Interview with Shelton Fleming Creative Director, Francois Nouyou

Shelton Fleming turns ‘ideas into experiences’. Event Industry News asked Creative Director, Francois Nouyou, about his job and about Shelton Fleming’s role for brands ‘at the heart of the digital revolution’ in the context of the Mobile World Congress (MWC).

What is your role at Shelton Fleming?

I ensure we understand our clients’ business and how creativity can be applied to the journey they take their customers on, particularly in a live, face-to-face situation. It’s also my job to create an environment for an eclectic mix of creative talent, architects, copywriters, art directors, digital designers and creative technologists, to feel inspired and free to explore new ideas.

What’s the best part about your job?

The diversity of talent I get to work with, among clients and colleagues. It’s a constant source of inspiration, energy and new ways of looking at the world. I love the huge variety in my role too. Every brief brings new challenges and opportunities to push the creative process.

What makes MWC special?

It brings together the companies that are literally changing every aspect of our lives and there’s close to a 1bn euros spent on live marketing and networking activity in four days. MWC used to be mainly about mobile operators but the impact of intelligent networks and hyper-connectivity means we are now seeing every sector represented. Players in the automotive, space, manufacturing, healthcare and finance sectors, are all laying out their vision there.

What do you enjoy the most about MWC?

It has to be the sheer audacity of the brands that attend. There’s a confidence and energy that’s almost overwhelming. Mobile World Congress is a homage to ‘creativity’. To convey the transformative impact of technology and AI, the brands attending push the boundaries of what’s possible experientially and in terms of engagement, to tell their story. Frankly, you have to go to theme park to find anything more stimulating.

What does Shelton Fleming do at MWC?

We work with brands including Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent, BlackBerry, Netcracker and NetScout. In most cases designing, building and managing their booths and peripheral client activities, like VIP management, customer parties and entertainment. With Nokia we are working on immersive experiential elements. All these companies are developing solutions to help businesses securely develop and deliver applications across intelligent networks.

What do you see being the most exciting experiential technology or ideas at trade shows, in the future?

Not the obvious things. Sure VR 360 in a live context offers an interesting opportunity to allow remote visitors to enjoy the experience. For panel discussions and live demos, for example, it can enable remote participation for short, 20-minute bursts. However, augmented reality (AR) is more compelling. It allows us to explore a complex technology from different story angles while enabling a group of people to have the same experience. It’s social where VR can be a lonely experience.

New technologies that allow us to measure an experience’s effectiveness, and even change what the visitor sees and feels, are really exciting. There’s camera technology and facial recognition software, for example, which can monitor footfall, circulation and dwell time at demos, and gauge emotional reactions to content and experiences.  Consider facial recognition technology: it can detect a high level of concentration or engagement in a demo, or frustration and confusion, this can influence how the booth staff or, using AI and machine learning, how an interactive demo responds.

How do brands and companies capitalise on events like MWC?

The biggest challenge I see for technology brands is keeping the focus on a human narrative. The tendency is to talk in geek speak, but it’s human stories, and how technology can enhance human endeavour and potential, that emotionally engages, no matter how much immersive and interactive technology we throw at the experience. And that is as true in B2B as it is in B2C markets.

Adam is the co-founder and editor of www.eventindustrynews.com Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.