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Is it possible to make a hashtag for something as mundane as an elevator trend on social media? Totally doable – if you ask Citycon and KONE. Citycon is a leading owner, manager and developer of urban shopping centers in the Nordic and Baltic region, and always willing to pilot new innovations to better serve their customers.
KONE’s elevator with a social media wall at Myyrmanni shopping center is almost a local tourist attraction. It stands in the middle of a row of three elevators, marked with colorful tapes and, of course, a hashtag.
“When it was first installed, you could see people actually waiting for that particular elevator to arrive,” explains Mari Laaksonen, Commercial Director at Citycon Finland. “Fortunately, it’s been programmed to arrive first whenever it’s available, so the waiting time isn’t that long.”
The elevator enables visitors to have their Instagram and Facebook posts displayed on its wall, simply by using the hashtag #myyrmannin_somehissi (#myyrmannis_someelevator). Thus far, the elevator has been decorated with people’s holiday photos and even art.
For Citycon’s tenants, the elevator is a new marketing channel. For example, a hairdresser can advertise last minute appointments, a clothing store may announce discounts, or a restaurant is able to share photos of their menu.
Elevator ride as an experience
Even if visitors aren’t drawn to social media, Laaksonen deems the elevator a more pleasant visual experience in comparison to traditional ones. When there are no posts on the wall, it turns into a mirror. The elevator can also be colored with lights, for example, red for Christmas, or the colors of the Finnish flag, blue and white, for Independence Day celebrations.
Laaksonen points out that particularly in the case of skyscrapers, the elevator journey really has an impact on the feeling the place delivers.
“When entering, say, a hotel, the elevator’s atmosphere and interior design can make a real impression.”
However, this can never happen at the expense of convenience. Laaksonen has noticed that whenever elevators and escalators are out of use for refurbishment, the feedback from shoppers and tenants is immediate.
“In places like shopping centers, where people tend to have things to carry, functioning and accessible elevators and escalators are essential.”
In addition to shopping centers, Laaksonen sees social media elevators suitable for any other experience-oriented establishments. For example, museums, art galleries and conference centers could find plenty of use for an interactive wall.
Frontrunners have responsibilities
For Citycon and KONE, the project has been lengthy, not least because it’s the first one of its kind in the world. Citycon, being a market leader in Finland with a strong foothold in the Nordics and Baltics, is always willing to try out solutions that both smoothen the shopping experience and provide tenants with new tools and marketing opportunities.
“Our position in the market obligates us to be the frontrunner in retail,” Laaksonen notes.
The project began three years ago, and the elevator itself was launched in December 2017, with plenty of attention from the media.
KONE and Citycon have been partners for years, and together they’ve been looking for ways to make elevators more than just a means of conveyance from A to B. For Laaksonen, this means closely following people’s preferences to ensure the elevators are as inviting and accessible as possible.
The SoMe elevator at Myyrmanni has proven that having a social media wall could become a standard feature in all of Citycon’s shopping centers.
“These days, technology advances in such huge leaps that almost everything is possible,” Laaksonen says. “Had this happened five years ago, the response would’ve been very different. Now people are asking, ‘has no one really done this before?’”