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The Latest and Greatest Exhibit Concepts, Inc. News

Exhibit Concepts

Exhibit Concepts’ Sponsoring, Leadership Team Speaking at EXHIBITORFastTrak in Atlanta, GA

Exhibit Concepts October 14, 2019

Exhibit Concepts is the Official Sponsor of EXHIBITORFastTrak Atlanta, which will be held November 5th-8th at the Twelve Downtown, Autograph Collection.

EXHIBITORFastTrak Atlanta is one of four accelerated learning conferences hosted by EXHIBITOR Magazine, providing trade show and event marketing professionals a variety of sessions and workshops to expand their industry knowledge and skillsets. These courses are university-affiliated and allow attendees to work toward earning 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,” said Ellen Campbell-Kaminski, VP of Sales & Marketing at Exhibit Concepts.

In addition to the sponsorship, the ECI leadership team will be leading three educational sessions, which include:

445 – The Un-micromanager: Let Your Leaders Lead (CTSM 5)

Wednesday, November 6, 2019 – 10:45 am – 12:15 pm

Presented by Kelli Glasser, ECI 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.

510 – A Trip Around the World – Must-Knows for Global Exhibiting (CTSM 5)

Wednesday, November 6, 2019 – 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Presented by Jeff Hannah, Vice President of International, Interiors, and Creative

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.

348 – Sales and Marketing Alignment: How to Get – And Stay – On the Same Page (CTSM 5)

Wednesday, November 6, 2019 – 3:15 pm – 4:45 pm

Presented by Ellen Campbell-Kaminski, Vice President of Sales & Marketing

It's no secret that the 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.

362 – Humanize Your Target Audience with Attendee Personas

Thursday, November 7, 2019 – 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Presented by Ellen Campbell-Kaminski, Vice President of Sales & Marketing

Are you attracting the right audience to your event? Does your experience inspire them to act? If not, attendee personas could be the key to improving the results of your next event. Personas may be fictional representations of your target audience, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work. We’ll teach you how to craft personas that go beyond traditional demographics to include awareness levels, motivations, hobbies, interests, and behavioral drivers.

If you’re interested in registering for the event and viewing other sessions, visit https://www.exhibitoronline.com/fasttrak/ for more details.

Exhibit Concepts, Official Sponsor of EXHIBITORFastTrak Atlanta, Hosts All-Access Pass Giveaway

Exhibit Concepts September 25, 2019

As a sponsor of EXHIBITORFastTrak, we are excited to announce that we’re giving away one All-Access pass to industry professionals interested in attending the conference in Atlanta, GA on November 5-8th.

This pass will grant the lucky winner access to ten sessions of their choice, as well as workshops. This fantastic event allows attendees to sharpen their skills in the face-to-face marketing arena, continue their education, and network with peers.

This pass, valued at $2,495, is part of Exhibit Concepts’ ongoing initiative to invest in the educational side of the industry.

“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,” said Ellen Campbell-Kaminski, VP of Sales & Marketing at Exhibit Concepts.

To enter the giveaway, visit https://www.exhibitconcepts.com/fasttrak. The contest will end on Wednesday, October 9th at 11:59 PM EST.

 

Museum Exhibits: Why Budget Shouldn’t be the Deciding Factor when Selecting an Exhibit Fabricator

Exhibit Concepts September 24, 2019

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Museums are among the best when it comes to storytelling and research. They bring our history to life through exhibits, and behind the scenes, they’re conducting research that can tell us how the world around us works, our health, or how things came to be. Showcasing these stories and artifacts plays a vital role in enlightening our societies, and it’s something an exhibit fabricator shouldn’t take lightly.

Issuing a bid to exhibit fabricator is usually a requirement in the museum space. When it comes to choosing the best bidder, budget shouldn’t be the only consideration taken into account. In this blog, we will explore several factors to take into consideration before selecting a partner to build the best exhibits with lasting success.

1. Shared Priorities

More than a collection of artifacts, a museum experience must make a connection with people. A strong partner will help you identify how you will reach the hearts and minds of your visitors, transport them to a specific place or time, and leave them changed in some way. To help achieve these priorities, be sure the company you’re working with will:

  • Safeguard the artifacts. This may seem obvious, but it’s essential to understand your exhibit fabricator’s method for preserving objects. From the materials used to the protective casings, your displays should not only showcase artifacts in a meaningful way, but also in a way that keeps them safe from the environment and from damage or theft
  • Give visitors compelling exhibits and interactives. You know your subject better than anyone, but your design and fabrication partner(s) can help you create experiences that engage guests. “Once we had artifacts and space, we needed a story to tell and Exhibit Concepts, Inc (ECI) helped organize that story,” explains Dr. Marilyn Kosier, a key member of the board responsible for creating the Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum. “They also helped us cull down the items into a meaningful interpretation. Before, they were just displayed with no educational value. They have a way of developing a timeline and exhibit venues that create a comprehensive picture.”
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Simply building what’s on paper isn’t enough when it comes to museum fabrication. Bringing innovative solutions that will help visitors easily navigate and comprehend an exhibit’s content is a skill your exhibit fabricator should bring to you.

