Trade shows often start with a bang. But after a flurry of announcements on day one, the next couple days can end with a whimper. Keeping people interested means keeping them talking, and brands need to look outside of their usual content topics to create opportunities for conversation. This often means quickly jumping into organic conversations that are bubbling up at the show.
At Mobile World Congress, brands tried to keep people engaged by introducing touch screen social media walls, surprise and delight programs, and even the first 3D printing of custom phone cases at an event. The latter was implemented by Nokia in partnership with 3D printing company MakerBot. People who tweeted using the hashtag #Lumia820 could win a 3D-printed phone case featuring their Twitter username engraved into the custom design. The idea caught on. Both #Lumia820 and #Nokia were trending on Twitter and the 3D printing booth was one of the busiest in the conference center.
Seeing a conversation started to trend at the show, PayPal wanted to join the discussion, but with more than a one-off tweet. In order to break through, they would need to do something that no one else had done. Using MakerBot’s Thingiverse tool and custom templates released two days earlier, PayPal designed a PayPal branded phone case featuring the #paypalit hashtag, becoming the first company ever to create a branded case.
Unfolding on Twitter over a series of photos, time-lapse video, and quick responses, the brands began to have a little fun with the conversation.
When Nokia called on PayPal to share another pic, PayPal responded within an hour with a time-lapse video of the case being made:
The conversation continued to evolve. Next it turned to custom colors:
These kinds of onsite activations aren’t new. But the way other brands jump onto the conversation is changing. At the beginning of MWC, nobody would have guessed that by the third day, @Nokia, @MakerBot and @PayPal would be celebrating the wonders of 3D printing as told through custom designs and case colors. But then again, that’s what makes social media social – the willingness to have a little fun.
In the process, brands can also generate a lot of conversation. The Twitterplay that PayPal initiated with Nokia and MakerBot generated more engagements than some of the formal announcements made by competitors. It was a great way to increase conversation about each of the brands in an interesting way that the fans of each had fun joining in on.
Disclosure: PayPal is an Edelman client.
Image credit: Moyan Brenn