Read the article series "Fair of the Future"

Meet Caroline Till - director and cofounder of futures research agency FranklinTill, London

Stockholm Furniture Fair has met up with industry profile Caroline Till, director and cofounder of futures research agency FranklinTill in London to talk about what the fair of the future looks like.

What changes has the pandemic brought to the trade fair circuit and what challenges is facing the traditional fairs when they re-open again? 

"We’ve had two years to get out of a cycle, trade shows were the foundation of people’s calendars. They were the source for inspiration, networking, buying. Are people willing to recalibrate their annual schedule to put them back in, or have they found other means of satisfying their needs that they were getting at trade fair. To win them back, I think fairs have to look at the fundamental needs for visitors. After two years with digital conferences, fairs have to play on physically bringing people together. The idea of networking for exhibitors and visitors is hyper important now. How do you market and communicate that? An opportunity in the immediate is to communicate yourself as an antidote to digital interaction. It is more important than ever to engage with your audience.”

What are the new needs of the furniture brands? How do they attract people and stay relevant - and how have they reinvent themselves to meet future needs?

”Storytelling – there are so much stories in the world now, which are interior and furniture related. Brands are not telling the stories of their products well enough. Especially within a sustainable agenda, people want to understand the process of making the product, and feel connected to it. They want to understand the craft, and are skeptical to the mass manufactured. They want to understand the dna of the product and brand. There is a prime opportunity to do that. You can touch and feel the product, how can you bring that to life? Rather than just be put on a plinth, brands need to create multi platform content, allowing visitors to interact with it on smartphones for the back story. Brands need to engage people in the process, and create brand theatre that people feel related and connected to.”