Aircraft Interiors Expo is the destination for the global aircraft interiors industry, a crucial date in the 4D show and events calendar for over a decade now.
For the team here at 4D, it’s always a thrill to work alongside flourishing brands helping them reach out to who matters most whilst observing what other brands are up too within the aircraft industry.
What we took away from Aircraft Interiors Expo 2018
- Design is improving
Stand design is the very key to unlocking a brand’s true potential at any show. Create the correct perception and you will have the chance to nurture your target audience along the desired journey with effective design. However, get the design wrong and you risk tarnishing your brand at what could be a perfect growth opportunity. Which is why we were delighted to see exhibitors taking more of an interior led approach with designs creating warming and inviting spaces rather than clenching onto the dated ‘stand’ outlook that has been present in previous years at the show. It is important for exhibitors to be aware of the fact that stands can efficiently be reused for longer term periods (we always advise our clients of this) with the option to update the design accordingly, as long as the initial design is of high quality with adaptability.
Not only is the overall design of booths improving but we also noticed a more effective use of stand lighting throughout the show, with shadows and highlights being present in the correct places thus complementing stand structure.
2. Tech is on the increase
Aircraft Interiors Expo is often seen as behind of other well established shows in terms of implementing innovative tech to cater for visitor experience. While, you could argue that this is due to products and services being heavily focused on interiors and other tangible goods rather than tech solutions, standard hardware is usually limited to content displays.
This is not to say that there isn’t ways to implement immersive tech to add to the experience and not detract from the primary focus for many exhibitors at the show; ‘the interior’. This year, it was a real positive for the team to spot the odd exhibitor using augmented reality in addition to standard hardware. A great step forward in creating more human environments with tech influencing the experience and not leading it, exhibitors seem to be actively aiming to increase stand dwell time.
3. Brand storytelling content is key
The use of storytelling themes and narratives through stand graphics and engaging content was also noticeable at the show. Exhibitors seem to be onto the fact that brand storytelling is crucial in providing human environments rather than stands that ooze nothing but disappointing brand promotions and unoriginal brand messages.
Storytelling content enables show visitors to build empathy and trust with brands. Permitting deeper insight into what might have previously be deemed just a supplier, but now a ‘solutions provider’. This in return grants AIX exhibitors with the brand exposure and engagement they truly deserve out of their stand investment.
A great example of the technique being put to use is the ELeather stand (designed by 4D Design). The stand gives deeper insight into the product through the use of clean graphics and even features the tangible product in the stand’s acrylic windows- chic.
What we predict for Aircraft Interiors Expo 2019 and the future
- The show as we know it is changing
There have been recent adjustments to venue regulations and as a result, 4D predicts key changes in stand design and structure. The regulations have put a stop to closed off stands and have demanded that stand walls meet a particular set of dimensions.
This is changing the norm at a show where exhibitors usually opt for closed off stands to create VIP experiences and wish to have secrecy when launching new brands and products. The regulations may frighten exhibitors, and challenge normalities but we see it as a real positive and a way to break through common design boundaries. An opportunity to audit previous stand designs and really depict and adjust strategies to shape an improved show visitor experience. A well needed push indeed.
Not only do the updated regulations challenge stand design but they create an equal opportunity for everyone to engage with their target audience rather than being boxed out by the big players like previous years.
As designers we must understand the rationale behind why clients choose to exhibit in certain spaces, we must be aware of how the brands we work with fit in the ecosystem and how competitors and partner organisations impact their show presence. This will influence future designs majorly as well as considering the impact stand structure (especially when trying to create the illusion that stands still have more VIP and less openly accessible areas) has on localised movement throughout the show.
2. Show visitor needs are evolving
Experiences are constantly adapting to 21st century demands. This is apparent across many industries- retail, hospitality you name it and this is no different in the exhibition world. Visitor needs are evolving and brands must adapt their stands to mimic these changes if they are to continue to raise awareness and achieve success.
Looking towards industries such as retail and hospitality are a great way to pinpoint these trends, and use them to fuel a more world-aware stand design for AIX 2019.
Let’s look at retail displays as an example. Back in the 90’s it would be considered normal to pop into shops regularly to buy goods and a foreign concept to have purchased items delivered to your home or chosen destination. Now we’re being faced with revolutionary shopping experiences, self checkouts are present in almost every major store, virtual outfit mirrors are a thing and you can even check stock levels in-store through the use of digital devices.
Evolving experiences are also present in the hospitality industry. Take the likes of Yo Sushi as an example, various dishes are circulated throughout the restaurant on conveyor belts. Allowing diners to pick and choose without experiencing long wait times associated with table service. Catering to busy individuals or those wanting a more casual dining experience.
Modern day dining experiences are limitless; you can tuck into dinner in pitch darkness at Dans Le Noir (a well- known restaurant in London) or have dinner in the sky, 150 ft to be exact, with dinner tables and waiting staff hoisted up by cranes- experience brought to life by organisation Hakuna Matata, communications agency specialising in gourmet pleasures; in association with The Fun Group a company specialising in amusement park installations.
It has become imperative to offer personalised customer experiences across all industries, this expectation is no different in the exhibition world.
3. Exhibitions are transforming into experiences
Self service, once an unknown concept, is now the expected. McDonald’s world wide known franchise for example, will have half their stores automated by this time next year, the same applying with fuel stations.
We would love to see the show take influence from retail and other industries, with a decrease in bog standard, century point reception desks and more fluid welcomes like the services provided by the likes of Starbucks and Pret Manger, perhaps signing into stand meetings through the use of iPads and digital apps and helping yourself to fresh coffees.
We predict exhibitors will focus on bringing their brand DNA to life through certain stand themes and elements. Here at 4D we actively encourage the brands we work with to translate brand beliefs into the stand whether that be a passion for wellness, serving superfood green smoothies or fresh fruit instead of tea and biscuits would be a way to incorporate brand beliefs and differentiate stands from experiences.
Design agencies working in collaboration with AIX exhibitors need to really take a step back and visualise the brand experience as a whole. How do exhibitors want their customers to describe them? What is the brand’s unique value? This should be the very foundation of the stand and at the core of future stand designs.