Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, as the saying goes. And if we can't meet in person, we simply have to make a digital appointment. But despite all the euphoria about the new digital communication options, we have to ask whether a screen between us and the product we want to experience can really convey all the qualities that make this product unique.
It was precisely this question that the KURZ trade fair team was faced with when it became clear that drupa 2021 would not take place as a hybrid analogue and digital event, but only virtually. After an in-depth analysis of the possibilities offered by the new format, we decided to go down a separate path in order to present KURZ’s product innovations appropriately and above all in direct contact with the customer. KURZ wanted to present important innovations to its customers in a targeted manner: Starting with the new DM MAXLINER 3D printing and finishing system for digital spot and relief coating via the new KPS SX+ cold transfer product and the latest hot-stamping quality MSU, through to DREAMCOMPOSER®, a software for visualizing packaging designs in 3D.
“These and many other KURZ offers must actually be experienced live by customers in order to properly appreciate them,” says Julia Meier, KURZ Marketing Manager Business Area Packaging and Print. That’s why the trade fair team decided to seek direct customer contact and personal communication within “virtual.drupa” - with the first large virtual company presence as part of one of the most important print fairs in the world.
Under the motto “The nature of attraction”, a series of seminars was therefore launched to specifically address the needs of brand owners and designers on the one hand and processors on the other. In these webinars, KURZ demonstrated the original appeal of the unique attractiveness of brilliantly finished surfaces. When viewed from the right perspective, these surfaces show much more than can be seen at first glance: They also show customers exactly what KURZ can do for them in terms of product aspects, machine solutions and digital services across all areas (hot, cold, digital, workflow) and the overarching topic of “sustainability”.
The challenge was not so much to place the numerous content in the webinars, but rather to offer the appropriate stage for one’s own products and innovations. The attempt to reflect the outstanding visual and haptic qualities of many KURZ finishing products ends at best in a compromise with a “detour” via a screen, even under the best reception conditions: Gloss and reflections, textures and reliefs, and the entire feel of a refined product can at best only be suggested on the screen. That is why it was clear from the outset that real print and finishing samples would have to take on this task for the speakers, so there was the option to order brochures and samples at each seminar.
KURZ experts did not limit themselves to just giving a presentation: Active exchange and dialogue was repeatedly sought with the participants, who were also able to ask the speakers questions throughout via a chat function. The high level of interaction was intentional, and this was also one reason for the great success of the webinars. Expressed in concrete figures: 440 active participants speak for themselves and that is an excellent figure given that the webinars took place live and parallel to the “virtual.drupa” with many other online events.
The viewers were also specifically invited to the respective webinar series for designers and brand owners or processors, but there were also repeated references in both areas to the other respective field and the range to provide inspiration there. Target-group-specific communication is certainly one of the great advantages of online live communication – and another reason why KURZ achieved such good responses to the webinar series.
KURZ products need the face-to-face event just like the company’s customers need direct exchange with KURZ experts at the trade fair stand. Digital platforms can complement the in-person trade fair and make it more sustainable (e.g. by reducing travel), but they cannot replace the direct impression of the viewer, especially in the area of finishing – and that is what it all comes down to, not only at the trade fair, but also at the point of sale. One finding from the seminar series is therefore that hybrid trade fair formats are a welcome opportunity for KURZ to open up new communication channels, but that purely virtual formats do not yet sufficiently support the product presentation.
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