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Exhibit Concepts

Top Trade Show Trends for 2018 Planning

Exhibit Concepts August 11, 2017

We are entering one of the busiest times of year for event and trade show managers. Budgets and plans are due for next year’s show calendar and the fall historically hosts the most events. Added to that, many companies hold an annual sales or strategy meeting at the end of the calendar year (or at the beginning of the New Year) that requires a lot of attention and planning. With that in mind, we thought it would make sense to revisit our Top 5 Trade Show Trends from the beginning of 2017 to see if there are any notable updates to help with your plans.

Trend One: It’s All About Technology

Trend Update: Still True and Possibly Even More Pronounced Now

It will come as no surprise that incorporating technology into trade show spaces will continue to be a major trend in 2017, as it has in years past. And that trend will continue into 2018. It’s the topic on everyone’s mind. We are a highly connected society and the tradeshow floor is no exception; visitors are expecting information to be delivered in new, innovative ways. Trade show attendees are looking to be educated and informed as much as they are looking to be entertained and “wowed” and technology is often the answer to do both.

Technology doesn’t need to be complicated, however: it can be as simple as a touch screen or the incorporation of small devices like Bluetooth® beacons that integrate with client’s products. Bringing these items into a space helps draw people in, while also gathering data and delivering a brand’s message in a compelling way.

At Exhibit Concepts, we have an Engagement Strategist who works alongside our creative team to assist our account executives in incorporating technology into trade show environments for our clients. 

Trend Two: Keep a Human Touch 

Trend Update:  Still True

While technology can be paramount in attracting visitors to your booth, it should never be at the expense of quality human interaction. An authentic conversation is still your most valuable asset. It should add another layer to what a company brings to the table. There is no better way to uncover and understand customers’ needs than by properly staffing trade show spaces with the right people who are excellent listeners. And make sure that they are properly trained on your brand story.

Look for booths that draw visitors in with unique elements that engage the senses while also delivering a meaningful message delivered in an honest and compelling way

Trend Three: Make it Personal 

Trend Update:  Make it Unique!

Every client wants to stand out from their competitors. They need solutions that are crafted to their specific needs in order to step up their presence and be noticed. A custom exhibit is the best way to deliver a truly personal, unique experience for visitors. A unique problem requires a unique solution that captures the essence of a brand while also delivering key messages to the audience.

2017 will be the year to focus on innovative booth designs that support and enhance a brand’s promise and stands out on the show floor- and from the crowd.  

Trend Four: Mind the Budget

Trend Update:  Still True

Creative BriefWhile custom exhibits work for many clients, others face tight budgetary challenges. The good news is you don’t have to sacrifice your presence at shows for the sake of the budget. You can still accomplish your goals by leveraging rental solutions and unique engagement approaches in a truly memorable way. It’s true: you can stand out without breaking the bank. Rental solutions allow brands to repurpose and reuse materials and properties. When done right, with fresh graphics, messaging and a compelling engagement experience, rental solutions appear custom and add great value to your company’s marketing efforts.

Keep an eye out for trade show spaces that deliver meaningful messages without big investment- and still produce compelling results.

Trend Five: Find New Ways to Engage: 

Trend Update:  Still True, with a Twist

2017 will be all about meaningful engagement. The focus will be on finding creative ways to get people out of the aisles and into the booth with fresh, new ideas. Whether it’s incorporating technology or acquiring data in a unique way, booths should draw visitors in and get them talking and keep them wanting more. Delivering a compelling user experience is what it’s all about (see all other trends above)- and for good reason. Today’s trade show attendees are a very savvy bunch. They’ve taken time out of the office to attend a conference and exhibition and they constantly evaluate whether their investment was worthwhile.

The team at Exhibit Concepts recently brought engagement into a trade show space by creating a smart, interactive trade show booth for Adwerx, a digital marketing agency for real estate professionals. This space successfully increased traffic and pulled visitors into their space with a creative solution that resulted in meetings, direct sales, and quality leads. Engagement doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does need to be compelling.

