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The Latest and Greatest Exhibit Concepts, Inc. News

Exhibit Concepts

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.

How to Incorporate Sound into a Trade Show Booth

Exhibit Concepts June 29, 2018

As anyone who has ever walked the show floor knows, trade shows are a loud, crowded place. There are plenty of people and objects vying for your attention and engaging your senses along the way. People to meet and speak with, demonstrations to watch and objects to touch and experience. And if you’re lucky enough to be at a food show, plenty of things to eat. But what about sound? Aside from face-to-face conversation (there’s nothing better if you ask us!) does sound have a place in a trade show booth or on the show floor?

It does, but it’s important to give it some thought as part of your overall strategy to choose the best sound for your brand.

SET THE MOOD

Music and sound are a powerful tool that can alter your mood. According to researchers at Ashford University, one of the first things that happens when music enters our brains is the triggering of pleasure centers that release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy. While music is a polarizing topic (anyone else cringe at the sound of Gordon Lightfoot’s voice?) instrumental music or a carefully selected playlist can set the mood in your booth. A great example of this is a booth at CES for an essential oils company that was playing nature sounds at a low volume, creating an inviting and serene environment that perfectly aligned with their brand, tone, and message.

CONSIDER YOUR AUDIENCE

Generally speaking, the point of a trade show is to have meaningful face-to-face conversations. It’s an incredible opportunity for service providers and potential clients to meet, size one another up, and ultimately, make an informed decision about whether or not to do business together. Playing loud music in your booth could distract or take away from those conversations. On the flip side, however, music could be the perfect opportunity to show your audience what you’re made of if you are, say, a Bluetooth speaker manufacturer. Establishing buyer personas will help you get to the root of WHO your audience is and WHY the trade show experience matters to them. Once you have that figured out, sound can be incorporated into your strategy to add to the experience rather than take away from it.

MAKE IT PERSONAL

Not into blasting loud music into the aisle ways from your booth? That’s understandable, but it’s also not the only option. Try taking a page from the museum book and create a personal listening experience for visitors. Individual audio stations allow the listener to start the message, listen as long as they want, and focus on the message without any distractions. These stations can be positioned in an area where they are not obtrusive and can be created with a tablet or small screen for individual viewing and a playlist of audio or video files for a unique engagement.  

HIRE A PROFESSIONAL

There are times to DIY and there are times to trust a professional; a trade show is a time to trust a professional. This means partnering with an AV company or expert who has the skills and experience to deliver on your vision and also be on site to ensure the entire experience goes according to plan. Another great option is to hire a professional emcee to lead a presentation in your space to draw a crowd and inform your audience, too. This is a great way to use sound by delivering your message with a charismatic host who can read your script, introduce your offering, and provide that human touch.

HAVE A PLAN B & A PLAN C

The old saying is true: fail to plan and you plan to fail. While we aren’t suggesting that your next trade show is destined to be a disaster, we all know that stuff happens. Items are damaged in transit, wires get crossed, someone forgets to pack a cord: that’s just life. Which is why it’s always a really great idea to have a backup plan or two (or even three, why stop there!) so the show can still go on as planned and you aren’t looking for the nearest electronics store at 2 AM on the Las Vegas strip.

No matter which audio path you choose, there are plenty of great ways to engage your audience on the show floor. Who knows, that great song might just draw in your next big prospect.

Harnessing the Power of Storytelling

Exhibit Concepts June 27, 2018

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Often attributed to Ernest Hemingway, (though, we have to note this has never been substantiated as a quote from him) this is known as the six-world novel. It speaks not only to the importance of brevity, but to something humans have practiced for thousands of years: storytelling.

In so few words, this “novel” leaves much to be imagined, many questions left unanswered, and plenty of room to read between the lines. It’s a captivating set of words because they have you immediately “hooked” and make you wonder things like: why weren’t the shoes ever worn? What happened to the baby? Why are they for sale? It’s incredible that in just six words, an entire story has the potential to unfold.

