October 2019 saw the group companies of Mitsubishi Chemical (MCC) united for the first time under the MCC umbrella in at K 2019 in Dusseldorf, the world’s largest trade fair for plastics and rubber.

Nobody could have foreseen that a few months later, trade shows as we know them would be changed completely as a result of COVID-19.  Now that we’re a year past K 2019 (which attracts attendance from 3,300 companies and 220,000 visitors), we talked to Benoit Burel, Marketing Manager at Mitsubishi Chemical Performance Polymers (MCPP), who co-ordinated our attendance.

Pictured: Benoit and our K 2019 home.

Tell us about your background and your current role within MCC.

I’ve spent 25 years with MCPP. The majority of my career has been in sales and now in marketing since MCPP’s acquisition by MCC, mostly in marketing communications through the website and event organisation.

How many trade shows have you organised and what kind of shows have they been?

I have always been involved in the organisation of trade shows, from smaller events with customers to bigger shows like K. I’ve been doing K since 1995, so K 2019 was my 9th time taking part!

This is the first time that all of the group companies have joined together like this. How did you find the planning process? Was it difficult to coordinate so many different entities?

It is a strange situation in Europe, because everyone knows the name Mitsubishi thanks to consumer products like cars or air conditioners, but very few realise that MCC is a top ten global chemical company with a large presence in plastics. The big challenge was to convince the K show organisers to allocate a large surface area to MCC.

K 2019 planning process started during K 2016 and it took eight months of regular meetings with all group companies taking part, balancing each company’s expectations and the “One MCC” approach, but this was clearly understood by all and we found a satisfying solution.

What did you enjoy most about the planning process?

I must say that it’s very motivating to work on such a substantial project which aims to create synergy between us all. I very much enjoy this approach which gives all group companies the opportunity to discover so much more.

When you saw the finished stand and everyone working inside, what did you think?

The result, a standalone building of our own outside the main halls, clearly met our expectations. I know that some of us were a bit worried about not being inside a hall but, in the end, the location was extremely good in terms of traffic and it offered much better visibility than being in the middle of hundreds of other exhibitors inside a hall.

Do you think the group worked together well on the stand? Did it work as you expected it to?

Our entire team was very satisfied to see what each other’s group companies do in more detail. This can help us all in our daily roles. With so many people attending, it was a little difficult to meet everybody, so for the next K I think we should also consider how we could improve our team networking.

What kind of feedback did we get from the show?

The feedback was very positive. Several people on our team have reported a great response from manufacturers who have been very impressed to discover such a large group offering more than they would expect from a single entity. This was exactly our objective.