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case study
Nestle's Table Talk
Nestle Group hosts a dinner party complete with a series of five presentations about new products and nutrition, effectively educating more than 800 attendees and achieving upwards of 70-percent increases in visitors' likelihood to recommend various Nestle brands. By Kelli Billstein
Going Live: Five Tips
for Your Next Presentation

To help you steer clear of awkward and often-made errors, EXHIBITOR spoke to a handful of experts and identified five tips for producing your next live presentation.

1. Keep it Short and Sweet
David Seckinger, senior partner at interactive media agency BrandSpeak Communications, says, "After five minutes, you have diminishing returns for each additional minute." If your presentation is long-winded, your audience is going to cut bait.

2. Leave it to a Professional
According to Joanne Brooks, president at Creative Impact Group Inc., putting your best sales rep onstage with an ear prompter might seem like a cost-effective option. But unless that person oozes charisma, you're better served by a pro.

3. Put on a Show
A good presenter will inject some personality and improv into the script. "The magic formula for any presentation is 80-percent content, 20-percent humor," says Ken Newman, founder of Magnet Productions.

4. Keep Things Moving
"Weave in clips of interviews or customer testimonials," suggests Kimberly Moening, vice president of Moening Presentation Group. "If that isn't in the budget, at least use dynamic options such as Prezi or Keynote in lieu of traditional PowerPoint slides."

5. Train Your Staff
Kristin Veach, vice president at Live Marketing, says the presentation should be the appetizer; staffers can provide substantial meat-and-potatoes information afterward.

hen you're the world's largest food company, business tastes sweeter than a tall glass of Nesquik. Based on its more than $1 billion yearly revenues and steady billion-product-sales-per-day clip, Nestle Group is the food industry's undisputed leader. The multinational company dominates worldwide grocery stores' pantry and frozen-food sections, and is even present in pet-food and cosmetics aisles.

From its start in snowy Switzerland, producing condensed milk and infant formula while perfecting the recipe for milk chocolate in the 1900s, Nestle has ballooned into a behemoth comprising six operating companies: Nestle USA, Nestle Nutrition, Nestle Waters, Nestle Purina, Nestle Health Science, and Nestle Nutrition Institute. The focus for these companies, and for Nestle as a whole, is to deliver products that help consumers cultivate lives guided by nutrition, health, and wellness.

"Nestle's vision is to put nutrition into the heart of everything we do," says Laura Taylor, manager of global events at Nestle Nutrition. "We strive to offer healthy food and beverage choices for consumers at all stages of life, at any time of day."

Though the average person on the street might hear "Nestle" and think of chocolate or coffee, the company's iconic "N" stretches a long shadow over more than 2,000 brands that it has created or acquired over the years. These brands include Stouffer's, Lean Cuisine, Boost, Buitoni, Libby's, Carnation, DiGiorno, Purina, Jenny Craig, Gerber, and PowerBar, just to name a few. With so many household names, it's obvious that Nestle is in no danger of disappearing anytime soon. Still, the company sees the value in making a big impression at annual trade shows. They're an opportunity to accomplish two major goals: 1) perpetuate awareness of a plethora of individual brands, and 2) increase the likelihood of attendees recognizing and recommending Nestle products as nutritious buoys in a sea of junk food.

One of Nestle's biggest shows is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE). Here, Nestle faces the challenge of presenting its many brands while disseminating its health-and-wellness message to the more than 6,000 registered dietitians, nutrition-science researchers, and nutrition-savvy consumers who attend the show. The objective is to continue a dialogue with attendees that will reinforce the message that Nestle is a name they can trust for their patients', as well as their own, nutrition, health, and wellness concerns.

      Over the past three years, Nestle has worked with exhibit house MG Design Associates and integrated marketing company Live Marketing Inc. to meet those goals. For FNCE 2009 and 2010, two of Nestle's operating companies (Nestle Nutrition and Nestle USA) exhibited in one 40-by-80-foot booth. MG Design's resulting layout featured hierarchical Nestle messaging presiding over four sections in the booth. Each section, in turn, was divided into four stations where
Open House
Attendees explored the Nestle House at their leisure, speaking with company representatives, tasting product samples, and learning more about Nestle Group's nutrition initiatives.
attendees could sample Nestle's food and beverage products while speaking about Nestle's nutrition vision with brand reps who were serving the snacks. The experience was not unlike visiting the supermarket on a busy Saturday morning to "trick-or-treat" for tasty samples.

All that was well and good, until Nestle upped the ante. It would be exhibiting all six operating companies in one booth for the first time under the tagline "Good Food, Good Life," and the overall aim would be to leverage "One Nestle"

— to show that Nestle meets nutritional needs throughout the day and throughout all stages of life. The question was how to exhibit this in a unique way, not just as an impersonal grocery-store-style sample fest that resembled every other booth at FNCE. As the Nestle team contemplated how to hit home with nutrition-conscious attendees, a light bulb flickered on.