Trend Six:  Brand Continuity 

Trend Update:  NEW!

Increasingly, brand managers and event marketers are working together to ensure a cohesive brand experience across all branded environments. When your clients come to you – your company’s lobby, showroom and executive briefing center, all of these environments should communicate your brand’s identity with cohesive graphics, color palette, technology and finishes. If you “take your brand on the road” with local activation events or a mobile vehicle tour – the goal is to communicate a consistent brand experience. And when you meet clients and prospects at a trade show – your space is a mini-representation of all your company and brand(s) stand for across every touchpoint.

This means it is more important than ever to ensure your face-to-face marketing is also end-to-end. Want to see this in action? See how our team provided this solution to Vertiv.

Trend Seven: Program Approach

Trend Update:  NEW!

Experienced trade show managers are recognizing the value of taking a program approach to their efforts. They recognize the value of organizing their show calendar into tiers where they can align strategy, goals, assets, and resources in the most effective way to achieve their overall goals and manage the budget. They are looking for exhibit house partners who can manage the scale of a large program consisting of several large strategic brand awareness shows, medium size brand and lead gen show and a host of small, local selling events. Automation and eManagement solutions are critical to make sense of it all.

Going into 2018, we expect to see these seven trends continue for the most part with a few tweaks as well as new trends around materials and design start to emerge. We’ll post our 2017 recap and thoughts on 2018 early in the New Year.

In the meantime, as you head into your busy season and planning for 2018, keep these 7 ideas in mind. Here are some other resources to help you plan for the busy season:

How to Choose the Best Exhibit Space

Want a Winning Trade Show Strategy? Try Start, Stop, Continue

5 Key Steps to Take a Program Approach for Trade Shows

Exhibitions Mean Business for Face-to-Face Marketing

Exhibit Concepts August 08, 2017

By Kelli Glasser, President & CEO 

Recently, over 100 individuals from our industry gathered to speak to our representatives on Capitol Hill during Exhibitions Day.  The annual fly-in is led by the International Association of Exhibits and Events (IAEE), and 2017 was the fourth installment, with attendance growing each year.  While there are no exhibits, it is the epitome of the time-limited face-to-face marketing influence that is central to our industry.

After being well-prepared by IAEE’s advocacy consultant, Roger Rickart, constituents visited their House Representatives and Senators in state-based groups for brief non-political meetings to create awareness and ask for congressional support on the key issues facing the exhibitions industry.  It involves a lot of walking between congressional office buildings and talking fast to impart a lot of information in a 15-minute meeting.

In 2017, the issues centered on fostering fair and free trade and the exhibitions industry’s role in that, such as:

  • Protecting Brand USA, a bipartisan program that promotes our country overseas as a business and tourist destination. It is funded by international airline passenger fees and private industry, and in 2016 it added almost $9B to the US economy for a 28:1 ROI.  Yet the FY2018 presidential budget proposal calls for defunding it.
  • Urging House Members to support H.R. 1265, the Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure Act, which would remove an outdated cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) and thus generate billions of dollars for airport infrastructure, making travel into and through America safer, easier, and more attractive.
  • Creating awareness and eventual support for funding of the Exhibitions and Meetings Safety and Security Initiative (EMSSI) that is currently in development by IAEE aligned with the Department of Homeland Security’s Safety Act.
  • Encouraging Congress to support their chamber’s respective bills for the Stop Online Booking Scams Act (H.R. 2495 and S. 1164) to prevent the 15 million fraudulent bookings and resulting $1.3B monetary losses by hotels and consumers. Under this Act, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could investigate this matter further and state attorneys general could pursue restitution on behalf of victims.

