BrandCulture’s Key Takeaways From Mobile World Congress 2019


As we wrote at the end of February, each year we ensure to attend certain international conferences and events with the intention of staying on top of changes in the market, seeing what organizations are doing with their branding and meeting up with current and potential clients and partners.

Among our most important trend-watching events is the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) conference in Barcelona, one of the year’s largest tech gatherings. Here are some of our key takeaways from the event.

Goals for the Conference

It was important to check in with who will be at MWC, ranging from potential clients to interesting start-ups to new collaborators on our team. It’s always great to connect potential contacts whenever possible, and MWC offers a great opportunity for networking. There’s still no substitute for the classic meeting face-to-face. Conferences like MWC remind us that nothing beats in-person meetings.

MWC offered a great opportunity to understand upcoming branding/experiential marketing trends, since companies really highlight their marketing and promotional expertise.

Future Trends

The nexus of new 5G telco networks and the Internet of Things will bring some really interesting innovations in the near future. The combination of high speed and low latency from the networks will allow for a range of products and services that we haven’t even seen in fields such as virtual-reality and autonomous vehicles.

There’s a host of new health and wellness start-ups and technologies out there that will really change the landscape of healthcare as we know it. It’s clear that these will be useful to a whole range of clients.

Conference Surprises

Although there was an absence of truly revolutionary technological changes at MWC this year, it was easy to have a peek at what’s coming down the pipeline. There was a foldable phone craze with both Huawei and Samsung showing prototypes tucked away behind glass that aren’t yet ready for market. From a branding perspective, it created an interesting dynamic between the plethora of teaser activities and the public’s limited patience in waiting to actually have its hands on something.

Branding Trends

Organizations are taking experiential branding to new levels. It’s vital to the tech scene since so much of technology can be abstract and conceptual. It certainly benefited from employing real-world examples. There were brand tie-ins that were interesting such as HP having a full-scale replica of a space module and the computer servers they had sent up to the International Space Station. And who doesn’t love space?

The Start-up World

4YFN is the section of MWC dedicated to start-ups and the ecosystem of fundraising, investor pitches, entrepreneurs, accelerators, incubators, etc. There were over 600 start-ups this year. The 4YFN section has a different type of energy and profile than “big” MWC and it’s always refreshing to see who’s showing what. One outstanding presentation showcased a 3D-printed edible meat substitute that was produced and grilled right in front of us.

Ways to Engage

It’s true that it can be challenging to attract the attention you need at an event like MWC, but there are ways to engage the public in both big and small ways. There are hundreds of exhibitors and over 109,000 visitors. Some of the bigger organizations like Samsung create full-on immersive augmented reality activities in the exhibition space. But smaller businesses can pull off a great ROI with a smaller budget with something as simple as having your team wear t-shirts that say “Ask me about collaboration tools for graphics teams.”

It’s always a treat to see what the future will look like at MWC. We can’t wait to see what is in store for next year.

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