<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=600433713484778&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

The Latest and Greatest Exhibit Concepts, Inc. News

Exhibit Concepts

Creating a Welcoming Environment in Montgomery County, Ohio

Exhibit Concepts November 22, 2017

When it comes to the spaces where we live, work, and play, first impressions matter. A building is a canvas where every element should convey a brand’s character and culture. Whether it’s a corporate lobby that introduces guests to your company or a showroom that puts your company’s products on display, the look and feel of a branded environment is an incredibly important communication tool about your organization, what you stand for and what your client’s can expect when working with you.

In Montgomery County, Ohio, the Montgomery County Job & Family Services facility is no exception to the importance of a space. This county office provides coordinated government services for county residents, including Federal and State Public Assistance programs; Federal, State, and County Medical Assistance; Federal, State, and local service and day care programs and Federal and State Support Enforcement programs. Needless to say, it’s a busy place.

The large facility, which was recently renovated, houses many departments and providers in one sprawling building. Officials at Montgomery County were pleased with the updated interior, but felt it need a little something: to make people feel welcome. Enter our Corporate Interiors group. Our team worked alongside Montgomery County Job & Family Services to put together a plan that would create a consistent, colorful and inspirational environment.

There were a few goals for this project. The first was to reinforce the color coding for each department, but improve upon it with wayfinding signage that made it easy for visitors to find the proper department for their needs. The second was to incorporate graphics throughout in order to make the building feel welcoming. Our graphics team used images of families along with color treatments to add the human element. This was complimented by quotes from Dayton locals that can be found throughout the building as well.

The result? A colorful, easy to navigate, welcoming environment for all who step foot inside. Want to learn more about the Montgomery County Job & Family Services facility and our team’s work? Watch the video below or learn more about our Corporate Interiors work, HERE.

A Story of Impact: The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

Exhibit Concepts November 16, 2017

It is a true honor to be entrusted with stories.  Stories of heroes, change makers, and those who sought to leave the world better than they found it. They are so much more than stories, however. They are the history that defines our American culture. Museums serve as a way to preserve and protect these stories for generations to come. Many of our significant historic projects fall in this category, including the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, the Kent State May 4th Visitor Center, and the B.B. King Museum, to name a few.


The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Downtown Jackson, Mississippi is no exception. This incredible facility is many years in the making, after breaking ground in 2013. It opened on December 9, 2017, the day of the bicentennial celebration year of Mississippi statehood. It serves as the first state-sponsored civil rights museum in the United States.

The mission of the museum is to exhibit the history of and educate the public about the American Civil Rights movement in the state of Mississippi between 1945 and 1970. Exhibit Concepts’ graphics, fabrication, and installation teams worked alongside the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and design firm Hilferty & Associates to deliver on the vision for this facility.

MississippiMuseum2.jpgThis history is brought to life with eight interactive galleries that follow the journey of black Mississippians in their fight for equality. Seven of these galleries are in the round, converging upon an eighth gallery in the center of the space, known as “This Little Light of Mine.” This area contains a beautiful sculpture that glows and pulses in response to visitor actions, all accompanied by music.

Want to learn more about the museum? Visit their website or pay them a visit the next time you’re in Mississippi. 

The Power of Engagement in Face-to-Face Marketing

Exhibit Concepts November 13, 2017

Face-to-face marketing is all about creating a compelling, impactful experience for your visitor. It should be one that is memorable, on-brand and motivates the desired engagement with your company. This is why it’s crucial to understand what will pull them from the aisle into your space and what will draw a potential lead into a conversation that results in your next big win.  This is not wishful thinking. It is possible—and engagement is the key.

We believe you should match the desired experience and the action that you are hoping to motivate to the engagement activity. But that’s only the beginning; learn more about our engagement capabilities and how we can take your brand to new heights in our Engagement Solution Summary on our Resources page.

Who are You? The Importance of Brand Identity

Exhibit Concepts November 07, 2017

When someone asks you to name an iconic brand, what comes to mind? Perhaps your mind gravitates to B2C brands like Apple, Nike, Starbucks, or Amazon. There’s no correct answer, but there is one thing each of these brands has in common: regardless of where and how you interact with them, the experience is consistent and memorable.

