Unfortunately, the coronavirus came very quickly to the trade fair industry in 2020. This also presented Rosenbauer with a major challenge. There were many new products developed with the highest level of engineering, precision and passion, which should now be presented to our customers, business partners and dealers. However, since it was not possible to present these at a conventional trade fair, an alternative had to be found.
Accordingly, a unique 360-degree campaign was created in marketing, which presents all of these new products via all communication channels. This required intensive collaboration with many departments such as product management, corporate communications and external agencies. After the successful implementation of this campaign, the idea also came up to offer customers an even more intensive way of interacting with Rosenbauer products, asking individual questions or simply getting more general information. Due to the cancellation of many trade fairs, there was the opportunity to hold a virtual trade fair. This meant a special challenge in the preparation of data such as 3D models, the development of a holistic architectural concept and of course the integration of the entire Rosenbauer sales network.
But what are the real advantages of a virtual trade fair:
- Cost in relation to range
- Less time spent
- Reusability of content such as webinar videos etc.
- No time commitment
- Flexible number of participants
- Optional anonymity
- New presentation formats are possible
- Various integration options for departments such as sales, product management, etc.
Of course, a virtual trade fair also brings with it various difficulties and challenges. Personal encounters and intensive physical exchanges are not possible. You are also dependent on the technology used by the end customer. This means that there could be problems with outdated browsers, for example. In order to make the experience as attractive as possible, the following points were important for preparation:
- Strategic approach including naming
- Selection of trade fair software providers
- Advertising plan (social media, newsletter, etc.)
- Course of the event and the respective program items
- Film production of webinars and “How-to…” videos
- 3D model implementation and 360-degree photography
After the strategic points had been worked out and the design for the trade fair had been defined, the entire content of the new products was integrated onto the virtual platform together with the technical software provider meetyoo and WEKA-Industriemedien. This required intensive coordination and precise project management in order not to lose track of the mass of content that is created here. After an intensive implementation phase, the Rosenbauer ONLINE PRODUCT DAYS could now begin.
First virtual trade fair appearance in December 2020
It started with a trade fair for Germany, Austria and Switzerland in December 2020. Here customers, business partners and Rosenbauer dealers were given an overview of all new products. After logging in on the platform, you went directly to the reception hall. Right at the beginning, Rosenbauer CEO Dieter Siegel and CSO Andreas Zeller welcomed the visitors via video message and afterwards they could ask questions directly at the information desk. In a networking lounge you could exchange ideas individually, and with one click you went into the so-called exhibition hall or one of the highlights of the fair – the auditorium. There, the latest products were presented again in detail in short videos by the respective product managers. It was a great opportunity to deal intensively with these products.
Afterwards, it was possible to ask Rosenbauer engineers and product managers questions directly at the respective product stands in the exhibition hall or to view the products in detailed 3D models. Various download options for information material, such as brochures and data sheets, were also available here. In addition to the presentation of great new product achievements, some new products also had their world premiere here, such as the introduction of RDS Connected Fleet or the presentation of the new firefighter boot BOROS.
An opportunity for live interaction with Rosenbauer employees was available from 8 am to 5 pm. The Germany-Austria-Switzerland trade fair was generally accessible for 4 weeks, 24 hours a day. Questions and discussions could therefore also be held afterwards.
International virtual fair in March 2021
After this first virtual fair, which was a great success, it was decided to offer this opportunity to an international audience as well. This means that all content including webinars was translated into English and the entire global sales department was also involved. This trade fair took place on March 3rd and 4th. Customers were able to chat with Rosenbauer employees and ask questions across all time zones. It was generally a great challenge for the entire project team, as 24 hour (technical) support had to be ensured. But this was also mastered together and so interested parties from all over the world could or can still find out more about Rosenbauer’s new products.
A virtual trade fair such as Rosenbauer ONLINE PRODUCT DAYS is an interesting alternative to appearing at a conventional trade fair and offers advantages and simplifications and thus a valuable and contemporary alternative to traditional trade fair visits. The next few weeks and months will show whether this really is the future. What is certain, however, is that there will be more hybrid solutions that combine the best of both worlds.
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