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Are you winking at the girl in the dark?

Keith Austin shares his experience of Mobile World Congress and questions what lasting unique customer experience did the exhibiting brands leave behind. 

“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark - you know what you are doing but nobody else does”.   This line is one of the most famous quotes in advertising and it still makes for a great business metaphor today as it did in 1956.

But thinking about it a wink can easily be forgotten.  Most brands now look to deliver a better story by bringing to life their brand with a one to one experience. 


And this was definitely the case with some of the world’s biggest brands at the 2012 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.  We were there too and took our time to explore what was ‘hot’ and what was ‘not’.

Over 4 days MWC became a new ‘city in a city’ attracting 67,000 delegates and 1,400 exhibitors. But we were surprised when we walked through the giant halls a wash with technology brands to see how they didn’t dare to be different.  It’s unlikely to be the impressive mass of MDF, the plethora of plasma or the never ending neon pushed on every square metre of their stands that drove them there.  The audience probably thought they loved the 1999 ‘Everyone looks the same’ song by Groove Armada as they grouped together to realise it on their stands. 

While they were all keen to communicate their ‘must have’ technology, the majority of big brands didn’t apply that thinking to their on the ground experiences and achieved just a brief ‘wink’ to their potential customers. That’s when daring to be different can win the hearts and mind of the audience. 

We managed that with our brand partner Ciena.  Out of 1,399 other exhibitor stands they were the only brand to use a multi-dimensional truck experience to create their ideal customerengagement centre.

Their brand experience included their 2013 product lab, a reception area, a private meeting room and customer bar area, and once the show finished Ciena packed up and rolled on to reach more customers

So, how could you achieve a similar result?  It doesn’t have to involve investing in a huge truck but when it’s the first thing your customers see it’s definitely one-up on the traditional event environment solutions.

We’ve put together 5 key thought starters…

Invest time in your big idea

Make every penny count and design a mobile interactive space that’s multi-functional - it has to work for you whether it’s product demonstration and training, workshops and lectures through to that important one to one private meeting area.  

Think about your competitors and be brave

B2B brands know exactly who they need to impress, so why make them travel to you, simply take your products direct to them, and use the truck to deliver a private one to one experience on their site - outside the exhibition calendar.  Involve more than just the final decision maker, use the space to meet the influencers and budget holders - get them all on board and communicate face to face the benefits.

Build on your brand through related sensory experiences

Make sure your experience packs a punch and don’t under estimate the power of audio visual communication that can be achieved on board.  Tablet devices and interactive video walls can bring a presentation experience to life. Give every part of the experience the same level of attention from graphical message and lighting through to the material of the furniture.   

Make sure your experience encourages more of a one to one dialogue

Introduce something live, something that will create conversation and become viral through social media.  Live tweets, green screen and augmented reality are a great way of achieving stand out long after the truck experience.

Keep it credible

Create a VIP experience that is long lasting.  Whether the event you are holding is private or public make sure you front it with your best people.  Be proud of what you’ve created it will definitely show through in the customer experience.

So what’s the driving force for brands to do this?  Our ‘Technology in a box’ solution puts tech giants face to face with global customers - to generate powerful human interaction with their products. The roadshow truck will create a truly memorable experience that can be delivered on an international stage. 


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