Editor's Note: Stephanie Ullrich from Bernafon Germany was the key organizer of the new Bernafon stand at EUHA 2018. She tells us all about what it takes, behind-the-scenes, to create memorable customer experiences at the biggest trade show in our industry.
1. What were your goals for this year’s EUHA?
We want to create unique, positive, and memorable customer experiences in everything we do - every day, everywhere, and of course at EUHA. Our passion is for our products and the brand Bernafon. Customers who know us appreciate the feeling of being welcome and part of the Bernafon family. Our customers and employees should feel that they are part of something bigger than just buying or selling great products.
With the new complete Zerena product family to present at this year’s EUHA, we took the opportunity to design and build a new booth -- a trade fair stand that makes reference to our company’s Swiss roots and shows how we are open, dynamic, connected, and true partners.
2. I know it takes a lot of hard work to get a booth ready for a big congress. When did you start and what was special this year?
At the beginning of the year, we made the decision to design and build a new booth that we could use for the next few years. Overall, this required much more planning and preparation time than previous years. In order to develop a new stand, we invited various agencies and exhibition builders to make a pitch. Our common challenge this year was to really rethink every detail of the stand, starting with the creation of an intelligent floor plan, and extending to the furniture design, the material, and color selection. At this point, I would like to mention the very good support from the agency who built the stand for us.
3. I really liked the new Bernafon booth. What were the main messages you wanted to convey with the new booth?
The focus was on our latest Zerena product family, which offers true hearing freedom thanks to the innovative DECS™ technology. With the expansion of the Zerena family by two new price ranges and a completely new in-the-ear hearing aid range, and with 2.4 GHz devices in five price ranges, hearing freedom now meets freedom of choice for acousticians and even more people who want to experience better hearing. Our intention was to communicate this visually louder than in the past, especially with the help of larger graphics and video.
In addition, we drew attention to the products through short lectures in the auditorium and redesigned the product showcases at the front. Generous consultation tables with their own showcases and a VIP lounge supported dialogue with customers about the products, which is always very important to us.
Another communication goal was to present Bernafon Germany’s ITE manufacturing services. After all, we have been producing in-the-ear hearing aids at our Berlin location for over 40 years, combining high-tech and state-of-the-art production technologies with traditional craftsmanship. Our manufacturing already has many fans in the acoustics industry, as our colleagues can fulfill almost every individual customer request.
4. I experienced a really good mood/vibe and a great team spirit (Teamgeist) at the booth this year. Do you agree? What does it take to create this?
Yes, I absolutely agree with you. We had a really great collegial atmosphere at our stand during the fair. The Bernafon team was enthusiastic about the new booth, everything worked well, and most importantly, our booth was very well received by visitors. This of course all contributes to a very good mood. In addition, it was helpful to gather in an intensive meeting on Monday evening to coordinate and plan for the days ahead. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all my colleagues at our offices in Bern and Berlin who have actively helped out before, during and after the fair, as well as all our colleagues who kept things running smoothly in the office during our absence.
5. The Bernafon booth seemed to be constantly busy. How many visitors do you think you had? How would you describe the mix of visitors? What was the feedback you received from visitors?
We were visited by many hearing care professionals. An exact number is difficult to determine, but our booth was visited throughout the day by an interested audience - young and old. This applies in particular to the Bernafon manufacturing display - supported by the Head of Service & Production Christian Ball and Team Leader Production Sonja Zimmermann. Both were very much in demand as they talked about the details of the ITE production process as well as the live 3D modeling. All visitors were impressed by the demonstration of the difference and added value of hand production with a guaranteed fit compared to the standard industrial production process. A highlight was certainly the visit of a more than 30-strong Bernafon customer group from Australia on Wednesday afternoon.
All in all, we received only positive feedback from our booth visitors – a very high quality, inviting and clearly structured customer experience. The expert advice of the Bernafon employees completed the positive experience. We are also well-known for the best-tasting coffee and Swiss pastries and this too contributed to the high traffic on our Bernafon stand 😉.
6. You’ve got a lot of experience and expertise to share. What advice would you give others preparing a booth for a big conference?
It is important to start planning well ahead, to define in advance the goals for this particular trade fair, and to be clear about what values the company stands for and how they should be transported to the outside world. A trade show appearance should be understood as part of an overall marketing or communication strategy and should fit seamlessly into it. With regard to the practical planning of stands, a sensible division of space and planning for movement between the spaces is important. As a project manager, you need an eye for the big picture, a great deal of organizational talent, creativity and nerves of steel, as well as a great team that supports you!
For more information about the Zerena product family featured at EUHA 2018, have a look at the Product Tool on our Professional page.