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 m + a report
   m+a report
 The topics of the current edition 7/2017
M as in milestone
Design makes businesses strong – and successful. From almost zero brand awareness to winner of the German Brand Award: Glen Dimplex Thermal Solutions relies on a perfect system, and not only when it comes to heating, cooling and ventilation. The new brand was implemented at the ISH in Frankfurt, and it catapulted the company into an entirely new awareness dimension. Henrik Rutenbeck had taken on his new position in Kulmbach as Chief Marketing Officer for Glen Dimplex in January 2014 – and since then he has been fast-forwarding the supplier of energy-efficient heating, cooling and ventilation technology, and the journey isn't over yet. Much to the contrary, the pace amazes employees and competitors alike.
To make the impossible possible
A certain amount of pressure is an inherent characteristic of this industry. Tight time slots are not only a challenge on exhibiting businesses, expo stand builders are the ones needing to cope with time limits – but they usually cross the line just in time. "We'll manage that", is the motto. Hardly anybody is interested in the "how". But one thing is for certain: if the trend to ever-shorter installation times gains further hold, the industry will have to come up with a new strategy, for example with a higher degree of pre-fabrication, fewer double-deck stands, perhaps even less complex concepts altogether. For exhibiting companies, that means higher costs. And installation under time pressure isn't the only challenge, dismantling with an extremely tight schedule doesn't go well with the need for sustainability, even if requirements have become much higher in this respect. Expo-stand builders see the ball in the fair organizers' field: the latter should certainly be able to finalize installation and dismantling schedules at an earlier stage.
Basis for good business
Exporting is a difficult and costly business, in particular for small and medium-sized companies. But there are sponsorship programs. The federal government's foreign trade-fair program is one of these, and the German Pavilions at expos abroad are crowd-pullers. Their users – small and medium-sized businesses – argue that budgets could be a bit more generous, and not only to compensate for the rate of price increases in general. Participations at foreign fairs are an ideal launch pad to jump to distant markets with manageable organizational effort and expenses. However, as subsidies are principally granted only on a pro-rated basis and businesses are usually required to bear between 75 and 80 percent of all costs themselves, government funds ought to be raised.
Sustainable presentations must become standard feature
Businesses can apply certification processes to systematically improve their performance and to develop new market-conform products for their customers. Zeeh Design shifted its focus to sustainability long before EU reporting obligations came into effect – acting out of conviction. This has led to foundation of first service-providing sectors. One of the strong arguments for sustainability is that it has positive effects on business development. Senior corporate leaders also know that the business community can no longer afford to ignore this issue, many customers and potential employees have come to consider sustainability a relevant decision criterion.
Better healthcare
Modern medicine is almost inconceivable without technical equipment. Be it imaging diagnostics such as digital x-rays and magnetic resonance tomography, medical appliances such as infusion pumps and artificial organs or hospital technology: there's an enormous spectrum of appliances required to meet just as many needs. As a consequence, forecasts for growth of the global markets for medico-engineering are positive: the Medical Engineering Division of the ZVEI trade association looks for growth rates of 6% each in 2017 and 2018 – with the total market estimated to have been worth around €100 billion in 2016. Expos such as Medica in Düsseldorf, Medtec Europe in Stuttgart and this year's newcomer MT Connect in Nuremberg provide the platforms to expedite transformation of the entire knowledge and supply chain on the way to digitalized patient treatment.
Gamification is defined as the process of transferring typical elements and functions of playing into non-game contexts. This must not be confused with so-called infotainment, the issue here is to use play instincts to facilitate, accelerate and simplify the communication of contents. This concept opens entirely new dimensions with the interaction between real and virtual worlds to digitally communicate an ever-increasing wealth of information on analogous exhibits and products. This provides for entirely new aspects and qualities of experience to arrive at decisions, overcome obstacles and build communities. The Deutsche Museum München has been inviting visitors to its special exhibition "energie.wenden" to a multi-media role-playing game centered on the challenges of the exit from nuclear and fossil-fuel energies. Visitors are playfully involved in the negotiation processes of social and political change associated with the issue and – acting as politicians – are invited to decide themselves on the nature and extent of energy transition.
We need to talk
While the IAA complained about shrinking visitor volumes and absent exhibitors, Mercedes-Benz relaunched their expo presentation. Instead of a conventional presentation, the car manufacturer had opted for dialogue and interaction and in cooperation with South by Southwest (SXSW), the music and hi-tech festival founded in 1987 in Austin/Texas, debuted with their conference Me Convention. Over three days (from September 15 to 17), the Festhalle – traditionally the Mercedes expo venue at the IAA – as well as parts of the forum were transformed into an inspiring platform bringing together renowned personalities from the technology, design and creative industries to a public discourse on the future.
Mobile world of experience
Popup architectures have become a standard feature in brand staging. Temporary structures are frequently used to animate brands, to give them new perspectives and to make the brand come alive for buyers and potential customers. Pop-ups are perfectly suited to create room installations impossible to produce with permanent structures. Marketing strategies are often geared towards the unique atmosphere inherent to pop-up architecture. Rapid and uncomplicated installation and dismantling are other convenient features to meet tight time schedules.
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