Four questions for: Matthias Pollmann, head of the Koelnmesse trade fair management department, and Claire Steinbrück, director of the imm cologneNew formats, hybridisation – the imm cologne 2022 is reinventing itself. What led to this reinvention?
Matthias Pollmann: We asked ourselves, what does Covid-19 mean for us as trade fair organisers? The answer soon became clear. The trade fair must develop further in line with the market, although the live event should still remain its core business. To ensure that we can also operate successfully in this market in future, we must expand our digital activities. However, also important in our considerations was to not only extend the imm cologne to the internet, but to develop new concepts in order to be able to offer our customers a dynamic business platform that adapts to a rapidly changing environment with agility. I am certain that with the imm cologne 365, we have developed a concept that elevates the internationally leading trade fair to a new level in the form of an optimum business, networking and inspiration platform for the industry, which permits the imm cologne brand to develop its full strength, 365 days a year.
What exactly does this look like?
Claire Steinbrück: In keeping with our basic principle "Time for exchange", we want to redesign living environments together with the industry. The imm cologne 365 is a product that resulted from the realisation that there will also be a new presence culture after Covid-19, that trends do not follow a schedule, and that we want to give the industry the chance to generate business 365 days a year. The imm cologne 365 therefore consists of three building blocks that perfectly complement each other: The live event imm cologne as an industry highlight right at the beginning of the year, "the magazine by imm cologne" and "ambista", our business network. Our new online offer "the magazine by imm cologne" focuses on everything that currently impacts on the furniture industry and will do so in the future – divided into four exciting themed areas. The digital industry platform "ambista" focuses on existing and innovative new products, and business matching services. "ambista" therefore offers the perfect conditions for networking across the entire industry and for qualified lead generation 365 days a year. In summary, this means that our future focus will be on communicating knowledge and content, and on generating business, online as well and throughout the year. Even though the personal experience and socialising at the live event will remain unique, the boundaries are becoming more blurred, and we are linking everything closer together in future.
What opportunities does this model offer the imm cologne?
Claire Steinbrück: The question is where the opportunities of the digitalisation – beyond Covid-19 – lie for trade fairs. Almost all trade fairs have a digital presence. However, our answer goes way beyond a hybrid form of presentation. It is rather about how we can manage to achieve all-year round relevance, about a 365 days a year approach. That is the future of the trade fair, which will also hugely benefit our customers. In our opinion, we are taking the trade fair to a new level with our concept. Not as an end in itself but because we believe that our customers will be more successful in this way, and we are advancing the entire industry as such.
How will the customers benefit from this?
Matthias Pollmann: With the imm cologne 365, we have developed a concept for a future-focused business platform that brings the right people together at the right time and in the right place. Besides the physical trade fair, our customers can now also benefit from digital tools that create new reach and therefore offer a wide range of different opportunities for generating business. This makes the imm cologne more than just an industry trade fair; it generates new business and thereby brings the industry together at an international top level. Particularly with "the magazine by imm cologne" and "ambista", we have created two perfect stages for the presentation of new products in an attention-grabbing way, 365 days a year, in order to thereby generate new business.