Exhibition World Issue 2 — 2020 - Page 28

Stand design Image: The exhibition is about how What kind of trends should we be looking for this year in Exhibition Stand Design? Sustainability in supply chains is becoming the baseline standard. It has to be at the absolute core of how we’re approaching things and I’m talking about the simplest level using carpet tiles as you see in an office every day instead of sheet carpet, using recycled walls, using trussing and systems that we can design in a slightly different way and still have a great effect, but actually everything then goes back into the supply chain. How much of a two-way street is this education piece? Do you learn from clients as well? Massively. Our job is to respond to helping them tell their story to their target, customer or community. That’s our job. And that audience is evolving and changing. It’s absolutely about innovative brands, immersion and experience. If we don’t have to ship it, we can get it built locally; if we can manage graphic production in country and also we can take some innovation, technology or fresh ideas into that community, then that’s fantastic. A lot of our high innovation clients are moving into new markets and often those don’t Image: It’s all about immersion and experience, says M’s John Young 28 Issue 2 2020 the customer or visitor is ‘invited’ have the exhibition facilities that we’d expect. So, we’re looking at local capabilities to support the welfare of teams that are going there and then also how we can approach it in a sustainable way. It would be crazy to go into a market or a temporary structure, often just with carpets on a piece of ground, and build something that looks like it’s come from outer space. We want to make sure that design is appropriate for the market and is deliverable in market. How much of your work abroad is plug and play and where do you need representation? A lot is plug and play. It is about working as a community. We have set up an infrastructure with good suppliers and partners who can really support us with local knowledge, be that in Saudi Arabia or in Central or South America. We were in Belarus recently working with a local partner agency that understands the local culture so that we could design and deliver something that really represented the UK and The Department of International Trade. That project delivered for the local town, too. Can you pick out some great innovation you’re seeing now? I’m seeing a lot within the fashion industry. It’s the whole process - changing from a sustainability perspective, but also how it promotes its live shows. Its catwalks are becoming environments and experiences and there is much looking at how we can make the emotion of the experience reach the audience. We want them to touch and feel it so that they get a connection with a brand or with a product or stories. We’re not treating it as architecture. We’re treating it as a true emotional and immersive journey. We also now see e-sports coming into the market and that is moving now into experiences within live events and exhibitions. That whole edu-tainment, info-tainment approach is gathering pace. What about trends in the relationship between an agency and a client? We work within very stringent brand guidelines. People often forget the whole exhibition is actually how the customer or visitor is invited, what they experience on the journey, never mind how we capture that experience and follow it up. We need to remember that when we talk to a client who’s quite rigid and maybe has ideas for the space. We can think outside of that and talk about the complete journey around the exhibition itself. It’s not just about the arrival at the door of the stand. Do exhibitions get the status they deserve versus other marketing channels? Suddenly we’re hearing clients realising that one-on-one conversation is absolutely fundamental. Look at brands like Salesforce that run their huge live, interactive events with their customers and other brands that are really thinking about how exhibitions play a key role in their strategic marketing. It needs to continue to be pushed. The clients are asking where the exhibitions are. Our job is to make that part of the overall marketing. What we don’t have, however, are really good measurement metrics. We have footfall and we have user experiences. This is why digital plays into the role of putting some real measurement into what tradeshows and exhibitions can deliver because the outcome is phenomenal. While we might be seeing 20,000-80,000 people in a show, the absolute impact and the return on investment for Xerox, at such a show is actually in sales of multi-millions. w w w.exhibitionworld.co.uk