Exhibition World Issue 2 — 2020 - Page 27

Stand design Dial M for sustainable stories EW editor Paul Colston meets John Young, Creative Director at international agency M, to hear his views on developments in stand design and the threat from coronavirus iven that M’s design and consultancy business is global, what has Covid-19 meant for the business to date? It’s important to be responsive and agile and reactive to this. With about 85% of our work being international, a lot of our clients are using the word ‘postpone’ at the moment and talking about how to look at different ways of going to market. You seem geared up for all sorts of digital and virtual solutions? This is why we’re meeting today in our virtual suite. We are now having to do what we’ve been doing with our clients for a number of years, which is look how we transform as the market changes. Our industry hast to do that. Four years ago we talked about this with Xerox and the Ministry of Sound, about how music had moved through the digital age and transformed. And Xerox was in a print industry moving through the digital age and transforming. I think the exhibition industry’s got to do the same. The value of face to face won’t go away and where digital really plays a role is how it complements that, and for those people that can’t reach a live event or an exhibition at any particular point, they can take part in it completely through digital engagement. But all of our clients still say face to face is so important. Have the postponements you alluded to made your job more difficult when you look at the calendar? w w w.exhibitionworld.co.uk Absolutely. There are two elements to this about how we bridge with personnel and timings, and also the business side of it. But we must also be thinking about how we plan so that we can manage the end of year calendar. There’s time now to really plan and still deliver on all of those projects. We have an awful lot of manufactured material in stock and ready to go. How have you dealt with the challenge of moving your teams around? It’s interesting. Let’s talk about sustainability. Something we’ve been doing through the history of M is really thinking about and working with local supply chains, local teams in a region and then complementing that with our staff. We’re putting much more focus on looking at local communities and local supply chain. This year’s World Exhibition Stand Awards (WESA) finalists were recently announced at EuroShop in Dusseldorf. The full list of finalists can be found on the EW website. Winners for 2020 will be announced on 8 June. Above: John Young, Creative Director at international agency M Below: Will we be judged later on the value of what we do and how we behave in this situation? Yes. It is not just large agencies like ourselves with people all around the world, all of us need to get together as a group and look at how we can make this situation work. We must look as a community and as an industry how we can change the way that we work in the future. Looking at how that works inter-agency and inter-supply chain is key. One of the key things we’ve seen is what we call innovation showcases within corporate headquarters and galleries. Instead of taking an exhibition space, we can transfer that same asset into a permanent M design: An English country garden in...Beijing location where one-on-one meetings with customers can still happen. That same asset can then go back into the exhibition programme. M won the show Gold Award and Best Award overall for the British Pavilion and Garden at Beijing Expo 2019, part of a huge project for government and involving artists, designers, horticulturalists and other suppliers. Actually, that installation stayed and has become a permanent garden that’s used for local people to go and enjoy. It was also enjoyed online with one and a half billion views, likes and hits across that whole social media spectrum. Not only was it a great face-to-face event, it reached the worldwide community. There’s Expo doing its great thing with many of those people unable to visit Britain in person, that’s the next best thing. What does it mean to you to be a 2020 Finalist in the World Exhibition Stand Awards? Fabulous, as we’ve only recently started to apply for awards. Clients have always been delighted with them! Seeing the response to winning awards and applying what these awards are doing within the exhibition environments, is of great value. There have always been show awards, but to have a worldwide awards programme really is very important. Issue 2 2020 27