ways. In fact, we’re currently building a custom studio set and producing 3D animated content to project onto the set as a fantastical backdrop for a national product launch broadcast commercial. We are also creating interior restaurant 3D projection mapping experiences to engage customers through an enhanced dining experience, as well as using 3D projection mapping to entertain convention goers in a dynamic 360 immersive experience that will surround them with a truly immersive conference experience and brand immersion.
It is exciting to see our clients wanting to expand how they use digital media, interactive and immersive content to create bold, engaging experiences, as well as seeing them reap major rewards in the process.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I was inspired to pursue production early on in my life. The catalyst that initially led me into my career was the lead character of the Mary Tyler Moore show: Mary Richards. She not only inspired me as a revolutionary role model for women in the workforce, but she was also my first introduction into the world of television production. My career started out in video production and over the years, my skills and responsibilities as a producer grew to include producing hundreds of videos and live events for some of the world’s leading brands, professional sports teams and organizations.
In 2010, I founded VISION Production Group, where we produce high-end video productions and live events as well as immersive and interactive experiences including augmented reality, dynamic presentations, and 3D projection mapping. From marketing campaigns, internal/external communications and expansive rich content experiences, we are fearless in pushing the boundaries of innovative production and content creation to deliver impactful, engaging experiences that connect the brands we work with to their target audiences. Experiences that resonate and compel people to participate. Experiences that live ON.
However, VISION is not just a vendor to our clients; we are a true strategic and creative production partner. A partner our clients trust with their high-profile, high-pressure projects. A partner our clients depend on to deliver under a trillion different circumstances, under pressing deadlines and in an ever-changing landscape of technology, trends and business goals. A partner that our clients call on again and again to create powerful visual content and experiences that maximize the impact of their brand stories.
It’s this mix of wild imagination, thoughtful strategy, and commitment to our clients that has helped us foster so many long-term relationships with incredible companies, brands and organizations. Among these are some of Houston’s most influential and community-impacting organizations, including the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Houston Super Bowl Host Committee, Kinder Institute for Urban Research, BakerRipley, Hines, Gulf States Toyota, Houston Rockets, Houston Astros, Houston Texans, Houston Dynamo, Houston Public Media, Dril-Quip, ChampionX, Houston Parks Board, Harris Health Systems, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, Greater Houston Partnership, Houston Botanic Garden and Holocaust Museum Houston.
Can you tell us about a time you’ve had to pivot?
The past two years should probably be referred to as “The Great Pivot.” Everyone had to pivot away from the plans they made at the beginning of 2020, and my company is no exception. I still remember the day Houston had its first COVID-19 case. That was the day everything changed at our office and changed the course of our projects for the unforeseeable future. We immediately jumped into action creating digital solutions for our clients to meet their audiences where they were: remote. While virtual events and using the power of video to reach their audiences was a big part of that, we also developed innovative marketing solutions using interactive technology to enable our clients to stand out amidst the sudden influx of digital content.
But surprisingly, I don’t think that was the biggest pivot of my career. At VISION, we are constantly innovating with technology and creative content. We already were producing videos and digital content experiences, so though we had to help clients shift some of their processes during the pandemic in staggering numbers, we were already ideally setup to do so.
I think the biggest pivot of my career so far actually was starting my own business. What started with just one employee back in 2010 has since grown into an incredibly talented team of 13 amazing producers, motion graphic designers, 3D animators, editors, directors of photography and creative thinkers. It’s mind-boggling when I think about it, and entrepreneurship has been an on-going learning journey. I learn something new every day. I’m honored that VISION has had the opportunity to be a part of so many meaningful projects that help make a difference in so many organizations and communities. I am very proud of what we have accomplished, and excited for what is ahead.
Any advice for growing your clientele? What’s been most effective for you?
Nothing builds new business more than referrals. It’s the golden goose of our business. 90% of our new business comes from current clients and from those they refer us to. That is such a wonderful compliment to know our clients like our team, the work we do for them and the results we achieve enough to refer VISION to other organizations. I am proud to say VISION has many long-term clients that have been with us still since day one. That’s something none of us take lightly and we appreciate them all. It just makes us want to do better and over-achieve, every single time!
I think another big factor of our growth is that we listen. Really listen. We get to know our clients and what their needs are so that we can work together as a strategic production partner to help them achieve their goals and effectively engage their target audiences in whatever way they are interacting with them. I always say that we don’t sell, we solve.
And too, we truly appreciate our clients and we have a robust thank you strategy. We take every opportunity to make sure our clients know how much we appreciate their business and enjoy working with them. I don’t think we can say it enough. So, for any clients seeing this now – thank you, thank you, thank you! We appreciate you so much.
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VISION Production Group