Blog: Six lessons learned from Mobile World Congress 2017

Jack Morton's Georgina Pope shares her advice on what to do - and what not to do - when creating brand experiences at Mobile World Congress.

Android's presence at MWC 2017
Android's presence at MWC 2017

What to do

1. Be approachable

The amount of stands I actually wanted to enter were very few and far between. Partnering words like 'critical infrastructure' alongside hard, white surfaces and mint imperials doesn’t make me want to come to your stand – it makes me think of the dentist.

In order for people to feel at ease with your products and brand, they need to trust you. Making them feel at home on your stand will speak volumes.

Consider your brand to be like a person. Android’s relaxing, light-hearted garden was a huge contrast to the vibe of the rest of the MWC experience. It’s subtle branding took the form of avatar ice sculptures and ‘Banksy’ style graffiti. They didn’t plaster logos everywhere - it was clear who was responsible for the experience because they had a brand personality that was evident throughout.

You can also draw people in by evoking their sense of wonder, creating something unexpected and intriguing. It doesn’t need to be expensive or state of the art, it just needs to tell a story which makes people want to find out more. More time should be spent considering this element of intrigue than on choosing the best materials or graphic treatments.

2. Take people out of the here and now

Whether it’s the past, the future, or even just on holiday - transporting people somewhere else ignites lots of different emotions. It’s these emotions that make people remember you. Sony created an awesome ‘future room’, exciting guests by immersing them in a world of what’s to come. Android took people from Lapland to the seaside and back again, whilst Ericsson merged classic toys with robotics, evoking memories and inspiring people at the same time. Alcatel took me to a bar in the city somewhere, with low-level ceiling, dimmed lights and table football. All these transporting experiences wake up people’s emotions, whilst giving them a well-needed break from the rest of the show.

3. Sell the life-style, not the product.

Instead of trying to sell a piece of plastic with a microchip, inspire people by showing how products will impact their lives. Sony brilliantly tapped into blogging trends by placing the product amongst an array of objects, creating characters for people to relate to. This resulted in the product becoming more than just a phone; it became a way for people to express themselves. Similarly Huawei created a dress out of its phones, promoting the product as a style icon for its users.

What not to do

1. All of the white

White space. White seats. White uniform. It may look, clean, simple and premium in renders, but once placed next to six other brands doing the same thing – everything merges into one. For me, white with a simple logo appears as the safe option, for those that are under-confident or lazy. Bring energy and excitement to your stand with interesting perspectives, cool shapes, bright colours, unique materials, lighting and motion.  

2. Size doesn’t matter

Do not assume that creativity is limited by the size of your stand. A 20m2 space doesn’t come with a label saying ‘you must have flat white walls and a grey carpet’. Extraordinary is not something that is determined by money or size.

3. Don’t lose potential customers when competing with other brands.

Whilst enjoying their garden, I was pleased to see that Android had provided phone-charging cables for guests. Unfortunately for me though, I have an iPhone – and these leads didn’t cater for me. Consider potential future customers when promoting your brand. Despite its great experience design, this tiny ‘competitive’ act meant the brand went down a little in my estimations.

Some of the brands that tapped into these key brand experience wins and raised the bar for me at MWC were Android – for thinking outside the four walls and having a personality I could connect with; T-mobile – which won from a design perspective, for awesome perspectives and tapping into youth culture; and Huawei’s stand – which had life-like clouds that raised the bar very high indeed.

More: Jack Morton has worked with Ericsson - for the tenth year - to create its area at the show, while George P Johnson created IBM's presence.

Blog: What we can learn from Mobile World Congress 2017 by FreemanXP's Kim Myhre

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