2. Meticulous Planning

Precise and thorough planning is key to a successful exhibit and essential for an entire museum. Working closely with your design and fabrication partner through the early planning stages can help you think to develop every detail, including:

  • How the exhibit will function
  • Where to place interactive pieces
  • How to integrate audio-video elements
  • The way the materials will hold up to heavy use
  • Traffic flow

Putting together any environment’s process is a puzzle, and each piece needs to fit together to assure a successful build. Leaning on your exhibit house’s expertise, each step of the way is crucial, and having a plan will make the project move along smoothly.

3. Flexibility and Problem-Solving

Even with the best planning, you and your museum exhibit fabricator won’t discover some issues until installation. Choose a partner that can handle problem-solving on the fly. Reagan Grau, Director of Collections at the National Museum of the Pacific War, saw the value of this flexibility in action. “When the George H.W. Bush Gallery was being installed, there was a graphic panel blocking part of a word on the wall behind it. As soon as they saw the problem, ECI actually painted new lettering on the wall to make it work. They fixed the issue before it even became an issue. They’re great at handling improvements like that on the fly.”
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If you choose to work with multiple partners for different parts of the project, be sure they work well together and support each other. One may discover issues the other didn’t foresee. Chris Frison, Associate Vice President and Senior Project Designer at D|G Studios, has worked with many different fabricators and installers. “I like the way ECI doesn’t just find problems, they find solutions,” he says. “They always come to us with a solution to whatever issue they discover. Not every company I work with does that. I can rely on their next-level detailing to be sure that, together, we deliver the highest quality end-result.”

When multiple companies are involved, communication is critical to eliminating possible issues. The best partners will talk to each other, giving updates, discussing issues, and figuring out solutions to keep your project moving forward. “Their level of communication spoils you,” adds Frison. “You start to expect it from all other companies you work with, but you just don’t get it the way you do with ECI.”

4. Big Picture Perspective

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the details of a single exhibit or interactive experience. And while each one is important, it’s just one part of your story. Don’t lose sight of the big picture. Prioritize the continuity of the guest experience through each exhibit, as well as through every update and expansion. Working with a single partner for those updates and expansions will not only create a cohesive visitor experience but will make those future projects run smoother.

The National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredricksburg, Texas, is made up of 3 museums spread across 6 acres. It would have been very easy for each one to feel separate and disconnected. The museum’s director, Rorie Cartier, PhD, believes a single long-term partner has been the secret to preventing this kind of disjointed experience. “Because ECI was involved in every part of the museum, across all 6 acres, the continuity between the galleries is seamless. That is really important to us!”
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Building a new exhibit is not something that you or your team takes lightly. Telling the story, protecting the artifacts, and guiding visitors through your exhibits in a meaningful way is your priority, and it should be the priority of your exhibit fabricator, too.

Exhibit Concepts Showcases Work with Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, Mosaic Templars at AAAM 2019

Exhibit Concepts August 28, 2019

Our Museum Sales Team had the opportunity to attend the Association of African American Museums Conference in Jackson, Mississippi, and it was an experience they won't soon forget.

The Association of African American Museums is a member-based, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving, protecting, and interpreting art, history, and culture in African and African American Museums, domestically and internationally. The theme of this year's event was Roots of Revolution: Reaching Back, Pushing Forward. The event centered around "looking to the past to inform and empower the crafting of the future amid challenging times."

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During the conference, our team had the opportunity to meet many dedicated professionals involved in the advocacy, preservation, and teaching of African American history. Our team highlighted our important work with the
Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and our most current project with the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, which is in the final design phase.

Following the conference, our team was invited to the after-party at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, where we were recognized for the role we played fabricating and installing the exhibits within the museum. It was a great honor to receive that recognition and we're extremely proud to have contributed telling the important stories of the Civil Rights Movement, which impacted not only the communities in Mississippi, but the state and our nation.

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"I feel it is important to attend the AAAM conference because we can meet not only the people who move the history of the African American people forward but also the people who made the sacrifices that made the Civil Rights movement possible. Ultimately, these connections put our museum department in a position to better serve these historical institutions to facilitate their stories," said Theresa Hirt, Marketing Coordinator on the Museum Sales Team at Exhibit Concepts.

Taking great care to preserve this history and to influence social change in the right direction is important to us as a business, and we look forward to continuing to tell these impactful stories in future projects.

