Planning for a large event like IAA Transportation 2022 easily takes a whole year. As well as the marketing team, almost all Kögel employees are involved in the process. The work involved is immense. That’s why a successful exhibition is all the more satisfying.
A leading international trade fair like IAA Transportation 2022 casts a long shadow. The work in the run-up to the event starts with the Board of Directors deciding on the size of the exhibition and Marketing booking the stand space as early as possible to ensure the company does not lose its regular spot on the trade fair grounds. This is often done right after the previous year’s trade fair has closed its gates.
Although the commercial vehicle edition of the IAA takes place every two years, there is no time to snooze in between. The preparations for an event of this magnitude take about a year – and in between, there are numerous other large and smaller-scale events in Germany and abroad. The old football saying “Before the game is after the game” also applies to trade fairs. In short: the Marketing department, which is responsible for the company’s trade fair appearance, never rests.
The Covid-19 pandemic affected the events industry for almost three years until the middle of this year, including the cancellation of IAA in 2020. However, the long break is the exception to the rule, and the expectations – and anticipation – of all the exhibitors and their employees are now higher than ever. Kögel is no exception. IAA Transportation is both a showcase and a sales event. From 19th to 25th September 2022, all the exhibitors will inform the press and their customers about new offers, and try to deliver their products to the target audience. Development is a continuous process at Kögel. However, IAA Transportation serves as the deadline by which all the most important innovations must be presentable – not only on the drawing board, but in physical form too.
First and foremost, it is the Marketing and Communication department's job to fulfil the expectations of everyone involved: from product management and construction, to domestic and international sales and the managers of the added-value services, such as Kögel Telematics, Kögel Rent, Kögel Finance and Kögel After Market, all the way up to the Board of Directors. Due to the many tasks involved in preparing a trade fair exhibition, twelve months of preparation time can pass in the blink of an eye – even for a team of nine experienced, dedicated employees. The kick-off meeting fires the starting shot. During this first meeting, members of the Board of Directors and employees from product management, sales and marketing put their heads together, formulate the central messages, decide on a strategy and select the corresponding exhibits.
“Economy meets Ecology – Because we care” is Kögel's company promise. Kögel produces transport solutions that can be used both cost-effectively and sustainably by customers. This message is reflected in every aspect of the exhibition – on elaborately designed partition walls, placards, trailer tarpaulins and more.
However, Kögel offers so much more than just cost-effective, sustainable trailers. The long-established Burtenbach-based trailer manufacturer aims to provide customers with a complete transport solution and relieve them all the effort involved in the deployment and management of trailers, while offering fully calculable operating costs. This is made possible by a comprehensive range of services spanning the entire service life of a trailer. These range from financing and rental services, to trailer telematics as the basis for full-service contracts, to the trade-in of used trailers under pre-agreed conditions. That is precisely what Kögel will focus on at IAA Transportation 2022. Their new 'All-Round' concept embodies this commitment and will be visible at the trade fair stand and exhibits in Hanover. To ensure that such complex concepts are well-received by customers, product representatives and experienced media designers on the marketing team present the abstract concepts and information in a visually attractive way.
"In the growing digital world, after about 2 years of a pandemic without trade fairs, it is a challenge for us media designers to create something "touchable" - starting with print materials, up to the design of the exhibition walls in large format printing"
Katharina Winkler & Michelle Zäpfler, Kögel Marketing
At least every two weeks, the team discusses the progress of the work in a big meeting. Creativity is extremely important. The collection of experts from all departments ensures the best outcome. Together, the participants work out how they can deliver the messages in an attractive way and effectively draw in visitors.
At the latest, from May onwards, not a day goes by that the Marketing and Communication team is not busy with the leading commercial vehicle trade fair. The project and event managers are in particularly high demand. They stay in control where others would long have given up, with meticulously organised task trackers and clever checklists that list every single task. They have to complete or oversee around 200 separate tasks, distributed across eleven work packages. Activities include ordering of tickets, issuing the production and transportation orders for the exhibits, drafting press releases including photos and videos, designing the 1,400-square metre exhibition stand, assigning stand personnel and sending invitations. 500 employees of Kögel and its service providers are needed to complete all the tasks. External partners include installers, printing companies and media agencies.
Meanwhile, the Communication team plans at what time, via what channels, and to what extent journalists will be informed about new products. The press conference on 19th September is the most suspenseful moment of all. This is where the Managing Directors inform the press about the latest innovations. The reaction of the press gives a taster of how the innovations will be received at the trade fair. The tension dissipates with the volume of the applause. This year, it was particularly loud. As well as numerous practical optimisations to its products and services, Kögel will present three ground-breaking innovations. These include the first lightweight trailer for combined transport, the secure, user-friendly Kögel Multi-Container Stop, and Kögel Road Safety (KRS), a special blind spot warning system for cyclists and pedestrians.
To ensure that the stand is perfect by this date, one day before the trade fair opens its doors to all visitors, the Marketing team has to arrive five days in advance to oversee the work of the installers and add the final enhancements. During this time, the team works tirelessly until every last detail is in place, the day before 19th September. However, the results are worth the extraordinary effort.
“The best moment is the evening before the trade fair, when I see how an idea has developed into a trade fair stand”
Eva Pohl, Marketing Manager Kögel
Even during the trade fair, there is no shortage of work for the team. They must replenish materials and food, direct colleagues, answer press queries and manage the social media channels. The team has to keep the stand running whatever happens and maintain interest among the visitors at all times. Last of all, the stand has to be dismantled before the last employee can drive home. Then it’s finally time for the team to celebrate its success, and maybe even take a short break. But there won't be much time for that, because after the trade fair is before the trade fair and it will be time to book the next stand. After all, the work will soon begin all over again.