      "I attended EXHIBITOR2011 and saw MG Design's exhibit, which was set up to look like a house," Taylor says. "I
Dining Table
The Nestle Mom talked while attendees dined on samples that corresponded to Nestle's key messages.
realized that's what I wanted to model the Nestle exhibit at FNCE after, too. It would be the perfect way to put all the Nestle companies and products under one real roof — to show how Nestle's products can fit into a typical family environment."

Thus, MG Design was enlisted to build another abode, a "Nestle House" for FNCE. The imaginative architecture naturally evolved into the idea for a live presentation. Nestle would position an enormous table inside its faux home, and Nestle brands and nutrition info would be introduced via a live presentation. But instead of a PowerPoint and metal folding chairs, a series of five fresh presentations would be given around the dinner table. These table talks would be delivered by a presenter dubbed the "Nestle Mom," a perfect spokesperson for a company that was trying to emphasize a nurturing and health-conscious identity.

Suddenly, FNCE became more than just another show. For Nestle, the four-day event would manifest as a highly memorable dinner party.

Breakfast Bar
Guests sampled healthy fare such as Carnation Breakfast Essentials and Boost Original beverages.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

To ensure its table would be packed at FNCE in San Diego, Nestle sent out a bevy of beautifully designed pre-show invitations to 4,500 preregistered attendees. In flowing script, the invite announced that Nestle was having an open house

in booth 929 to celebrate "Good Food, Good Life." Those who received the formal invitation were encouraged to stop by the booth to "experience delicious ways to achieve a healthy lifestyle."

On Sept. 25, dietitians and nutrition experts spilled into the San Diego Convention Center and gravitated to the 40-by-80-foot Nestle booth, which resembled an archetypal home. Suspended 18 feet over the exhibit were three peaked "roofs," each made of white fabric and branded with the Nestle logo. Below, the space was divided into nine "engagement zones," which were modeled after rooms in an average house (e.g., a family room, a lunch nook, a library, etc.) and stocked with Nestle products. Attendees could enter the booth from any side, but the space near the 24-foot-long dining table marked an obvious point of entry.

"People were drawn to the table where the Nestle Mom was inviting them to sit down so she could educate them about Nestle products and nutrition," says Betty Kasper, executive vice president at MG Design. "When attendees have the opportunity to sit at a trade show, they typically don't have to be asked twice."

Exercise Area
Attendees sampled PowerBar products and listened to fitness-themed messages in the exercise area.
      Dressed in business-casual attire, the Nestle Mom smiled warmly and waited for a crowd to assemble at her table, which was decorated with Nestle-branded placemats and baskets brimming with fresh fruit. The table was large enough to seat 18 attendees in straight-back wooden chairs, and the rest of the amassed crowd was invited to stand. Presiding front and center at her family's dinner table, the Nestle Mom launched into one of five rotating presentations that had been carefully scripted by Live Marketing. Each presentation was approximately four minutes long and designed around a health-and-wellness theme that spotlighted various Nestle products.
      "Hello everybody, and welcome to my home," the Nestle Mom said. "It's so nice to have you here. Like many of you, I'm a parent who also has a
Lunch Nook
Staffers dressed as butlers served DiGiorno pizza, Buitoni Whole Wheat Pasta, and more for lunch.
career, and I don't have to tell you how difficult it can be to help my family maintain a healthy weight in a world that's filled with snacks, junk food, and sugary beverages."
      The first presentation moved through four talking points, which were printed on dinner guests' placemats: enjoying food, but eating less of it; filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables; drinking water in lieu of soda; and switching to fat-free or low-fat milk. As the Nestle Mom spoke about the first point, Nestle servers in dashing tuxedoes brought out piping-hot samples of 200-Calorie Portions Pizza from the booth's prep kitchen. While guests snacked, the Nestle Mom reminded them that pizza is a quick and nutritious dinner or lunch option that provides her family with vegetables, grains, and dairy, and is available through Nestle brands including California Pizza Kitchen, Jacks Pizza, and Tombstone.
      She then warned her guests that she wouldn't let her family chow down on pizza alone; fruits and veggies always fill half their plates. With that, she
Snack Area
Designed to resemble an outdoor patio, the snack area featured self-serve samples of Nestle snacks such as Jenny Craig White Cheddar Popcorn, Nestle Toll House Trail Mix, and Lean Cuisine Garlic Spring Rolls.
highlighted another of her favorite Nestle products: a can of Libby's Pumpkin. Servers distributed Libby's Pumpkin mini muffins to guests as the Nestle Mom suggested yummy ways to use the pureed product. "It's low in calories, and it's an excellent source of fiber and Vitamin A," she added.
      Moving on to her next point, the Nestle Mom picked up a plastic bottle of Nestle's Pure Life water, and stressed the importance of giving up cavity-inducing sodas. Her guests uncapped samples of the water to hydrate as they listened. Raising her eyebrows, the Nestle Mom said she makes sure her kids start their day with water because studies show that 64 percent of kids are dehydrated when they go off to school.

Advancing to her last talking point, the Nestle Mom spoke about getting her family to drink fat-free or low-fat milk.

Servers brought out a final sample of Nestle Nesquik Ready to Drink beverages, placing a tiny cup of it in front of each guest. The Nestle Mom confided that she liked to add Nesquik Powder to her family's milk, making it taste sweet and chocolaty without detracting from its calcium and Vitamins A and D.

