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Sensory Experiences: How communications professionals are using VR and AR technologies for engagement and storytelling

presented by the PRSA-NCC Professional Development Committee
September 14, 2017 - 8:00am to 10:00am

Online registration is now closed for this event.  Please plan to register at the door.

8:00-8:30 am - Networking, registration, continental breakfast
8:30-10:00 am - Program & Q&A


Whether it is brand advocacy or political advocacy, compelling consumers or voters to action is becoming a more sophisticated practice including advanced sensory experiences. Hear from industry experts on how some organizations are persuasively leveraging virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies to appeal to the senses - taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight. Costs for virtual reality and augmented reality experiences have moderated and more vendors are offering this emerging experiential communications phenomenon. Join us for this first of its kind communications workshop in the Washington, D.C. area.

Participants will learn:

  1. How organizations are successfully using new tactics to appeal to the senses of key influencers and policy makers to offer them a “genuine” experience from VR site visits to tasting tacos during a Capitol Hill fly-in.
  2. How leading brands are using sensory tactics to advertise, promote brand awareness and influence consumer purchasing habits.
  3. How VR and AR technologies are becoming common tools of the trade from real estate to political campaigns and anything in between.
  4. Ways you and your organization might utilize VR and/or AR to enhance your communications and advocacy campaigns.


  • Joshua Habrusky, director of advocacy, Independent Community Bankers of America, and founder and chairman, Grassroots Professional Network
  • Geah Pressgrove, Ph.D., assistant professor, Reed College of Media, West Virginia University
  • Ray Soto, design director of emerging technologies, USA Today Network
  • Meg Bartow, senior vice president/director of public and risk communication, Ogilvy Washington
  • Kai Fang, EVP/executive creative director, Ogilvy Washington

Location Sponsor:
U.S. Navy Memorial's Naval Heritage Center
701 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20004.

PMI garage, 875 D St. NW, for $8 w/validation from Navy Memorial Bookstore

Cost (includes continental breakfast)
$35 PRSA, WWPR and BPRS members
$60 non-members
$10 students/retirees
$10 additional the door

About our Panelists

Joshua Habursky is the director of advocacy at the Independent Community Bankers of America and the founder/chairman of the Grassroots Professional Network. Habursky is a frequent presenter and writer on advocacy communications topics and an adjunct professor at the Reed College of Media at West Virginia University teaching strategic communications courses. Habursky holds a MA in American Government from Georgetown University and a BA in Political Science and History from Washington & Jefferson College and is pursuing a Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. You can find him on Twitter at @JoshuaHabursky.

Geah Pressgrove is an assistant professor at West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media, where her research examines the organization-public relationship paradigm primarily in the nonprofit, corporate social responsibility, community and political contexts. For the past year, Geah has been exploring the role of immersive storytelling (e.g., VR, AR, 360) in cause-marketing as part of a collaboration with industry thought leaders, researchers and students.  In her presentation, she will share what she has learned including when and how to use these techniques, opportunities for developing production partnerships, and tips for engaging audiences. She will also provide examples of how the WVU Reed College of Media is helping communities tell their stories and spur support to rebuild after devastating thousand-year flooding. You can find her on Twiter at @GeahPressgrove.

Ray Soto is the design director of emerging technologies at USA TODAY NETWORK. With a passion for visual storytelling and a background in the video game industry, he is focused on developing virtual and augmented reality experiences and to revolutionizing storytelling with emerging technologies. Ray has been instrumental in positioning the USA TODAY NETWORK as the largest group of experiential storytellers within the media industry. You can find him on Twitter at @RaySotoVR.

Meg Bartow brings more than 17 years of experience to Ogilvy specializing in integrated marketing strategy and design, issues and crisis management, behavioral science, and social change marketing programs for government agencies and associations. Meg leads Ogilvy’s community engagement offering out of the Washington, DC office.  Since 2004, she has directed Ogilvy’s support of FEMA’s Mitigation division leading integrated marketing efforts for the National Flood Insurance Program and Risk MAP programs. Meg developed and is Chair of Resilience Action Partners, an Ogilvy Joint Venture with Michael Baker International to support FEMA’s to drive to risk identification and community resilience nationally. As part of this effort, Ogilvy designed a Virtual Reality experience, IMMERSED, that connects users to the reality and impact of flooding.

Kai Fang recently joined the Ogilvy Washington office in 2015 to lead a world-class, award-winning creative department and spark a creative renaissance at one of DC’s premiere PR-led agencies. He is responsible for setting the creative tone and maintaining the standard and quality of the creative work across the office. With nearly two decades of agency experience developing digital and traditional communications for both Fortune 500 companies and leading advocacy groups across the country, Kai specializes in developing compelling content that engages audiences. In the DC office, Kai is leading the current digital initiatives for the SAP National Security website and FEMA’s augmented reality experience, helping American’s visualize flood risk in an innovative new way.