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The Latest and Greatest Exhibit Concepts, Inc. News

Exhibit Concepts

Checking In: Were We Right About Trade Show Trends for 2018?

Exhibit Concepts October 17, 2018

You don’t need a crystal ball to tell the future. In fact, making an educated guess is possible through research and thought. While it’s true that anyone can make a prediction, but making the right prediction is where things get a little tricky.

As 2018 winds down, we are already thinking about trade show trends for 2019. But before that happens, we wanted to look back at our predictions for trade show trends in 2018. Were we right? Were we kinda right? Did we miss the mark?

Trend 1: Experiential Design

Were we right? Yes, but with a twist.

It’s still true that great booth design is not simply about architecture. It’s about the total visitor experience, from start to finish and spans well beyond the confines of the booth. Time and time again, clients ask for a space that will not only draw a crowd but draw the RIGHT crowd. This is achieved through strategic engagement that could incorporate technology or invites visitors and prospects to engage their senses and leave with a memorable experience that will motivate them to act.

The twist is this: great experiential design must evolve and push the envelope to remain relevant and speak to the right audience. Travis Stanton, editor of EXHIBITOR Magazine says it best:

“The challenge of engineering legitimate experiences has never been more difficult, and it's only going to get harder. In fact, many of the things we would have labeled as "experiential" a few years ago wouldn't even ante up alongside the experiences readily available today. Consumers' experience addiction makes the jobs of exhibit and event professionals exponentially more difficult. But it also offers a silver lining: As consumers increasingly seek out and come to expect immersive experiences, the demand for experiential efforts within the modern-day marketing mix is likely to increase.” 

Trend 2: A Strategic Approach

Were we right? Absolutely.

For most companies, events on the trade show calendar are not isolated projects, they are part of a much bigger picture. This approach has been a big hit this year, with companies realizing the incredible value of a consistent message across every event and environment. This translates from the show floor to lobbies, customer experience centers, mobile vehicle tours, and demand generation campaigns.

Trend 3: The Power of Light

Were we right? Kind of.

LED lighting comes in many forms and offers both versatility and a cost-effective solution. There are many options beyond LED that offer brightness and quite literally shine a light on a trade show booth. However, lighting is an investment and it can be heavily dictated by show rules and exhibit hall lighting. For some clients, it may make sense to invest elsewhere, like in technology that will turn heads.

So, it’s accurate to say lighting matters—but it could be trumped by another (more important) expense when the budget gets tight.

Trend 4: Technology: The Sky is the Limit

Were we right? You bet.

Tech is and will continue to be the hottest game in town. Projection mapping, AR, VR, and OLED monitors continue to dominate tech-driven exhibit spaces. Technology is constantly evolving, and exhibitors have and will continue to ride that wave to make a big impression on the show floor.

Trend 5: Engaging the Senses

Were we right? Yes and No.

It will always be true that a great experience is one that is multi-sensory. This could mean things like incorporating tactile elements that are inviting to touch, incorporating sound into the booth, or piping a nostalgic scent into the air. While it may be difficult to involve all the senses, a few of them paired together can be a compelling experience. We’ve seen booths that invite attendees to touch, visualize, and even listen.

One of the trickiest sensory experiences to execute successfully is scent. First, it has to be true to the brand; for example, a mortgage technology company trade show booth with a smell could be a bit of a stretch. Also, it may prove challenging to maintain a scent in a vast convention center and these days, many people have scent sensitivities. This isn’t to say incorporating scent isn’t possible or is a bad idea, it’s simply that it could be more difficult to execute successfully.

Case Study: Creative Trade Show Solutions

Exhibit Concepts October 09, 2018

In a perfect world, an exhibit hall would be light and bright with ceilings as tall as skyscrapers. There would be no restrictions, no poles to design around, and no rules whatsoever. Unfortunately, most trade shows have a list of restrictions and limitations, and sometimes you find yourself in a hotel with low ceilings and dim lighting. But that does not mean they prevent you from having a successful event. And it certainly doesn’t mean there is a limitation on creativity. So, when a client asked for a solution, creativity was the key to success.LexisNexis-0429 WEB

The Client: LexisNexis Risk Solutions, a leader in providing essential information to help customers across industry and government assess, predict, and manage risk.

The Need: A booth that would enhance their center position while conveying their message with a professional appearance despite the hotel venue with a low ceiling.

Our Solution: A beMatrix system was used for the booth structure to facilitate a one day set up and tear down. This system allows for quick installation and dismantle and is fitted with custom graphics for a branded experience. The brand pillars were represented throughout the booth and explained with graphics in the LexisNexis signature brand red. The ceiling panels of the booth were left open to expose a metal cage installation that reinforced the concept of security.