Exhibit Concepts Names Daniel Arnold Project Management Director

Exhibit Concepts August 13, 2019

HeadshotExhibit Concepts, INC. (ECI) has named Daniel Arnold, Project Management Director. Arnold is responsible for developing and refining processes, overseeing the project management team, identifying and correcting operational inefficiencies, and fostering a culture of excellence and integrity.

“I’m very excited to join Exhibit Concepts during this period of growth,” said Arnold. “For the past 20 years, I’ve been a part of three start-ups and I really love developing people and teams. While Exhibit Concepts has been around for 40 years, it’s somewhat in a start-up phase as they evolve with the industry and I’m thrilled to join the team and ultimately help further the business.”

Prior to joining Exhibit Concepts, Arnold served on active duty with the US Navy for four years and was deployed to Operation Desert Shield in August of 1990. Following his service in the military, Arnold attended Seminary at the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois and received his Masters of Divinity and during that timeframe, also worked part-time as an electrician. For 10 years, Arnold managed his own electrical contracting company, Arnold Electric, Inc.

Arnold later moved to Branson, Missouri to manage the newly opened Sight and Sound Theaters, Inc. where he oversaw all back-of-house functions. After six years, Arnold moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and joined the Museum of the Bible, Inc. as the Director of Exhibits where he was responsible for the end-to-end design, build, and installation of traveling domestic exhibitions ranging from 500 – 35,000 sq.ft. During his tenure, Arnold also managed global exhibitions and traveled extensively to take exhibits to Israel, The Vatican, Germany, Argentina, and Cuba.

At home, Arnold enjoys gardening with his wife, fishing, reading books on great leadership that will sharpen and challenge him, and spending time with his two children. Arnold also sits on the Board of Directors for the non-profit, Gospel Justice Initiative, Inc. in Elgin, Illinois where Exhibit Concepts’ second location resides.

Arnold earned a Bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in Comparative Literature from West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Exhibiting Internationally? 8 Travel Tips for First Time International Travelers

Exhibit Concepts August 06, 2019

Traveling for a trade show can be a stressful experience. You are worried about flight delays, getting your shipment on-time, enduring long days on your feet during the installation and show run, and working evenings to evaluate and assign leads. Rarely is there enough time to see the sights and enjoy the local area. These issues are magnified when you’re exhibiting internationally because things can be SO different: from food and etiquette to language and legal, to health and safety concerns. But there are some guidelines that can help you avoid some of the most common pitfalls.

Jeff Hannah is the VP of International, Interiors and Creative for Exhibit Concepts. Jeff has led multicultural teams in the strategic development of complex projects in over 50 countries for many of the world’s top brands, making him a seasoned and experienced traveler. He has several do’s and don’ts to keep you prepared, safe, and ready to represent your company with class.

1. Don’t wait to get your passport and visa! As you’re applying, allow enough time for processing.

Having an up-to-date passport can make or break your travel. If you do not have a valid passport, you won’t be able to board the plane, as it is mandatory to have for most countries (except some U.S. territories). Some countries also require a valid entry visa to visit, specifically if you plan to stay beyond 90 days. In some cases, the visa is required outright. Travel visas are not credit cards; they are an endorsement within your passport which grants you official permission to enter, leave or stay in a country for a specified period of time.

If the country you're visiting requires a visa, receiving the document stamped and ready to go will take weeks. The visa process may require other supporting documents, such as an official invitation letter from someone within the country you are visiting. If you’re applying for a visa, the process, requirements, and applications will vary by destination. Do your due diligence to research everything that is needed and the anticipated processing times.shutterstock_212653228-1

Do allow at least 4-6 weeks to obtain a first-time passport or if renewing, apply to renew at least 9 months prior to the expiration. If you’re applying for a passport for the first time, you will need to fill out a DS-11 form, collect support documents such as identification and a birth certificate, get a 2” by 2” color passport photo taken, prepare your fees and submit the application. Passport applications must be scheduled for submission with an approved passport agency or post office. Passport renewal requires a DS-82 form and the same supporting documents, photo, fees, and your most recent passport. You will also need to schedule an appointment with an appropriate agency for submission.

All supporting documents will be mailed back to you with your new passport. Most countries require you to have at least 90 days (or more) remaining on your passport prior to its expiration date; you don’t want your passport to expire while you are traveling overseas, as it then becomes invalid. In special circumstances, it’s possible to expedite the process.

2. Don’t book your flights through separate airline carriers.

For many international destinations, you will have a layover somewhere and change planes. But booking your flights through separate carriers can cause a ton of unnecessary stress and problems during your journey. If you miss your connection, you’ll have to pay fees to re-book in addition to being late upon arrival. Also, your luggage will not be automatically transferred to your connecting flight, which increases your risk of losing your belongings. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination with just the clothes on your back. Speaking of which, it is always a good idea to make sure you have your medications, documentation, light toiletries and a change of clothes in your carry-on luggage just in case!
Image of businessman at airport looking at airplane taking offDo book your flights with a single airline carrier.