Here were the personal highlights for Bill (my husband and company co-owner) and me, as we participated in 2017:  In addition to having positive conversations with several Ohio congressional staff aides, we had the opportunity to talk with Ohio Senator Rob Portman.  We shared our own company story related to the online booking scams to the policy coordinator for Congressman Bob Latta, who is closely interested in that bill as a member of  the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee.  We are shown (in the orientation segment) on CNTV’s Exhibitions Day 2017 Recap video posted on exhibitionsday.org.

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While EDPA is a supporting member of the event, there has been little presence from our association in the four years to date.  The majority of the participants have come from IAEE’s membership, such as show organizers and general contractors.  An excellent way to maintain recognition as an important player in the industry is to show our strength in numbers at Exhibitions Day.

Any issue, practice, regulation, or law in the world that affect U.S. exhibitions in turn affects our own businesses, the livelihoods of our employees, and our clients. There is a lot at stake for each of us. Our lawmakers rely on us as citizens and constituents to let them know what’s important to us – when we tell them our stories and ask for their support on our issues, they do pay attention.

Please mark your calendar now to join me at next year’s Exhibitions Day, June 5-6, 2018, in Washington, D.C.  For more information, visit exhibitionsday.org.

Trade Show Tips: How to Choose the Best Exhibit Space

Exhibit Concepts August 07, 2017

You’ve decided that investing in face-to-face marketing will achieve your brand awareness and lead generation goals, now it’s time to get down to the business of creating a plan. It’s important to not only select the right trade shows to attend, but how much to invest, your messaging, campaigns to drive traffic to the booth, a compelling design that will attract the right prospects and leads to your space, and the experience they will have in your space. These are important decisions that can make or break the success of your program, but as important as these steps are, one of your first decisions can be the most important.

Much like real estate, location is everything at a trade show. Selecting the right location for your booth is a crucial component to a trade show that yields the results you want. More so, it’s true that not all exhibit spaces are created equal. This is all the more reason to not only choose the right size but also to select the best space in the exhibit hall for your needs.

So, where should your booth be located in the exhibit hall? Here is a breakdown of considerations in order to find the best solution that aligns with your goals.

Focus on Your Goals

What are you trying to accomplish by attending this show? Is it all about scheduling pre-set meetings with current and potential clients during the show or do you simply want to generate buzz on the floor and drive traffic? Your goals for the show are a driving force behind your booth selection. A goal of scheduling meetings means that you’ll need designated meeting area in your booth and a quieter environment to have a meaningful conversation. On the contrary, if you need to generate buzz you want to be front and center or in a high traffic area that will draw visitors into your space.

Consider the Audience Journey

The more you understand your clients and how they reach a decision, the more effective your messaging becomes. Think through their pain points; research their current situation, and how your unique solution can solve their problems. Motivation comes in many forms, but compelling clients (potential and current) to engage with you on the show floor is a great start to a meaningful conversation. Choosing a location that makes you easily accessible at a trade show can increase the likelihood of engagement with visitors.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

How important is line of sight? Understanding traffic patterns can be difficult by simply looking at a floorplan, but think about whether your space is visible from main aisle ways and escalators when making a space selection. Never underestimate the power of simply making eye contact and driving traffic to your booth; your staff can take it from there. But it all begins with drawing them in.

Scope out the Competition

While it’s true that you can’t win a race by constantly looking back to see what your competitors are doing, you should at least be aware of their presence. By viewing the show floorplan, you can understand where your competitors are located and make a decision based on the best scenario for your company. Keep in mind that being next to your competitors isn’t always a bad thing! In some cases, you can draw a bigger crowd or make it easier for potential clients to visit more than one vendor when they come to the show hall by being adjacent or in close proximity to a competitor. On the other hand, some distance could help your space to shine versus being overwhelmed by the much larger or more impressive competition. The choice is yours!

