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Immersive experiences are the future of branded experiences and brand events

Once upon a time, brand experience meant little more than handing out some branded lollies, using models dressed up in branded tees, or talking to customers about the brand by telling a quick story.

However, with increasingly demanding consumers in an increasingly crowded marketplace, that’s simply not enough any more. Consumers are demanding more from their favourite brands – they’re happy to let brands into their lives but want to be rewarded with unique and special experiences.

With technology helping brands take their consumers on a more interactive and engaging journey, the marketing process has ramped up a notch. And, as the global augmented reality market is expected to grow to a whopping US$117.40 billion by 2022, as per estimates released by MarketResearch.com, immersive experiences are expected to become increasingly powerful.

So we have what marketers and experiential agencies are calling ‘the immersive experience’. It’s next level experiential and greys the lines between reality and fantasy. For years, marketers have been delivering compelling customer experiences, but now they add technology and the internet to deliver Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality experiences where the brand takes over the entire customer environment. Print media, television and the internet provide a two-dimensional experience. An immersive experience gives the audience a sense of actual presence, which completely transforms the experience. Consumers become a part of the environment with the ability to react to events they encounter.

Virtual Reality Experience

Much of this new focus is fueled by Millennials, who give preference to experiences over products, according to an article in Business.com. They spend money on experience-related purchases. This has driven the experience economy, and brands are increasingly focused on turning ordinary products into experiences so they remain interesting and relevant to a new set of consumers.

Being bombarded with advertisements used to be a way to cut through but people have learned the art of avoiding them. We seem to have developed a ’built-in Adblock’, says an article by ScribbleLive. Immersive storytelling offers something novel and lets one develop unique stories and environments to attract and engage prospective customers.

Let’s take a look at some recent examples to demonstrate how an immersive experience can be different. 

Mamma Mia! The Party

The world of Mamma Mia! delighted yet another set of viewers over the summer with the release of Here We Go Again. Now, that world has been recreated in none other than London’s vast O2 arena. Adapted by Sandy Toksvig, Mamma Mia! The Party invites participants to step into an island paradise, eat top-notch Mediterranean food and listen to live performances of all the best ABBA numbers. It brings the films to life and allows people to actually spend an evening within the movie itself, almost.

Immersive Experience
Source: Mamma Mia – Immersive Experience

Refinery29: 29Rooms

For about three years now, lifestyle brand Refinery29 has hosted the 29Rooms event: what it calls ‘an interactive funhouse of style, culture, & technology’. As the name suggests, it consists of 29 individually branded and curated rooms – and attendees can experience something different in each one. The rooms are designed and created with brand partners, who range from personalities like artists and musicians to consumer-facing companies like Dunkin’ Donuts, Dyson, and Cadillac.

Immersive Experience
Source: 29 Rooms – Immersive Experience

Each year, 29Rooms has a different theme, with this year’s being Turn It Into Art. Attendees, it seems, are encouraged to enter each room and use the surroundings to create something – one room, for instance, invites participants to put on punching gloves and hit punching bags that each produce a different sound when contacted to create a symphony of sorts. Take a look at the video HERE

Converse One Star Hotel

The Converse ‘One Star Hotel’, executed with high production value, saw Converse create a two day pop up in Shoreditch, London. The hotel focused on presenting an engaging line up of fashion, music, sneaker and skate experiences for Converse’s audience and influencers. The activation was an ‘Instagram playground’ and brought the Converse story alive for the highly engaged Gen Z target audience, increasing the brand’s overall reach and effectiveness through UGC (user-generated content).

Every touchpoint of the experience was highly considered and played up to their rebellious personality. But importantly, their products sat at the heart of the activation, with sneakers influencing rooms with their style, usage and colour.

Source: Pinterest – Converse One Star Hotel

If you are looking to create a consumer experience and need some help with display and event production, we would love to hear from you. Please give us a call on 1300 240 250 or contact us HERE.

What do you want to get out of exhibiting?

Are you planning to show your business at an exhibition or event? It’s a brave step and certainly not one for the foolhardy. Take a moment and think about it – is your business really ready?

Exhibition objectives - Brandstand

Before you even think about selecting banners or putting together any marketing material, you need to identify your exhibition objectives. This is where you take a step back and think about the results you want to accomplish at the end of the trade show or exhibition. Write them down, keep them to hand, and ensure you refer back to them at the end as part of your measurement and success criteria. Perhaps you want to meet new partners? Attract more leads? Generate media attention? Raise awareness? Launch a new product/service?

Whatever the objective, understanding your goals is key – not only to the success of the exhibition, but also to keep you and your team on track throughout.

Why is it important to set exhibition objectives?

Setting exhibition objectives delivers focus and ensures everyone understands why you are at the exhibition in the first place! It defines your purpose and helps determine the outcome of your event. Most importantly, it helps avoid wasting valuable resources – like time and money. A good understanding of this is crucial in order to predict and effectively measure your exhibition’s success.