For an additional pop in the dark, confined space, custom light bars were built and installed throughout. From the reception desk to the ceiling, light made this booth stand out from the crowd.

The Takeaway: Location is everything, but it doesn’t have to stifle creativity. The real world is full of obstacles and problems just waiting to be solved by those willing to think outside of the box.

First in Flight: The Wright Brothers National Museum

Exhibit Concepts October 03, 2018

The story of aviation begins with two brothers from Dayton, Ohio. These two aviation pioneers, Wilbur and Orville Wright, were inventors, engineers, and true pioneers. The pair is credited with the invention, building, and flight of the world’s first successful airplane.

Their legacy left an impact the world over and their imprint is significant in Dayton, Ohio. The brothers’ home, Hawthorne Hill, and their bicycle shop are in Dayton, as was the John W. Berry Sr. Wright Brothers Aviation Center in Carillon Historical Park. That all changed recently, when Dayton became the official birthplace of aviation thanks to a federal designation.

Now, the center known as the Wright Brothers National Museum, complete with a designation from the National Parks Service. The new name and updated facility was recently unveiled in a ceremony held at Carillon Park in Dayton. The “National Museum” designation is the result of years of Congressional workings and approval from Congress, the executive branch, and the federal government.


The unveiling ceremony wasn’t just for the new designation, it also included a series of renovations to the Wright Cycle Co. building. This building houses the 1905 Wright Flyer III, the only airplane designated a National Historic Landmark and several other personal items from Wilber and Orville Wright. Exhibit Concepts worked alongside Carillon Park staff to create graphics and display cases that updated the existing exhibits.

4 Ways to Captivate a Trade Show Audience

Exhibit Concepts September 13, 2018

It’s true: drawing a crowd is a key component of a successful trade show. Attracting the masses is a great way to ensure your message is delivered to many people, but it’s also important to have a plan that gets that message to the right people. It’s the old “quality over quantity” concept. Trade shows can be an overwhelming place for attendees, and the last thing you want is for your company’s solution to their problem to be lost in the shuffle. So, once the crowd is there, here are four key ways to keep their attention and create a memorable experience to your target audience:


Identifying your ideal customer, their problems, and how your company can solve them is a crucial component of creating personas. Understanding this information and working internally to get your team on the same page is a great first step to enacting a persona-focused strategy. A great way to identify your personas on the floor is by developing a series of questions to get to the heart of an attendee’s needs and pain points. Then, you can work to help them understand your company’s unique solution.


Sure, serving free drinks while a DJ plays will draw people in. But, are they the right people? Can you have a meaningful conversation over said music? Do you even want to have a conversation? It’s easy to think that more is better, but a simple yet memorable experience can be what separates you from the competition. Think about an experience that will keep customers engaged, excited, and even educate them on your offering along the way. This meaningful experience will draw in the right people and keep you on the consideration list when an opportunity comes along.


Attending a trade show is often a major investment for your company. You probably go to several shows each year, but have you ever stopped to consider WHY you attend? Remembering your WHY is an important aspect in business, but it becomes even more so when attending a show. Keep your goals in mind throughout the planning process, and even ask you work to train your booth staff and interact with clients.


Not all memorable experiences are created equally. You could be remembered for the wrong reason, or worse yet, not remembered at all. So, not only do you keep your goals and your WHY in mind, you also need to think about what attendees will walk away knowing or understanding about your brand. One big, compelling takeaway is key here. It will ensure your message isn’t lost in the shuffle of the show, and that you and your company are in a consideration set down the road when your customers are ready for their problems to be solved.

So, the next time you think about your trade show presence remember: a crowd is great, but a group of the right people hearing the right message is always better.

Should We Sponsor the Branded Napkins?

Exhibit Concepts September 07, 2018

It’s a question that faces nearly every marketer: is a sponsorship worth the investment? It can be difficult to commit to dedicating your budget to an opportunity when your return on investment isn’t quite clear, but there are some ways to make a wise choice.

Trade shows, conferences, meetings and even events typically offer a wide variety of sponsorship opportunities. These could be branded items like lanyards, registration bags, and other tangible items with your company’s logo and messaging. Other sponsorship opportunities offer more personal interaction, such as the ability to make podium remarks before introducing the key note speaker.

When faced with so many choices, it can be difficult for a marketer to decide which sponsorship to invest in and how to gauge if it is worth the investment. With sponsorships, there is no easy or tried and true answer. Like so many other things, it depends!


When considering a sponsorship and choosing the best option, start by revisiting your event goals and objectives. The creative brief is a great tool to capture details about the event and exactly what you and your company are trying to accomplish. The right sponsorship can enhance your presence, make up for a less than ideal booth location or reach an audience that may not attend the exhibit hall.