      With that final tip, the Nestle Mom concluded her presentation, thanking her guests for visiting. She also invited
Pantry Wall
The pantry display positioned the products as if they were stocked in a consumer's home.
everyone to attend her four other table talks, and informed them that if they had any questions, Nestle representatives would be happy to help. The Nestle Mom also encouraged attendees to explore the other rooms in her home. To guide them, she lifted up Nestle's Healthy Lifestyle Blueprint, an 8-by-10-inch piece of paper that outlined where Nestle's various products could be found inside the "house." She added that when attendees visited an engagement zone to learn about Nestle brands, staffers there would stamp the blueprint. Once attendees had received at least five stamps, they could turn in the blueprint, which would grant them entry into a drawing for a Dolce Gusto coffee machine.

Be Our Guest
Attendees applauded their gracious hostess before excusing themselves from the table to wander through the rest of the Nestle House. Guided by their Healthy Lifestyle Blueprints, they could visit the breakfast bar, lunch nook, snack area, exercise room, pantry, refrigerator and freezer, café, family room, and library. Each space offered scads of Nestle products, organized according to location in the house and displayed inside cabinets, refrigerators, and pantry shelving units — just as the products would be stored in a typical house. In each area, too, more tasty samples were served by staffers who were eager to answer attendees'
Refrigerator and Freezer Wall
Nestle's chilled offerings, including pastas and entrees, were on display in freezer and refrigerator cases.
questions about Nestle brands and the Nestle nutrition philosophy.
     "We were really happy with the exhibit because it put our many products in a consumer setting, showing off how they'd be used in a home environment," Taylor says. "The booth layout was innovative, nontraditional, and unique, and it gave attendees an emotional experience in addition to an educational one."

Indeed, the booth experience was on par with visiting a real home. Podiums, counters, and kiosks that normally create cold barriers between attendees and staffers were absent. Instead, the company's reps casually sauntered through the house, outfitted with satchels containing Nestle literature in case anyone wanted more information. Consequently, interactions were relaxed, as staffers and attendees mingled like guests at a dinner party.

      "It was a very open, flow-through booth," Kasper says. "There was no
Visitors to the café sipped Fit Harvest Mango Smoothies in the morning, and enjoyed Fit Harvest Carrot Ginger Soup in the afternoon.
start or finish. If you cycled through the house and noticed there was another table-talk presentation starting, you could go back and learn about more Nestle brands."
      The other four presentations, one of which happened approximately every 15 minutes, included info about Gerber products for infants and toddlers; how to balance taste and nutrition (with Jenny Craig and Lean Cuisine products); meals on the go (featuring Carnation Breakfast Essentials, and Lean Pockets); and insights on reclaiming the family dinner table (with the help of Stouffer's, Lean Cuisine, and Buitoni products). The genius maneuver here was the parceling out of all the Nestle talking points and principle brands into five separate presentations instead of one.

      "We knew that putting attendees through a 45-minute presentation with so many brands wouldn't work," says Rick Grubbs, executive producer at Live Marketing. "Splitting up the material and finding commonality between products
Family Room
Jamba All Natural Energy Drinks, Nestle Juicy Juice Sparkling, Nestle Hot Cocoa, and more filled the family room's bar area.
was key to making the five presentations a success." In fact, the table talk presentations were so popular that Nestle reps noticed several attendees making repeat visits to the dinner table, hungry for seconds of product samples and information.

Table Stakes
Martha Stewart will tell you that the mark of a great dinner party is memorability. Nestle achieved that with its live-presentation lineup. More than 1,000 in-booth brand surveys were conducted by Live Marketing, which collectively found that visitors' likelihood to recommend individual Nestle brands increased upwards of 70 percent for each. For example, the survey results indicated that 71 percent of attendees raised their opinion of the Buitoni brand, 82 percent of attendees were more likely to recommend Lean Cuisine, 91 percent felt that Nestle pizza products fit into a healthy
The Nestle Nutrition Institute set up shop inside the library, where a 50-inch flatscreen offered info about the institute's health-focused mission.
diet, and 91 percent agreed that the Stouffer's brand could factor into a well-balanced dinner.

The Nestle Blueprint cards drew attendees through the exhibit's nine engagement zones, too. A total of 829 blueprints bearing at least five stamps (exceeding the company's target of 750 stamped blueprints) were completed by attendees who were then entered to win the Dolce Gusto coffee machine. Furthermore, the Nestle Nutritional Institute (a nonprofit organization pursuing and disseminating science-based nutrition research) acquired 615 new members, marking a 156-percent increase compared to the company's haul at the previous year's show.

"There was a lot of buzz about the Nestle House at the show," Grubbs says. "Attendees were saying, 'This is the booth to see.' The presentation aspect inside the home environment was simply genius."

And so, having hosted a memorable and creative dinner party inside a home bursting with its brands and nutrition information, Nestle continues to be a name that consumers count on when stocking their kitchens. It just goes to show that a little hospitality goes a long way.E

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