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Freeman Previews Patent-Pending Creative Process at EXHIBITOR2008
Freeman previewed a revolutionary patent-pending creative process at EXHIBITOR2008.
Brand Sensory Exploration (BSE) identifies the associated attributes and emotional connection of a client’s brand through the exploration of the five senses—sight, sound, taste, scent, and touch. Results from the interactive discovery process are then used to develop a customer’s brand personality, or Brand Essence. The client’s brand essence is then woven into every aspect of exhibit or show design.
BSE has been tested internally at Freeman and with several Freeman clients. The company previewed the process at EXHIBITOR2008 to obtain additional feedback before formally launching the process later this year.
'Many companies think they know their own perceptions and goals in regards to their brand,' says Jeff Cameron, Freeman vice president design & creative, and the developer of the process. 'But many times, after completing the BSE exercise, they realize that their pre-conceived notions are radically different from reality.'
'An organization’s brand is an emotional connection to its client,' Cameron explains. 'A company’s brand should convey its unique cultural identity, or its ‘heart, mind and soul.’ '
Once the identity is defined, it can be used not only on the show floor, but also translated into other areas of execution where conveying the brand essence is relevant.
The patent-pending process revolves around a deck of customized cards displaying several images related to touch, taste, sound, sight, and scent. A trained Freeman facilitator leads the client’s team through an exercise that results in their selecting one predominant image for each of the five senses. The group’s comments are captured, and then analyzed by Freeman along with the chosen images to reveal the brand essence. The final results of this essence then provide a working model for designers to create the physical environment.
The beta test for BSE was actually used to re-design Freeman’s own exhibit booth. In the past, the booth had been used as an art piece to showcase all the company’s capabilities. According to Cameron, the exhibit was busy, with so much happening in such a small space, that it was almost claustrophobic. In addition, the colors, textures and look and feel of the booth were not consistent with the intrinsic nature of Freeman.
After conducting the BSE process with seven focus groups within the company, the exhibit was re-designed using what was learned. The result was an exhibit with a warmer feel, from the neutral and wood colors, to areas that made it easier for visitors to interact with Freeman staff. The same look and feel was then also used to create pre-show and at-show marketing collateral, as well as attire and training for exhibit staff.
'We realized in the end that Freeman is about the people,' says Cameron. 'We needed our exhibit to reflect that, and let our customers get to know us over a glass of iced tea.'
It worked. At its debut last year at TS2, the Freeman booth won 'Best in Show.'
Although the process was originally intended for use in designing exhibit environments, it has equal application in event and exposition design. Freeman used the BSE with a new exposition customer, the American Academy of Dermatology, to re-design their 2008 show with highly successful results.
According to Cameron, the show’s past 'themes' were related to the show’s city location. For example, if it was held in San Francisco, the show’s decor would include the Golden Gate Bridge. The show’s design was so far removed from the group’s brand essence, that without the show logo, it could have been a show for any industry. The BSE process allowed the Academy to develop its identity and build brand equity for the future.
Past show designs were rigid and unapproachable, with bright high contrast colors. The new show palette included a variety of skin tones, as well as a fresh aqua color palette that indicated 'clean.' The graphics were also softened to have more curves and spheres to make the show feel more approachable. The artful use of tightly cropped body images, (skin, nails, etc.) re-emphasized the show’s link to dermatology.
In addition, the main registration area was redesigned to reflect the look of an upscale hotel lobby. It included velour curtains and rich ebony wood finishes to provide a welcoming atmosphere to show attendees. Plasma screens were also used in the registration area to provide an uncluttered image.
The brand essence and look and feel of the show is designed to adapt to changes, but still retain the same core elements to create more consistency over the coming years.
'The BSE process has resulted in a look and feel to the Academy meetings that is polished, professional and conveys a high standard of quality that is consistent with the Mission and Vision of the Academy.' says Sara J. Peterson, CEM, senior exhibits manager for the American Academy of Dermatology.
Brand Sensory Exploration is part of Freeman’s ongoing initiative to partner with clients at a strategic level to make the design and execution of their face-to-face marketing events meet business goals and objectives. Long recognized in the industry for its expertise in logistics and execution of face-to-face events, Freeman has expanded its value to clients as a strategic partner as well, including the recent announcement of a strategic partnership with BDMetrics, the acquisition of ProActive, the integration of its audio visual company into the Freeman brand, and the company’s innovative leadership in green initiatives within the event production industry.
Freeman is a leading provider of integrated services for face-to-face marketing events, including expositions, conventions, corporate events, and exhibits. The company is headquartered in Dallas, Texas and has offices in 41 cities across North America. Freeman produces over 3,900 expositions annually, including 100 of the largest 200 U.S. trade shows, and over 10,000 other events worldwide. Founded in 1927, the company remains privately held by the Freeman family as well as the full-time employee owners through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).
For more information, go to www.freemanco.com
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