Digitalisation is also an important issue in the trade fair industry. Whilst many trade fair organisers rely on digital events or on simple expansions into the digital sphere, the imm cologne team is pursuing a different approach. With a triad consisting of the live event, a content platform and a business network, the imm cologne 365 represents a global interiors event the industry will benefit from all year round.
Three cogs that intermesh perfectly: The imm cologne 365 triad is “the perfect set up for a sophisticated hybrid trade fair format” when the live event resumes in 2022, says Matthias Pollmann, head of the Koelnmesse trade fair management department. The current concept is the result of an intensive process. In the Covid-19 year 2020, the imm cologne team realised that the offer must become more digital. However, it wanted to avoid the usual approach of a mere extension into the digital world. “Two aspects were key to our considerations,” says Matthias Pollmann. “Firstly, the industry must reach a point where it can present its spectrum of services in the digital sphere in a way that is just as impressive as the physical trade fair. Secondly: We want to continue to host physical trade fairs. That is where our origins lie, and also, the exhibitors and visitors are longing for direct and personal interaction, particularly at the moment. After all, the imm cologne is the event that provides international companies with broad access to the German and European markets, and conversely permits Germany and Europe to interact with the world. That cannot simply be transferred to online.”
With this thought in mind, a triad was created: At its core is the physical trade fair, which is extended beyond the time the trade fair actually happens to the whole year with the aid of digital formats: Whilst the “magazine by imm cologne” offers inspiration for home interiors 365 days a year, “ambista” serves as a business and networking platform all-year round. “We have realised that we as Koelnmesse can make it possible to show content and to make it usable beyond an event, and can position ourselves as a content partner for the industry,” explains Matthias Pollmann, who launched the concept together with Claire Steinbrück, the director of the imm cologne, and her creative director Dick Spierenburg. “As a trade fair organiser, we used to bring the empty halls to the party, as it were. We are now bringing the halls with us online all-year round.”
In terms of the actual realisation of the imm cologne 365, it looks like this: The trade fair offers emotions and haptic feedback. The magazine is a target group driven, all-year round content platform that leads the potential customers to ambista. The already established B2B network then makes it possible to communicate with each other and to conduct business. This is where offer and demand meet. “With this concept, we are going far beyond a hybrid,” says Claire Steinbrück. “In actual fact, we are achieving all-year round relevance with a 365-days-a-year approach. That is the future of the trade fair, because we believe that our customers will be more successful in this way, and that we are advancing the whole industry.”
The industry benefits from the reach which Koelnmesse already has today. The content is communicated around the world: “Considering how things are developing, the export business will continue to gain in relevance over the next few years,” says Claire Steinbrück. “We are making it possible to reach these markets. When we post something, it attracts a certain level of attention. It would cost the companies a lot of time and effort to do the same thing successfully.