Agency: Rapiergroup

Client: SWIFT

Event Name: Sibos

Agency Website: www.rapiergroup.com

The Brief

Sibos is the global premier financial services event, hosted by SWIFT, who serve the financial community. SWIFT is the vehicle by which the financial transactions take place and is responsible for ensuring that the financial community work together to drive global change and innovation.

We create the SWIFT stand every year. Traditionally, it would be a place to meet, informally and formally and be the heart of the exhibition. Products and solutions are showcased, and a central hospitality area offers a large space for relaxed networking. This was all still required for 2019, but the inclusion of conference activities gave us the opportunity to create a new kind of environment, buzzing with life and energy in a way never seen before at Sibos. It also doubled the size of the space from a 1000 sq. m space to 2000 sq. m!

The Solution

Our creative approach was essential in getting this world right, and is explained in the next section.

With an initial working theme based on connectivity, we set about creating an environment and experience that flowed and connected in the most natural and human way possible. We decided to focus on human innovation and wanted that to be the basis of the experience, rather than letting technology eclipse everything. True innovation is based on human ingenuity, so that was celebrated in our thinking and design.

Our concept handled the SWIFT brand with sensitivity, ensuring an impression of true innovation. It demonstrated leadership, inspired the audience, and was as human as the visitors it connected with. Spaces were designed with clear purposes in mind, but without the purpose being clumsily obvious.

The intention was for it to just work and for the experience to be felt, rather than something people would be conscious of, or have to think about. We wanted people to naturally do what they needed to do, immerse and engage. Messages, content and technology were carefully crafted into everything, but they didn’t shout or obviously stand out. They just blended with everything else seamlessly.

When the event opened, the spaces were flooded with people, which were the last ingredient, igniting the environment and completing it beautifully.

The Activation

Our initial brief from the client contained all functional elements that needed to be included, and broad aspirations. It was very wide and open to different interpretations. On something of this scale, we needed to think differently and find a way of working that was efficient, creative, inclusive, but allowed us to be assertive.

What did we do? We hosted a creative workshop with all client stakeholders, with the aim of creating alignment between all involved and establishing a strong creative direction.

In preparation for this, we broke the brief into key components and turned it on it’s head. The list of aspirations were translated into what we thought could be fears from our client, so we listed these out and talked about them at the workshop. It turned out to be like a group therapy session, but was refreshing and positive for all. Having got the unspoken stuff out in the open, it really helped everyone understand what the brief really needed to be about, narrowing down what the experience could be, how it needed to work and what success could look like for them.

We then presented three rough concept ideas based on their original brief – a sort of ‘sliding doors’ scenario, that showed three very different creative avenues that could be taken.

Based on the conclusion of our therapy session, these concepts were then able to be assessed objectively and the day concluded with everyone agreeing on one and understanding why it was right for them. There was no room for individual likes and dislikes, it all came down to what was right for the brief we had all agreed on.

For such an immense and complex project, even we were amazed by how simple it was to achieve a successful conclusion to the workshop. Detailed work then commenced, but the concept and general design never changed from that point.

The Results

We created a wide range of touch-points, covering different activities and purposes. All were carefully thought through and beautifully designed, so they just worked. They gave the SWIFT hosts and their visitors exactly what they needed, and how they needed it.

Material touches, animated lighting and a subtle soundscape further enhanced the human experience, empowering content and technology and creating one entity that was widely loved by the people who visited it. This concept created a truly inclusive brand experience, connecting people authentically, naturally and meaningfully.

At the time of writing this submission, we are still awaiting the official customer survey results from SWIFT and detailed post-event data/analytics. We will happily provide this as supplementary information, when it is available.

What we can share is what we witnessed at the event, and all the feedback we have received.

For a start, it just worked, and it worked perfectly. Usually, we will encounter some issues onsite. The kind of things that come up once the event opens, that need to be addressed or changed. None of this happened. It all just worked perfectly. We pretty much made ourselves redundant for the show days. We weren’t required because the concept, design and experience worked exactly as intended.

What was really surprising was people’s reactions. The environment and experience was overwhelmingly loved by all. Our main clients loved it because in reality, it was so much better than they expected. The people who worked the space for the event loved it, because everything worked so perfectly. All the care and attention made their lives easier, and therefore they were able to be their best.