Attendee personas are another important consideration when evaluating your sponsorship choices. Having insight into attendee interests and motivations can be an important determinant. For example, are they inclined to participate in networking events or are they more motivated supporting community service projects?

Think through the following questions as you evaluate sponsorships for your next event:

  • What are my quantifiable goals and objectives for this event? Will I be able to achieve them with our booth presence alone?
  • What other advertising and marketing is already planned? Will it reach my ideal target audience?
  • What new news, engagements or events are planned for my booth to draw attendees in?
  • How many of my ideal target audience members attend the exhibit hall? How much time do they spend there? Where else are they spending their time?
  • How do my ideal target audience members spend their time during the event?
  • What types of sponsorship opportunities make sense for my situation; for example:
  • Prior to the event to drive awareness and interest
  • Prior to the event to drive attendance
  • During the event to drive brand recognition
  • After the event to drive brand recognition
  • How lasting should the sponsorship experience be? For example, we could sponsor the luncheon and perhaps be recognized from the podium, have signage and napkins. Another option might be to sponsor the lanyards that are visible during the event. Or, we could sponsor a water bottle that might be taken back to the office and used for months.
  • How do the different sponsorship options compare in terms of apples to apples comparison of reach?

Whatever path you chose, it is most important that you synchronize your event strategy and spend with your objectives and your ideal target attendee. That will help you to get the most bang for your buck!

Exhibit Concepts Named to 2018 FAB 50 List

Exhibit Concepts August 15, 2018

If you wanted to find the right partner for your business, how would you narrow the field? In the trade show industry, there are several methods to choose the best partner. Often, a procurement department is tasked with issuing an RFP or RFI to help them find the best partner for their company’s needs. This is a worthwhile exercise, but there is typically more research to be done before making a final decision like a facility visit or a series of meetings.

For this reason, EventMarketer developed the Fab 50, a list of the top fabricators serving the event and trade show industry. This editorial list features the top exhibit builders in North America to facilitate this decision-making process.

For the last six years in a row, Exhibit Concepts has made the list.

For Exhibit Concepts, it’s an honor to be named to this list of fabricators. After nearly 40 years in the industry, our team has grown significantly. One thing remains the same, however: our team is full of creative and passionate people dedicated to providing unique solutions and excellent customer experiences. Whether it’s a domestic or international trade show, museum, executive briefing center, corporate interior, mobile vehicle tour, experiential/interactive engagements, or creative services, it’s all about creating connections between our clients and their customers.

For more about how we bring our customers’ vision to life, visit our portfolio page. To learn more about the Fab 50, visit their website.

The Airstream Story: Why Brand Continuity Matters

Exhibit Concepts August 10, 2018

Attractive. Sleek. Efficient. Iconic.

Those are all words you’d probably use if someone asked you to describe an Airstream travel trailer. Ironically, they are also terms used to describe the kiosks built for their dealers all over the country.

Affectionately known as the, “Silver Bullet,” the Airstream travel trailer is built in Jackson Center, Ohio. Founded in 1931, the company embodies the concept of Americana with its distinctive product line. So, when an iconic, timeless brand wanted to create an experience for their dealers that aligned with company values, they came to Exhibit Concepts. There are Airstream dealerships located all over the country, and they needed a way to gather leads while on the road or out in the field.

Our team worked closely with Airstream to design and build a sleek, modern design that fit with their brand—and was easy to transport and troubleshoot if necessary. Each kiosk is made with riveted steel, just like its travel trailer counterpart, and features a “fin” design that was aerodynamic and eye-catching. The kiosks were created in two pieces, which allows them to be easily taken apart and placed inside a plastic case and transported in the trunk of a car.

The centerpiece of the kiosk, however, is the iPad Pro housed inside. With a backup battery pack and charger, it’s ideal for life on the road (sound familiar?) and for dealers. The iPad itself has a simple lead capture program installed, allowing visitors to browse the Airstream product line, choose a model, and input their information. Dealers have the flexibility of placing a kiosk in their dealership, but they are meant to be taken on the road, just like the iconic travel trailers they are modeled after.

Best of all, an electronic brochure is immediately sent to the customer, and the dealer now has lead information for follow-up. A kiosk might seem like a simple ask, but for Airstream it represents the importance of brand continuity and ensuring your brand looks, feels, and acts the same, no matter where a customer encounters it.

Exhibit Concepts Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Exhibit Concepts August 07, 2018

A lot can change in forty years.

40th-FinalExhibit Concepts was started by Ned Brown in 1978, born of necessity. Ned showed up one day to work only to realize the doors were chained closed and the company was out of business. It was in that moment, standing outside and realizing his clients’ exhibits were locked inside, that he chose to follow a long-held dream: he founded Exhibit Concepts.

