ABB injects reality into the virtual tradeshow experience

Like most companies, ABB is adjusting to the new normal of conducting business without marketing at tradeshows and conferences.

Like most companies, ABB is adjusting to the new normal of conducting business without marketing at tradeshows and conferences. While marketers around the world pivot their 2020 plans, ABB’s Electrification business area opted for a new approach.

While many businesses began to produce virtual renderings of their booths, ABB looked for a way to make the digital version more engaging.

Al Colquitt, Tradeshow Manager for Electrification, remembered seeing something at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that had made an impression.

“The idea is to shoot a video in our booth prior to the show opening,” Colquitt recalls. “We could use professional on-camera talent to guide the viewer through the exhibits, pointing out specific things. At the time, I thought it would be a great way to get more value out of the booth.”

Fast forward a few months—a few very eventful months—and the potential for the live-action approach to solve the virtual event problem became clear.

Colquitt recalls thinking, “We will need to create a new event marketing strategy. We will set up the actual booth in a controlled space, hire actors, and do a virtual booth tour that’s actually real.”

ABB Virtual Tradeshow

Humanizing the virtual space

Creating a live-action version of the ABB tradeshow experience would become a unique alternative to a computer-generated simulation.

Colquitt contacted Staging Solutions to help find a suitable studio space to produce the videos. For the on-screen talent, he tapped two actors who had worked with ABB extensively in the past and were already familiar with the company’s offering. Meanwhile, others on the Electrification marketing and communications teams began drafting scripts, one each aimed at the industrial, utility, and construction markets.

“That was something else we realized,” says Kate Johnston, who leads the Electrification business’ Customer Experience team. “We could tune the messaging in each video to speak to a specific market segment.”

Uncharted territory

As the ABB virtual tradeshow experience launches, Colquitt and others in Electrification are looking ahead to other uses for the live-action approach. ABB could also use the virtual tradeshow experience to reach attendees at conferences and other events that don’t have an exhibit floor.

“ABB really is blazing a trail,” says Staging Solutions’ John Fisher. “The use of a physical display and live actors in lieu of computer animations is novel in this context and we have several other clients interested to see how it turns out.”

ABB’s virtual tradeshow experience for the construction sector goes live on November 10. Utility (December 1) and Industrial (January 26) versions will follow with each edition being tuned to address the interests of the given market segment.

You can visit ABB’s registration page to sign up for the tours.


Categories and Tags
About the author

Bob Fesmire

Bob Fesmire is a Content Manager at ABB, based in Cary, North Carolina. He has written more than 150 articles and white papers on a variety of topics including energy efficiency, industrial automation and big data. In addition to his work at ABB, Bob is also the co-author of Energy Explained, a non-technical introduction to all aspects of the energy industry.
Related stories
Comment on this article