Exhibitions and events are often compared to intricate military manoeuvres in terms of strategy and logistics. Sometimes it can certainly feel it for Marketing and Event Managers when the pressure’s on to deliver impactful, ‘stand-out-from-the-crowd’ brand experiences every year – with ever-squeezed budgets!
Written by Dan Mason.
Experienced event people are well-versed in trying to satisfy an eager CMO’s brand marketing requirements as well as the CFO’s demands to cut costs.
Similar to a meticulously planned military operation, the answer lies in planning. Not just any planning. Long-term planning. But this is often at odds with the tactical needs and demands of dynamic global businesses, which work to year by year profit reporting and shorter-term shareholder satisfaction. This is especially true for fast-moving sectors such as technology and consumer electronics.
An effective agency/client relationship combined with a long-term flexible, modular exhibition and event strategy that doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel every year can be a critical weapon in solving this quandary. Here are five reasons why this approach works so well:
Improve and evolve Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. The first time a stand is designed and built always reveals shortcomings – no matter how great the agency or client. But when lessons are learnt, exponentially huge advances and improvements are made in subsequent installations and visitor experiences. Never underestimate the value of a re-install. All the best inventions are based on incrementally improved prototypes.
A brand new stand every year isn’t necessarily the right direction to take, despite pressure on Event Managers to ‘think differently’ and/or the desire of new personnel to ‘put their own stamp’ on things. Taking a more consistent approach to presenting a brand’s identity can actually improve brand recognition amongst visitors.
“If we go to tender, we’ll save money!” This is quite possibly the biggest myth in the industry. Running a tender process is labour intensive, often undermines the agency/client relationship, and doesn’t always yield great results. Time – a client’s most precious and rare resource – is expelled in the pitch process. Our 10-year relationship delivering HSBC’s global exhibition programme is testament that a considered long-term strategy is efficient and cost-effective when goals and budgets are agreed in advance.
This is the elephant in the room. Simply put, the exhibition and events industry is wasteful. For many brand experiences, a recycled/upcycled look can be a brilliantly effective brand fit. But the inconvenient truth is that environmental concerns often take a back seat to the need for impact, interactivity and sophistication. Not to mention budget considerations. The answer is to re-use. A multi-year booth strategy with a clever, effective initial investment and storage agreement is the best possible route to exhibiting more sustainably.
Refresh, refresh, refresh
Boredom is a very real consideration when it comes to a re-usable stand strategy. But it’s usually the client’s boredom, not that of the visitor. The answer is an overarching design solution that yields all the benefits of re-use, but that also allows flexibility in elements such as colour, materials, printed graphics, motion graphics, modular furniture design, AV solutions or theatrical lighting. Cutting edge technology and techniques allow the experience to be completely overhauled to look and feel very different.
2LK’s award-wining relationship with Intel, spanning more than 23 years, is proof positive that a trusted agency/client relationship that focuses on long-term planning, with agreed budgets and objectives, reaps benefits to all parties involved.