How to identify your exhibition’s main objective:

Here are 5 of the most common exhibition objectives:

#1. Get NEW Customers

This has to be one of the most common objectives and is often the key reason to attend an exhibition. Face-to-face selling, or the ‘art of conversational selling’, is still one of the most effective ways to sell a product or service. The personal touch has all kinds of advantages over mass medium channels like email, TV, print and even online marketing. The logic is simple. When face-to face with a prospect, salespeople can easily read reactions in real time. Prospects can ask questions and the salesperson can answer and address any objections about a product or service as soon as they are raised. This forms a connection between the brand and the prospect in a way that opens doors for further communication.

If you want to make this your exhibition goal, then you will need to create some pre-exhibition awareness to make the most of the event. This can include things like:

– Leveraging your social media channels by making announcements that you’re going to participate in a trade show.

– Send emails or personalised invitations to people you think might be interested in your service or product.

– You can also even place ads in relevant websites or magazines to get more people interested and talking about it.

Make sure your team is suitable for the purpose – do you have the right staff on the stand for delivering conversational selling? Have you taken the time to prep your exhibition team on how to behave on-stand and agreed ways to approach your audience effectively?

Exhibitions can and should be busy. You have a finite time to interact, so have a plan in place to capture as many people as you can. Consider your interaction. Perhaps you will have some people stopping passers-by, and then others focusing on more in-depth discussions with warmer leads.

#2. Launch your Service or Product

Perhaps you have an extraordinary product/service that you’d like to introduce to the market? Keep in mind that the trade show floor is saturated with other brands, so if you’re going to go for this objective, make sure your marketing materials are attractive enough to gain attention. Things to think about:

– Make sure your exhibition stand has impactful visual graphics.

– Think about using VR or AR to provide product demo or presentations.

– Offer free trials or samples.

– Make sure your product benefits are clearly outlined.

– Have enough people on the stand to demonstrate and answer questions.

– Be sure that visitors have take-aways to prompt them once home, and collect names and emails so you can continue marketing to them.

#3. Build Brand Awareness

Creating brand awareness and giving the customer an experience that they will remember, is a great objective to have. It’s all well and good generating sales and creating movement in your bottom line, but building brand awareness and making a lasting impression is what wins trust and loyalty in the long run. By creating an experience for the customer, they will not only remember your brand, but they will also talk about your brand to others and that’s a win-win for everyone.

– Use your stand to show what you stand for as a brand.

– Communicate what and who your brand supports, and how it delivers more than just a product/service.

– Add value to the interaction you have with exhibition visitors – avoid any selling and simply expand their experience.

#4. Find New Employees

Exhibitions are not just about gaining sales, they are also a great opportunity to meet new partners, competitors and, most importantly, new people! Exhibitions and trade shows can be used as a medium to spot potential employees and new recruits for your business. They are a great way to meet quality attendees in which you can spark an informal interview and then eventually invite these ideal candidates over to your office.

#5. Retain Current Clients

The final objective that many companies use exhibitions for is customer retention. It may sound strange, but it provides a great opportunity to rekindle relationships with current customers. So much of our business these days is online and we often don’t get a chance to meet customers face to face. By having a stand at an exhibition or trade show it not only gives you the opportunity to thank them for their custom, but also gives you a chance to update them on new products or initiatives. Plus, by having a presence, it also reaffirms your business credentials for the client and will hopefully help retain their business.

And Finally….

It’s really important to put your goals in writing. This is so everyone around you is clear about the objectives and so you can measure and manage your results effectively. Just be sure to keep your objectives as realistic as possible and you’re bound for success! If you’re still unsure and have some more burning questions that you’d like to get answered, feel free to send us a message at sales@brandstand.co.nz or call us at 0800 10 99 88.

Did You Know Series?

SuperWalls

Our Superwall Fabric Exhibition System is ideal for use at exhibitions, trade shows and conferences where you need a high impact yet lightweight display. Here’s 13 facts about our Superwall system that might surprise you:

Superwall - Brandstand

  1. Lightweight, easy to assemble and durable (only 12kg packed weight for a 3 metre wall) supplied in a canvas carry bag for easy transport! Can easily be checked in on a plane!
  2. There’s no seam-line on a Superwall fabric skin, so there’s nothing to interfere with your graphics. Plus the fabric is made from non-glare material. The result? Higher impact graphics.
  3. Superwall fabric can be washed in cold water in a domestic washing machine, over and over again, so it looks like new every time you use it.
  4. On average, it takes 8 minutes to erect a Superwall.
  5. There are NO tools required to set up or dismantle a Superwall because the Aluminium extruded frame is held together using bungy cord.
  6. Every single Superwall comes with a 5 year hardware warranty. You’ll want to change your message before you need to change your panel!
  7. Once packed down into its case, the Superwall measures only 420mm x 320mm x 820mm. That’s small enough to fit into the back of your car!
  8. You can extend the life and usefulness of your Superwall by printing different messages on each side of the fabric skin.
  9. We sell a standard range of 6 sizes.
  10. We can also supply custom shapes to meet any design requirements.
  11. Our Superwall solution is a full modular system providing maximum flexibility. Walls can be interchanged/clipped together to form a larger display when required, or used individually in showrooms and for product demonstrations – a truly future-proof solution.
  12. Superwalls can be joined together in a straight line, at right angles, in an L shape or simply angled to suit the space they are being used in and to get the look you are after.
  13. To gain extra height, the Superwall can be fitted with Header panels to maximise your impact.

