Physical + Digital
UX / UI
3D & Motion Design
ZEISS needed to rethink how it shared its latest innovations, so the company’s digital marketing team came to Goods & Services with a challenge: help us put ZEISS technology into the hands of those who want and need it. Oh, and do it virtually.
For more than 175 years, ZEISS has been one of the most exciting names in the world of microscopy, which largely employs the use of lenses, glasses and microscopes. Their passion and penchant for innovation has put them on the forefront of countless breakthroughs in material and life sciences, particularly in the fields of ophthalmology, microsurgery, and laser studies.
In fact, every year, people are so eager to interact with ZEISS’ new tech that they flock to dozens of trade shows around the world for a chance to do so.
But powerful microscopy comes in enormous packages. By the 2020s, these super microscopes had become expensive to ship around the globe, and also pricey to insure. So when COVID put a dent in trade show feasibility and attendance, these expenses couldn't be justified.
ZEISS digital marketing gave to Goods & Services a challenge: help us rethink everything.
“How do we get our technology, virtually, into the hands of people who want it the most?”
The ZEISS team’s original thinking was to create some sort of immersive tunnel, with video screens mounted on the walls, (“like walking into a microscope!”) to display the various new tech.
It was a good starting point. But Goods & Services, led by client partner Erica Ortmann, and project director Betsy Spain, felt we could push more and create something that would “stand apart and be pandemic friendly,” Ortmann said. “We thought this was a great opportunity to be both experiential and interactive, while ensuring COVID safety for attendees.”
During a five-week concept phase, our team jumped headlong into the complex world of research, development, and microscopy. The work ZEISS products contributed to at universities, hospitals, and other arenas was fascinating.
We then identified a handful of exciting scientist stories to feature, that covered neuroscience, cancer research, material innovations, and more. Each scientist was interviewed each about their work and a profile was developed.
“We really wanted to capture
an authentic slice of today’s world of scientific research.”
“We really wanted to capture an authentic slice of today’s world of scientific research,” Spain said. “So that meant talking to a wide range of demographics including male and female scientists and as many different races and ethnicities in the field as possible, because the scientific community is hugely diverse.”The Goods team soon discovered that, as different as these scientists and their work was from each other, there was one thing they all had in common: the shared thrill of experiencing “breakthrough moments,” often via the microscope. That discovery became the crux of the team’s ultimate creative solution.
In one of the more ambitious and forward thinking creative projects the Goods team has produced, the final delivery included an array of modular, wall-mounted video panels, each featuring interactive, mixed media stories chronicling a particular scientist’s breakthrough research. Viewers are able to tap on digital buttons (“hot spots”) to discover a wealth of content. They can read short narratives about the scientist’s specific work, view rich microscopy animated images of their studies, hear them discuss their findings, and learn more about the scientists themselves – taking a short (3-7 minute), but comprehensive, dive into their complete story.
“They make such a difference in the world and aren’t celebrated like they should be. We wanted to highlight their unique personalities, along with the very important work they do.”
From a design standpoint, one of the team’s main goals was to focus on the scientists themselves.
Using computer programs including Figma, Photoshop, After Effects, and Cinema 4D, the Goods design team was able to create museum quality images seen only through a ZEISS microscope, and then animate those images to bring them to life. In many cases those images needed to be accurate enough to be considered scientifically correct, but also abstract and artistic enough to spark the viewer’s curiosity.
“The design process required a lot of trust from the ZEISS team,” Meneghel said. “But they could see that the final results were really captivating and the idea of the project had a lot of potential.”
And, because each screen story is only a few minutes long, that viewing process can be done quickly, which allows more people to get to enjoy the experience. However, the short videos meant a consice but accurate (and still compelling) amount of copy was necessary. And for such dense and complicated topics, that presented a unique challenge to the content strategy team, led by Alex Helton.
“There was so much to tell in such a little space and we were all drinking from the firehose of information,” Helton said. “We had a lot of questions we needed to answer before we could start writing copy.”
All told, nine scientists personally guide viewers through 12-16 story packages on a range of topics. Trade show visitors can discover, among others, Dr. James Schiffbauer’s amazing, groundbreaking work on fossils come to life in stunning graphic detail. They can view Dr. Kaoru Sato’s award-winning research into metal composition, and Dr. Minna Roh-Johnson’s potentially revolutionary examination of cancer cells.
Each intimate story is long enough to be authoritative and thorough, but short enough to keep the viewer’s attention, while still highlighting the benefits and advancements of the ZEISS technology.
“Using this experience... the conversation is now one of reinvigorated excitement surrounding the attendee’s aspiration in their research”
The results? A 500% increase in customer leads. International attention from other ZEISS business regions, including Europe and Asia. Significant time and cost savings in shipping, storing and setting up of AV equipment via a repeatable, scalable, safe, and crowd-friendly process.