In October, 2011, Johnson Controls, Inc. wanted to launch a new product, Panoptix, at the GreenBuild trade show. Panoptix is a comprehensive, cloud based, building efficiency system. It operates on an open platform where a community of Panoptix users can create its own apps, in addition to using the Johnson Controls produced apps, to manage their building systems from any device, anywhere. And it was the first of its kind. Because this software based solution was new territory for a company known more for building hardware, like HVAC systems and refrigeration units, positioning Johnson Controls as a thought leader in technology leading up to Greenbuild was important.
In order to tease the Panoptix offering and create technology-based content, my team at Bader Rutter and I created the "What's Possible" campaign that included a Johnson Controls blog as well as Twitter and Facebook pages. See the work here. Through those social channels and an e-mail based marketing campaign, we encouraged people to sign up on the blog, follow Johnson Controls on Twitter and like them on Facebook. Those who did received a Botanicals Kit — a device you stick in a houseplant that’s connected to a Twitter account. It tweets you when your plant needs water and again when it’s happily watered. From the campaign about the Botanicals Kit: “We think this crazy green gadget is a great example that, with technology, anything is possible. It’s simple. It’s efficient. It makes things easy to manage.”
For the trade show, we wanted to create a level of engagement with attendees that matched the Panoptix offering. It had to be technology-based, community-based and mobile-friendly. So we created the Panoptix wall. A 10x7 foot interactive wall that we ran from Twitter where we posted content about the Panoptix platform. Attendees, and non-attendees, could post messages to the wall from their Twitter accounts or by SMS. Those at the show could then touch their message, move them around, make them bigger, or shoot them through a virtual slingshot across the wall. We also used the wall for time-based contests at the show that encouraged people to visit the booth. For the booth, we designed it to be open and comfortable, and as a place where Johnson Controls could conduct media interviews.
In less than 3 days, over 6,000 messages were posted to the wall. And over 300 people signed up as customers for Panoptix, despite the fact the product wasn’t on the market at the time of the show. Our campaign generated more foot traffic to the Johnson Controls booth than they’d had in previous years and far exceeded their expectations.
TL;DR: I launched a new brand and created an interactive, social media wall at a trade show