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    From an exhibition to a holistic experience

    Modern event platforms have to convey solutions and concepts to people in addition to products and emotions. This is where technological expertise and experiences meet content and dialog.

    Modern event platforms have to convey solutions and concepts to people in addition to products and emotions. This is where technological expertise and experiences meet content and dialog.

    Flagship events becoming more important

    The festivalization of trade shows and conferences is in vogue. Booming basses, flashy light shows and product presentations staged as spectacles represent the zeitgeist of modern events. But this kind of transformation of classic event formats is not universal; not every trade show can or wants to be the next CES or South by Southwest. Nor does it have to, nor should it.

    More important are the unique selling points of each event. After all, event character and festivalization do not always strike a chord with visitors. At the same time, in this digital era and disruptive markets, the social relevance of flagship events is increasing, and they must represent this change as a reflection of the respective industry. The protests surrounding the International Motor Show (IAA) have shown that in addition to products and emotions, modern events must communicate solutions and concepts to people. This is where technological expertise and experiences meet content and dialog – mere partyization very quickly reaches its limits.

    This is because content cannot be conveyed solely by playing on the emotions of the visitors. More importantly, knowledge, acceptance, and understanding require participation. In concrete terms: If you want to convince people of a product or a concept, it is not enough just to confront them with it. They have to experience it, discuss it, try it out, and ideally see themselves as part of the development and implementation process.

    Transformation is a balancing act

    Accordingly, the transformation of flagship events and classic trade shows is not a case of either/or, but of both/and. The clever combination of evolution and revolution in harmony with one's own tradition is the key here. Evolution includes the further development of the classic product presentation – toward an emotional, inspiring experience. While revolution encompasses the participatory as well as the inclusive communication of content: It is no longer just about the products and innovations as an end in themselves, but about embedding them in social change, about looking beyond the horizon.

    The IAA is currently successfully going through this process. It reaches the visitors and gets them excited about new cars as well as innovative mobility solutions. Environmental activists discuss urban traffic with city planners and journalists. But the product presentation in a modern (event) dressing is and remains an important part of the event.

    This evolution of the traditional trade fair is in line with our basic understanding of the social market economy: dialog, participation, and information are essential pillars for the enlightened, rational citizen. Whether they ultimately prefer the car, the electric scooter, or another mobility solution is their free choice.

    Tineke Geywitz
    Contact person

    Tineke Geywitz

    Head of Events

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