Oliver Richardson


Capturing data without a goldfish

The ubiquitous goldfish bowl for business cards remains a staple ingredient of many events, from conferences and meetings to exhibitions and brand experiences.  Despite being accompanied by an incentive to win a bottle of champagne or an ipad, I am always surprised that anyone would add their card to the bowl knowing that they will be automatically subscribed to generalised marketing messages.  Increasingly, we protect ourselves from unwanted marketing messages by being cautious about what we exchange our details for and, more often than not, the “maybe” of a raffle isn’t going to cut it.  Marketing tactics have evolved from “push” to “pull” in recent years and I think there are lots more interesting and meaningful ways in a live environment to hook interest.

Increasingly, our clients are asking us to help them develop ways not only of attracting event visitors to them in the first place, but involving and engaging them to the point they willingly and happily share their contact details and get a memorable experience to boot which makes any post-event follow-up much easier.

For example, Oculus Rift, the innovative virtual reality headset recently purchased by Facebook, is a great way to get visitors truly engaged in an experience.  We’ve used standard games or rides as a stand-attractor – watching somebody’s reactions piques curiosity – but we’ve also created custom content that reflects a brands products or services – for example a 3D journey inside a huge beating heart combined with sound-cancelling headphones for a pharma company.  We’ve also created virtual planes to walk around and custom built games that use the brand’s characters and themes.  We can combine games with gesture-control technology so the wearer controls the game using their movements and we add a giant leaderboard screen which makes sharing contact details a given.  We’ve also created multi-user games on large-scale touch-tables to create a real buzz too – adding a leaderboard fulfils that very basic human need to perform well at something, and is also a good conversation starter.

Live opinion polls are also a really useful way of getting engagement started.  A large touchscreen shows a poll question and invites visitors to answer in order to see the collated results of the poll – we can make the results flash up quickly, to attract interest but the visitor has to answer the question to see it properly.  They can then email this to themselves, or browse through a digital collection of the brands’ white papers, educational materials and brochures , seamlessly emailing themselves any they are interested in, using our digital literature solution, ecoXpress.  More recently we have seen a huge rise in interest in our Brand Wallet solution, which uses RFID wristbands which store specific demographic data about each visitor and are then used throughout a brands stand or product launch area to trigger functionality or content that is specific to that person’s likely interests. Being able to welcome someone to your stand and immediately and automatically tailor your content to their needs – and automatically record which presentations they viewed, whether they emailed any information to themselves, how long they spent in a particular area etc oozes slickness and sophistication that a goldfish bowl just can’t quite match!