Parallel living environments
and German-Chinese teams,
and how to avoid hot air in today’s lifestyle marketing
and instead producing the goods.
When ET GLOBAL in Frankfurt received the call inviting them to pitch to the Midea Group four months ago, there was great excitement in the company – along with a certain amount of tension. While the Chinese Midea Group may not quite be a household name, it is an international heavy hitter in the home appliance market and one of the 500 largest companies in the world. The pitch involved an appearance by the entire Group at IFA, a leading trade fair, with a 21,500 ft2 exhibit – and 4 months in which to bring it all together.
“Because we have the word ‘Global’ in our name, we naturally bring our international presence to bear on these kinds of challenges. Indeed, we were the only European participants in this pitch, though we have a high degree of presence with teams in China as well”, says Franjo Ljubas, Senior Executive Consultant at ET GLOBAL, as he sets the scene. And it proved to be successful – the trade fair specialists from Frankfurt and their Chinese colleagues won the pitch. They used a design that creates emotional landscapes from Midea’s product categories.
Areas like “Air Gallery”, “Loft”, “Living Kitchen” and “Family” craft recognizable living environments throughout the exhibit while also creating thematic areas, enabling visitors to emotionally immerse themselves and discover the product lines. The result is brand spaces that recalls personal environments while also inspiring original ideas in the visitor for strategically important areas. These include air conditioning, the washer and dryer area and, of course, kitchen appliances in the Living Kitchen. Each of these spaces sets flagship products with noteworthy technological or design features in the limelight. Matthias Becker, ET Creative Director, described the challenge for clients who work with a wide range of products this way: “Highlighting the leading products, presenting entire ranges, and doing the same for various categories. Two central conceptual anchors are needed in a situation like this: first, a design concept that is so clear and strong that it can support individual thematic areas and special experiences. Second, when thinking about the exhibit, you can never forget that a trade fair is also a place for dialog, which also needs a central space.”
The designers solved these problems in the overarching exhibit design by using the so-called Midea Horizon, an essential design element that brings the various features of the exhibit together. The Midea forum, in turn, fulfills its role as a communicative centerpiece for dialog. The forum is impressive both visually and as part of the exhibit experience, with two large walkways leading into it. In addition to the product presentations, some very special experiences have been embedded into the overall panorama. The wind tunnel is a particular point of interest: it is an area that draws the attention to the important air conditioning area, impressively demonstrating how cooling no longer requires a bothersome draft to be effective. If cooling off works up visitors’ appetites, they’ll find themselves in the right place at the show kitchen and ice cream bar. A retro room has been set up for design enthusiasts, in which retro-style kitchen devices are placed on display to be admired.
An appearance at IFA is hardly a premiere show for the Midea Group, but it does represent a marketing exercise that goes beyond a simple product expo. The Group’s products are also sold in different countries under different brands, such as Colmo and Comfee, Eureka and Toshiba – all brands for which Midea holds a license.
“Sales-related aspects always have their roots in strategy as well”, Senior Executive Consultant Franjo Ljubas mentions, “and we see ourselves as having a rigorous understanding of these issues”. That may be why ET GLOBAL is already considering additional trade fair exhibits for this new client. CE China is already being planned, and ET GLOBAL has been invited to the next pitches for events in February and March. Additional presentations are set for the AHR Expo in Orlando and the MCE in Milan. The international presence of the Frankfurt specialists and their proven expertise in making designs globally scalable promise to be a perfect fit for these plans.