Traffic-Driving Marketing Plan

And there will be situations when you don’t get your ideal location. In those cases, your integrated marketing campaign to drive the right traffic to your booth becomes more important. In order to have the greatest chance of success, you should be developing your campaign, including on-site sponsorship opportunities, at the same time you are working on the booth design and engagement plan.

Selecting the best exhibit hall location is just one piece of the face-to-face marketing puzzle. Need help making a decision? Contact our team or download our Checklist for Choosing the Best Exhibit Hall Location using the form below.

Is creativity a key component of your face-to-face marketing program? It should be. Our Creative Brief Template will get you and your team started down the path to creative thinking.

Power of Creative Flight at Dayton Children's Hospital

Exhibit Concepts July 31, 2017

In Dayton, Ohio, flight holds major significance. Aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright developed and built their design for the world’s first successful airplane right here in Dayton. Inspired by that rich history, Dayton Children’s Hospital designed their 260,000 square-foot inpatient tower inspired by the power of flight. Not just aviation, but animals like birds and insects like dragonflies. It was a compelling, creative way to bring an element of wonder into the hospital environment.

“The theme of ‘things that fly’ is throughout the hospital in a whimsical, through a child’s eyes way,” Dayton Children’s president Deborah Feldman said. “We wanted to take out of that aviation history the sense that anything is possible, we believe in ourselves, and we believe in what we can do.”

Birds, insects, balloons, airplanes and even a super hero flying gerbil can be found throughout the hospital. Exhibit Concepts was brought onboard to create a series of colorful graphic panels and murals located throughout the inpatient tower. The murals were created in shapes like an airplane and hummingbird, using individual painted pieces that, when assembled, create an image.

“Working with Dayton Children’s Hospital has been an honor for our team,” said Michael Zehring, Project Manager for Exhibit Concepts. “When we were approached about helping to bring their ‘Flight’ theme to life in their facility, our fabricators and graphics department stepped up to create incredible light boxes, graphic panels, and three dimensional murals throughout the hospital.”

Each mural was hand assembled in our facility, with two employees working together to add the painted pieces to the pre-drilled mural board. After some time to prep the pieces, the team spent 26 hours assembling the mural one piece at a time. We captured the action on camera for posterity, which you can view below.

 

 

How to Take a Program Approach for Trade Shows: 5 Key Steps

Exhibit Concepts July 27, 2017

When you are relatively new to a pre-existing events team or program, it can be overwhelming to get a handle on all the different number of trade shows, show acronyms, venues, assets, internal and external partners, products, brands and sales professionals. Taking a “program approach” and organizing your shows and assets into tiers can help you stay focused, concentrate on your objectives, control spending and will probably help your peace of mind.

Step 1: Audit Your Show Calendar

Start by taking a 30,000-foot view of all trade shows that your company has attended over the past 3-4 years. It is important to look back over several years because some shows are only held every two or three years. Also, you may have attended a specific show in the past due to a product launch or acquisition but it is no longer on your current calendar, but if conditions change, it might be once again. These are just two common reasons for changes in the show calendar but there are MANY other reasons a company could modify their attendance at a show.

Step 2: Organize Shows into Tiers

With the comprehensive list of prior shows in hand, you can now start to organize them into similar categories or “tiers” usually aligned around size, scope and spend. Tier 1 shows – also sometimes called “strategic” or “major” shows – tend to be handled by or have Corporate Marketing involvement. These are typically larger island booths with multiple brands or products represented and an integrated marketing campaign driving activation. Install and dismantle for a Tier 1 show likely takes several days and significant man-hours with possible overtime. Tier 2 shows – sometimes referred to as “regional” shows, as the name suggests, can still be larger booth spaces but the attendee audience tends to be contained to a region or state. These shows are typically set-up by an install and dismantle team in a matter of hours. And finally, Tier 3 shows – commonly referred to as “local” or “sales” shows – are typically table top or inline booths that can be set up by a sales or marketing professional with very minimal effort.