In today’s market, there are hundreds of brands vying for your attention and your dollars. This makes it harder than ever for companies to find innovative ways to stand out, but it is possible for them to succeed. It comes down to the relationships they foster with their customers that go far beyond the exchange of money and goods. These iconic brands resonate with us because everything they do reinforces their brand identity. The visual elements of their brand: name, logo, typography reinforces their brand image. The tone and voice they use in advertising reinforces that image. The ambiance of their stores reinforces that image. And their service reinforces that image.

But what if you aren’t a Google-level brand (or you happen to be a B2B company) and you want to rise to the top in your particular category? In the face-to-face marketing industry, we’re big believers in the power of interaction and how it relates to the customer experience. Here are a few key ways you can capitalize on your brand identity, even if you aren’t a household name:

Know Thyself

It’s been said that integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking. Your brand is no different: who are you when your customers aren’t looking? Identifying your mission, vision, identity, and messaging is a crucial step to establishing a strong brand. Think about what sets you apart from your competitors and how your solution solves their problems. When you keep your values in mind and create with the customer in mind, you can build meaningful relationships with clients. A strong internal culture that means you are clear about who you are, which is a key first step to help customers solve their problems and foster their success.

Every Brand Has a Story

Storytelling is an art that has existed for centuries, serving to entertain, educate, and form bonds between people. This is why your company’s story is a crucial element of what you bring to table. This isn’t about the story of how your company began or one that is solely about you. Good stories have a protagonist (your clients) and a guide (that’s you!) who helps the hero save the day. By telling the story of how you guide your clients to success you are telling your own story in the process. You guide them to achieve their dreams by supporting them every step of the way, using your experience and wisdom to create a desired outcome.

By letting your company be a supporting character in the story, you become the star of your own show. Most people fear that by stepping out the spotlight, they will be forgotten. This couldn’t be further from the truth: by showing how you can take clients to the next level and help them achieve their goals, you establish yourself as a reliable partner. Taking a backseat to their story is the key.

Make it Memorable

Think about the last experience that had a lasting impact on you. Why was it memorable? Chances are it was either a very positive or very negative experience. Those mediocre, run of the mill experiences don’t stick with us because they’re just that: boring. Making a big impression begins with intentionality and ends with a positive impression. You should set out to walk through the visitor’s experience from beginning to end, thinking about what will draw them in, what will make them stay, and the impression they should keep in mind when they leave.

Consistency, Consistency, Consistency

Your brand should be like a drumbeat, with the same look and feel regardless of where your customers experience it. Let’s revisit those iconic brands we talked about earlier. Think about the experience of an Apple product, for example: what it’s like to go into an Apple store, how it feels to unbox their product, and the overall user experience; they feel consistent, don’t they? The experience is uniquely Apple, so much so that we hear clients use the term, “Apple-esque” to describe clean, modern design that focuses solely on the product and is never fussy or overly busy. It’s an aspiration for everything from lobbies to trade show booths.

This is why your brand’s identity is so important and must be carefully executed by your team with buy in from every single employee.

Ask the Experts: How to Avoid Surprises in Trade Show Planning, Part 2 of 3

Exhibit Concepts October 24, 2017

Planning is the key to success in nearly everything you do, but it has particular importance for trade shows. The goal is to avoid unexpected issues that could potentially derail an otherwise successful show. Whether it’s a shipment that doesn’t arrive on time or bad weather, there are ways to anticipate some potential problems before they happen.

Our team has seen their fair share of these types of surprises, so we asked them to weigh in with their lessons for avoiding them. We asked each department three key questions:

  1. How can clients save money or use their budget more efficiently?
  2. What is the best way for clients to avoid surprises in the latter portion of the event planning process?
  3. Which upgrades, booth trends or emerging engagements do you see on the horizon that clients can implement to save time and money?

In part 2 of 3, we are going into detail on the second question. While there is such a thing as a good surprise, surprises in the event planning process are typically a negative. This makes the planning process all the more important to ensure your team is on the same page and everything is in place for a successful trade show.

