With the project experience of 30 years of exhibition and shop fitting Hardeweg GmbH & Co. KG from Coesfeld is a reliable partner for the realisation of high-quality brand worlds for the regional middle class up to international brands.
„For the first impression there is no second chance!“ As true as this wisdom is for personal communication between us humans, it is important to pay attention to it precisely when your company's brand communication is about achieving the desired success from a well thought-out trade fair budget.
Do you have the right partner? More and more regional medium-sized companies are discovering for themselves that they can get their customers into their brand world as target-oriented as possible at a trade fair or in a company showroom - however, there is often a lack of well-founded know-how.
At Hardeweg in Coesfeld, 30 years of success as well as countless reference projects speak for the fact that trade fair and object extension are considered to be exactly what they are in the ideal case: perfectly integrated brand communication for demanding companies.
In 1988 Hardeweg was founded from a traditional family-run carpenter's workshop in Velen.
Even then, the principle that still governs the way that the Coesfelders work today applied: „Lean in-house structures with flat hierarchies, which can be expanded with a varying number of external cooperation partners depending on the size and orientation of the project.”
Approximately half of the 30-member core team consists of project managers who hold the organisational threads firmly in their hands in the respective project. In addition, there are illustrators and designers as well as specialists for all administrative and accounting tasks, which can be significant for a larger project.
INTERNATIONAL HIGH-QUALITY TRADE FAIR CONSTRUCTION
Today Kai Böckenholt and Herbert Wissing share management responsibility as owners and managing directors. "We didn't hesitate a moment when in 2012 we were offered the opportunity to take over the company in which we had previously been active for a long time," Herbert Wissing looks back. At the founding location in Velen, however, the space gradually became cramped with further success and the opportunity arose to acquire a very representative commercial property with attached warehouses in Coesfeld in 2015.
Today, the 15,000 square metre site offers state-of-the-art office workplaces and 3,500 square metres of exhibition stand storage space, and there is sufficient space for extensions, as the old 4,000 square metre warehouse in Velen is to be closed down in the near future in order to reduce the distances to a minimum at a concentrated location.
"Still small enough for the family feeling, but already big enough to handle representative, national or international projects - this is how the status in this cooperative team can be described quite well. And that is exactly the right strategy for us in the future," says Kai Böckenholt, who is very satisfied with the development to date. In addition to managing the company, he is also responsible for stand construction, which accounts for the majority of projects and sales and also ties up the majority of staff.
But before the designers, draughtsmen and project planners can become active, the main task of the team leader is to conduct a detailed briefing with the client.
CUSTOMERS WANT THE WHOLE PACKAGE
For new customers, this often begins with the registration for the trade fair itself. "From our experience, we already know at many trade fairs where the right location would be for our customers. But in order to still get the right place, you have to make an early effort with the trade fair organiser and also need the opportunity to examine alternatives at short notice," reports Kai Böckenholt.
In order to shorten the processes here, the Hardeweg team often already takes over the registration formalities for the customer and can keep an eye on the important factors such as power and water connections or the ceiling suspension points for "floating components".
Herbert Wissing: "Our customers always have a reliable contact person who takes care of everything for them, from registration to handover on site". Kai Böckenholt adds: "When briefing the customer, it is helpful to know what budget is available for the project".
After that, the planning and optimization of the content can begin: Which products or services should be offered? Do displays have to be produced for the presentation? Will there be any action elements or audio-visual presentations?
The question of whether conference rooms should be integrated into the stand or a kitchen for stand catering also has a decisive influence on further planning. "In the next step, our designers and illustrators design the visualization of the stand, and of course it is very important for the brand image of the customer where and in what size the brand logo or the current key messages and graphics can be seen". Depending on the budget, many things are possible - but what makes sense?
Kai Böckenholt: " Talking about new customers who want to go to a trade fair for the first time, we always find that they hardly make any specifications and want to be surprised by our design suggestions. All the more reason for us to consider the core of our consulting task to be the analysis of initial wishes or vague ideas and the development of a functioning trade fair concept with an efficient budget framework, in which the customer will later still have the opportunity to change his priorities at various points".
Based on experience, it can then be discussed with existing customers where it makes sense to postpone the budget for the next trade fair or to invest in an extra highlight for special effects. "In any case, a close and transparent coordination with our customers is always important to us, because only if they feel comfortable at their trade fair stand is this a guarantee for a long and good cooperation.
THREE-DIMENSIONAL JIGSAW PUZZLE
The majority of the production of the wall elements, furniture or presentation tools is ultimately carried out by an external network, essentially from the region.
Whether wood, stone, metal or plastic processing - Hardeweg's project managers attach great importance to ensuring that the supply chain of the required materials and components is aligned to the latest state of the art in their respective industries. "This is the only way to ensure that the individual components of a trade fair stand fit together perfectly in the end," is how Kai Böckenholt describes the constant quality standards.
According to Kai Böckenholt, the life cycle of a trade fair stand can vary greatly, with very few customers having a stand designed and built for a single use. In addition to the annual trade fair cycle, more and more trade fairs take place every two or three years and the interim storage of the stand must be planned accordingly
Where, from the amateur's perspective, the wild chaos breaks out at the end of the fair when the fair is being dismantled, the Hardeweg teams have to carefully dismantle all the elements, pack them in standardised crates and, after professional transport to the warehouse, pack them in such a way that they can shine on the next time the fair is set up.
"Then the three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle has to be put together again quickly and accurately. After careful preliminary work and detailed project planning, this is no particular challenge", Kai Böckenholt knows from many years of experience.
EXCLUSIVE SHOWROOM AND SHOP CONSTRUCTION
In addition to direct project handling with the client, Hardeweg's clients also include large agencies and architects' offices.
In particular, the budgets of internationally active brands are often managed centrally, with Hardeweg then taking over the implementation of the project as a service provider, without its own design services.
This is often the case, especially in the company's second mainstay, the high-quality shop and object fittings, where customers attach great importance to individuality.
"While we need a great deal of personnel in the shortest possible time for stand construction, the requirements for shop and object construction, as we understand it, are quite different", explains Herbert Wissing the reason why these two areas are considered separately at Hardeweg.
Depending on the brand orientation of the customer, exclusive design and high-quality production of the building and furnishing parts are the focus of interest here.
"We're not in the mass business here. Our target customers tend to be in the middle and upper market segments. We have specialised in individual solutions for lifestyle brands and love to implement innovative concepts for shops and showrooms for our customers," is how Herbert Wissing describes his area of responsibility within the company.
Especially in the major cities, more and more high-quality brands with flagship or design stores are making a brand statement that is mostly conceived internationally by renowned architects and agencies.
"In this interaction, we are the solution partners for high-quality implementation. As with exhibition stand construction, the precise implementation according to the detailed brand specifications is our quality service here."
Special solutions are often required here or short-term changes have to be implemented in the running process. High quality and attention to detail are the top priorities for Hardeweg in contract furnishing. And here too - similar to high-quality exhibition stand construction - many years of experience naturally play a major role.