You will save yourself a lot of pain if you book your flights through one airline carrier. If anything happens on your journey such as a flight cancellation or delay, the airline will likely issue you travel and hotel vouchers at no expense to you. Plus, your luggage is accounted for and the risk of losing it significantly decreases.

3. Speaking of luggage, don’t pack without a plan.

When flying overseas, if you forget something, it may be difficult to find or expensive to purchase what you’ve missed. When packing clothing, it’s also important to familiarize yourself with the attire expected at the event you will be attending, as well as the cultural expectations.

Do research on the attire or items you will need to bring and make a checklist.

Make sure that you familiarize yourself with the climate of the country you’re visiting as well as the type of attire expected at the show. It’s always a good idea to pack conservative business attire, as most oversea shows are more formal than those in the US. If you’re traveling in the Middle East, expected attire is more traditional than many other countries and it is best to err on the side of caution.
shutterstock_539893504-1Clothing isn’t the only thing to think about. Make sure you’ve packed all the necessary medications, toiletries and electronics you may need during your journey. For electronics, determine what type of travel adapter, converter or transformer you may need, as electrical outlets and voltages are usually different from what we’re accustomed to in the US. You will need the right kind of adapter or converter in order to use the device. With the wrong voltage, you can easily and instantly destroy your device!

After you’ve made your checklist and packed everything that you need, make sure that you can manage your luggage. There may be times you have to carry EVERYTHING all at once – like when you are boarding trains. Weigh your luggage and make sure that it is less than 50-70lbs, as you may be charged for oversized bags. If you’ve packed too much, consider downsizing and switching larger items such as your toiletries to travel size to reduce weight and save space.

4. Don’t select your housing just based on cost or rating.

Remember: research, research, research! Before you select where you will stay, consider the proximity of your lodging to the venue, the area of town, ratings, price, amenities and services, any stay minimums and what locals recommend. Depending on the length of your stay and location, there are many options for lodging such as international chain hotels, boutique hotels, local hotels, hostels and Airbnbs. If you’re staying in a “developing country”, book only 4-star, westernized hotels because they’re safer and will have expected amenities.

Do your research on the location and book early.

Doing the work to familiarize with the area you’ll be staying, getting recommendations from locals, and booking early will bring you peace of mind. If possible, book your stay one year in advance.

5. Don’t assume laws and risks are the same as they are in the US.

Once you’ve left the US, you’re no longer fully protected by U.S. laws and security. It is critical that you pay attention to and abide by the local laws and conventions.
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Do pay close attention to US State Department Travel Alerts and Warnings and research the laws and regulations to assure you’re abiding.

Warnings and alerts will give you information about any dangers in the country you’re visiting. Alerts are organized into four different levels, from low to high. A travel warning may include brief descriptors such as unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence or frequent terrorist attacks. Travel alerts may include information such as election season prone to strikes, demonstrations or disturbances; a health alert like an outbreak of H1N1 or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks.

Reviewing alerts prior to travel will help you prepare or decide whether to attend the show. In countries experiencing civil unrest, severe disease outbreaks, or terrorism, avoiding travel may be the better option. You can sign-up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which will send you important information from the US Embassy about the safety conditions of your destination.

Familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations by doing online research, contacting local tourism agencies or your threat assessment consultant for more information. Another option is to consult with a threat assessment expert, especially if you are planning major events or handling travel for an executive team or corporate group. These experts continually monitor chatter and threats and can plan for safety, provide security, and mitigate risks.

6. Stay in contact with family or coworkers while overseas.

Depending on where you’re traveling, toll-free numbers may not work or will not be toll free. Without an international phone plan, your calls or text messages will incur hefty charges from your cellphone provider.shutterstock_160559990-1Before you leave, do record any direct-dial numbers you might need while on your journey.

Some companies also provide business phones for travel. If your company does, consider asking about their options for an international plan if you’re required to communicate with your company’s home base. If not, you’ll want to contact your cellphone provider to discuss international plan options.

7. Don’t leave home without a contingency plan.

More than likely, you’ll arrive to your destination safely, your event will run smoothly, and you’ll return home just as safe as you did when you left. However, don’t rule out the possibility of something going wrong.

Do make sure that you have two copies of your passports, an emergency contact list, and contact information for the local US Embassy or Consulate. When providing your emergency contact, list key information such as: where you’re going, including any layovers, flight times, and where you will be staying. For passports, make sure you have one copy to keep with you and one to leave at the office or provide to a family member. If your destination has any active threats or warnings, having the local US Embassy or Consulate contact information will allow you to notify them you’ve arrived at your destination.

