The Detroit Auto Show: An Event Done Right

February 12, 2015 | B2C Trade Show

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It's been roughly a month since the International North American Auto Show took place in Detroit. It's easily the largest car show in North America and one of the most important stops on the international car show circuit. 2015's show took it to the next level by showcasing over 40 new model debuts, providing breathtaking, highly engaging exhibits, and much more.


So what made this show a "drive-away" success? The same four traits that make any event memorable and effective:


Authenticity: A number of exhibits including the new Dodge Ram provided a level of authenticity that's extremely important in not just selling a product but telling the story. Along with digital content, the Ram exhibit included steel, cement, and barnwood to showcase the ruggedness and the industrial nature of the Chryler group's legendary pick-up truck.


Use authenticity not just in your digital storytelling but also your offline storytelling by using decor and materials that go along with the product, service, or brand you're promoting.


Interactivity: Cars by design are useless without some form of human interaction. Realizing this, a lot of automakers implemented highly engaging technologies and activities. Whether it was Nissan's GT-R track racing video game, Acura's hand-gesture controlled 3D driving simulator, or Toyota's science fairesque Mirai fuel-cell showcase, attendees weren't given just a demo car to touch and feel, but interactive experiences to make learning about the vehicle and the brand, intuitive and fun.


By making events engaging or allow people to be hands-on in anyway, you'll have the the opportunity to gauge genuine reactions and get attendee opinions that are valuable for making improvements to whatever you're promoting.


Mystique: Surprise! With over 40 global debuts, how can automakers standout amongst each other? Ford figured that out with the launch of its next supercar. With extremely limited marketing before the show, the majority of press had no idea that Ford was releasing a predecessor to the highly regarded Ford GT. When Ford unveiled the halo car, the immediate shock and awe had media buzzing about for days, lauding its design and engineering.


By limiting the amount of information available to attendees beforehand, then surprising them with something revolutionary, you can create a highly memorable experience that's often talked about.


Beneficence: Events, if possible, should always be multi-purpose. One of those purposes? Communal or societal beneficence. And the Detroit Auto Show wins in that department every year with its Charity Preview. Since 1976, a preview of the show was available to donors through black-tie galas and other charity events. This preview has raised over $91 million dollars for a wide range of Michigan children's charities including Detroit PAL and the Children's hospital.


Giving attendees the ability to not only immerse themselves into the content within the event but having them leave with the notion of charity is a tremendous way to make the experience memorable and mutually beneficial for all involved.


So whether your event's objective is to sell the next best family sedan, inform your audience about the latest cloud technology, or simply telling your brand's story, remember to keep these four traits in mind.


Posted by Kristy Elisano | Request as a Speaker

Caffeine dependent Jersey girl. Northeast powder hound. Inspired by creative risk takers and underdogs. VP Marketing, Doodle owner and cocreator of my daughter.