Stimulating: In the Communication Center at the IAA, selected customers were shown prototypes and visions of the future.

Focused, interactive, virtual: our trade fairs in 2018.

Interview with Jens Lange, CEO of the Munich-based agency Stereolize, on Knorr-Bremse’s appearances at the trade fairs IAA Commercial Vehicles and automechanika

Benchmarking: How Knorr-Bremse digitally showcased its know-how and products at the IAA

How to create a novel trade fair appearance that gets people talking? Knorr-Bremse managed it in 2018, for example at the IAA in Hanover. How much know-how, courage and new media technology were involved in the extraordinary presentation of megatrends such as traffic safety and automated driving, as well as new products? To explain all this, we spoke with Jens Lange from Stereolize, Munich. The agency was responsible for designing the island exhibits comprising current system components, large touchscreens and interactive 3D animations.

You were responsible for the media production of Knorr-Bremse's appearance at the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018. What was your central creative idea?

Jens Lange: We wanted to give visitors a new perspective on Knorr-Bremse. In the context of road safety and megatrends such as connectivity, emissions reduction, electric mobility and autonomous driving, we directed the focus away from individual products as hardware and toward the system concept, set against the background of technical expertise and innovative ability.

How did you develop this approach?

We always aim to concentrate on a single message. That's why we asked a lot of tiresome questions in cross-departmental workshops, especially at the beginning. This was the only way we could deep dive into the topics and products and find out what's really important and what's not. Then we looked to convey the central message that emerged as quickly and comprehensibly as possible. That goes for both the design and the structure of the communication.

How did you implement this in the case of Knorr-Bremse?

Each main topic was represented as an island with an exhibit staged at its center. The exhibit consisted of just a few eye-catching products, rather than many different versions, plus a large vertical or horizontal screen where Knorr-Bremse solutions could be presented interactively, three-dimensionally and virtually via various entry points.

Jens Lange and his team brought Knorr-Bremse's core trade fair messages to life at the IAA. "We aim to concentrate on a single message, rather than trying to say everything." (Photo: Stereolize)
We were more focused in our selection of what to exhibit.

Bernd Spieß – Chairman of the Executive Board of Knorr-Bremse’s Commercial Vehicle Systems division

What did the visitors make of it?

For some visitors, having a limited amount of hardware on display and doing without paper certainly took some getting used to. However, with the help of the Knorr-Bremse experts at the stand, who made maximum use of all the screens as instructional tools, visitors were able to find their way around easily. In addition, visitors were able to pick up and browse iPads with a specially programmed app to get detailed descriptions of products not on display. Prototypes and visions were presented to VIP guests in the Communication Center. Eight large panels were placed on turntables along a wall, with different presentations displayed on the back according to the guests' interests.

From augmented reality to virtual reality – the technical and digital possibilities for presentations are growing all the time. Are you always on board with the latest trends?

We don't play with gadgets like VR headsets just because they're en vogue. Instead, we use whatever tools make the most sense in terms of content and conveying the message. That means our customers don't get an out-of-the-box solution. They each get an authentic presentation precisely tailored to their offering.

How did the presentation resonate with customers?

The feedback from both trade fairs was great. They must have been very successful events for Knorr-Bremse. We are grateful to Knorr-Bremse for placing so much trust in us. At the same time, we appreciate Knorr-Bremse's courage in relying on digital presentation forms, despite coming from a more "hands-on" industry. For me personally it was a great pleasure to learn something new and to gain a close understanding of another company.

A real and virtual experience: new products such as the NEXTT disc brake.

Going deeper via touchscreen: presentation for highly automated driving at the IAA.

Workshop atmosphere: projection on a long wooden wall at automechanika.

Knorr-Bremse at the IAA Commercial Vehicles and automechanika 2018

Appearance at the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018

  • Trade fair motto: "Shaping tomorrow’s transportation. Together."
  • Four island exhibits on the four megatrends Traffic Safety, Connectivity, Emissions Reduction & Electric Mobility, Highly Automated Driving
  • Large touchscreens and tablets to dive into the details, functionality and interactive 3D animations
  • Outdoor pavilion where customers could compare three generations of trailer EBS systems and browse through application scenarios
  • Demonstration of a pre-series autonomous truck in the outdoor area

Appearance at automechanika 2018

  • Trade fair motto: "Keep it Running – Today, Tomorrow & Beyond"
  • Interactive wooden wall with a large projection of the broad aftermarket offering from Knorr-Bremse TruckServices
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