Back then, there were just 3 employees working in a single bay of an industrial strip in Dayton, Ohio. There were only a handful of customers. Today, Ned’s daughter Kelli Glasser and over 120 team members collaborate on nearly 2,000 projects annually in a total of 240,00 square feet of space in Dayton and in the Chicago area.

Through all those decades and all that growth, one thing has never changed: our commitment to our customers. It is the very foundation upon which our business was built and continues to operate.

Our company is full of creative, passionate, and curious problem solvers who blend research, experimentation, and expertise to shape innovative solutions and unique visitor experiences for trade show exhibits, corporate events, interior environments, museums, mobile vehicle tours, and experiential engagement.

We believe our clients are the hero of the story, and it’s our job to make them successful. Just as strongly, we believe in the power of face-to-face communication, and its ability to accelerate business growth.

In our next forty years, we will continue to evolve as a leader in the exhibitions industry, and we will continue to champion our customers.

ECI Sponsoring & Speaking at EXHIBITORFastTrak Chicago

Exhibit Concepts July 31, 2018

Exhibit Concepts is the Official Sponsor of EXHIBITORFastTrak Chicago August 21-24, at Hotel Chicago Downtown. 

EXHIBITORFastTrak Chicago is one of four accelerated learning conferences where trade show and event marketing professionals can select sessions and workshops from four days of education. These university-affiliated courses allow enable attendees to earn their Certified Trade Show Marketer (CTSM) professional certification. 

Ongoing education is a crucial part of our industry, and EXHIBITORFastTrak is an invaluable resource for event marketers. We believe in the continued acceleration of the profession so much so that we are sponsoring this important event and in addition to our sponsorship, three educational sessions will be led by ECI leaders, including:

T445: Letting Your Leaders Lead – Leads to the Best Results

Presented by Kelli Glasser, our President and CEO

Whether you report to a micromanager, or you personally display micromanager tendencies, this session is for you. Learn how the "un-micromanager"-who doesn't hover over people or dictate how to do tasks-gets better team and organizational results, improves productivity and engagement, and reduces everyone's stress level.

WANTED: Problem Solvers & Solution Seekers

Presented by Ellen Campbell-Kaminski, our VP of Sales & Marketing and Jeff Hannah, our VP of Creative, International, & Interiors

In the trade show industry, exhibitors never encounter surprises or roadblocks, right? Events always go off without a hitch, budgets are skyrocketing, and attendees need little to no lure to visit your booth. If only that were true, but challenges like these occur every day. This panel and group brainstorm discussion will allow attendees to ask questions and work through problems together.

Sales and Marketing Alignment: How to Get –and Stay—on the Same Page

Presented by Ellen Campbell-Kaminski

It's no secret that alignment between sales and marketing is critical to optimizing business results. However, most organizations find it very difficult to achieve said alignment. Join us to discuss three strategies you can use to get sales and marketing on the same page.

A Trip Around the World – Must Knows for Global Exhibiting

Presented by Jeff Hannah

Take a fast and fun trip around the world as we discover fascinating insights into seven major world destinations! You'll improve your working knowledge and increase your confidence in handling shows and events in Abu Dhabi, Tokyo, São Paulo, and other locations. 

M512: Traveling Abroad: Important Do’s and Don’ts

Presented by Jeff Hannah

Whether you are managing your own personal travel or that of your executive team or colleagues, there are some important do's and don'ts that you should know about traveling abroad. This knowledge will help keep you safe, save you money, avoid typical scams and make your experience go more smoothly. Leave this session, feeling prepared to travel internationally.

A complete schedule of EXHIBITORFastTrak sessions, locations and online registration, is available at ExhibitorFastTrak.com

Why You Need a Trade Show Specific Creative Brief

Exhibit Concepts July 19, 2018

One of the most popular resources on our website is the creative brief. It’s been downloaded four times more often than any other resource, and for good reason. We can all agree it’s critical to get clarity around objectives and messaging for a successful marketing project. The creative brief helps people to do just that.

But we also got suggestions about other elements to include in the brief when planning for a trade show, such as build type and display requirements. It became clear to us that there was a need for a more detailed creative brief. So, we made those edits and created a second, trade show specific, creative brief.

Now there are two resources:

When you need something more general, perhaps at the start of a larger campaign, you can use The Marketing Campaign Creative Brief Template and when you need to prepare a brief specific to a trade show you can use The Trade Show Creative Brief Template.

The most important thing is that you use the brief to clarify your objectives and situation and use it as a communication tool to the rest of your team.

The Latest and Greatest Exhibit Concepts, Inc. News