• Maeve McCormick

The Value of Virtual Process Tours



There’s a saying: “you need to see it to believe it.” We’ve all heard it before, but what does it mean to really see something?


Over the years, technology has grown to help people communicate and connect in a number of ways, especially through video. Video has become such an important tool that 90% of people believe it makes it easier for them to get their point across. Ultimately, people are trusting the virtual platform as much as their own experiences. No longer does money, time, and fuel need to be wasted on trips to facilities when 49% of buyers would rather evaluate new suppliers remotely. You can even buy houses and cars online because now there’s no need to see something in person when you can take a virtual house tour or test drive from the comfort of your home.


Since the beginning of 2020, we have seen a huge surge in the need for virtual process tours and that need is only going to stay.




What is a Virtual Process Tour?



Virtual process tours are typically used in two ways. They can show a step-by-step process of a system, such as following the manufacturing process from start to finish. They can also introduce a space to the viewer, such as a building tour. There are three key elements you’ll notice in almost every virtual process tour:


  • Clear explanation

  • Visible size and scope

  • Supportive graphics

Clear Explanation


Typically, virtual process tours are driven by voiceover or graphics that help clearly explain the task or space that is being shown. This makes it easy for viewers to understand exactly what they’re watching. Unlike story-driven videos such as company overview videos, virtual process tours usually unfold in chronological order and can be as detailed about the process and space as the company desires.


Facebook, for example, opted to go with a more holistic site tour to showcase their Henrico Data Center.




Showcase The Size and Scope of Your Company


One of the most important aspects of a virtual process tour is its ability to give viewers a strong sense of the size and scope of a space. This helps viewers get a feel for not only the general layout but also the little details they wouldn't have noticed otherwise. It’s the sense of familiarity the viewer feels toward the layout and processes that makes virtual process tours such an asset to companies.




Supportive Graphics


Similarly, explanatory graphics help viewers to absorb complex information in bite-sized pieces. For instance, in the graphic from the Facebook virtual process tour above, we learn how much more sustainable the Facebook data centers are compared to the typical data center.


Additionally, they can be used for fun facts about the culture of the company, such as the graphic in Facebook’s virtual process tour that says “Sometimes employees use scooters to get from one end [of the campus] to another.” We KNOW riding a scooter at work is secretly on everyone else’s bucket list too.







Benefits of a Virtual Process Tour



Saving Time and Money


The average domestic business trip costs a company $949 and causes employees to be away from home for longer than three days. Since two-thirds of people would rather work from home, a virtual process tour would definitely be a preferred option to a business trip.


This option is price-effective and only needs to be about a five-minute experience. You could spend three days visiting the B&W Growers’ facility or you could take three minutes to watch their virtual process tour where you see everything from the harvest to the bagging of their leafy goods.




Different Perspectives


Virtual process tours also offer a different perspective on facilities. If you toured the B&W Growers’ facilities, you might think you see everything, but you’d be missing the big picture and the little details. Through aerial shots of their fields, you see the “big picture,” or just how big their fields are, which you would not be able to see on an in-person tour.


Likewise, through extreme close-ups, you can see the “little details” of the facility that you might have brushed past during an in-person visit, such as the varietal leaves they specially cultivate for hardiness and taste. Sure, this footage can be pretty and satisfying to watch, but you also get to see all the day-to-day operations of B&W Growers and learn exactly what they do.



Simplifying a Complex Process


In three to five minutes, a virtual process tour can take you through an intricate process. But, by organizing the video chronologically, virtual process tours simplify every step of the operations shown, making it much easier for someone to grasp.


The B&W Growers virtual process tour takes you through the harvesting, the cultivation, drying procedure, and so on. By marking each step with a graphic meant to point out what part of the process you are watching, the viewer understands what B&W Growers do daily. Graphics can also be used to call out important statistics, such as B&W Growers producing 10,000 bags of leafy greens every day.



More People Can See Your Facilities


Now, more people can see your facility before making any decisions regarding investments. No longer is it just one or two decision-makers flying out to take a tour, but now a whole boardroom can watch your virtual process tour at the same time.


You no longer need to worry that the grumpy businessman who couldn’t stop complaining about how the airline lost his luggage, going back to his boss, and only having bad things to say because of his overall business trip experience. Instead, that same grumpy businessman can watch the virtual process tour over video conference and agree with his colleagues that B&W Growers seems like a well-positioned company with loaded future potential.





Ability to Relive the Experience


Ah, the good old rule of sevens. Most marketers are taught that for someone to remember or buy into your product, they have to hear or see its message at least seven times.


