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Throughout Cisco Systems Inc.'s exhibit, more than 200 monitors displayed demonstrations, provided wayfinding information, and offered engaging augmented-reality experiences. Meanwhile, 23 cloud-like discs suspended from the ceiling and illuminated from above referenced the company's pioneering efforts in cloud-computing technology.
Full Integration
By Claire Walling with photos by Padgett and Co. Inc.
Client: Cisco Systems Inc., San Jose, CA
Design/Fabrication: Mirror Show Management Inc., Webster, NY
Size: 90-by-300 feet (27,000 square feet)
Estimated Cost: $850,000
Estimated Cost/Square Foot: $31
ow do you communicate that countless products spread across multiple divisions can combine to create integrated solutions? For Cisco Systems Inc., the answer was a united front. In prior years at Cisco Live, the company's annual user conference, each of its four divisions occupied a solo space on the show floor. But in 2012, Cisco and its exhibit house, Mirror Show Management Inc., hit reboot. Hoping to wow attendees, increase booth traffic, and create a unified corporate presence, Cisco merged all four divisions and opted for a single, central, 27,000-square-foot booth for the first time.

Fusing four divisions onto one patch of show-floor concrete is no small undertaking. To avoid creating a jumbled or disjointed aesthetic, Cisco incorporated a three-tiered messaging hierarchy that guided attendees through corporate, divisional, and product information. An LED curtain that proclaimed the slogan "Built for the Human Network" encompassed the exhibit and comprised the structure's first-tier corporate messaging. Two columns made from plasma screens anchored the banner and created a funnel through which traffic flowed.

Meanwhile, signage and graphics for each division were color-coded (blue, orange, green, and purple corresponded to routing/WAN optimization, security and mobility, switching and data center visualization, and collaboration, respectively). Those visual cues formed the second-tier messaging and guided attendees through the massive exhibit. Lastly, each area featured product demos and a solution zone highlighting that division's offerings.

After exploring the color-coded sections, attendees took a seat in the "Solution Theater," and qualified leads were directed to a "Buying Area" for additional information and conversation with staffers. By the end of the four-day show, Cisco had successfully showcased a compelling, unified presence, not-so-subtly conveying the message that with multiple divisions and a variety of products, Cisco offers clients fully integrated solutions.

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