Arizona unveiled a new look and strategy at the world’s largest bioscience trade show earlier this month, replacing a conservative approach with a vibrant, inviting presence that emphasized the state’s scientific strengths. The new booth was branded under the “Biozona” identity, shared with international audiences for the first time.
The annual BIO international convention, held May 6-9 in Boston, attracted nearly 20,000 attendees from more than 60 countries. It featured a slew of presentations and discussions on the science, business, and policy angles of the biosciences, as well as scientific poster sessions, career fairs, specialized mini-conferences, and other attractions. In addition, the convention featured a massive exhibition hall where states, regions, and nations promoted their bioscience wares.
Arizona sent its first delegation, a half-dozen individuals, to the BIO exhibition hall in 2002. Since then, the booth has grown and evolved, now commanding the participation of more than 50 science and business representatives, 26 sponsoring organizations, and 800 square feet of booth space.
The 2007 booth was redesigned around the state’s Biozona brand to showcase Arizona’s scientific assets and reputation as a destination where scientific collaboration thrives. Biozona was adapted in 2006 by a cadre of Arizona communications and marketing officials involved in the biosciences, and thus far has been used primarily for in-state purposes. The convention marked its introduction to national and international audiences.
“We were confident that the Biozona booth would be a success,” said Micah Miranda, bioscience manager of the Arizona Department of Commerce who coordinated Arizona’s effort at BIO. “Judging from the foot traffic, the questions received, and the impressive number of potential business and research leads generated by booth participants, it exceeded our expectations. In past years, the booth lacked a consistent identity and message; this year it spoke directly to our strengths in science and collaboration.”
In other changes, the booth’s traditional blue tone was replaced by a vibrant orange and yellow. The somewhat heavy nature of the booth structure was replaced by a lighter, more open setup. And most importantly, the relative anonymity of the booth was left in the past thanks to eye-catching graphics featuring factoid-style messages on Arizona’s scientific competencies and rapid growth in the industry. The booth was anchored by four 16-foot high pillars that carried these messages as well as photos of Arizona’s key research institutions.
The booth also featured a speaker series involving twice-daily lectures by Arizona scientists: Gary Greenburg, Ph.D., Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz); William Mattes, Ph.D., Critical Path Institute (C-Path); and Larry Sparks, Ph.D., Sun Health Research Institute. Citation of the speaker series in the conference newsletter garnered significant attention for Arizona.
The convention is hosted by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the nation’s largest bioscience advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. Next year’s BIO convention will be in San Diego on June 17-20, 2008.