Step 3: Identify Your Objectives

Identifying your objectives for each show may also help to organize your shows into the tiers or categories. You will also see commonality to the objectives that you have for each tier. Tier 1 shows tend to be about brand awareness and major corporate initiatives, product launches, etc. Tier 3 shows tend to be territory events managed by Sales for specific lead generation activities.

Step 4: Align Resources

There is a business maxim that touts the benefits of aligning resources and efforts to the anticipated payout and reward. You don’t want to over-invest or put all your resources against an initiative that is not likely to generate a commensurate return. And here is where technology, CRM, and automation can have a huge impact because there tends to be more volume in the Tier 3 category but lower return on each individual event.

Step 5: Evaluate New Opportunities

As new opportunities arise, you now have a framework to evaluate the new event to see if and where it might fit into your overall program. Of course, it is also good practice to regularly evaluate the events that you have historically attended to make sure they are generating the results that you want and you are applying the appropriate resources to the opportunity. In some cases, you may decide to move an event to a lower or higher tier of investment and in other cases, you may decide to eliminate the event from your calendar altogether.

This program approach to managing your trade show calendar can also be applied to how you align your event team and can easily transition into other aspects of how you do business. At the end of the day, this process can help you stay focused on your objectives, manage your budget, and of course provide you with a little peace of mind along the way.

How to Budget for International Trade Shows

Exhibit Concepts July 20, 2017

So, you want to take your domestic trade show to an international audience. Or perhaps you’re already participating in international trade shows but you want to expand your program to additional cities. Regardless of the stage of your particular program, there is great value in understanding how trade shows operate internationally because it can be very different than in the United States.

There are multiple ways to approach international exhibiting – with advantages and disadvantages for each. But one of the first steps in creating a budget for an international show starts with defining your approach.

Understanding worldwide exhibit approaches will improve your ability to:

  • Negotiate more favorable rates and terms
  • Understand your options and the trade-offs
  • Manage contingencies
  • Stay within your budget

Ask yourself: do you need single use (rental) or multi use (purchase) options for your booth?

Creating a budget for an international show starts with defining your approach. When evaluating said approach, it is important to take a comprehensive look at the wide variety of options available worldwide:

“Build & Burn”: This is a popular option for trade shows held outside of the USA. There is more planning required for each show with this option, but there is no storage or refurbishments necessary. Build & Burn booths allow for increased flexibility and customization for each show. However, there is a higher potential for inconsistency of messaging, look and feel between shows because property is discarded after each show.

System Construction: Using modular, standardized fabrication materials; this option involves the assembly of exhibit property with systems like BeMatrix or Octanorm. These systems are almost always rented, but can be purchased, depending on your needs.

Hybrid Exhibit: A combination of custom and standardized elements is used to fabricate this type of exhibit. Generally, the system components are rented, and the custom components are purchased.

Portable Exhibits: Known as “pop-ups,” these modular exhibit structures with standard layouts, normally used for small exhibits, are most often purchased, but can be rented from some suppliers.

Existing Custom Exhibit: Another option is existing “used” property, which can also be rented or purchased. Used Exhibit Properties

Custom Construction: Commonly referred to as “multi-use,” this is a typical setup for trade shows in the U.S., and is designed / built to the exact needs of your brand. This approach generally necessitates storage, and may require refurbishment over time. There may be less flexibility for each show, and typically requires a higher initial investment. These properties can be used for a 2-3 year show schedule and is stored in wooden crates.

International Budgeting InfographicWant more information on how to choose the best booth option for your next trade show? Download our infographics, HERE.

How to Make Achievable and Appropriate Budget Decisions

When it comes to your budget, planning and careful thought are crucial to a successful international program. If possible, begin by analyzing past projects to understand the budget, actual expenses and results achieved. Then, compare ranges and prices per square meter from quotes. It can be helpful to utilize case studies for comparables until you are able to develop your own portfolio of past work. Finally, rely on experts in the field to offer guidance and help along the way.