8. Don’t leave without proper insurance and proof.

As stated before, it’s likely your trip will be without incident. But if you become very ill or worse when overseas, medical care or being evacuated back to the U.S. is a severe expense you won’t want to incur. In foreign countries, it’s more than likely that your standard insurance won’t be honored.

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To prevent a bad situation, do purchase travel insurance and carry the proof with you. You might consider international workman’s compensation, international medical, or even kidnapping/extortion insurance.

While your engagements, booth installation, the meetings and leads you’ll acquire are important, your priority when you attend an international trade show is YOU! Without your well-being and safety in check, how will the show go on? Before you board the flight, make sure you have a solid plan, a checklist of all the items or documents you’ll need, and have researched the country you’ll be visiting.

Even if you’re not attending a trade show, many of these rules still apply. Stay safe out there and remember to have fun and take-in these memorable experiences!

Looking for more insights from Jeff Hannah? Visit his blog at globalexhibitor.com

6 Storytelling and Brand Continuity Tips for Trade Shows from Museum Experts

Exhibit Concepts July 03, 2019

Museums tell the stories of cultures, societies, and humanity itself. They connect people with ideas that can inspire. From helping children explore science to remembering and learning from tragedy, every museum, exhibit, and interactive experience, done right, makes the world a more enlightened place. But doing it right takes more than an impressive collection of artifacts or passion for the subject. How can museums and interpretive facilities combine artifacts, historic events, and passion into experiences that attract people and tell the right story for every generation?

There is no doubt that museums are experts in storytelling. While their story may be vastly different from your brand’s, you can learn from their approach and apply “museum planning” theory to your next event.

1. Take an Interpretive Planning Approach

Interpretive planning is the first step in preparing for the design process, specific to learning institutions such as museums. When Senior Designers Matthew Brandeberry and Josh Koenig begin the design process, they first ask for the “why”. “The why is the guiding light of your space – assuring your goals are met and you get your desired outcome,” said Koenig.

Be sure to ask yourself, why are we attending this show? Who are we hoping to attract to the booth? By attending this show, what behaviors and actions are we hoping to motivate?

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“You need people to want to connect with what you’re providing. For example, with Airstream, their brand has gotten to know their audience’s culture and use those stories to inspire prospects to join that culture by buying their products,” said Brandeberry. “It’s important to identify who you’re trying to inspire change in and identify the resources you have to capture them.”

When telling your story, remember that you’re not just trying to sell a product – you're selling an experience or something that your visitors need in order to improve their lives or their own business. “It’s easy on the trade show floor to be about flash and technology rather than the message. Using an interpretive planning approach will prevent you from becoming a gimmick. Don’t overlook this stage – it's easy to just come up with a checklist and image, but it’s important to understand your intent and your why,” said Koenig.

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Taking an interpretive planning approach will help you organize your thoughts and ideas and choose the best message for your trade show booth. Throughout the storytelling process, your “why” and planning will be the theme. The earlier you define these parameters, the better your booth experience will be for visitors.

2. Plan Precisely but Flex Freely

Meticulous planning is key to a successful trade show booth, as it is absolutely essential for an entire museum. Work closely with your design and fabrication partner through the early planning stages. Their expertise can help you think through every detail, including:

  • How the booth will function
  • Where interactive pieces should be placed
  • How to integrate audio-video elements
  • How materials will be used to decrease costs on shipping and storage, meet show requirements, and function so that it works for any event
  • Traffic flow

Even with the best planning, however, some things come to light during the installation and must be adjusted. When changes happen on the fly, be sure your partner can handle them without skipping a beat. Reagan Grau, Director of Collections at the National Museum of the Pacific War, saw the value of this flexibility in action. “When the George H.W. Bush Gallery was being installed, there was a graphic panel blocking part of a word on the wall behind it. As soon as they saw the problem, ECI painted new lettering on the wall to make it work. They fixed the issue before it even became an issue. They’re great at handling improvements like that on the fly.”

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If you choose to work with multiple partners for different parts of the project, be sure they work well together and support each other. A fabricator may discover issues the designer didn’t foresee. Chris Frison, Associate Vice President and Senior Project Designer at D|G Studios, has worked with many different fabricators and installers. “I like the way ECI doesn’t just find problems, they find solutions,” he says. “They always come to us with a solution to whatever issue they discover. Not every company I work with does that. I can rely on their next-level detailing to be sure that, together, we deliver the highest quality end-result.”