Brandstand NZ - Superwall Exhibition stand

Experiential on the rise

Brandstand

More and more brands are realising the importance of sponsorships and brand engagement in leveraging and emotional connection with their brand. A recent article in Event magazine in the UK highlighted that a rising number of brands are looking to increase their use of experiential and events channels this year – a 54% lift on 2014.

Here in New Zealand we’re seeing an increasing number of events, festivals, shows and outdoor activities, not only music festivals but also food and wine festivals too. The weather forecasters are telling us its going to be a long hot summer, so these events are likely to be well attended.

It’s important that brands ensure that they connect well with such events and sponsorships, ensuring participants connect their ‘good times’ with the brand, and this comes down to impactful branded display.

Brandstand has a huge range of branded display options, perfect for use both outdoors and in, and robust enough to take all that our weather can throw at it. Our team have built entire event solutions, sampling booths and experiential campaigns for brands like Russian Vodka, sampling in the mountains of South Island, and Giant, displaying their range of bikes at mountain bike parks around the country.

So why not give us a call to discuss what you need this Summer on 0800 10 99 88.
Brandstand_Giant Experiential

NZ’s Booming Convention Business

Convention Centres in NZ

Source: Google auckland skyline

As one of NZ’s foremost conference display and exhibition stand providers, the team at Brandstand were delighted to read a couple of articles in the Herald recently about our booming convention business. Have a read through the full article here. For a long time, we’ve thought that the convention industry represented a huge untapped opportunity for New Zealand. Finally it looks like the industry is getting the local and national government support it needs to succeed.

 

Here’s a summary of the highlights, and proof that NZ is progressing well in being recognised as a major conference player in the APAC region. Despite our geographical location, we believe this country has so much to offer the overseas business traveller, so here’s to a bright future! I

Financial Incentive

Conventions from abroad - No GSTAs of April, overseas businesses can now claim back their GST when they come here for conferences. There’s nothing like a good financial incentive to raise awareness and persuade businesses to come here. Businesses simply have to register for the non-resident business scheme and then make a claim for all their conference related expenses. This means we can create and produce display and conference materials for visiting overseas clients right here in NZ, and make it even more cost effective for them to buy locally.

Newer, Bigger Venues

Skycity Convention CentreWe’re seeing significant investment in conference venues throughout the country. In Auckland, the SkyCity Convention Centre is due for completion in 2017. Sky City continues to see good returns each year and has just announced plans for a new 300 room five star hotel. The new Convention Centre will accommodate conferences with up to 3500 delegates and place Auckland on the global map for conventions.

In Wellington a new Conference Centre attached to the Hilton is also due in 2017, and the same goes for a new convention centre in Christchurch. After a great deal of discussion it also seems that a centre in Queenstown will now go ahead. This creates wonderful opportunities to keep large local businesses here for their conferences as well as attract overseas businesses.

Getting Noticed

Convention Centres - Auckland

Image source: google convention centre

The article noted that ATEED’s convention bureau had bid for 36 international events and won 12 of them over the last 12 months. It’s great to see these conferences coming here, and we ask the whole industry to get behind the likes of ATEED and other organisers in bringing these events to our shores. It was interesting to read that of the 11,700 regularly occurring ICCA events, NZ gets 48 compared to Australia with 231, the USA with 722 and Germany 829. With so much investment on the horizon, let’s hope we can start to eat into those 231 held in Australia – I know where I’d rather go!

Brandstand is already building exhibition and conference stands for local companies representing themselves offshore. We recently created a stand for Air New Zealand which they took to a conference in the USA. With our new Superwall fabric display system we can create anything you can imagine, but unlike the displays of a few years back, these all fold down to next to nothing and can easily be carried onto a plane.

We also created a stand for Coherent Solutions which they took to the USA. The client was delighted with the stand we produced and the impact it had on the conference they attended. It would have been easy to ask a US company to produce the stand, but Coherent Solutions knew that we had the creativity and skills to create something locally using modern lightweight, easily transportable materials.

We believe that NZ’s display companies are some of the best in the world. We create and produce incredible exhibition stands, and we certainly support any opportunities to demonstrate our skills to overseas companies coming to our shores.

Auckland’s plan is to increase the value of business events by 6% per year; bold ambitions for sure but backed up by real achievable tactics that we look forward to seeing implemented.They also intend to grow volume with more delegate days and smooth out the current seasonality, all of which will bring additional spending to the city, benefiting a wide array of businesses – ourselves included!

We’d like take this opportunity to say thank you to ATEED and the government for all they’re doing to support the NZ conference industry. The Auckland Convention Bureau should pave the way to providing excellent advice and service to businesses heading this way. For further information on Auckland’s plans to target business events and conferences, go to www.aucklandnz.com/conventions.