Choose face to face – any place
“Be where the client is” – For a globally operating company like Krones, this is not always a matter of course, and also it’s easier said than done. Is it really true that close-to-client proximity and direct customer interfacing still matter at all in such a large group of companies? And how can this aspiration be translated into hands-on international reality?
I personally became a believer after just a few days as a company student in Corporate Communications: it works! Whether it’s communication with staff, with external service providers or clients – Krones invariably tries to approach things face-to-face, seeking personal contact and fostering interpersonal relationships.
And this is precisely what you will doubtless be able to observe during this year’s drinktec held in Munich from 11 to 15 September. After all, where else is a company’s impact greater than at sectoral gatherings during premier trade fairs!?
Emotionality. Authenticity. Passion. Well, that sounds like buzzwords from a marketing bible but it does in fact constitute much, much more – not least for us as machinery manufacturers. That’s because this is the very thing we’re targeting in our communication. And trade fairs, in particular, are ideally suited for demonstrating that what’s involved at our company is more than “just” cold unemotional stainless steel. Our goal is to enthuse the people on the stand. During my training at a trade fair organiser, I was able to witness, day in, day out, how important client interfacing off the beaten track (mail or telephone) really is. Yes, a trade fair stand and everything that it entails are admittedly expensive. Many start-ups or small entrepreneurs can afford this kind of marketing only by meticulous strategic planning in advance. But you have to bear in mind that a trade fair presence is really something rather special: drawing a clear and deliberate distinction here from the communication of everyday information pure and simple, this is what gives companies an opportunity to transform their product or their services into hands-on reality. And this is why a stand at a trade fair frequently proves more persuasive, more impactful than any mail or product flyer can ever be.
But during my time as a company student at Krones, I quickly realised just how much more differentiated direct interfacing may in fact be. Every year, we exhibit the very latest technologies and solutions for a most varied spectrum of sectors at around 35 trade fair venues in 21 different countries. This admittedly entails quite a few organisational challenges but it definitely makes sense: it enables clients to take a long hard (mostly) interactive look at the machines on show, or talk shop with the Krones experts about an ultra-wide range of topics, and all of this in a framework that has been responsively geared to their language and culture for an optimally authentic experience.
And here you will doubtless realise the numerous challenges that we, who are tasked with organising a trade fair presence, are facing: each company possesses its own distinctive corporate identity, which of course has to be strikingly reflected in the stand’s visual image. In this context, though, you must definitely bear in mind the different cultural environments you’re operating in. Graphical design, especially, is a veritable walk on a tightrope. In Asia, for example, they prefer loads of bright colours, whereas in Africa they tend to prefer a technical ambience. Nor can you ignore cultural imperatives, like the alcohol ban in Arab countries. So it’s obvious that every single trade fair presence has to be individually designed and in terms of graphics matched to the idiosyncrasies prevailing at the fair venue concerned – and despite this differentiation, we need people to visibly recognise Krones AG at a glance around the globe.
This is precisely what will await visitors at the drinktec, too: a mixture of familiar, recognisable elements combined with truly impactful innovations. And all of this tailored not to just one cultural sphere, but to all of the world’s cultures.