Exhibition World Issue 2 — 2019 - Page 36

Cover feature Aligning the message? Organisers from Venus and design agencies from Mars? It was standing room only at International Confex, Olympia London, recently for a discussion on whether organisers, stand design agencies and their clients are speaking the same language oes anyone in your organisation have a meaningful conversation about what the brand is about with an organiser? This was panel Chair Simon Burton’s opening question to the two organisers and two agency representatives assembled to discuss the future of stand design at International Confex. Design and event management agency Ignition’s CEO Samantha Rowe answered with the ‘C’ word: the need for ’Collaboration’. “The biggest issue between stand companies and organisers is the collaboration and communication about what should happen pre-event, post-event and creating some kind of face time where we can get everyone together to discuss what objectives are for events.” M-is agency’s John Young was blunt in his answer to Burton’s next question: “Are you regularly engaged with organisers?” – “No”. Elaborating somewhat, Young, whose agency has worked with brands such as Philips and Bae Systems, added: “There is a view that designers over-design, stand builders take too long, while organisers cut build up times; actually the attention is very much focused on the exhibitor 36 Issue 2 2019 while it is the customer we are all trying to service. “Face to face and exhibiting is one of these brands’ biggest marketing spends, so we need to work together to make the most of that and we’re not doing it well enough as an industry.” ITE Group’s Baris Onay noted, tongue-in-cheek there was plenty of communication around Health & Safety standards and build up times. “We’re missing a trick, however,” he said, “in creating value for the customer from both ends.” Neither organisers nor design companies are properly sharing with the stand and design companies their knowledge of the customer.” “What agencies hear about what clients experience could be hugely useful to organisers,” Burton added. Onay acknowledged the Panel: Chair: Simon Burton; John Young, Executive Creative Director of M-is agency; Samantha Rowe CEO Ignition DG; Lori Hoinkes Fresh Montgomery MD; Baris Onay Group Marketing and Digital Director ITE Group relationship between the client and the stand design company was a more open one than with organisers. Burton asked Fresh Montgomery’s MD Lori Hoinkes, a relative newcomer to the industry, what her first impressions were, when she walked her own show floors for the first time, of the environment and the architecture? “Some tradeshows are underwhelming and there is clearly a big opportunity we are missing. What struck me the most was who in the organisation is talking. We have an Ops department and tell them the vision and then they go and talk to the stand contractor. Things can get lost in translation. “We try to sit all of the people in the room together, so you can hear from the person who is really excited about the vision we are trying to achieve.” Hoinkes also believed sales personnel needed to get out of the mindset of ‘I’ve got the sale, I’m off to call the next person’. “We need to coach them and get them thinking about delivering excellent customer service to the exhibitor.” Young said it was time to change the jargon, too, such as classic talk of 10 x 8s, etc. Burton picked up the theme, asking whether one of the main challenges was, in fact, the industry’s ‘nomenclature’? “We know what an organiser is, but we struggle to describe what a ‘contractor’ is?” he said. “Do we even use the word?” he asked. “Unfortunately, the industry has this legacy and an old fashioned feel to it, with old school production houses and the feel of carpenters w w w.exhibitionworld.co.uk