ONLINE VS. OFFLINE: HOW DESIGN INDUSTRY IS DEALING WITH FORMAT SHIFTDue to the Interlight Expo cancellation this year, Messe Frankfurt, its organizer, is collecting opinions on what makes the Expo important and whether it can be held online in order to respect the restrictions imposed on public events.
We contributed our opinion on this controversial matter as well.
CEO, Favourite International Lighting Co.
Participation in the Expo is very important for Favourite. First of all, nearly all of our customers from all over the country come to visit it. Essentially, that is our only chance to meet them all and to network. Second, it is our chance to present our newest products. Customers get the opportunity to see the lights live, as opposed to pictures in our catalogue, and to them that is the most important thing. They get to touch them, see what they are made of, the colour of their fittings, what kinds of materials are used, how the crystal interacts with light, how the electrics work, what light sources are used, and how big or small these lamps really are.
The Expo sends a message that we keep working at full pace and that we are doing well. It is not just about networking with our customers and showing off our new releases, it is about a certain status as well. The moment a company stops participating, its customers begin to wonder if anything happened to it, how stable it is, if it's doing well financially, if it has any new products, and if it has the products in stock. Since we release new styles every year, it is vital that we meet our customers at exhibitions in their conventional format. An online exhibition can never substitute in-person communication, formal and informal discussions of partnerships, business strategies for the year, financial conditions, and much more. I do believe that an online exhibition is a surrogate of a kind that can temporarily replace, or more likely just prolong 10-20% of our cooperation at best. If this format persists, it will be difficult to uphold the level of the event in the future.
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