From Cologne to Berlin, Barcelona and back to Berlin, Bread & Butter’s (BBB) history is full of comings and goings. After a hectic year and getting Zalando as its new stakeholder, B&B’s July edition finally took place during three dog days of summer, from the 7th to the 9th of July, in the German capital.
Despite efforts to get back its fashion credibility, the renowned trade show of modern urban lifestyle did not achieve the attendance levels expected for this edition. The German event struggled to get exhibitors, brands and visitors interested, something that now forces them to extend the reinvention process for the possible upcoming editions.
Bread & Butter’s low success levels, however, are not a hint towards a drop in the trade show industry, but, in fact, the opposite. The trade show business keeps growing at a rapid rate, for example, Pitti Uomo, the biannual menswear show in Florence, achieved record attendance in their last January edition attracting 24,000 visitors. And it’s not just in Italy, the overall US trade show revenue grew by 7% from January to March of this year.
Competition levels are heating up in the industry which means now is the perfect moment to face new marketing challenges and lead digital innovations. What would BBB need to take back its crown as top of the European trade shows? Having attended the summer edition of Bread & Butter 2015, witnessing the results of this edition, we’ve defined the 3 necessary steps BBB must take in order to claw back their initial success:
1) Embrace technology. The fact that fashion and technology is the new hip couple out there is no a big surprise. Whilst native fashion ecommerce and mono-brands are leading their investment efforts in this direction, there is still a long way to go for trade shows. A good practice would be to develop apps which include virtual tours and digitized buying processes. This development could decisively increase the number of visits and create a win-win solution for exhibitors and buyers.
2) Increase media coverage to ensure a ‘must-attend’ event. Exhibitors and buyers should always remain the focal point of BBB, however, putting influencers, bloggers, and fashion editors in the spotlight will attract the fashion press which could consequently transform tradeshows into a new streetstyle focal point, potentially with same authority as fashion weeks.
3) Being ‘consumer-oriented’ is the new path. Whilst trade shows were once perceived as B2B channels, recent marketing trends have changed this initial perspective, pushing trade shows to target potential customers (B2C) too. These potential customers, also known as prosumers, are hungry for new branding experiences they can try and share.
How will Bread and Butter look in upcoming editions? David Schneider, co-founder of Zalando, has publically stated that the franchise will be given a shakeup and we can’t wait to see what winter’s edition will bring. Stay tuned for more!