Designing an “always on” exhibit booth
Red Hat, a leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions, was slated to exhibit at the GITEX trade show in Dubai. While many shows had cancelled or rescheduled their in-person events, GITEX chose to move forward at the end of 2020.
After an extended period of virtual interactions prior to this in-person event, GITEX attendees would expect an exceptional live experience — one designed to facilitate safe, meaningful interactions with the Red Hat brand and the people behind the code.
The design of this in-person physical brand experience needed to take people on a journey of open source digital transformation, with one curveball – Red Hat couldn’t be there in person due to global travel restrictions.
How could the remote team drive the optimum level of anticipation and engagement while also making the ROI worthwhile?
Together with Freeman, Red Hat designed its booth as “Always Open,” a socially-distanced experience that featured four dynamic areas to tell the brand’s story in an unmanned space.
There were two entrances and two exits with one linear journey — purposefully a one-way system — for attendees to follow easily without in-person guidance.
The demo pods thoughtfully illustrated Red Hat’s products in a highly engaging, interactive way — each pod was triggered by proximity sensors and controlled by gesture-based technology, allowing attendees to self-direct their own journey through the space in a Covid-safe manner.
On-stand virtual meeting rooms gave attendees a safe and private space to connect with Red Hat digitally and learn more about the products.
Pre-show communications provided awareness and built anticipation of the innovative exhibit while also setting expectations and preparing attendees for digital interaction with the brand inside an in-person exhibit.
Making attendees and visitors feel safe was also key, so the team incorporated several health and safety measures:
Red Hat knew it had a unique hurdle to make its showing succeed at GITEX in a year like 2020.
Being game for the challenge and open-minded to a completely new exhibit concept — a hands-off, sales-free approach — paid off with greater brand awareness and customer sentiment. The success was evident with 1245 unique engagements with the interactive demo experiences and 53 hours of interaction with the demo content, which included 24 minutes of average dwell time in the booth.
In the end, the proof was in the potential new business and engagements generated. A record 722 leads were captured in this unmanned exhibit, which is more than 2018 and 2019 combined. The in-booth experience also conducted 50 virtual meetings and 250 virtual interactions.
Events continue to evolve as a result of the pandemic and this unique experience showed there are new ways of organizing and attending events, hybrid or otherwise, now and into a new future.