Going on a tour of a space once might leave an impression on the visitor, but they will not remember all the nitty-gritty details that are important for the facility’s survival. The perk of having a virtual process tour is that the viewer can watch it as many times as needed or go directly to the information they’re having trouble remembering. Instead of a one and done, the video is just a click and replay away.



Incentivize Others to Tour the Space


Even after the shift to remote work, there will always be those that need to “see it to believe it.” Because of the money and time traveling takes, however, having a virtual process tour to incentivize potential buyers to come to see the space in person can be an invaluable tool as well.





Uses for Private Equity and Growing Businesses



Fundraising


Raising capital is important for both private equity funds and growing businesses. For private equity funds, you need to be able to convince LPs that the fund they’re investing in is worthwhile and will make them money. To reassure them, you can show them a virtual process tour of a company the LP is specifically investing in to indicate its growth opportunity. Or, show them a virtual process tour from one of your successful portfolio companies to exhibit your fund’s past accomplishments.


For growing businesses, raising capital can make or break a company’s future. Since not all companies get the chance to go on Shark Tank, a good way to entice potential investors and show off your assets is through a virtual process tour.



Mergers and Acquisitions


As we navigate this new world of remote working, growing businesses have to adapt their typical mergers and acquisitions process. Everyone can no longer be in a room together until a deal is reached and buyers and boards of directors are going into deals more cautiously than before. Having a virtual process tour to show the potential buyer could save everyone time and money.


Now, the potential buyer no longer has to fly out to visit the facilities and do their due diligence. They can get a feel for the facility, see the company’s assets, and be more confident in their final decision all from the seat of their desk.



Marketing


93% of marketers who use video say that it’s an important part of their marketing strategy and 69% of non-video marketers say they expect to start using video as a marketing tool in 2021. At this point, if you’re not using video to communicate with consumers, you risk falling behind. The increasing importance of video marketing stems from the consumer’s positive response to connecting with a brand or product, which is easy to do through video.


Additionally, video marketing provides a certain sense of transparency into a company’s everyday activities. Virtual process tour videos provide this transparency to consumers and shareholders alike. It makes them feel like a part of your company if they too take a tour of the facilities and learn more about how you do what you do through a virtual process tour.





The Shift in Human Behavior



There’s More Trust In Video Now Than Ever


This switch to operating remotely means that consumer behavior has and will continue to change rapidly. People are more willing to watch videos online to help them make better decisions. But don’t just take our word for it, take the word of the 84% of people who say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service just by watching a brand’s video.


There’s more trust in video marketing now than ever, which means if you’re not already producing videos, you’re potentially losing customers to this consumer trend.



Technology Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint


Another shift we’re seeing is the rise of the conscious consumer. Consumers are trying to reduce their carbon footprint by limiting their food waste, shopping more cost consciously, and looking to buy more sustainable options.


54% of consumers say that they are likely to continue making more sustainable choices and 66% say they reduced their consumption in 2020. An easy way for companies to reduce their carbon footprint and appeal to these conscious consumers is by cutting down paper waste and turning to digital and video marketing.



Desire for More Work-Life Balance


Before the switch to remote work, the average time spent commuting and working was 43.4 hours per week. Now, newly-remote workers have gained an average of 10.4% of their workweek back. Because of this, a whopping 75% of people working remotely have experienced increased productivity and work-life balance.


This gives employees more time to focus on important activities, such as spending time with family, cooking, and exercising, all of which are activities commonly pushed to the side when the work-life balance is too heavy on the work side.





The bottom line? Even when we can travel again and it is an option to be in the office during regular hours, a lot of people are going to want to stick to remote work because it’s more convenient.


80% of employees see telework as a job perk and 36% say they would choose it over a pay raise. Clearly, if people are choosing to work remotely over a bigger paycheck, then they like having virtual options open to them.


This means that potential buyers will be looking for alternatives to having to travel and see locations in-person. That’s where virtual process tours come in.




Future Potential


Video and technology are here to stay in a big way.


With the addition of nearly one in five U.S. consumers having used virtual reality (VR) in 2020, the opportunity to create a truly immersive 360°-experience with your virtual process tour is expanding. Combine this with the growing importance of video marketing and the shift in human behavior, the perfect opportunity to make use of a virtual process tour is right now.


Having a virtual process tour of your company will be an essential asset for years to come so that viewers can “see it to believe it” from anywhere in the world.



To humanize your brand for potential investors, LPs and consumers alike, contact humanstory to help you make your virtual process tour today.



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