At first glance, it may appear strange that the executive director of an eventing company is offering an opinion on the exhibition industry. However, the reasoning is in fact fairly straightforward: as the lines in the traditional marketing mix have become blurred, exhibitions have increasingly been integrated into the overall solution - with great results.
At Eventworx, we often find ourselves working on behalf of a corporate brand to exploit a sponsorship around an event that has multiple touch points - from destination management, guest hospitality, content creation and brand activation - that includes the need for an innovative exhibition solution as part of the package.
Partner for Perfection
The secret lies in our partnership model: to build the best possible solution we will work with stand designers and builders, sophisticated technical solution providers and content creators to bring the material to life. It is crucial that what we do on the exhibition stand is integrated into (and is relevant) to the other touch points for the campaign. As a result, the exhibition stand is an important part of our tool kit as Event Architects.
For example, we recently came up with a solution for the Standard Bank Corporate and Investment Banking Division's sponsorship of the IMN Conference hosted in Cape Town in late 2011. To meet the client's multi-layered objectives, the exhibition solution combined the stand design and building skills of Scan Display, a multi-screen digital wall supplied and managed by Gearhouse, and a custom developed blend of content from the client's advertising agencies. Collectively, the solution allowed for the stand to be very dynamic, (changing themes) and focused to suit the agenda. It was also suited to Standard Bank's achievements as they related to the content of the conference. By combining the exhibition solution with social media tools driven from customised iPads, the stand became an interactive and highly engaging space for visitors - allowing them to 'grab' select images and content.
Tablets, internet access, social media tools, touch screen technology and sophisticated multi-screen digital walls are now a major element of exhibition solutions. If used and combined correctly, digital platforms enable a presentation to be far more dynamic from a content delivery perspective, and much more interactive - allowing visitors to control the content they wish to view and 'pull' it down for their own use. As a result, exhibitions are increasingly focused on the visitors' needs rather than the host's desire to aggressively push certain content onto them.
Having designed and installed an exhibition solution at the recent COP17 event hosted in Durban late last year, Eventworx had the chance to see developments in 'greening' the industry. Constructing a stand almost exclusively with 'green' materials did pose some challenges, but it is definitely possible. Electricity credits can be acquired from 'off-grid' suppliers, structures can be crafted from sustainable materials, paints and adhesives with minimal chemical content are available, and lighting can be supplied via energy efficient LED products. In addition, newer screens have low power settings to significantly reduce their energy consumption, not to mention using products like glass allows for re-cycling after the event. So for those in the industry who are committed to a greener, cleaner future, the materials are becoming increasingly accessible, affordable and technologically advanced.
By taking a collaborative, partner-driven approach to designing exhibitions, and integrating highly interactive digital platforms into every solution, exhibitions can become a major attraction and central feature of every event.
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