Putting flawless shine on a digital exhibit experience
Since 1901, California-based Meguiar’s, a 3M company, has been creating industry-leading car care products that bring a flawless finish to the most gorgeously engineered vehicles of yesterday and today. The brand’s tagline, Reflect Your Passion™, is perfectly aligned to connect its target market of passionate auto enthusiasts.
Typically, the Meguiar’s booth is one of the highlights of the annual SEMA Show, the premier event for automotive specialty equipment manufacturers and industry buyers around the world. This year, however, there would be no traditional booths at SEMA, because the in-person event was transitioning to SEMA360, a completely digital trade show.
Because the digital format of the event would expand the audience beyond any previous years’ events, the team at Meguiar’s knew they needed to craft an experience that would dazzle at SEMA360 and drive plenty of qualified traffic to its site. Beyond the event, however, Meguiar’s envisioned an evergreen place for buyers and auto enthusiasts to experience new products and hopefully become a powerful tool for the sales team to use with retail partners, as well as a powerful data collection tool for gauging product interest.
The plan? A stand-alone virtual trade show experience that would succeed at SEMA360 and could exist far beyond that single event.
The Meguiar’s team turned to 3M’s partner, Freeman, for help.
The team at Freeman introduced Meguiar’s to its experiential solutions. Helios, a Freeman company, designs and executes virtual and augmented reality experiences for brands like Mercedes-Benz, TwitchCon, Visa, and Atlassian.
This cross-functional team got to work creating a fully interactive, mobile-friendly environment deemed the “Meguiar’s Experience.” The new site enabled buyers to explore every aspect of Meguiar’s products, with a 360-degree immersive view featuring new product information, useful how-to videos created in-house, and a walk-around of some seriously sweet vehicles. Even better, the Meguiar’s team could measure every single click the site generated.
Exciting, interactive content? Check. Measurable data? Check. Next on the list? How to get the word out about this great new content.
First, the team connected with Meguiar’s international and domestic sales teams to make sure everybody knew how to use and promote the new site.
Then, they turned to the influencer partners. In 2020, Meguiar’s expanded heavily on its influencer marketing strategy, leveraging two distinct groups: “macro” influencers with millions of followers, and “micro” influencers who each boast a few thousand extremely passionate and young auto enthusiasts. Wisely, when choosing which cars to feature in the Meguiar’s Experience, the team chose a stunning custom modified 2020 Chevy Corvette, built by TJ Hunt — whose 1.88 million YouTube follower count guaranteed plenty of buzz.
Meguiar’s also took full advantage of its own network of followers, promoting The Meguiar’s Experience on every social post leading up to the event.
The Meguiar’s strategy was straightforward: Work with Freeman to create an immersive and exciting experience, and then go all-in on promotion by leveraging influencer marketing and social media.
The gambit paid off.
SEMA itself highlighted the experience on its main conference page. Other industry sites sat up and noticed as well, with RacingJunk.com calling it “a fresh, fun take on a virtual launch.”
Moreover, in keeping with the big-picture strategy, this initiative has generated impressive results beyond the SEMA Show:
The Meguiar’s team couldn’t have been more pleased with the results:
The company’s international partners were equally enthusiastic:
Meguiar’s is already looking forward and continuing to explore new opportunities. The team plans on testing new content throughout the year on the Meguiar’s Experience site and preparing a hybrid event strategy once the SEMA Show resumes in-person again.
This event marked the very first time end-use consumers had access to the Meguiar’s booth. This shift has set up a rich opportunity for more consumer marketing, more brand awareness — and more data gathering, allowing Meguiar’s to rev up even more growth.