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London Games Festival, a new annual event to celebrate the games industry’s huge cultural and economic impact right here in London, hosted a Virtual Reality Summit this week.

I was on the ground listening to speakers talk about all things VR – everything from how games, film and VFX collide, to how developers work behind the scenes to create amazing VR, to the challenges we face with the ever-growing VR market.

Here are my five key takeaways from the first ever London Games Festival VR Summit:

VR is big business – and will get bigger

More than $250million was invested in software alone from VCs to the VR industry in 2015. China is a market to watch as its games market is already worth 22 billion dollars, and large Chinese companies are getting in on the VR game which we will be able to tap into. However, VR brands and companies need to think about the end experience. People will only spend money in VR if it’s on things they care as much about as the things they have in real life.

The industry must learn to share

The idea that developers must share ideas for the VR industry to progress was a key theme. “People who go it alone will fail”, states Sam Gage from previsualization company The Third Floor. People working in VR should even consider sharing their data online for those in the community to help improve on their work; solving problems that they themselves missed.

We can solve VR sickness

Queasiness is still a problem for some VR users, but there are ways this can be controlled with session length, reduced lag and expectation managing. Matthew Newcombe at Ustwo explained how when making Land’s End it was key is for the player to transport to their destination with intuitive “gaze points”. VR should feel comfortable and autonomous, as though if you want to go somewhere you can, but with gentle encouragement to stay within the right space (just as players solve puzzles in a cylinder shape in Land’s End).

Matthew Newcombe from Ustwo speaking honestly about VR development at the VR Summit

Matthew Newcombe from Ustwo speaking honestly about VR development at the VR Summit

VR is still in its infancy

NVIDIA’s Phil Scott argued that VR is not a revolution, but the start of an evolution. We haven’t had the “Mario 64” moment yet – the culturally defining peak that people resonate with. While the Sci Fi London Film Festival shared a rather dark video about how the layers of VR reality could affect us, others warned that we need to nail the basics of VR before getting too ambitious, lamented over the possibility of a VR system untethered from wires, and imagined a new kind of shared, social VR experience.

The quiet renaissance

One of the final thoughts of the day came from Herman Narula, CEO at Improbable. He talked of a subtle shift in the industry – a quiet renaissance in VR, a new freedom in making the game world come to life. VR demands new ways of telling stories from developers. Just as NVIDIA’s Everest demo is hailed as a great example of how VR can convey real experiences, developers are now having to rethink how gamers experience a narrative – how VR as a new medium can tell stories in a new language, and for a potentially new audience.

For those of you keen to explore other VR events on offer, why not head over to Bristol’s VR World Congress next week, Storytelling in VR on 26 April or VRX in London next month, to name a few.

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By Dynamo Team
Categories: Events, Gaming, VR

This was my first year attending CES, and as a PR who has previously helped clients plan for the show, I had heard all kinds of stories from people about the madness of CES. It definitely didn’t disappoint. CES 2016 was bigger than ever; more than 170,000 attendees (a stat provided by a very knowledgeable cabbie), a huge amount of automotive tech announcements, and a generous helping of virtual reality demos (including this).

Four Dynamos in total attended the show, and I was lucky enough to be front and centre on the booth of our client, Jide Technology, showing off Remix OS. For those who have never been or for those who are interested, here are a few tips/tricks/stories of how we survived and made a success of CES 2016.

Ellen, Senior Account Manager

Flat(ish) shoes, lip balm and Diet Coke – these are probably the most important things for me, in that order, whilst at CES. The show is spread out over several locations including the main convention centre and The Sands which is adjoined to The Venetian Hotel. You’ll be doing A LOT of walking over the three days of the show hence the flat(ish) shoes, and thanks to the air conditioning and desert air expect your skin to dry out so stock up on lip balm and moisturiser. The Diet Coke is because I don’t drink coffee and I need some caffeine after the long days and nights.