When multiple companies are involved, communication is critical. The best partners will talk to each other, giving updates, discussing issues, and figuring out solutions to keep your project moving forward. “Their level of communication spoils you,” adds Frison. “You start to expect it from all other companies you work with, but you just don’t get it the way you do with ECI.”

3. Prioritize Relationships with Visitors AND Partners

A museum experience is about the relationship between the subject matter and the visitor. For trade shows, the same concept applies. More than a collection of artifacts, however impressive it may be, and a museum experience must make a connection with people. How will you reach their hearts and minds, transport them to a specific place or time, and leave them changed in some way?

First, the history must be accurate and authentic. While preserving history is the primary concern of any museum, it is also vital for gaining a visitor’s trust. If people distrust the authenticity of your message, they won’t engage with your exhibits and your story is lost. This goes for trade shows as well. You’re trying to build trust, awareness, and conversion centered on your brand. If the story of your business or products is inaccurate or unclear, you won’t be able to effectively accomplish your goals no matter the show.

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Once you have the story down, then give visitors a compelling booth design and interactives. You know your subject better than anyone, but do you know how to create experiences that engage guests? A well-chosen partner does. The importance of this relationship cannot be overstated. “Once we had artifacts and space, we needed a story to tell and Exhibit Concepts, Inc (ECI) helped organize that story,” explains Dr. Marilyn Kosier, a key member of the board responsible for creating the Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum. “They also helped us cull down the items into a meaningful interpretation. Before, they were just displayed with no educational value. They have a way of developing a timeline and exhibit venues that create a comprehensive picture.”

Choosing the right partner for design, fabrication, and installation ensures your brand story is well protected, the booth and displays are high quality, and visitors feel connected to your story.

4. Remember the Big Picture

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the details of the booth design or interactive experience, just as it would a single exhibit or interactives in a museum. And while each one is important, it’s just one part of your story. Don’t lose sight of the big picture. Prioritize the continuity of the guest experience throughout the booth, especially when you need to adjust to meet requirements at different shows.

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Think about your goals and objectives and at a high level, what is needed to meet them. Focusing on the smaller details throughout the process is also important, but narrowing in on the specifics early on could hinder your brand’s delivery of the message. Your goal is to attract potential prospects and as you move through the process, remember what you want visitors to take away from the experience you’re providing at your booth. This goes back to the interpretive planning approach – what is your why? How are you going to achieve it?

5. Use the Same Partner for Multiple Projects

Choosing long-term partners simplifies everything. It ensures a seamless guest experience and cuts out unnecessary steps for you with each new exhibit, expansion, or update. You know exactly what to expect in terms of quality and process. Plus, you save valuable time not having to find old files or get a new company up to speed on your organization and expectations.

 

 

This is exactly why the National Museum of the Pacific War has continued working with the same partner repeatedly. “We’re like an old married couple now,” says Director of Collections, Reagan Grau. “We know what to expect. We’re satisfied and not inclined to shop around.”

The more projects you work on together, the more invested they will be in your story. Counting on a partner that is both skilled and invested is very important to Kari Watkins, Executive Director at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. “This is sacred ground,” she explains. “And ECI has always shown the deepest sensitivity to that. They work overnight so visitors aren’t disturbed. I know I can leave them in the building, and they will honor the place as well as the exhibits while they’re here, even when no one else is around. They have always demonstrated great reverence and respect.”

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Chris Frison of D|G Studios adds, “It’s important to know the companies we’re working with. When clients use the same company for numerous projects, there is a mutual familiarity with the process, drawings, and timelines. You’re not starting from square one every time, which saves countless hours throughout the project.”

6. Make Lasting Connections

The best relationships last. Your goal for each visitor should be to make a connection that will inspire them to convert to a customer. Have you made that the goal for your professional relationships as well? Consider both a company’s level of professional competence and what future projects may look like. If you update an exhibit in 10 years, how likely is it you will be working with many of the same people?

“What we love about our 20-year relationship with ECI is that everything feels the same each time we work with them on something new, whether it’s big or small,” explains Kari Watkins. “We even work with most of the same people we worked with at the beginning, so there is not only a familiarity but a shared journey we can pull from when planning new ideas and projects.”

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Jeff Salmons at Frontier Texas adds, “Even though there was a 9-year gap between projects, many of the key people were the same. They already knew the building, where we’d been, and our quality standards. We didn’t have to dig up old records or try to get anyone up to speed.”

These kinds of long-term relationships are also valuable in a crisis. Kari Watkins knows this first-hand. “When we had a serious flood, the ECI team was here within 24 hours helping with the protection and recovery of pictures and displays,” she says. “Because of their heroic efforts, we had little damage and no mold in any of our exhibits.”

This would ring true for trade shows as well. A partner that understands your business, your needs, and that has forged relationships with other partners and vendors is well-prepared to troubleshoot any issues that may arise come show time.