Need help understanding the typical line items for costs around the world? It’s crucial to find a partner that understands the nuances of working internationally. For example, value-added taxes (VAT) are not an expense item in the US but are in Europe.

Have a Contingency Plan

Like everything else in life, it’s important to expect the unexpected when exhibiting internationally. The best way to ensure a smoother path is to minimize changes whenever possible, and have a back-up plan for each stage of the project, especially when on-site. Flexibility is crucial throughout.

Miscommunicating internationally can create many of those unexpected problems during the planning process. Using written documentation and standard (local) industry terms during communication greatly reduces the chances for misunderstandings. Don’t be afraid to use translators, photos and drawings in lieu of words; in this case they really are worth 1,000 words. Want an experienced partner for your international trade show program? Contact us to get started. Or, see our international resources, here.

10 Crucial Steps to Prepare for a Successful Trade Show - Part Two

Exhibit Concepts July 07, 2017

A successful trade show has many components and steps to ensure its success. In Part One of this series, we discussed many of the logistical planning issues you may encounter. Now you need to focus on what will actually happen in the booth during the event and that involves thinking about staffing and training. 

6. Staffing

The employees that work your booth during the trade show are a key element to your success. When going through the planning process, think about the number of staff you’ll need from each of the key departments in your organization. Salespeople are a key element, but what about other support staff? Consider members of the marketing team that can offer support and meet with clients along with company leadership.

7. Sales, Sales, Sales

Personal, face-to-face selling is dynamic and very effective when utilized properly. The members of your sales team rely solely on the success of their efforts, making the orders received and targets hit during a show incredibly important. Even those who are working the booth that do not have a sales role should always be thinking sales. This means looking at booth visitors as potential clients, knowing what to say and when, and gathering the proper information to ensure leads are vetted and notes are made. It’s all about adding value, solving problems, and of course, selling your product.

8. Leads Glorious Leads

It’s safe to say that not everyone who visits your booth will be an ideal lead. In fact, you might get traffic that isn’t even close to being a lead. For this reason, it is important to create a scoring system for every potential lead you interact with at a show. Whether you choose to rate them by letter (A, B, C) or temperature (Hot, Warm, and Cold) develop a consistent, fool-proof system and teach your salespeople what it means. Make the criteria for scoring leads as objective as possible. It is okay to start the rating system initially based on a “gut check” on how realistic the project seems. But over time, as you gather more information and are able to validate the subjective assumptions, you can be more data-driven in your lead scoring system.

9. Talk to Your Leads

There is a saying: leads are like fish; after a few days they start to stink. When a potential customer raises their hand and expresses interest in doing business with you, it’s up to your staff to respond quickly. In striking while the iron is hot, you could not only step in front of a competitor, you’re also showing the client that you are responsive, organized and interested in doing business.

It is a good idea to send a “Thank you” communication as soon as possible after making contact; ideally that same evening. And then, recognizing that trade show attendees are very busy and may miss your first communication, you should send a 2nd more detailed communication timing that for the day after they get back to their office.

10. Conduct a Start, Stop, Continue Exercise

Once the show has concluded, we recommend you conduct this formal exercise within a week or two post-show. You want the session to be held close enough to the event that memories are still fresh but with enough time passed that your post-show activities have been initiated.

The exercise, as the name suggests, is a guided way to think about what activities worked really well – these are the ones we want to Continue. Now that we’ve had a chance to reflect, are there things we should have done but didn’t – these are the ones we want to Start. And of course, there are things that just didn’t work out as planned – these are the ones we want to Stop.

Want to learn more about the importance of going through this exercise with your team? We walk you through the process and give you a free downloadable template, on our blog.

This is the second part of a two part series. Want to see part one? You can find it HERE.

