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The Latest and Greatest Exhibit Concepts, Inc. News

Emily Doenges

Exhibit Trends from the Show Floor at CES 2018

Emily Doenges January 10, 2018

It feels like quite an understatement to say that CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) is a buzzing hub of innovation and incredible leaps in technological advancements. CES, the largest trade show in the world and the gold standard for technology companies, is a household name for those in the ever-growing tech industry as well as average consumers watching media coverage of the event. 

We headed to the 2018 CES show to support a few of our clients including, Wireless Power Consortium and Omron, and to take in trends on the show floor. Las Vegas is sensory overload even without 4,000 exhibitors. We were wowed at every turn and want to share the big trends and takeaways from our time in Las Vegas: 

Product Integration is King

Everywhere you turn, products are completely integrated into trade show spaces on the CES show floor. From a mountain biking mannequin with a camera on its helmet at GoPro to allowing visitors to use smartphones to test the power of the phone’s camera at HUAWEI, finding new, innovative and unexpected ways to incorporate products into the space was prevalent.

GoPro CES.

Wide Open Spaces vs. Closed In Cubes

When it came to booth architecture, there were definitely two schools of thought: closing in the space in order to intrigue and make attendees curious about what was inside, or creating an open and airy space that feels welcoming while not being shy about what’s inside. Those closed in spaces had several entrances and exits to give you a hint of what was there, but did not give it all away from the aisles; they compelled you to take a step further to see the space for yourself.


Cityscapes & Real Life

A large number of CES exhibitors  dedicated their spaces to real-life integration. Many of the big tech companies like Sony and Samsung divided up their space into small rooms or pods. These areas were dedicated to rooms in the typical home or even applications to show how their products live and operate with the people who reside there. Not only did this make you feel at home, but it demonstrated how technology and devices compliment your life, rather than serve as an impediment or negative accent to your home’s design.


The Air of Mystery

While many booths were purposefully closed in as to make visitors curious about the interior of the space, still others gave them a sneak peek. Many spaces incorporated translucent fabric panels, giving a sense for the inside of the space but without a clear view. Much like the closed in architecture choice, this mystery certainly has the power to intrigue and draw you inside. But not giving it all away up front certainly makes you wonder about what’s behind that fabric panel.


Monitors: The Sky is the Limit

When it came to monitors, there was no limit to how they were integrated into exhibit booths andwhat they are capable of doing – this is a technology show after all!. There were incredible displays at every turn including transparent monitors, frameless monitors with edge to edge picture, curved, and even double sided: it was all there and it was quite the sight to behold. From a display perspective QLED, OLED, 4K, and even Laser stole the show with crisp, defined video that enhanced the message and definitely caught your eye.


The Power of Light

Much like architectural details that felt opposite of one another, so did the use of light (or its absence) in many spaces throughout the show. Spotlights shone on products, while others were left in the dark only to light up later. Projection mapping brought small cities to life and even created a virtual car from a fabric shell. The most dramatic use of light came from Samsung’s all black booth, spotted with downlights and compelling monitors throughout.


CES is about technology and with thousands of exhibitors and hundreds of thousands of attendees, brands needed to pull out all the stops to stand out and create stopping power. Everywhere you turn on the CES show floor, there is something else that catches your eye, draws you in and makes an impression.


The Bradford Railroad Museum: Gone, Not Forgotten

Emily Doenges October 06, 2017

In April, 2018, The Ohio Museums Association awarded the Bradford Railroad Museum with the 2017 Best Exhibition under $500,000.

If you didn’t see something with your own eyes, did it ever exist? If you never had the chance to touch it, hear it, or feel its incredible impact on the world, was it real?

For the people of Bradford, Ohio, the answer is a resounding yes.

Bradford-Railroad-MuseumIn the early 1900’s, there was nothing that had a bigger impact on the town than the railroad. It ran through the center of Bradford, offering opportunities for employment and providing a boost to the local economy. A tragic fire coupled with the the economic troubles of the railroad industry eventually led to the decline of the railroad and its ultimate demise.

When the railroad left Bradford, it was the same people who worked its lines that also followed behind the very last train car to roll through town. Except this time they were removing the very history they once helped to build. They were tearing up the tracks, the last tangible reminder that the railroad ever existed in Bradford, Ohio.

Can you imagine? You actually can, thanks to the men and women who dedicated their time and resources to build the Bradford Railroad Museum. The railroad no longer runs through Bradford and the tracks have all been removed.  But the impact the railroad had on the town, the region and  the country are still very much alive inside the four walls of the museum housed in an historic old bank building.

While it’s true that you are not your possessions, sometimes a few prized possessions and memories  are all the people who love you have after you are gone.

For me, it’s my grandmother’s desk. The desk fits perfectly in a nook in my home as if it was custom made for that spot. While it’s true that my grandmother is not her desk, a piece of her life and her story is still here even though she is gone.

Bradford-Railroad-MuseumI thought of my grandmother when I walked through The Bradford Railroad Museum recently, closely studying the artifacts that contain the story of those who built the thriving railroad and dedicated their lives to a once thriving industry. Their roles are preserved, frozen in time, thanks to the men and women who kept those reminders in their attics and basements all these years. Today, there are a few remnants of the railroad visible as you pass through town: the museum and a brick switching tower. The museum has successfully kept these memories alive by telling the story of the railroad.