Want to read part 1? View it HERE.

From the Creatives

The best way to avoid surprises here is to get a complete understanding of your space before beginning the design process. It’s worthwhile to have a conversation with show organizers or even walk the space yourself, to understand height restrictions, space layout, and familiarize yourself with show rules. Often, spaces have a unique configuration, share a wall with another space, or even have a support beam inside—all information that should be relayed to designers to ensure your space is used to its full potential.

From the Fabricators

Timeline, timeline, timeline: this is the single most important key to avoiding costly surprises in the process. The less time available to build a project, the more likely it is to encounter issues along the way. Having a clear plan about the project, adhering to the agreed upon timeline and having clear communication throughout the process is the single most important part of a trade show plan.

From Account Managers

This helps clients to save on costs by organizing the show calendar into tiers align strategy, goals, assets, and resources in the most effective way to achieve their overall goals and manage the budget. By anticipating shows and hitting dates on a predetermined timeline, costly charges for overnight shipping or rush charges are easily avoided. Though issues can always arise during the process, this helps our team and clients stay on the same page to deliver to everyone’s satisfaction.

From our Engagement Specialists

Technology is an amazing addition to an exhibit space—but only if it works correctly. Ensuring all technological components are completed tested before sending to a show is crucial, along with having an employee is on site to properly set up the show. An engagement doesn’t always involved technology, but when it does a backup plan is a great idea. For example, what will you do if the Internet service goes out in the show hall? This is where your “Plan B” becomes plan A—and the show can go on.

From Show Services

In this department, surprises often come in the form of unexpected costs. Our team works to negotiate pricing with recommended vendors so our customers avoid hidden fees (like shipping charges) and additional markup. This preferred pricing and peace of mind are key to understanding the most accurate cost of show services. Again, planning ahead and limiting changes are the key to managing costs and avoiding surprises along the way.

From the Shipping Department

When it comes to shipping, timing is everything. Therefore, planning ahead will help avoid any late shipment surprises and increased cost due to rush charges. Following timelines ensure all property arrives on time and those charges don’t break the bank—so you can focus on the task at hand.

From Leadership

The best way for clients to avoid surprises in the latter portion of the event planning process means two things: Creating and sticking to a project plan and quality communication. The plan helps to keep everyone on track and on time and should make clear when key decisions need to be made. The big strategic decisions should be made as early as possible as they tend to impact all the other downstream decisions. Communication is key both with internal stakeholders and with all vendors and partners. Check in; insist on progress reports, share strategy and most importantly share direction changes.

Get In Formation: How to Align Sales & Marketing

Exhibit Concepts October 11, 2017

by Ellen Campbell-Kaminski

While it would be really great if we all got along, there is often a disconnect that occurs between sales and marketing departments. While it’s easy to believe that these departments have different goals and separate functions, they are much more alike than you think—and true success comes when we are on the same page.

There are numerous studies and statistics that point to the business benefits of having well-aligned sales and marketing operations; e.g. “a 36% improvement in customer retention and 38% higher sales win rates” (ActOn/Gleanster, “The New Stewards of the Customer Relationship,” 2015). There are many business scenarios where that alignment is critical, such as the delicate hand-off between a website request for more information and the sales representative follow-up.

But one area where alignment may be most critical is on the trade show floor. Very often, marketing takes the lead:

  • planning the event,
  • determining the objectives,
  • developing the theme and messaging,
  • securing sponsorships, and
  • driving traffic to the booth.

This is where things can potentially fall apart, because the booth is primarily where sales personnel deliver the message to prospects.  And despite training sessions and briefings, the two teams are not on the same page to the detriment of the attendee experience, lead qualification and ultimately the ROI of the event.

So what are practical strategies to drive alignment in exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events?


One of the most effective strategies that marketers can take is to identify and cultivate an evangelist within the sales organization.  This is a respected sales professional that is open-minded, constructively vocal and willing to share best practice approaches with colleagues. Use this person early in the event planning efforts to help develop theming and messaging and as a sounding board for the attendee experience on the show floor and in the important post-show period.  The primary role of the evangelist is to be the champion within the sales organization.

