Blog: What we can learn from Mobile World Congress 2017

FreemanXP's Kim Myhre on what we can learn from #MWC17 - even if we're not there.

The T-Mobile stand uses robotics at Mobile World Congress 2017
The T-Mobile stand uses robotics at Mobile World Congress 2017

Every February the world’s top mobile technology players descend on the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress. Hall upon hall is filled with brand experiences of all shapes and sizes, as companies look to not only launch their latest products, but demo them in new and unique ways so that they draw attendees in.

For those of us in the business of brand experience, it can be a truly rewarding time as we see the exhibits we’ve worked on come to life, plus wandering around the show is a sensory experience in itself – from high-quality LED screens that run the length of a stand’s wall – as seen at Nokia, Sony and LG to name a few, through to a moving light installation at Telefonica – brands pull out all the stops at MWC.

So what to do if you can’t make it this year? Thankfully, brands and event marketers are well aware of how much more effective a live experience can be if its reach extends beyond the show doors. By also, and simultaneously, existing online, whether that be through apps such as Snapchat and Periscope, social media channels, live streaming or augmented reality (AR) experiences, brands are able to reach more people than ever.

Here are a handful of trends to be aware of at MWC 2017, whether you’re headed to Barcelona to experience the event for yourself, or hoping to tune in from afar.

Each year brings a highly anticipated product launch 

Many brands see MWC as a great way to re-establish their position as leaders in their field, and it seems Nokia is looking to achieve this with the re-launch of its trusty 3310 mobile phone model. The device was the iPhone equivalent of the 2000s, but the onset of the smartphone saw it all but forgotten.

The latest incarnation of the phone – which many of us praise for its sturdiness and long battery life – was unveiled during an event yesterday (26 February), which was live streamed via Nokia’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

The event appeals to much more than the mobile sector

Over the last few years I’ve increasingly noticed that professionals from various sectors – such as automotive and manufacturing through to marketing and publishing – now attend MWC. It’s no longer just mobile professionals that are eager to learn about the latest developments, other sectors are aware of the need to incorporate the latest mobile technology into their business plans in order to stay ahead of the curve. This means more and more brands are creating experiences that appeal to visitors of varying industry backgrounds.

MWC is becoming an important annual event for marketers who continue to invest in brand experiences in particular, as it allows them to see first-hand how they can engage their audiences in the live space through the use of technology.  

The trending tech

MWC lives and breathes innovation, so it comes as no surprise that each year there tends to be buzz around a new tech. This year, there has been a lot of talk about artificial intelligence (AI) – such as robotics at the T-Mobile stand – as we look to technology to perform functions that we humans do, and who could forget the Internet of Things (IoT), which is well and truly alive among brands from VM Ware to Qualcomm and Vodafone at MWC 2017.

Virtual reality (VR) is once again visible throughout, however this year brands are ensuring it serves a real purpose, by creating engaging experiences that tie in with their product and service offering.

From product launches to attendee trends and tech buzz words, MWC is an exciting time for the brand experience industry. It sets us up for the year ahead and inspires us to create new and unique strategies for our clients that exceed their objectives year in, year out. 

Kim Myhre is senior vice president and managing director at FreemanXP EMEA.

More: IBM has partnered with agency George P Johnson to showcase tech experiences at MWC 2017

Top brand experience agencies 2016: FreemanXP

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