f an evil malware virus infects your computer, the tendency is to go into horror-movie mode, squeezing your eyes shut and waiting for the bad guy to disappear. But at the 2013 RSA Conference, Symantec Corp. did just the opposite. The company forced attendees to get up close and personal with three Internet-security threats.
Teaming up with exhibit-design firm H.B. Stubbs Cos., Symantec utilized the majority of its 30-by-60-foot booth to accommodate a custom-built 24-by-30-foot theater. The enclosed space represented a Symantec situation room, where attendees would experience security threats firsthand as they reared their ugly heads. The company hoped that the experiential approach would get it noticed and that its audience would leave thinking, "Wow; Symantec gets it."
According to Exhibit Design Awards judges, Symantec and H.B. Stubbs certainly got something: They knew how to create a "direct, purposeful, direct, and well-done" experience – one with a beginning, middle, and end. That experience began with a staffer leading a group of 20 to 40 attendees into the theater where the captive audience remained for one of three, three-minute presentations whose titles included Malware, Malicious Insider, and Mobile-Device Security. Instead of hiring a live presenter, Symantec opted for automated presentations displayed across a row of monitors mounted to overhead truss. The monitors brought the respective security threat to life in a "Mission Impossible" sort of way using images of IT staff describing how specific security threats affect different segments of a company.
At the end of the presentation, attendees were summoned to respond to the threat using solutions that Symantec provides – answers that were beyond one of three doors at the opposite end of the theater. The door corresponding to the presentation they'd experienced slid open, and attendees exited into a space where Symantec experts vanquished the nefarious technology threats.