The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland bills itself as the “foremost creative force for engaging the world’s top leaders in collaborative activities to shape global, regional, and industry agendas at the beginning of each year.” More than 3,000 leaders from government and global industries gathered in January as “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World.”
As the worldwide leader in networking solutions, Cisco attends the annual meeting for the unique opportunity it affords to take an active role in this conversation.
This year, Cisco’s activation focused on thought leadership efforts and demonstrating impact, including executive speaking engagements, press activities, a Cisco lounge, and meeting space. Our primary objectives were to: support Cisco’s launch of their “Inclusive Future” message—to bring it to life within the space, provide a means of sharing real stories of how Cisco technology is positively impacting outcomes of global initiatives, and to spark conversations that strengthened visitors’ association with Cisco as a leader in global change.
To demonstrate the positive impact Cisco technology is making in the world, we built out an experiential meeting space. The Cisco Lounge was located on The Promenade, close to the Congress Center, and brought the Inclusive Future narrative to life through a digital experience that was both intriguing and captivating.
Situated along a focal wall within the Cisco Lounge, was an array of 3D objects. Included among the objects was a washing machine, a wristband, a rhino, and nine other seemingly obscure items. Each was prominently displayed on its own shelf, set against a contrasting saturated Cisco blue wall. In the center of the wall of objects was a WebEx board, and underneath, a platform with a glowing disc situated in the center of it.
Upon approaching, the visitor didn’t know that each object held any significance. Its meaning was revealed by picking up the object and placing it on the glowing disc.
This action triggered the WebEx board to come to life. Visitors watched as the object that they placed down appeared on-screen and initiated a short video. The video was a story of an organization that Cisco partnered with to make a meaningful impact to their cause.
Each story was powerful, to the point, and brought meaning to the object itself. A 3D washing machine revealed the story of how Cisco partnered with Orange Sky Australia to outfit their mobile washing machine vans with WIFI, providing both connectivity and clean clothes to the homeless, wherever it traveled.
A 3D wristband revealed the story of a partnership between Cisco and Global Citizen through Food4Education, an organization that feeds over 10,000 hungry children in Africa. Through Cisco financial support and technical solutions, Food4Education has developed the connected wristband platform called Tap2Eat throughout Kenya, a country that has been chronically underbanked. The Tap2Eat system allows parents to load currency onto a wristband that students may then use to purchase their meals, removing the need for students to carry cash.
At the end of these inspiring videos, a data sheet provided the “facts at a glance” of the story they just viewed – a summary of the organizations’ challenge, the Cisco solutions, and the outcomes - giving the visitor and Cisco talking points for discussion.
STAND OUT FACTORS
The Curiosity Factor: The seemingly meaningless objects served as the perfect conversation starter – a unique, and eye-catching point of interest within the space that prompted the viewer to wonder “what do these objects mean?”, and “what do they do?”
Sense of Craft: Each of the twelve objects were custom designed based on the hero in each individual customer story. They were 3D printed, implanted with RFID technology and prominently displayed. RFID technology was embedded into the platform, within the central disc, that glowed with moving light when “resting”. The light changed to full intensity once triggered by an object.
Attention to Detail: The entire experience was designed and built from the ground up. We started with a basic framework of customer stories, selected for their appropriateness for this specific audience. From there, each story was brought to life through the object of interest, the physical/digital connection, the on-screen stories, and resulting data sheets. Each aspect of the experience was custom designed and developed to not only connect with this high-level audience, but also tell the Cisco story in a way that was intuitive, unique, and unforgettable.
Tying it all Together: One particular customer story that was featured (Global Citizen) was a major topic of conversation at Cisco headquarters, as the founder of the non-for-profit, Food4Education, was in attendance at the evening reception, as well as the Global Citizen’s main spokesperson, Priyanka Chopra. It was hugely impactful that visitors got to experience the story and also hear it firsthand from the organizations’ representatives while at the event, truly connecting Cisco’s technological impact to powerful global initiatives.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The interactive experience combined art form and technology, and proved to be a powerful communication tool in sharing Cisco’s story on the world stage. Cisco saw a nearly 200% increase in attendance, where 160 global leaders packed in to the Cisco lounge for its evening reception, as compared to 85 the year prior.
The digital experience itself saw 345 interactions from world leaders and influencers, including the Former British Prime Minister,David Cameron, Manchester United Owner, Avram Glazer, and Verizon CEO, Hans Vestberg, to name a few. The success of this experiential solution also served as a proof of concept for a new way of communicating the Cisco story, which leans on the emotional, intrinsic results of the technology solutions, rather than the technical solutions themselves.