10 Crucial Steps to Prepare for a Successful Trade Show - Part One

Exhibit Concepts July 05, 2017

You’ve made the decision to attend a trade show and you’ve allocated a lot of your marketing budget to the event. So, what steps can you take to make this a successful investment?  There are many variables and complexities involved in exhibiting so preparation is a crucial component of the overall process.

To insure your investment is well spent and your goals are met, there are many plans and considerations to work through. Here are ten key steps you should take in order to have a well-managed, successful trade show. We’ve broken the list into two parts; we’ll focus on the first five steps here.

These steps include:

1. Plan Early, Plan Often

Fail to plan and you can plan to fail, right? Planning isn’t just writing up a list of what you need to bring to a show or even how to staff your booth. We recommend you begin the planning process at least six months before a trade show and for major events; the planning can start over a year in advance. This means bringing in all the parties involved in the process to establish goals and objectives for the show. Once you are clear on objectives, you can turn your attention to overarching messaging and theming.

Then, you should walk step by step through products you plan to debut or display at the show, details and logistics, guidelines for those working the booth, and even details like how staffers will dress and how they will speak to visitors. This is all about getting marketing, sales, and management on the same page well in advance of a show. We recommend a creative brief to align your team during the planning process.

2. Establish Buyer Personas

Do you know what your target audience looks like? Creating a series of buyer personas will not only help you understand the pain points of your buyers, but to find innovative solutions to their problems. By understanding your audience, you gain insights into how they can be accurately targeting and pulled from the aisles and into your booth. When you are clear about the profile of your target attendee, you can then move on to attracting, meeting, and wowing these prospects during a show and well into the future.

3. Select the Ideal Booth Size

Is bigger always better? Not necessarily. When it comes to selecting booth size, you’ll need to consider your target number of prospects and the bearing that will have on the amount of size your team needs to attain your goals and objectives. Think about what’s happening in your booth: are your salespeople giving presentations? How much space does that require? How long is each presentation? How many salespeople and support staff will be in the booth simultaneously? Likewise, you should be thinking about storage space, AV equipment needs and conference rooms. Adding all these answers together will help you determine the proper size- and consulting your trusty exhibit house is a great way to find a booth size that meets your unique needs.

4. Choose Your Location Wisely

It’s a question we are asked often: where is the best location for my booth? Taking a peek at the show floor can give you the best insight; you won’t be able to see the show floor ahead of time. When looking at the layout, think not only about your customer but also about the booths located near and around your potential space that could have loud, distracting noise. Carefully consider the location of large, obtrusive columns, low ceilings, and even the location of the bathrooms in the hall. This is about your business; choose wisely! Remember: this is closely tied to #3, the size of your booth. Just like in real estate, location is everything. All that to say: you may have to change the dimensions of your booth in order to get prime real estate.

5. Engagement is King

An attractive trade show booth is just one element of a successful show. The next step is to think about innovative ways to pull your clients from the aisles of a busy show floor and into your booth for a meaningful conversation. Engagement should spark curiosity, bring smiles, and fit your overall theme and messaging for the show and also for your brand. It should feel fresh and smart, not hokey or contrived. Make this step a key part of your planning process to capture the eyes (and eventually hearts and minds) of your top targets.

This is part one of a two part series. In this part, we've covered many of the logistical planning issues you will encounter. Next, in Part Two, we'll cover what will actually happen in the booth, including staffing and training. Read Part Two

The Vertiv Trade Show Program: an End-to-End Solution

Exhibit Concepts June 23, 2017

When the new Vertiv brand was unveiled to customers, it was crucial for the change to feel cohesive across all touchpoints. Amy Williams, an Event Manager for Vertiv, based in Columbus, Ohio, went through the process of updating assets for the company she knew she needed a partner to guide her and the rest of the team through the process.