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Other than that, I find it really useful to have plenty of time with the client, in this case NEEO, before the show kicks off so that they are comfortable with exactly what is going on, when and where. If your client doesn’t have a booth at CES but still wants to attend, I’d definitely recommend exhibiting at events like ShowStoppers or Pepcom within CES.

Finally, make sure you find the time to have fun and explore Vegas! CES can be intense so make the most of being in Las Vegas and check out the many hotels and shows.

Heather, Vice President of North America

Ellen’s definitely right about the chap stick, and as my Mom would say, make sure you drink lots of water. Again, this comes back to CES being held in the middle of the desert, and although you might have had a big night before, it’s likely dehydration that is causing the headache.

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About that big night before… it’s probably best if you try not to book briefings in the morning and also encourage your client to keep important business meetings for the afternoon. The likelihood of someone not turning up is very high while at CES, both because of big sponsored parties and late nights working.

Paul, Co-Founder and Co-CEO

During the day at the show, forget about sending any emails. If you’re trying to get in touch with someone, use an app like WeChat or WhatsApp – chances are most people use either one of these. Towards the end of the show, expect many meetings to be at best tired, at worst people simply won’t turn up so do take into your planning no-shows.

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Owen, Senior Account Executive

Preparation is always a key part of supporting a client who is attending CES and setting up journalist briefings in advance is one part of that. Though it’s not until you’ve waited in line for a taxi or shuttle bus for 30 minutes and ran to your next client meeting that you realise appointments quickly go out the window. Add this to the huge space that CES controls across Las Vegas and you’re left with a jumbled schedule. The key? Be flexible, and make sure your client can be too. If that fails, there’s always the excellent Monorail:

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Oh and although phone signal is generally non-existent in the convention centres, bring a portable battery with you for those times when you are able to connect to free hotel Wi-Fi.

All in all, CES 2016 was a fantastic event to attend. It was a great opportunity to finally meet an international client whom I’d been working with for some time, to speak to a huge number of journalists, and to see some of the industry’s latest and greatest products.

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By Dynamo Team

It’s been an incredible and fun year at Dynamo PR.

Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve been up to over the last 12 months…

We hosted the world’s first micro-pig picnic this summer for Yelp

On the theme of animals, Bathrooms.com launched a nationwide search for a duckling bath tester:

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We raised more than $20 million for 40 crowdfunding projects, including Neeo’s smart remote smashing $1.5m on Kickstarter earlier this year:

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AttractionTix.co.uk answered the question for you CanIBringMySelfiestick.com:

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We took to the red carpet to launch the Electric Jukebox at BAFTA with Alesha:

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And to top it off, we climbed Everest with NVIDA showcasing their GeForce technology at an intimate virtual reality event:

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Fancy being in our round up next year? Just drop us a line and who knows what could happen.

Ellen Powell-Chandler
By Ellen Powell-Chandler

We’re delighted to announce our latest client, Canonical. We’ll be working with them to bring Ubuntu, one of the biggest names in open source software, to a wider audience.

The leading OS for PC, tablet, phone and cloud, Ubuntu’s open source software platform is used in consumer and B2B areas. Often used as an alternative operating system to Windows or Mac, Ubuntu is the world’s most popular open source OS for both development and deployment, from the data centre to the cloud.

Dynamo will advise on events and opportunities that highlight Ubuntu’s many use cases to a consumer audience and focus on expanding awareness of the number of different platforms it runs on.

Caroline Tarbett, PR and AR Manager at Canonical, said:
“We picked Dynamo because they nailed our brief, understood our challenges and most closely match us in terms of culture and outlook. We have a huge opportunity to bring the Ubuntu brand to a broader community of consumers and Dynamo is the agency best suited to help us achieve this.”

Paul Cockerton
By Paul Cockerton

The Holmes report has just published the fourth edition of its creative index of PR companies worldwide, ranking Dynamo third in the world when adjusted for headcount.

We’re of course delighted by this ranking, reflecting the effort we put into our clients work in the belief that a thoughtful, creative approach to everything we do underpins outstanding results.

