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The Latest and Greatest Exhibit Concepts, Inc. News

Exhibit Concepts

Birthplace of Aviation: 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 for 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.

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.


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.


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.


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.  


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.


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.


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.

The Latest and Greatest Exhibit Concepts, Inc. News