So, why are stories so important?

Donald Miller, CEO of StoryBrand, a company that helps companies clarify their messages says, “If you want people to understand and identify with a complicated concept, tell a story about it. This creates a ‘clicking experience’ in a person’s brain, allowing them to suddenly understand what someone else is trying to communicate. As such, if you can tell a good story, you’ll create stronger, faster, connection with your audience.”

Technology has changed the way we live our lives, but it has not changed our love affair with a good story. In fact, it is has given us new platforms to communicate with one another when we cannot sit around the fire together like humans did all those years ago.

CRAFTING YOUR STORY

When it comes to brand experiences, events, and trade shows, story is everything. The story of your brand, why your offering matters, how it helps people, and how you are different are some of the key elements to your brand story. Establishing this story ensures your brand is consistent, and everyone in your company is on the same page about who you are and why your offering matters to help your customers.

Here’s how you get started:

Characters: It was Shakespeare who said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” This is who the story is about, with main characters and supporting actors. These are the brand ambassadors and employees working your booth, playing starring roles as greeters, or walking visitors through demos. Your audience, or visitors to the booth, are key players who arrive to hear your message and make a buying decision based on your delivery.

Setting: This is where the action takes place; a place you describe so well that the reader can image themselves there. For a trade show, this is the obviously the show floor aka the stage. It’s the environment that captivates those characters, taking them on a journey right there on the show floor. Architecture, design, technology, engagement—all those elements add to the scenery.

Conflict: Every story has a conflict or obstacle to overcome. How is the problem solved? What valuable lessons are learned along the way? In this case, it’s about your customer and what keeps them up at night. Identifying personas is a great way to get to the heart of what your audience needs, their problems, and how you can make strides toward solving them.  

Resolution: This is the happy ending, the place where the journey concludes. The hero saves the day, riding off into the sunset and living to fight another day. In this case, your customer is the hero and you are the guide who worked to help them solve their problem, and achieve the success they desire. Just your classic win-win situation.

While you don’t have to follow this formula exactly, it’s a good framework to gaining clarity about who you are and the big idea you have to offer in the market. It helps you get to your WHY, the part of doing business that builds trust and will have everyone gathered around the fire to hear your story.

Trade Shows: Renting vs Buying

Exhibit Concepts June 07, 2018

Rent or Buy?Decisions, decisions. In trade shows, events and face-to-face marketing in general, expectations to deliver memorable experiences are forever increasing. Our clients are constantly seeking new ways to deliver the WOW factor at the same time delivering on time and on budget. And that can lead to discussions about whether owning or renting booth property is the best strategy. Here are a few ways to decide if it makes more sense to rent or buy your trade show property.

RENTING

Pros:

  • Versatility: A rental can offer more flexibility, delivering results for both a simple project and one that is more unique. It can also be used for smaller inline projects or a variety of island configurations.
  • More flexibility: Rentals can be used for one year, multiple shows, or even multiple shows over several years. If you currently own property, rental components can be used alongside those assets. Renting also means it is possible to have multiple booths in different locations.
  • Cost-Effective: A bigger and more complex booth can mean a higher price. If you need a small booth that is, say, around 10x10, renting can help you stay under budget with ease.

Cons:

  • Limited Customization: Rentals offer some degree of customization, but buying a booth is the only way to create a completely customized and original space. Graphics and hanging signs can be changed, but otherwise you are tied to rental inventory.
  • Less Availability: During peak trade show season, there are only so many assets to go around. This could mean changing some elements in your booth’s original design.

BUYING

Pros:

  • Completely Customized: Purchasing a new booth means it’s all yours, and it is built to your exact needs and specifications. You can create shelves to fit your products and build the entire booth around your goal—whatever that may be.
  • Great for the Long Term: If you attend several shows a year and want the same footprint at each, it can be more cost-effective to purchase a booth. This particularly comes into play with larger booth size.