Joint Planning Session

Another strategy to create alignment which ultimately leads to a successful show is to conduct joint planning sessions around a major event. Topics to cover with a cross-functional team include recapping what worked and what needs improvement from prior events, objectives, and desired outcomes. A useful exercise is Stop, Start and Continue.  Objectives and messaging should be captured on a Creative Brief  for the cross-functional team to review.

Pilot Test

While it is highly unlikely that you can simulate a pilot test of a major trade show booth, it is very possible to role play the attendee experience.  Depending on your organization and the experience level of the brand ambassadors working the show, you may have a discussion guide document or a scripted interaction. In either case, it is important to both develop the discussion flow or script with sales and to set up opportunities to test drive the discussion flow. Equally important is to test and simulate any engagement you have in the booth as well as the lead capture plan.

Common Goals and Definitions

Nothing is more frustrating than coming home from an event and thinking that it went extremely well and that expectations were exceeded only to overhear someone talking negatively about the experience.  Very often the root cause of a disconnect is that the two different groups are evaluating success differently.  The marketer may have been measuring success based upon overall booth traffic, social media engagement and media mentions whereas sales is basing success on the number of sales-ready leads. An important exercise is to agree on a common set of goals and definitions ahead of time.  Do not assume that there is a shared understanding of a particular measure’s definition. 

Assume Positive Intent

At the end of the day, both sales and marketing want the same thing: a successful event.  They want the attendees that fit the target profile to visit the booth. They want those attendees to “get” the company’s value proposition.  They want the attendees inspired to take the next action.  Keeping those simple truths in mind can break through a lot of misunderstanding and miscommunication.

At the end of the day, sales and marketing are on the same team. The sooner these departments align themselves, the more successful a company becomes. Think about how unstoppable you’d be with strong, open communication and a clear definition of your shared goals at your next show. With a strong plan in place, it’s very possible.


Want to learn more about the importance of aligning sales and marketing and how to enact these steps in your company? Ellen is hosting two sessions at EXHIBITORLIVE 2018 in Las Vegas:

WP5: Peer2Peer Roundtable:  Sales and Marketing Alignment

Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:30 – 6:30 pm

R348 – Sales and Marketing Alignment:  How to Get – and Stay – on the Same Page

Thur Mar 1, 2018 1:00 pm – 2:30pm

ECI Named to 2017 Fab 50 List

Exhibit Concepts September 26, 2017

When it comes to choosing the right partner for your business, how do you narrow the field? In the trade show industry, there are many methods to selecting a partner. Often, a procurement department is tasked with issuing RFPs or RFIs to help them find the best partner for their company’s needs. While this is a worthwhile exercise, there is often more research to be done before making a final decision like a facility visit or a series of conversations.

In this vein, 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 five 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 Best Way to Stand Out at a Trade Show

Exhibit Concepts September 13, 2017

With over 2,400 exhibitors, 115,000+ attendees, and nearly 1.5 million square feet of space, it’s safe to say the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) is a very busy place. So, standing out from the crowd in such a large trade show venue is no easy feat—but Mazak Corporation did just that.

The company’s large 17,000 square foot booth left plenty of room to make a big impact on visitors. They had two objectives:

  • Reiterate Mazak’s position as an industry leader
  • Demonstrate their new technology and automation capabilities


Want to see how they did it? Download the case study below to learn all the details!


Ask the Experts: How to Save Money & Improve Efficiency for Trade Shows, Part 1 of 3

Exhibit Concepts September 11, 2017

In the face-to-face marketing industry, planning is crucial. As you head into the final quarter of the year, it’s important to take stock of your trade show program. As you work to evaluate your successes and identify areas of improvement, it can be easy to forget important details and key elements along the way.

For nearly 40 years, Exhibit Concepts has been in the business of designing, building, and managing of trade shows and branded environments. Who better to offer you pointers than our experts?