With a long-term relationship, you don’t have to wonder who to call in emergencies. And, as Jeff Salmon explains, “Not starting from scratch on every project saves time, work, and worry. We have confidence in the craftsmanship and the process because we’ve experienced it already.”

When you have passion, a story, and products to promote, the right approach can take your exhibits and your visitor experiences to the next level. Find your “why”, prioritize relationships, think strategically for the long-term, and choose your partners carefully. If you’re looking for a partner that cares about your story and will devote 40 years of experience to helping you tell it well, look no further than ECI.

Exhibit Concepts Names Masten Worley Sales Director

Exhibit Concepts June 10, 2019

masten head shot for press releaseExhibit Concepts, Inc. (ECI) has named Masten Worley Sales Director. Worley is responsible for developing strategic sales plans, driving improvements in the sales process to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the team, and creating sales reports and pipeline projections.

“We’re thrilled to have Masten’s dynamic leadership in our sales department,” said Ellen Campbell-Kaminski, VP of Sales and Marketing for ECI. “His vast knowledge of sales techniques along with his knowledge of strategy and relationship building make him uniquely qualified to drive growth for Exhibit Concepts."

Prior to joining Exhibit Concepts, Masten was Director of Business Development for Sparkbox, a Dayton-based custom web development agency as well as several Sales, Marketing and Operational leadership roles at software and technology companies, one being Apple. He holds both a Bachelors and MBA in Organizational Leadership from Franklin University.

Can In-Booth Presentations Draw a Crowd?

Exhibit Concepts June 04, 2019

A successful trade show means doing much more than simply drawing a crowd of people to your booth. A crowd is great, but a group of the right people hearing the right message is always better. So, it can be a bit of a “chicken and egg” situation: drawing a crowd may not be your specific goal, but you need to draw a crowd to find your prospects. There are plenty of ways to attract visitors, but let’s explore one with the all-important human element: in-booth presentations.

SHOULD YOU HIRE A PRESENTER?

In-booth presentations can be led by your salespeople or upper management, and they can be given to small groups or big ones—it really depends on your message and your goals for the show. But another option is to hire a professional spokesperson to give live presentations in your space to attendees. This means your staff isn’t held up with this task and can focus their time on talking with prospects, attending seminars, or scouting competitors. A professional presenter can lead a scripted session at regular intervals during the show so your booth staff can focus on meeting and greeting prospects. There is a cost associated with hiring a professional, but if it frees up booth staff or draws in a crowd for a big trade show, it could be a worthwhile investment for your company.

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WHAT SHOULD YOU SAY?

While experts can’t agree on its exact length, the human attention span is fairly short—which means it’s crucial to capture attention quickly and have a succinct message in order to make a meaningful, lasting impression. It really depends on what you have to say, but usually a presentation will run between 5-10 minutes long. Not only is that desirable from an attention span standpoint, but also, attendees may be standing and you don’t want them uncomfortable. Think about your business proposition: what problem does your product or service solve? What do you want your audience to leave knowing? How can you make a lasting impression? Once the presentation is over, what do you want them to do next? Answering those questions will help as you write a succinct script for your presentation.

RELATED: Who are You? The Importance of Brand Identity 

HOW SHOULD YOU SAY IT?

It is recommended that approximately five minutes before the presentation, the presenter should start inviting attendees to the booth for the presentation. You could provide a countdown on the presentation screen, announce giveaways for attending, or tease the content. Posting a schedule with presenters, topics and times both in the booth and on social media is a good way to build an audience. You may also consider sending or e-mailing invitations to prospective leads that may be in attendance in advance. As always, make sure you prominently promote your presentation on related pieces of content or web pages on your website.

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There are several different ways you can deliver the content to encourage interaction, including:

CO-PRESENTING

If you plan to hire a professional presenter, consider including a product expert as a co-presenter to offer technical information, share in-depth knowledge, or answer questions. Make sure there is plenty of rehearsal time with the co-presenters so that they come across as polished,  professional, and in sync.

RELATED: 4 Ways to Captivate a Trade Show Audience

LIVE DEMO

The best way to learn about a product and service is to see it in action and in person. A great example comes from Omron, whose goal was to showcase their leadership in technology that creates harmony between humans and machines. Omron did this by allowing spectators to play a game of ping pong with their table tennis-tutor, Forpheus. Omron was able to exceed all of their show goals including attendance, media impressions, and social engagement. They were also able to take home a Best in Show award from EXHIBITOR Magazine. 

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EMCEE

This is another hybrid option, where the presenter works to gather the audience, then brings in a special guest, like an employee or client of the exhibiting company. The emcee acts as the “host” while the employee offers information and then the emcee wraps up the presentation and can hand out prizes or invite the audience to tour the booth. 

