What can a virtual office do? Birmingham’s Luckie & Co. is finding out

Birmingham marketing agency Luckie & Co. just opened its new 15,000-square-foot headquarters in downtown Birmingham, and completed an expansion of its Atlanta office – replanting its flag in two sizeable Southern metros.

But its newest office is also open, in a still-growing, somewhat lawless territory with a promising but uncertain future – the Metaverse. And the agency has big plans by already having real estate where the future of business and ecommerce might be headed.

Imagine in a decade, for example, a brainstorming session involving participants all over the world, firing out ideas for a virtual whiteboard. But instead of staring at a bunch of flat images on a Zoom screen – and waiting for someone to unmute themselves – you instead feel as though you’re all in the same room. That could be possible through the use of virtual reality, using headsets or projected images, or augmented reality, where the real world is enhanced by computer generated images.

“I think we’re headed to that place as the technology matures and the virtual and augmented reality spaces become more mainstream,” said Fred Schank, Luckie’s chief experience officer.

Luckie has opened its first virtual office on the Decentraland platform – a 3-D web browser-based virtual platform. The office’s first floor is accessible to any visitor on the platform, where one can see a gallery of NFTs- those unique tech-created tradeable artworks – created by Luckie’s team for clients such as Regions Bank, Alabama Power and the U.S. Civil Rights Trail.

Atop the virtual building is the firm’s clover logo, with an “open air” design inside. The upper floors of the virtual building will be used for presentations and virtual gatherings with employees or clients.

How will that work? “We’ll parallel with events in the physical office with some livestreaming versions in the virtual office,” Schank said. “Even if you’re not in Atlanta or Birmingham, you can participate in the virtual space, if you’re not able to attend.”

When you build an office in the real world, you need land. Then you need an architect, who designs the building with an eye toward zoning requirements and practical needs. Virtual space is similar, as you have to purchase it, with limits on how much space you have have.

Schank said the agency’s Brand Experience and Creative teams helped design the building, down to creating a 3D model.

Some of this might sound improbable to some, “pie in the sky” to others. But concepts like virtual and augmented reality have been around for more than a decade. Schank compared it to the QR code – technology that was around for a while before the pandemic taught everyone to download their restaurant’s menu.

Schank said that there are still many mysteries on how the virtual world will impact real world businesses. Some of that depends on technology, and some depends on flesh and blood humans.

“The two fundamentals are – what is the value to the consumer from a brand execution standpoint, and is there scale?” he said. “We haven’t gotten to a place in the Metaverse where there’s scale, and we haven’t hit on all the benefits from the consumer’s perspective. But there are hints about where that’s going to come come from.”

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