This is why museums matter; why they are the keepers of our stories and memories long after we are not here to tell them ourselves. As visitors, we place our trust in that preservation and unbiased story of our history. As museum designers, builders, and installers, our company is honored to play a part in keeping history alive through the stories of the men and women who left an impact on this world.

The railroad is gone, but the people who built it and dedicated their lives to its success are not. They are still very much alive in the Bradford Railroad Museum. 




Exhibit Concepts is a Best Place to Work!

Emily Doenges May 19, 2017

“To give real service, you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” – Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Event Marketer recently announced their list of the Best Places to Work in Events and Exhibit Concepts is one of 33 companies honored! This award recognizes the industry’s top work environments among agencies, partners and event departments and the designation was based on feedback from survey data submitted anonymously by over 80% of Exhibit Concepts’ employees.

The event industry is a fast-paced environment with tight deadlines and lots of moving parts. While this may not be the field for everyone, it’s a rewarding career for the people we are proud to call our colleagues. ECI employees are “doers” and problem solvers. They are the people who can be relied upon to do what needs to be done, and they do it together. It’s about taking pride in our work, joining forces to provide solutions, and at the end of the day it’s about delighting our clients all the while maintaining a family culture.

We believe that our business is about people—our clients, their clients and most importantly, our people. Exhibit Concepts is proud to be named a Best Place to Work in Events. We recently spoke to our employees and asked them one question:

What makes Exhibit Concepts a Best Place to Work?

Watch the video below to see what they said.

Common Mistakes Made by International Exhibitors: Communication (Part 3 of 4)

Emily Doenges April 14, 2017

by Jeff Hannah, VP of International Services & Commercial Interiors

Are your booth staffers greeting French-speaking attendees in English at a show in Paris? Does your English marketing tagline make sense when translated into Portuguese? Are you asking for hundreds of thousands of marketing dollars, but have no way to prove your ROI because you are not evaluating your program? Many companies who exhibit at international trade shows make these COMMUNICATION MISTAKES, which fall into two main areas: Messaging and Engagement.

In this 4-part series: Common Mistakes Made by International Exhibitors, we are identifying these mistakes and suggesting tactics to avoid them in the future. You can read Part One, AWARENESS, here and Part Two, PREPARATION, here


Marketing messages (or stories) are typically communicated from the context of our own culture. Most companies take these messages and simply translate them into the local language when attending a trade show overseas. Unfortunately, this doesn't always work, as some stories simply don't translate well.

Your audience will be listening from their cultural context and may hear something quite different than what you intended. They may miss the main point, some of the nuances, or just not get it. They are looking at life through a different set of lenses, and will see and hear things differently due to their cultural context.

If you want to communicate effectively with them, you will need to craft a message which is unique and speaks directly to them.

Marketers typically create personas for their target demographics, which is an ideal approach for this situation. In this case, you would create personas with the cultural profile of your target audience. You can solicit help from your local office marketing experts, or you can rely upon cultural marketing experts. Regardless of your direction, it is important to consult locals before finalizing your message. 

Must Knows For Global Exhibiting


How will you engage with your target audience at a trade show in Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi or some other international location? Will you give them a firm handshake? Invite them to participate in a contest? Drop their business card in the bowl for the daily grand prize drawing, after receiving it with both hands? Will you greet them in English or in their native language? Many companies try the same approach that they use in their home country, which illustrates their ethnocentric bias. 

Many other national cultures lean towards building relationships and determining if there is alignment before getting into too many business details. Some use multiple meetings to accomplish this, or extended conversations, or sharing snacks and drinks. 

Many American companies tend to be transactional, getting down to business immediately. They exchange pleasantries and business cards, ask what products you might be interested in, and then ask if they can swipe your badge send a follow-up email. But, your international prospect might want to sit down, have a cup of coffee and learn about what kind of company you have and what your people are like before discussing a business deal.

Ready to expand your business internationally? It’s crucial to understand the cultural differences in those countries before you make this step. Download our Cultural Compass Infographics HERE. This set of eleven (11) infographics will give you important pointers on how to work within these unique cultures and ultimately create a path for success.

Cultures vary widely on how they want to engage - and what kinds of things they want to discuss. It is imperative to develop a culturally relevant approach for each audience. This is why understanding cultural differences is so important when doing business internationally.

Want to learn the must know tips for international exhibiting? Download our eBook to learn all the aspects of business to consider when exhibiting internationally!

This is part 3 of a 4 part series on common mistakes made by international exhibitors. 

Jeff Hannah is VP of International Services & Commercial Interiors for Exhibit Concepts. He consults, writes, and speaks about engagement strategies, cultures, and trade show differences between countries. He has founded companies in the UK, UAE, and USA, and has produced trade show exhibits, interiors, and events in over 50 countries for many of the world’s top brands. You can find Jeff on Twitter: @jeffnuance.

The Latest and Greatest Exhibit Concepts, Inc. News