SHOW DON’T SELL: WHY SAMSUNG NAILS THE BRAND EXPERIENCE
What’s a girl to do with two hours to spare in London before the train home and a credit card that’s begging not to be dragged around Regent Street AGAIN ? Well, if that’s you and you’re near Kings Cross we can thoroughly recommend a trip to Coal Drops Yard and specifically the brilliant Samsung experience lab (samungkx).
It’s probably easier to define what SamsungKX isn’t – it’s not a shop. But it might be (in their words) a tech playground, music venue, games arcade, cooking school, gallery or a place where you can #dowhatyoucant. In short, it’s a big old space, with some really cool toys available now and for the future, that you just want to hang out in and lose track of time. But why have we been raving about it to everyone we’ve met and what can it teach us about exhibitions?
SHOW DON’T SELL
The age of ‘selling’ is a distant memory for many (but not all) trade shows and we often talk to clients now about using an exhibition as a shop window to demonstrate how your product / service solves a problem. Your trade show stand needs to help build a relationship with fans that leads to a commercial transaction in the future. And this is what SamsungKX does so brilliantly! Across the space were replica kitchens, living rooms and home-cinema rooms, set-up to show how installing the whole range of Samsung products can enhance your cooking, listening and watching experience. Whether it’s the fridge that can play Spotify, recite a recipe and tell you what you’re running out of to the sound bar and screen that work in perfect synergy to bring action packed movies to life, or multi-room speakers so you can blast your favourite tracks right across your home, you’re immersed in a world where Samsung just makes life better.
Like what you see and want to buy it? Well not here you can’t, this is just about experiencing some things you hadn’t before… the cold hard sell can happen later when you’ve reflected on just how brilliant that 3m tv screen would look in your front room. There was no hard sell, no eager team members pushing an extra 10% off if you sign on the dotted line right now – just sit down, chill out and watch a movie for a while and experience how good that feels.
TEASE & INSPIRE
Whilst there were LOTS of examples of the things you can buy from Samsung right now, there were also plenty of ideas being worked on, they weren’t perfect and they weren’t always finished but they were exciting. Take for example the high-tech interior of the car of the future. Not a self-driving car that most of us won’t be able to afford for a long time yet, but applying expertise, technology and knowledge to help everyday drivers become safer on the road. Imagine a car that can recognise when you’re distracted and gets your eyes back on the road, that won’t start if you’re under the influence or that slows down and stops if it detects a medical emergency (e.g. heart attack).
Some of these things might never come to fruition but it shows how Samsung are thinking about how they continue to apply their knowledge and expertise to different sectors and solving more buyers problems. Exhibitors can do likewise, it doesn’t always have to be what you can offer right now, and it doesn’t always have to be the perfect finished product. Exhibitions are a great test-bed for getting feedback to new concepts, varieties and ideas and understanding what really matters to your audience. It shows how, as a leader in your field you’re thinking about how the market’s evolving and why you’re at the forefront of it. It also creates a reason for keeping engaged with visitors after the show, updating them on how developments are taking shape or inviting them to an exclusive VIP launch when the product is ready for example.
MAKE IT PERSONAL & MEMORABLE
It’s a critical element for exhibitors when there might be hundreds, if not thousands of other exhibitors all distracting visitors. How do you make sure you stand out and are memorable long after the show doors close? Partly it’s about the basics of nailing your proposition – understanding exactly what you stand for and the problem you solve for visitors. No amount of ‘cool’ giveaways, funky games or noisy novelties are going to cut through in a meaningful way if a buyer can’t remember what you’re all about once they’re back at their desk.
Part of the Samsung experience was creating your own personalised phone cover, free of charge and available 10 minutes after you’ve designed it. Every single time I pick up my phone (which is hundreds of times a day) I’m reminded about a very cool afternoon spent in their company and how I’m the only one to have my very own cowboy themed case. The personalised Sharpie drawn wooden egg I’m less sure of the relevance of, but it makes me smile every time it catches my eye on my desk. Add in being your own DJ with their mixing desks, unleashing your inner artist for a whirl on the electronic graffiti wall, or whipping your husbands ass on the VR car racing game and it just all feels like fun that reinforces the fact these guys know their stuff when it comes to combining entertainment and tech.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
So it was all absolutely brilliant and they couldn’t have done more, right? Wrong! It was brilliant whilst we were there and we tweeted & raved about it, but I haven’t heard from them since, even though they have my email address. I feel like a visitor to an exhibition who had a fantastic conversation during the show, but never heard from the exhibitor again. I know we all hate getting those unsolicited emails but I wanted to hear from Samsung, I wanted them to tell me what else was coming down the tracks, when their new products were coming out, that I was welcome back anytime. I wanted to feel as though they appreciated me taking the time out to come and visit them and we’d now established an on-going relationship where they were going to keep telling me how they could make my life better and I would keep buying more Samsung ‘stuff’. As it is, I’m feeling slightly short-changed and a bit unloved.
To be clear, this isn’t a big old plug for Samsung and neither has it been endorsed in any way – anyone can go along and get exactly the same treatment we did. It was just a brilliant example of brand experiential brought to life and created so many synergies with brilliant exhibitioning. The role of trade shows and exhibitions has undoubtedly changed and the power is in creating experiences that educate, entertain and inspire visitors to become fans and ultimately customers. That said, successful exhibitions are now much more difficult than turning up with 2 pop-up banners, a pile of stock and an order book…. but that’s where we can help! If you’d like your next exhibition to be more Samsung and less Discount-Dave why not give us a call to help unleash your inner Exhibitionist!