More than 182,000 visitors were won over by Deutsche Telekom's presence at the 2018 Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) trade show in Berlin. Antje Hundhausen is head of Brand Experience at Deutsche Telekom and is responsible for designing the Deutsche Telekom brand presence at trade fairs. In our interview, she reveals what makes the Deutsche Telekom booth so popular with the public.
Ms. Hundhausen, how was IFA 2018 for Deutsche Telekom?
Antje Hundhausen: Our presence at the trade fair was a huge success. The positive feedback we received from visitors shows that we stand out from other booths, both in terms of what we actually have to exhibit and our very different booth concept, which included smart experience hubs. We showed that we are a digital lifestyle brand that our customers see as a reliable life companion in the digital world. I'm proud that our fresh, modern brand presence and our new products made us the talk of IFA yet again.
IFA is analyzed in great detail every year. Are there any preliminary findings to be taken from the visitor surveys?
Antje Hundhausen: Our booth was a visitor magnet. Those visiting IFA know the quality of our brand presence. The proportion of planned visits increased from 29 percent last year to more than 40 percent this year. Perception of our brand values of innovation and market leadership also increased significantly. These figures underline our strategy and give us impetus to set the bar even higher at IFA 2019.
What was received particularly well by the public?
Antje Hundhausen: We made sure we were very focused when selecting the themes we featured, and we made the individual event areas even more interactive. This was something our visitors particularly liked. In the 5G hub, we presented extensive use cases for consumers in the 5G live network for the first time, and long queues were frequently to be seen for the multiplayer drone races on the LED screen. MagentaENTERTAINMENT was also a strong visitor attraction, with its own cinema and a sports bar complete with snacks and drinks. The e-sports arena, where visitors could have a go at League of Legends or FIFA, taking on professional gamers from our partner SK Gaming, was definitely a hit among younger visitors.
What role does the stage program play?
Antje Hundhausen: The stage program is always a visitor magnet, especially when it offers an opportunity to see stars in the flesh. Christoph Maria Herbst, who plays the lead in the series "DEUTSCH LES-LANDES," social media stars such as Riccardo Simonetti and Felix von der Laden, and musicians like Johannes Oerding, drew large numbers of visitors. Alongside the product shows, the stage shows are always a highlight, both at the event and on social media.
Deutsche Telekom's slogan this year was "Magenta connects." What was the creative approach you used to get that across?
Antje Hundhausen: We created a multimedia experience in which visitors could have first-hand contact with digitalization, networking, and virtual reality in a huge range of ways. We achieved this by means of the booth design – the booth showed our way into the future. The build-out of our fiber-optic network means that by 2019, we will connect up to 15 million households, which is another major step towards the gigabit society. That was represented by the "smart alley," which was the centerpiece of the booth. It symbolized the best network, connecting a spectrum of digital and technological innovations. We used modern, fresh colors and smart materials to create an urban setting with playful shapes and new visitor experiences.
You have been responsible for the brand experience at IFA for 11 years now. What were the biggest differences this year?
Antje Hundhausen: In the past, Deutsche Telekom's brand presence was more reflective of a power brand. The focus was on the size and the power play of the company as a former monopoly. In contrast to now, the technical show, operated by large numbers of engineers, was the star of the show. Today, digital lifestyle, customer service and dialog play a far more important role. This can also be seen in the large number of interactive exhibits that are there for visitors to try out. In this digital era, people have a need for real, direct experiences. That's exactly what we offer with our brand presence, and we'll continue to wow our visitors with new, creative ideas in the years to come.