Vertiv-0506 HI-RES-1.jpg

This is where Exhibit Concepts came in. Our team worked alongside the Vertiv team to create that experience, that we call an end-to-end solution. It was crucial for customers to understand the new brand and see all it represents regardless of how and where they are interacting with Vertiv. This meant the look and feel of all physical environments needed to be consistent, from their trade show program to their Customer Experience Center

By working with one company (us!) for each of their needs spanning across touchpoints, a consistent brand emerged. With vibrant shades of orange and deep shades of slate gray, the Vertiv brand is hard to miss—and you always know it when you see it.

We’re proud to offer this complete end-to-end solution for clients like Vertiv, from managing regional meetings to trade shows and their Customer Experience Center. Learn more about how we worked with Vertiv on their trade show program in the video below:

Want a consistent, end-to-end solution for your brand? Contact us. Or, read more about the value of exhibit house partnership from another client, Scot Forge.

Face-to-Face & End-to-End Marketing

Exhibit Concepts June 16, 2017

The old saying is true: You only get one chance to make a first impression.  These days, we also know from experience that good branding is important and goes far beyond an eye-catching logo. While branding is definitely about the visual identity of your company it also encompasses your verbal identity: how you talk and write about the company is crucial. For your reader (AKA current/future clients), this communicates your brand personality and what your company values are likely to be, should they choose to hire you. It’s crucial to consider the physical spaces your target audience is likely to encounter your brand, in the same way we think about logos, fonts, tone, and voice.

Perception is Reality

When marketers are first involved in brand strategy and brand identity work, they typically think about a brand’s positioning and promise. What perception do we want our target audience to have about our brand?  A lot of thought and effort goes into those strategy sessions, to craft a unique brand statement that resonates with our target buyers and differentiates us from competitors.

Who are You?

Once the strategy is clear, attention turns to the visual and verbal identity – specifically logo, marks, color palettes, fonts, and templates. Some call it a brand style guide or brand guidelines, but there is typically a formal document that catalogs do’s and don’ts with respect to the visual representation of the brand in a wide array of formats. Templates are created for business cards, letterhead, sales presentations, building signage, and literature pieces.

But how often do brand guidelines cover the situations when clients and potential clients interact with your brand in a physical space?

Think about your corporate lobby: that place where you make a first impression. You must assume that a potential visitor (current client, prospect, supplier, or job candidate) has been to your corporate website. Ask yourself:

When they walk through your front door, does their first impression match their preconceived impression of your brand?

Does it match the impression you are hoping to make?

Is your intention to convey a warm, friendly, welcoming service-oriented business but your lobby is cold and sterile?  

For your company, this is it. The corporate lobby is an integral chance for your visitors to physically experience your brand and all that it represents. It’s a first date of sorts.

Take it to the Trade Show

It doesn’t stop there, however. Next, let’s think about your trade show program. Exhibiting at a trade show or conference gives you the opportunity to meet clients and prospects face to face, in a mutually convenient space. You are transforming your convention hall real estate into a physical representation of your brand.  This goes well beyond the signage and graphic panels where your logo is displayed, the entire structure of the booth, and the engagement you have chosen to draw people into the space. If your brand is about delivering customized, hand-crafted solutions, your space should communicate that message with a matching look and feel..

Hit the Road

Have you thought about mobile tours and events? If your customers can’t come to you, then you can bring your message straight to them. When taking your brand “on the road” either with a mobile tour or through a series of local events, these again are unique opportunities to communicate your brand identity well beyond the graphical display of your company name and logo. If your company’s image is one of southern hospitality, then sushi and techno-pop might not be the right choice.

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Lobbies, showrooms, briefing centers, trade show exhibits, mobile vehicle tours and events are opportunities to showcase your brand identity visually and experientially. Your visitors are physically immersed in your brand and these are your opportunities to engage all their senses – sight, sound, feel, taste and smell to express your brand. Engagement at its finest.

Want to discover new ways to engage your audience? See how a Customer Experience Center Comes to Life and how a museum tells the story of the computer revolution.

The Latest and Greatest Exhibit Concepts, Inc. News