Customer relationship management (CRM) is serious business, but that doesn't mean CRM-system suppliers must come across as starched-suited techies who are as humorless as clouds and computing. Case in point: Salesforce.com Germany GmbH is one of the world's leading providers for CRM applications, and the company operates with a vibe that's more chill than a Hawaiian surf shop. But translating what company leaders call an "aloha spirit" into a trade show display while conveying a professional stature is a tricky feat, and one that Exhibit Design Awards judges said the company executed to perfection.
Rimmed by comparably expressionless exhibits in a show hall at CeBIT 2015, Salesforce.com's exhibit was a tropical oasis in hues of purple, yellow, green, pink, and blue. On one end of the booth, a wooden speedboat sat perched as if it were cresting a wave, and along the aisle, faux surfboards acted as backs for a row of information counters. "There's a unique play on color here that could have gone so wrong," one judge said. "But designers reined it in and kept it interesting and playful."
Meeting rooms and hospitality areas advanced the informal theme of Salesforce.com Germany GmbH's exhibit. In those spaces, bright carpeting and comfortable furniture contrasted with warm wood paneling in a way that judges called sophisticated yet urbane.
According to Kathrin Boettcher, marketing manager for design firm Atelier Damboeck Messebau GmbH, the upper-deck conference rooms were designed to jut beyond the frame of the walls below like brightly colored stacked cubes. A slender row of windows offered a glimpse of orange light in one room and a purple glow emanating from the other, each of which faded to white when the rooms were in use.
Meanwhile, attendees posed for photo ops in the speedboat on the exhibit's ground floor. To imply movement, a blast of air from a hidden device blew participants' hair back just as the photographer took his shot. But the reality was that visiting Salesforce's effervescent display in a dry technology show had probably already done that.