48 exhibition professionals from 14 countries – employed by venue owners, organizers and stand construction companies – enjoyed a thrilling seminar and social programme on “Storytelling”. It was offered as a premiere by CEFA and IFES, the International Federation of Exhibition and Event Services, and hosted by the CEFA member Pordenone Fiere. Highlight was a full-day-excursion to Milan for visiting the EXPO 2015 and screening at the site what could be learned by such a great worldwide event for everyday exhibition businesses.
The 11th CEFA Professionals Seminar (CPS) was held in co-operation with the 2nd IFES Next Generation Leader Forum (NGL) from September 31st to October 2nd, 2015 in Pordenone in the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. Pietro Piccinetti, CEO of Pordenone Fiere, directed a brief welcome speech to the participants – among them the acting CEFA President Jiří Kuliš (CEO of BVV Trade Fairs Brno) and the IFES President Voicu Sferdianu (CEO of eXpo design system, Romania) . The event was moderated by Karla Juegel (CEO Messe Ɩ Marketing Munich) together with CEFA Secretary General Janos Barabas and dedicated to the unique exhibition format of EXPOs.
A profound introduction was given by a real insider – Emil Zahariev, Director at the International Fair Plovdiv – well experienced as Director of Protocol, responsible for the National Bulgarian Pavilions at the EXPOs in Hanover, Zaragoza, and Shanghai. He presented a colourful timeline of the EXPO history from the 19th century to the presence, escorted by amazing pictures & videos. How it turned up to the newest edition of EXPOs in Milan was explained by Arch. Michele Brunello (Partner of stefano boeri architetti), engaged in creating the master-plan for EXPO 2015 Milano and illuminated the background of this huge event.
Karla Juegel (initiator & organizer of the IFES NGL) addressed her keynote to the demanding task of “How to create a fascinating story”. During her presentation she gave guidelines on how to use storytelling as marketing tool and presented a lot of examples and stories. Last but not least the attendees got instructions for the next day visiting the EXPO where they should look for best practice with respect to “storytelling” and find examples how storytelling can enhance fair & exhibition presentations.
After a bus drive to Milan the day at the EXPO site started with a reception at “Vino – A Taste of Italy”, given by Marina Geri (Marketing Manager of this EXPO pavilion) and Loredana Sarti, Secretary General of AEFI, the Italian Association of the Exhibition Industry.
Then the whole group was divided into three sections; each of them followed a separate schedule and paid a visit to at least six different national pavilions, among them Angola, Argentina, Austria, Columbia, France, Germany, Iran, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Monaco, The Netherlands, South Korea, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
The closely synchronized scheme of visits was only doable by “easy access”. For some pavilions queuing for more than two hours was inevitable for regular visitors. Up to 300.000 visitors daily passed the EXPO entrance doors in September and the site was crowded, too, when the CPS/NGL showed up there. An afternoon break at the VIP Lounge of the German Pavilion was followed by “Free Flow”: Every participant could stroll around according to her or his preferences; some of them had a closer look at the Cluster-Pavilions, e.g. devoted to coffee, cocoa, or spices.
The following day began with a workshop: Four groups exchanged their EXPO experiences and views. They had to find a consensus which best practice example they wanted to select for being shown to the plenum as their favourite. The “Story Contest” generated typical stories of the pavilions from Austria, Holland, South Korea, and UK: A hard row to hoe for the jury! Winner at the end was the group who had decided to choose the South Korean pavilion as their priority example under the headline “You are what you eat!”
The next highlight was set by architect Anthony de Taranto: His presentation – entitled “More than a story” – sketched the making of the Kazakhstan Pavilion. He was not only showing the creative process at his Düsseldorf based office gtp2 Architekten, but picked out also some of the severe obstacles his team had to overcome in the decision and realization stage of this ambitious project. This granted a very specific glimpse behind the scenes and was appreciated indeed by the audience.
After lunch the presentation of Fabio da Col and Evi Goetsch revealed some of the success factors of the “Nutrition Fairs in South Tyrol”, organized by Messe Bozen / Fiera Bolzano. They explained in detail how territory, tradition and innovation are merged to peculiar show concepts for Interpoma, Nutrisan, or Biolife “as a guarantee for excellence”. They stressed the importance to enrich such type of shows with a range of accompanying events like scientific conferences, excursions and guided tours, matchmaking conventions, etc. And they demonstrated how useful cooperation partners, e.g., international institutions like UN affiliate organs, EU bodies, or even NGOs can be in certain aspects of the trade fair.
Iba – The world´s leading trade fair for bakery, confectionery and snacks had closed its doors just a few days prior to the seminar and had gathered 1.309 exhibitors from 57 countries and 77.500 professional visitors (plus 10 %) at the venue in Munich. Cathleen Speerschneider, project manager at GHM and responsible team leader for this really international trade fair, addressed issues on several dimensions of visitor marketing for national and international target groups. Both visualizations offered best trade fair practices with reference to the mission statement of the EXPO 2015 “Feeding the planet”.
Carolina Giobbi, Marketing & Communications Manager at ExpoSicam in Milan, explained in cooperation with Andrew J. Burch, Communications Officer of its official stand builder BD Expo Solutions, the company´s “all-inclusive-policy” at SICAM. This international exhibition of components and accessories for the furniture industry was a most welcome occasion for a site inspection tour through the venue of Pordenone Fiere during its buildup. And again the CEFA / IFES members experienced a fruitful synergy between an exhibition organizer and a fair construction company for the success of a very extraordinary fair concept.
In a closing ceremony all the participants were handed out their personal certificates. Subsequent to the official seminar closing they were invited to a typical Osteria in Pordenone for a final dinner with Friuli deli food by ExpoSicam.
The varied seminar and socializing programme which also included a tasting of culinary delicacies of the Friuli region and a gala dinner at the Villa Policreti Golf Hotel in Castel d´Aviano could only be realized by a set of generous sponsors and supporters. The organizers are grateful to all of them, top at list Pordenone Fiere as well as AEFI Associazione Esposizioni e Fiere Italiane, FLA Federlegnoarredo, SICAM & BD Expo, FAMAB Verband Direkte Wirtschaftskommunikation, and Fair Business A. Sutter.
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To make central and south east Europe a stronger venue for trade fairs and exhibitions of international significance, and one which extends beyond mere physical borders trade fair companies have joined forces in CEFA. Trade fair organisers in Belgrade, Bolzano/Bozen, Brno, Bucharest, Budapest, Budva, Celje, Chisinau, Klagenfurt, Ljubljana, Munich (Messe München, Gesellschaft für Handwerksmessen), Nitra, Novi Sad, Plovdiv, Pordenone, Skopje, Sofia, Thessaloniki, Tirana and Vienna as well as two associated members and cooperation partners from Celje and Zagreb have decided to meet the process of European integration by working together more closely in the areas of marketing and public relations, exchanging know-how and participating in joint training activities.
The objective of CEFA is to tackle new problems in an age of increased globalisation with future-oriented solutions.