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The 2Heads point of view.

IFA 2018: ‘Smart’ is nothing but Prolific

As you may have seen from our Instagram post at the time, ‘Smart’ seems to be the word. Not ‘Bird’, as previously stated somewhat apocryphally by ‘The Trashmen’ (Google it).

From smart vacuum cleaners, to smart home fragrance diffusers, brands this year have found a way to literally label the most mundane things with the word. We’re not suggesting it dampens the impact, but it is starting to lose some credibility: Smart Robotic Pet Sitter anyone?

However, what was really smart at IFA 2018 was how engaging product stands have become. No longer are you wandering around just looking at products on plinths. The experience has finally become the key focus. Take Panasonic, for example. Every business line had an experience to go with their key product launches, facials and brow treatments to showcase their new facial exfoliators, a barber shop to demonstrate their new men’s clippers, a dark room experience to show the depths of the blacks on their new 4K TV. We tried all of them.

Sony did the same, and had a number of Aibos for everyone to engage with, a number of interactive areas and specific booths for crafted experiences. They even had models in swinging chairs to demonstrate their new camera range. Samsung went all out and have a virtual football pitch demonstrating their VR capabilities to a long line of eager millennials. Even the white-goods companies had nailed the experience element. Bosch were effectively demonstrating their connected appliances, and even had one of their autonomous cars performing to excited on-lookers.

All in all, people are starting to understand the value of face-to-face brand engagement, and this means experience, experience, experience. It’s no surprise we’re writing about the ones that stuck in our heads and we feel it’s becoming apparent the power these short interactions are starting to have.

Alongside the IFA in Berlin last week, we also attended Zalando’s fashion showcase Bread&&Butter. If we want to know where the experience approach is going next, this would be a good first port of call. Personalisation, exclusive content and products, physical interaction, a mix of display and performance. A lot of brands could learn a lot from this forward-thinking bunch!