Cons:

  • Additional Expenses: Owning your booth means incurring additional costs, like paying to store it and covering repairs and refurbishments over time.
  • Less Variety: Your booth will, except for new graphics, look identical at every show. This is a con that could be a pro, depending on your audience and your goals for attending trade shows.

A BONUS OPTION

Not sold on either option? A hybrid trade show exhibit (sometimes called a custom rental) is a great alternative that offers benefits from both options: customized assets that you own, with the flexibility of rental components.

Typically, it means owning the heavily branded portions of the space or those designed to showcase your unique products. This could include hanging signs, graphics, or product displays. These unique components offer the custom wow factor your company desires. Then, those custom components you own are used in conjunction with standard core components like a reception counter, kiosks, or even wall panels. This means you can swap out those rental components for a fresh look alongside your standard, owned assets.

Whether you own or rent your booth, or choose a mix of both, it is crucial to understand the importance of events and how it works with your sales and marketing goals. Thinking about where events, like trade shows, fit into your overall business development efforts is critical to your brand’s success.

Making the decision to rent or buy isn’t one you should take lightly. We created an info graphic to help you decide the best path. Want to discuss further? Contact us!

Shining a Light on Problem Solving

Exhibit Concepts June 04, 2018

On December 9, 2017, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum opened its doors. The museum was many years in the making and is the first state-sponsored civil rights museum in the United States. There are eight galleries in the museum, situated in the round. The galleries represent the history of the civil right movement and in the center is the heart of the museum.

That heart is known as This Little Light of Mine.

It began as a concept for an interactive, illuminated structure conceived by Monadnock Media and Hilferty & Associates. It was fabricated by Transformit and truly embraces the idea that each of us has a light, or a contribution, and there is always a light to be found in the world.

The structure is 40 feet tall and is suspended from the ceiling in the center of the museum. Made of aluminum blades covered in fabric and containing channels of LED lights, it is a sight to behold. Not only is it beautiful, it provides an interactive experience. As more people enter this central gallery, more lights begin to flicker inside the structure and the songs This Little Light of Mine and Ain’t Gonna’ Let Nobody Turn Me Around echo throughout the space.

Construction of the piece took a year and a half, and installing the centerpiece of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum was no easy task. Thanks to some quick thinking and ingenuity, this living sculpture was brought to life. Watch the video below for a glimpse into how it came together.

 

This Little Light of Mine, at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum from Exhibit Concepts Inc. on Vimeo.

Resource: From the Trade Show Experts: Ways to Save Money & Improve Efficiency

Exhibit Concepts May 24, 2018

In the face-to-face marketing industry, planning is crucial. Throughout the year, it’s important to take stock of your trade show program to ensure overall effectiveness. As you work to evaluate your successes and identify areas of improvement, it can be easy to forget important dWays to Save Money & Improve Efficiencyetails and key elements.

This white paper focuses on a variety of ways you can both improve efficiency and save some money along the way- a few key variables of a successful trade show, if you ask us.

We approach savings and efficiency in a variety of areas, including:

  • Show Services
  • Graphics
  • Engagement

You can get all the tips in our White Paper, From the Trade Show Experts: Ways to Save Money & Improve Efficiency. It’s a FREE download and you can get your copy HERE

Why You Need a Trade Show Partner

Exhibit Concepts May 23, 2018

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the largest electronics show in the world. So, attending such a major trade show for the first time would be a big deal for any company. For Omron Automation, it was an opportunity to make a huge splash in the industry.

New call-to-actionAs they prepared for the show, they aligned themselves with a partner. This was someone to not only help them design an exhibit, but to offer a complete solution with support for strategic development and planning, project management, design and fabrication, content development, show service coordination and product integration.

The result? A show-stopping performance that made headlines all over the world.

To learn more about Omron’s big goals and how they achieved (and exceeded!) them, Download the Case Study.

Omron highlights from CES 2018

The Latest and Greatest Exhibit Concepts, Inc. News