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Accenture’s innovative airport installation

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Problem: When companies think innovation, they think of Accenture, or at least that’s what Teresa Poggenpohl, executive director of global advertising and brand management at Accenture, is hoping for. In an effort to maintain its image as a cutting-edge technology consultancy, Accenture last week unveiled the Accenture Interactive Network screen at O’Hare International Airport.

The new technology, an interactive 7-by-10-foot wall reminiscent of Tom Cruise’s computer symphony in Minority Report, is to inform and entertain thousands of business travelers walking through the second busiest airport in the world.  The interactive screen places the latest news, weather and sports at travelers’ fingertips. Users manipulate the touch-sensing system that can distinguish between multiple people, a feature lacking in other commercially available, wall-sized screens. Researchers from Accenture Technology Labs developed the Interactive Network by adding new software to existing technology that allows users to interact with the screen while it displays graphics, images and other data.

Accenture’s target audience of senior executives spends a lot of time in airports, but typical airport advertising is too stagnant and passive to make an impact, Poggenpohl said. The aim of the screen is to get the attention of every person in the coveted, high-traffic, business-traveler space, whether they interact with the interface or not. “Even if an executive walks by it, he is watching it the whole time, but a lot of people are interacting with it,” Poggenpohl said. “It’s been very successful in targeting our audience.”

The Interactive Network is just a more innovative model of what Accenture has been doing for years—targeting senior executives who are on-the-go. In London’s Heathrow International, Accenture was the first company to put posters adjacent to business-class club rooms. “If there is something that’s different in the airport, we’ll do it and this is just another example,” Poggenpohl said.

 

Solution: The structure is housed in a 10 x 14, custom-built frame that displays Accenture’s brand name clearly enough to see from a plane flying into O’Hare.  When the screen isn’t being used, it’s in “resting mode” and plays Accenture advertising.

The majority of these ads, targeted to senior executives, position professional golfer Tiger Woods in competitive matches that demand optimum performance and challenge the viewer to “Go On. Be a Tiger.” The message behind these advertisements relates how Accenture similarly leverages business-critical capabilities, industry expertise, global resources and technology to help its clients achieve superior economic performance, according to Poggenpohl.

 

Results: Although it’s still too early for concrete results, Accenture is positive its screen successfully targets its desired demographic. The company spent more than nine months testing and tailoring the device. In the first set of tests, Accenture hired a third party to set up testing in their Chicago office to document what executives thought about the screen, what they would change about it and whether they found it user-friendly. The second battery of tests, similar to mall-intercept research, was conducted at the airport. Interviewers stopped passer-bys fitting the proper demographic, and asked for their impression of the installations. Viewers affirmed the new structure. “It has a wow factor. It’s very impressive and elevates the vision of our company,” Poggenpohl said, adding that the new product is just as inspiring to people outside the demographic. “No other advertising has people and children standing around billboards,” she said. “Once it went up it looked so great and so heroic.”

Accenture is slated to install another Interactive Network at John F. Kennedy International airport “very soon,” but within the next year, Accenture is looking to take this venture overseas, Poggenpohl said. “We will continue to evolve it. Stay tuned because it will not be the same. That’s the cool thing; it doesn’t have to stay static.”

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