SHOW CASE: Spreading the Marconi word - Telecoms giant Marconi wanted to stand out from the crowd at Cebit 2001 - the world's largest trade show - by being an oasis of calm. Mike Fletcher explains how

The last time Marconi exhibited at international IT and telecoms

trade fair Cebit, it inherited its stand from the recently acquired

Bosch Telecom at the 11th hour. One year on and the company returned to

the show at Messe Hanover last month to communicate two main messages

using a purpose-built stand of its own.

'We've been telling customers that Marconi Germany encompasses the

former Bosch Telecom for the past year. We found that Marconi is a

recognised name in Europe, but people have been slow to realise that we

have more than the limited range of products previously offered by

Bosch,' Marconi vice-president communications Chris Whatley says. 'Our

aim at Cebit 2001 was to showcase our extensive range and to remind

people that the move to broadband networks is going to be one of the

most fundamental technological developments ever to have happened.'

The stand, designed by Crystal Visions was a 1,200sq m double deck area

comprising a dozen offices and a press room with a hospitality area on

the upper tier. The stand was designed as a spacious environment with

messages communicated via a series of plasma screens and four


'Marconi's approach was to put a human face to its brand and invite the

visitor into a vision of the future, which happened to be driven by the

company's applications and hardware,' Crystal Visions marketing director

Will Dixon says. 'The on-stand visuals had to create a balance between a

futuristic vision and the message that Marconi is using the applications

now, making the vision a reality.'

The on-stand visuals displayed the strapline 'Because of Marconi', in a

bid to show visitors that everyday environments are changing and

technology is responsible for a faster and better way of life.

'Our customers will be spending a lot of money investing in broadband

technology and they want to know what it is all for and how the

technology is changing the way we live,' Whatley says. 'People who

invest in broadband applications will make money and get rich whereas

those that don't will be left behind.'

Audio-visual elements were used to keep visitors on stand so they could

relax and learn about the technology. 'People were available on stand to

talk through issues and applications for the technology so it was vital

to create a relaxed environment,' Dixon says.

'Many of the surrounding stands were pumping out this 'come and see what

we've got' audio. The background audio on the Marconi stand was very

ambient. It was designed to portray the company as an oasis of calm in

the busy telecommunications market.'

Visitor reaction to the stand's design was positive, according to

Marconi's Whatley. The exhibition annually attracts many senior client

representatives who have a genuine interest in the technology and Cebit

is seen as an excellent networking opportunity for the major players in

the German market.

'The German interest in all things technical had to be reflected in the

stand's design and the video-wall approach worked well. Not only did it

have a high visual impact but it allowed visitors to take their time,

open the bonnet and understand how the equipment works,' Whatley


Cebit 2001 was the first time Marconi had exhibited its message to

European visitors. Previously, it had exhibited the same message to the

Malaysian market using a different stand design.

'Our aim is for those visitors that see us exhibit in Malaysia to gain a

sense of unity when they come to see us in Hanover, but also to be able

to see that we are aware of the differences in the markets. We are

constantly looking to think local while acting global and you have to be

aware of how the markets will react,' says Whatley. 'We have exhibited

with a much more significant budget and stand at Cebit which reflects

the importance of the market. Germany is the third largest common market

in the world.'

The company now plans to take its 'Because of Marconi' message to

Atlanta in the US during June, before earmarking Singapore and Madrid.

Each time a new custom stand will be tendered out to keep its exhibiting

strategy visionary and in line with its product range. 'We change the

stand's design at each exhibition because I'm a great believer in the

subliminal impact of what we do,' Whatley says. 'We don't believe in

tweaking a concept, we believe in completely redesigning it to keep it

at the forefront of our strategy - just as our technology is at the

forefront of society's development.'


Client: Marconi

Design: Crystal Visions

Event: Cebit 2001

Venue: Messe Hanover

Budget: undisclosed


Cebit 2001 is the world business fair for office automation, information

technology and telecommunications. It took place from 22 to 28 March at

Messe Hanover in Germany.

Cebit 2001 not only set a new record of 8,015 exhibiting companies, but

also had the highest number of foreign exhibiting firms (3,034 from 60

countries) of any trade show in the world. The event is officially

recognised as not only the largest trade fair for the IT industry, but

also the largest trade show of any kind, anywhere in the world.

The success of Cebit and the globalisation of the international trade

fair industry have prompted organiser Deutsche Messe to participate in

leading ICT fairs outside Germany and to stage its own Cebit Asia in


The starting point was Bilisim - A Cebit Event in Istanbul in September

2000. The next Bilisim will be held in September 2001. The second Cebit

event in Turkey is AEF Satellite and Broadcast in October 2001. Now 2001

- A Cebit and ATUG Event in Sydney in May 2001 will be the third element

in this global Cebit strategy.

Beginning in autumn 2001 Deutsche Messe will be staging Cebit Asia in

Shanghai at annual intervals. At present the trade fair companies in

Hanover, Dusseldorf and Munich are constructing their own International

Expo Center in the Pudong Special Trade Zone in Shanghai. Upon

completion this new venue will boast 230,000sq m of hall capacity. This

will make it the biggest exhibition site in Asia - and the fifth largest

in the world after Hanover, Milan, Frankfurt and Paris.

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