With the uncertainty of the future of in-person events, Kichler Lighting LLC recently hosted its inaugural virtual event and showroom: Lighting the Way Forward. Developed as an immersive, best-in-class experience, Kichler Lighting created this interactive experience to better connect, educate and inspire while engaging with key customers. The platform also served as a way to launch Kichler Lighting products and strengthen customer relationships in a safe, immersive space.
While several factors went into Kichler’s decision to invest in a virtual showroom and event, the impact of the global pandemic accelerated the brand’s need to innovate in a virtual way, and the online format allowed Kichler to meaningfully connect while reaching a broader audience.
“These unprecedented times required us to reimagine how we do business, and at Kichler Lighting, with change comes innovation,” says Irene Tasi, president, Kichler Lighting. “We’re meeting our consumers where they are, and this opportunity has reignited the passion of our dedicated team.”
To bring Lighting the Way Forward to life, Kichler Lighting partnered with SURREAL Events, a virtual Platform-as-a-Service company, to design a custom, unconventional, and inventive virtual space and experience. Designed with gaming engine technology, this web-based platform is a bridge between physical and virtual realties—allowing participants the opportunity to “choose their own adventure” in a multi-player networked environment that mirrors an in-person trade show. The 3-D photo-realistic rendered environment, coupled with the ability to meet and talk to Kichler Lighting personnel and other attendees, created an experience that was as close to real life as possible. SURREAL’s proprietary world-class software is scalable and multi-faceted, yet simple and intuitive, making it user-friendly for all attendees.
For Kichler, it was equally important that the Lighting the Way Forward virtual event offered attendees a comprehensive experience to interact with Kichler Lighting products as it was to engage with subject matter and sales experts and select influencers. The event space consisted of a main hub where participants’ avatars began their virtual experience. From there, they had the ability to meet at a table with other participants and have a one-on-one conversation with voice or video options. Features also included a general session space, breakout session rooms with influencer presentations that included live Q & A, meeting rooms for one-on-one or group appointments with Kichler Lighting personnel, the club room that hosted social hours and events, the food court that included real-time ordering via Grubhub, and the product demo rooms and showroom spaces—Bedroom, Bathroom, Kitchen, Dining and Exterior—where the latest innovations were unveiled.
The immersive and interactive showrooms featured lifelike aesthetics and Retro, Industrial, Modern and Traditional product displays. Visitors had the opportunity to click through to swap products and select finishes within each setup, add products to their wish lists and share selections via email and directly with a Kichler representative to purchase.
In addition, Kichler Lighting offered printed and digital guides, including designer quotes, tips and content ideas, as well as experiences on the Kichler.com website allowing customers to interact with product by turning on/off light layers, explore product details and review design options. Links to curated content, speaker presentations and innovation are also available in real time via the Kichler website.