If you’re looking for a creative PR company that can create some magical results for you, get in touch. We’re a rapidly growing agency with staff based in Europe and North America. If you’re looking for a job, then check out current vacancies, but we’re always open to random approaches.

The Global Creative Index analyses entries and winners from more than 25 PR award programmes from around the world, over a 12 month period, using the 2015 Cannes Lions as a cut-off point. Scores were weighted according to a Holmes Report formula that placed particular emphasis on Best of Show winners.

Paul Cockerton
By Paul Cockerton
Categories: Awards, Knowledge

At Tuesday’s PR Week Awards we won Best Use of a Small Budget for our ‘Sweetest mistake’ campaign, for Bathrooms.com.

Having been de-indexed by Google, Bathrooms.com’s site didn’t even show up when ‘bathrooms’ was typed into the search engine.  So, how do you create a PR campaign that reaches the target audience of young couples and can turn things around with Google?

Analysing Google trends and Google Analytics data, we discovered that millions were incorrectly spelling “bathroom suites” as “bathroom sweets”.  From this insight the idea to sell a chocolate bathroom suite was born to highlight the confusion over the spelling in a quirky and unique way, launched at a media event.

Nominated alongside Ladbrokes, Poker Stars, Borough Market and the Cervical Cancer Trust, PR Week Awards judge Tara O’Donnell (Text100) commented that our winning campaign was “Very clever, creative and measurable. Good use of percentage insight”.

We were also nominated for Specialist Consultancy of the Year and Small Consultancy of the Year, which we received High Commendations for both.

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By Dynamo Team
Categories: Awards

Today in PRWeek we’ve been quoted responding to questions about pay differentials in companies, following Government consultation about large companies publishing their gender pay gap in 2016.

It’s actually something that we’ve been looking at for a while here in Dynamo. When we launched the company in 2011, we wanted to create an amazing workplace where staff are valued, and paid, for their contribution to the company and its clients, according to their skills and expertise. Their sex, colour, gender, orientation or beliefs have no place in any salary negotiation, nor discussion and assessing promotion.

As owners of a rapidly growing business, we appreciate the strains and pressures that come with fast employee hires, but it’s good to check from time to time that despite this one continues to follow key principles – and in this place ensuring there’s no gender pay gap within a company.

So earlier this year, reading about the measures the Government wants to introduce, Dynamo decided to check our gender pay differentials, to make sure that we’re following best practice. Our leadership team (comprised 50% men / 50% women) were pleased with the two key results, that we publish here:

“Comparing like for like, in any particular job title role, on average men salaries are 0.5% higher than women’s salaries at Dynamo PR”

This doesn’t necessarily indicate bias as within any particular job title role as each role has a salary band, and within each band staff are at different levels. As long as male staff are slightly more experienced than female staff in each job title this is an acceptable figure.

“Overall, women’s salaries are 17% higher than male salaries”

This would normally indicate a significant bias towards pay for women, however we do currently have overall more women in senior roles than men, and given the near parity of salaries within job titles this is acceptable.

Why do these figures matter? We believe it doesn’t matter what you say, it’s what you do that counts. And this is just one measure of our having a great workplace environment where staff are rewarded for the right things, and making sure that bias and discrimination has no place in our company. Sure, we’ve won awards for being the best small PR company, and the best PR company to work for, but as we grow we’ll always regularly check key measures to ensure we’re growing appropriately.

And as we grow, there’s always more to learn, and develop, and achieve. As a male owned company, we’ve also been following with interest the UN #HeForShe gender equality campaign. This of course has a much wider remit than pay within small companies like ours, but none-the-less Peter Bowles and I, as the male owners and co-founders of Dynamo, fully support, and will continue to take positive action against gender discrimination.

Let us know your thoughts below, alternatively you can chat to us on Twitter or Facebook.

Paul Cockerton
By Paul Cockerton
Categories: Comment, Culture, Knowledge