Kind und Jugend 2018 - a story of collaboration

Events and exhibitions management, especially for large global programmes, is often about filling gaps: gaps in schedules, gaps in logistics, gaps between suppliers. As the lynch-pin that holds the entire programme together, our new clients in events and exhibitions management roles often tell us that keeping all the plates spinning, and ensuring that information flows to the right people at the right time across multiple agencies, can be a challenge.

At this point, we normally explain our unique collaborative approach across the Blue Flint Group, and how it can solve part of this headache for them – but in fact there is no better example of this in action than our work at the leading early years trade show, Kind & Jugend in Cologne.

The story starts with our award-winning brand and design sister agency, Phoenix Wharf, being commissioned to work on two very different stands – Vital Baby and Elvie - at this year’s Kind & Jugend. Drawing on their previous experience at Kind & Jugend for the Gro Company meant the Phoenix Wharf design team was ideally placed to submit creative sketches and exciting ideas that won over both client companies.

But the core of our approach lies in bringing together all our specialists under the same roof in an open plan studio, with centralised resources, which is one of the benefits of working with the Blue Flint Group. This means that while the ideas submitted were highly creative, constant consultation with the Ignition stand development and logistics team ensured that they were also realistic: we didn’t promise what couldn’t be delivered in time, either within the budget and the constraints of the show itself. As the team ultimately responsible for the final leg of delivering the stand – creating, building and troubleshooting any issues – our people at Ignition are experts in what can be done, how long it will take, and any specific pitfalls relating to individual shows or venues.

Two different clients, two different treatments

Each stand featured a different creative approach in line with the client’s strategic objectives: Vital Baby needed to showcase selected items from the company’s extensive product range in an eye-catching but clean and approachable way, while the Elvie stand focused on its ground-breaking silent breast pump product, which recently made headlines when worn on the catwalk by model Valeria Garcia.

For Vital Baby, this meant creating a playful, colourful stand where the products themselves provided some of the stand architecture: from the cloud-shaped entrance to the bright spoons, cups and plates suspended on strings in Vital Baby orange, the stand exuded fun and communicated the breadth of the range without clutter or over-filling the displays. A real hit was the ceiling covered in stick-on Unbelievabowls in a rainbow of colours, cleverly demonstrating the product’s USP of super suction power that makes it impossible to tip over. Vital Baby’s own eye-catching photography, reproduced at high quality in large formats and combined with striking graphics, guided visitors around the different stand zones.

Women’s technology company Elvie needed a completely different look and feel, with a stand wholly focused on drawing attention to their hero product. As a newcomer to the sector, they could not rely solely on their brand to draw visitors in, so the team brought the stylish and minimalist breast pump to the fore on a ‘pick me up’ plinth where passing visitors could examine it closely. Beautiful lifestyle photography and muted, sophisticated colours stood out among the brighter palettes that feature prominently at this show, to emphasise the game-changing nature of the product.

Close collaboration to the finish line

While the designs couldn’t have been more different, the collaborative process our teams used remained the same. Being based in the same office makes the conversations continuous rather than a one-off: for example, the cloud entrance on the Vital Baby stand would only have the right impact if it could be achieved without any central supports, which needed consultation with the Ignition team to achieve. Similarly, ensuring that Elvie’s innovative product would be noticed from as many places in the venue as possible required detailed analysis of the show layout’s sightlines and an understanding of how visitors would flow around the show and the stand.

Once the designs are approved, they are officially handed over to our team to realise – but the collaboration doesn’t end there. Phoenix Wharf’s creative lead remains involved right up to the moment the stand receives its first visitors, in this case attending the five day build to overcome any last minute problems in consultation with Ignition’s build team. Every show throws up unpredictable factors such as other stand designs interfering with lines of sight or visual impact, which need on-the-spot decisions.

Bridging the gap

While we can’t claim to eliminate every challenging gap for our clients (although we’ll try!), they tell us that our collaborative approach takes them from brief to fully realised event presence seamlessly and painlessly – and that’s worth a lot to busy event management professionals.

Now we’re looking forward to Kind & Jugend 2019 – don’t hesitate to let us know if we can help bridge the gaps for your presence at this or any other event.

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