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GAME SHOW HOST

This is a great way to incorporate fun and interaction into the presentation experience. The presenter runs the “game show” and uses the audience as contestants. This is a great way to share information about the product or service offering and keep the audience engaged.

Whatever route you choose, a presentation is a great way to make (and leave) a lasting impression.

ECI Employees Finish Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon

Exhibit Concepts May 21, 2019

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It was a record-breaking day on Sunday, April 28, 2019 as nearly 24,000 runners toed the line for the 19th annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Of the thousands in attendance, the group (8 employees plus a husband and a nephew) from Exhibit Concepts was there to take in the experience and hit the ground running (or walking!) after training through the cold Ohio winter.

2019 marks the 24th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, and the race serves to remember those who were killed that fateful day—and all proceeds from the race benefit the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. Not only was the race course packed with participantssupporters from all over the country stood on the sidelines to cheer participants along the way.

Marathons and half marathons are grueling tests of endurance whether you run or walk. And it is common for race organizers to ensure the course has plenty of entertainment to keep participants motivated throughout the day. But in the case of a memorial marathon, they also serve a meaningful experience at their core. In the case of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, participants pass 168 banners along the course, each bearing the name and photograph of someone who was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing.
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We’re happy to report all of our ECI participants crossed the finish line, each reporting that it was a beautiful day for the race and they felt the experience is one they won’t soon forget. Our work leading the initial fabrication and installation of the museum and its completion in 2001, as well as renovations completed in 2014 is what inspired us to sponsor our employees to run the race; we wanted to give back and support a community that has become impactful and meaningful to us. In addition to the race, a group of ECI employees also visited the Oklahoma City Memorial Museum and of course, our associates described the overall experience best:
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"We had the opportunity to travel to the Oklahoma City for the Memorial Marathon and Museum. To say that I was touched by the experience doesn’t even come close to shedding light on my feelings on the experience. I was completely overwhelmed by the scope of the museum; beginning with the time line of events leading up to the deadly blast, listening to the actual recording, watching the news coverage, and finally, witnessing the beautiful exhibits that Exhibit Concepts were part of creating. One gets a true sense of the extreme terror that day brought to innocent civilians. Combined with the beautiful outdoor grounds and memorial, the museum is a touching preservation of history and a reminder to uphold the memory of the 168 men, women, and children who lost their lives that day." - Regina Henning, Senior Account Manager

It was such a moving experience to see the museum and the impact ECI has been able to make by installing the exhibits, and then tying that directly into the memorial marathon route which created a race weekend unlike any other I’ve participated in. I’m so excited to have been a part of the museum, marathon and memorial activities.”Misty Boyd, Project Manager

“I really enjoyed seeing all the beautiful work ECI has done at the Memorial Museum. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to participate in the marathon and tried my best to bring home the gold. Alas, it was not enough to win, but an amazing experience I will never forget.” – Tony Accrocco, Designer
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“The museum was small but powerful; it was packed with every detail of the day which really helped to put me in the victims’ or survivors’ shoes. The most impactful elements were the videos of news footage from that day, and hearing frantic parents looking for their kids. Making the connection that those kids would have been around my age now really hits you. The whole experience was focused on reflecting and remembering, and most importantly, rebuilding. That strength was evident in every part of the race, from the pre-race service remembering what happened to the names and faces of the victims posted all along the last couple miles of the course. It gave me a new appreciation for Oklahoma.”Priscilla Esatto, Designer

“I was very excited to have the opportunity to participate in the OKC marathon. Having never been in one, I didn’t know what to expect and unfortunately didn’t prepare myself as well as I should have – the result was a slight injury to my knee early on in the race but I kept going because I was determined to finish. Approaching mile 10 my injury was becoming a stabbing pain and I was considering tapping out to avoid a more serious injury, when I looked up and saw the face of one of the victims of the bombing. It was a little boy around two named Elijah. I thought of my son and how I couldn’t imagine losing him at such a young age in such a senseless way, and I thought – THAT is pain, the kind that won’t be over in a day or two, the kind that lasts forever and changes your life. I thought of Elijah’s mom and the pain I was experiencing was quickly put into perspective. The last 3.1 miles I focused my thoughts on the reason for the marathon, and how fortunate I was to be there. I felt a sense of accomplishment crossing the finish line but at the same time, I was humbled by the experience. It is really great to work for a company that gives their employees an opportunity to participate in client events. I feel very lucky to have had a part in it.” – Theresa Hirt, Marketing Coordinator
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Remembering the lives of those lost and seeing firsthand that Oklahoma City rebuilt and came together stronger as a community was inspiring for our employees. We are so proud of them for representing ECI and showing their love and support to those lost, those who lost loved ones and the survivors.

We remember.

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