With private office space and hot desks available to rent, The Central Research Laboratory (CRL) is a dynamic co-working hub that boasts state-of-the-art machinery and on-site prototype development support. A hive of creativity, invention and collaboration, the site is home to a diverse range of companies, including tech start-ups, freelance engineers, and well-established digital marketing agencies.
In July 2020, social distancing measures meant that CRL could no longer give in-person tours of their premises, forcing them to seek out digital alternatives. Concerned that a standard virtual tour could not truly capture CRL’s rich history, community-feel and on-site machinery, they reached out to the Virtual Visits team to take their marketing strategy to the next level.
In order to get a “feel” of the space and its heritage, we began our creative brainstorming by taking a tour of the premises. From this research, it became clear to us that one of CRL’s key selling points was the legacy of the location itself, which offered a wealth of opportunity for visual storytelling.
Originally built in 1907, CRL’s offices were once the headquarters of EMI and His Master’s Voice, where the records of British music legends, including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, were pressed, packed and shipped across the world. More than a century later, this culture of creativity still persists to this day. With state-of-the-art design and development facilities on offer, our tour needed to showcase CRL’s vibrant community of thinkers, collaborators and innovators.
To bring the workspace’s evocative heritage and sense of community to life, we created a guided, 360-video Virtual Visit. By pairing the virtual tour with audio narration, we were able to replicate the feel of an in-person tour, whilst also recounting tales of the site’s illustrious history. Then, to draw attention to CRL’s first-class on-site machinery, we peppered visual, interactive “hotspots” at key points throughout the tour, which provided more detail on the technology available.
Within just two short weeks, we were able to plan, record and produce the Virtual Visit, which was officially launched in October 2020 and can be viewed here. Since going live, the online tour has been completed hundreds of times, generating a huge increase in workspace enquiries. Even more impressively – in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic – CRL has still managed to secure offers from people who have never viewed the venue in person.
Plans are now already underway to create another Virtual Visit for the new and upcoming CRL building, located on Blythe Road.