The umbrella effect: Helping IBM give cover to an industry in flux
Feb 20, 2018
Working at Centerline means knowing you’re part of a team that adapts and excels in, quite often, the most time-crunched scenarios. It’s a reputation we’re proud of, which has earned clients’ trust in us to — simply put — get $&!% done. Which is why we’re doubly proud of the work we partnered with the IBM team to create for their presence at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Big Show.
IBM needed to make a strong impression at the event – one that clearly communicated how IBM is helping retailers rethink what’s possible and thrive in retail marketing, supply chain and operations solutions. The location and booth layout, designed by George P. Johnson, were already set when we came onboard. But one piece was missing – the story. We needed to clearly connect the dots for how IBM’s solutions bring value to their key audiences: Marketers, Store Operations Directors and Supply Chain Executives. Content needed to engage, educate and entertain. Most importantly, it needed to help on-site IBM representatives generate leads coming out of NRF.
An Umbrella Solution
Knowing the sense of foreboding felt by many in the retail industry, our team developed a concept simple and symbolic of protection during retail’s proverbial storm – IBM Umbrella. This narrative would connect all elements of the experience and reinforce the sense of security IBM data insights brought to the industry.
Our canvas to tell this story was a 60’ x 60’ booth space with three video walls that would display life-sized content. Additionally, we had one 32” touchscreen pedestal dedicated to each solution zone, which would allow for deeper engagement.
Keeping in mind our creative strategy to engage, educate and entertain, we set out to produce a video series that would be information as performance: a virtual ballet of moving set pieces, actors and props telling three innovative retail stories, all connected by a common local event, weather condition and the symbolic umbrella.
For set design, we determined each story would live within a suggestive space. Our goal, after all, was to focus audience attention onto the solutions in each retail scenario. Using a minimal design allowed them to impress their own experiences onto the one we were creating.
We crafted three unique retail stories:
Marketing: Kelly, Marketing Director for the pop-up shop of a national sporting goods chain, used consumer insights to increase her store’s sales.
Store Operations: Dave, Store Manager for a leading grocery store, harnessed advanced technologies to optimize his store operations.
Supply Chain: Michael, Supply Chain VP for a stylish clothing supplier, used first-in-class supply chain solutions and artificial intelligence to craft the ultimate customer experience.
Finally, we choreographed key movements of architectural structures, props, furniture and talent to suggest the respective environments. Each scene was shot in a single, continuous shot to constantly hold our audiences attention.
The IBM NRF experience turned out to be quite the success. Hundreds of attendees were drawn to the space by an enticing umbrella canopy and, once there, were further engaged through life-sized, visually-stunning retail videos that drove home IBM’s messaging.
Mimicking the set design of each video, we created interactive experiences on touchscreen peds with “hotspots” that allowed attendees to learn more about the IBM retail solutions they’d just gained cursory knowledge about from the videos. These peds also served as a gateway for on-site IBM representatives to engage attendees in deeper discussion.
In the end, the NRF experience turned out to be a marquee piece of work for the IBM team, and a great way to kick off the year. It just goes to show: with careful planning, adhering to a clear creative strategy, and having a team of driven, strategic and creative people, you can accomplish just about anything.