Building on the success of its creative brand activity last summer, the NEC’s customer welcome has been further enhanced for Autumn Fair International (7 – 10 September 2014) and ahead of the opening of Resorts World Birmingham on the NEC site next spring.
The venue’s high impact logo, which will be lit up at night, is already in place on the Piazza entrance roundabout alongside NEC flags – a new landmark for the front door. The entrance canopy has also been freshly painted and now boasts colourful mood lighting in addition to new ‘welcome signage’.
Internally, the Piazza columns have been transformed and now double up as work stations with the addition of desk space and power sockets, encouraging visitors to meet/network and work on the move, while the new “capture the moment” wall has been designed as a blank canvas for fun and creativity and an opportunity for social media interaction and content sharing.
Industry initiative FaceTime recently published research which said that businesses who want to maximise their ROI don’t have to be serious and boring; in fact, the best businesses entertain, inform and inspire their customers.
“Last summer we had a lot of fun at the NEC as we introduced pianos into our dwell zones and graffiti-painted subways to liven up the walk from the East car parks,” said Martin Clarke, the NEC’s Marketing Director.
“Some of the improvements we made were functional, such as better signage and access, while some - like the subway murals and pianos - were linked to emotional engagement and showing off our fun-loving personality.
“By continuing to focus on “experiential” we know we can generate excitement, but we hope that through building an emotional attachment with the NEC brand we’ll also give the venue resilience in a changing market. Our customer journey remains our priority, and, like last year, we’ve made more changes we hope will have a big impact, leading to greater engagement.”
Ian Solomon, i2i’s Director of Operations, said: “From a business perspective, the functional additions such as the desk space around the Piazza area columns are fantastic because that’s what our visitors want.
“It’s essential that our business is run efficiently and that our visitors can continue to work while they’re here, but our events also need to be friendly. Some of that responsibility sits with us as organisers, but the venue role is integral in creating a welcoming environment, whether that’s through branding and signage, pianos, or, arguably most importantly, customer service.
“Staff commitment is so important to the overall show experience and the feedback we’ve had this year in particular has been incredibly positive; there’s definitely been a bit of a step change. Over the last few years excellent service has become standard and a number of our key retailers have commented on how friendly and helpful staff have been, which is testament to the great work of the NEC alongside i2i.”