We asked each department three key questions:

  1. How can clients save money or use their budget more efficiently?
  2. What is the best way for clients to avoid surprises in the latter portion of the event planning process?
  3. Which upgrades, booth trends, or emerging engagements do you see on the horizon that clients can implement to save time and money?

In part 1 of 3, we will focus our attention on the first question. There are several key ways our team works to help our clients save money and use their budget as efficiently as possible. Here’s what they had to say:

From the Creatives

Booth design is all about balance. That is, balancing between creating an engaging, beautiful trade show space that meets the client’s needs while also meeting their budget. From a budgetary standpoint, our design team is always on the lookout for new products that are unique but also lightweight and budget conscious. These solutions include incorporating our vast inventory of rental property, comprised of lightweight modular solutions and choosing materials that are light in weight and aesthetically pleasing, too.

From the Graphics Department

Investing in quality graphics that will last over a year (or more) is crucial to making the most of your investment, according to our graphics department. Knowing you have recurring shows at the same time each year can not only help from a planning perspective, but also helps you to avoid last minute rush or overnight charges, which are notoriously pricey. Start early in order to take advantage of “early bird” discounts and always plan ahead.

From the Fabricators

Our team is comprised of many skilled individuals who specialize in electrical, carpentry, and painting. R&D is a major factor in our process. Our clients are number one, and finding new ways to serve their needs is important to us. For example, we recently built a custom trade show booth for a longtime client. That client wanted a structure that spanned the length of their large booth, but also wanted to avoid the added cost of rigging the structure. Our team quite literally tested the integrity of the span by seeing how far we could go with internal support only; proving that you don’t know how far you can go until you find the limit. By running reinforcements through the interior of the span, we were able to support the weight of the span without the need for rigging from the ceiling of the exhibit hall.

From Account Managers

When it comes to account management, planning ahead and meeting timeline goals is of the utmost importance. Many clients attend the same shows each year or even every two years. In this instance (and all others), a program approach is of great value.

From our Engagement Specialists

Incorporating engagement into the trade show is a major trend in the industry that we don’t see going away anytime soon. However, it is more important than ever to invest in meaningful engagement that provides a compelling experience for visitors. Our team believes engagement should be smart and help deliver on your goals, whatever they may be.

From Show Services

When it comes to services, planning ahead and meeting deadlines is a crucial component to budgeting in this area. Our Show Services department pointed out that meeting the discount deadline date is key, which gives customers 20% to 30% savings from the standard price. As other departments echoed, designing new booth property with lighter weight building materials is the best way to save on drayage and shipping costs.

From the Shipping Department

As other departments have echoed, timing and weight are everything when it comes to shipping costs. Incorporating lightweight materials, such as rental systems or fabric, is a great option for not only cutting down on weight, but also on the number of crates you need and drayage costs.

From Leadership

One school of thought with regard to how to save money or use the budget more efficiently is to go through every single line item involved in executing a particular show and shopping around for the lowest price on each individual item. But this approach can actually backfire and increase total cost when there are mistakes and rework when the different parties don't work well together. More often, consolidating resources with a limited number of full-service partners can result in a more seamlessly executed event and a lower overall cost.

This is only the beginning; there is plenty more advice on saving money and making the most of your budget to come in parts two and three of this series. In the meantime, why not use our Trade Show Checklist to ensure you have everything in place for your next show?

Want to read Part Two? You can view it HERE.

NFIB Holds Meeting with Congressman Mike Turner

Exhibit Concepts September 06, 2017

NFIB-body.jpgAt Exhibit Concepts, we take pride in being a small, woman-owned business. Our In particular, Exhibit Concepts is proud to participate in events that help small businesses share information and learn more ways they can positively impact their employees, clients, and communities.company is a member of several groups that support businesses like ours, including The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). These memberships are a crucial way for us to stay informed about legislation that can potentially affect our operations, and interact with our fellow business professionals that own and operate similar businesses. 

One such event was held recently at Exhibit Concepts; the NFIB held their meeting on premise, gathering together several local business owners. The group discussed upcoming and ongoing legislative issues, but dedicated most of the meeting to Congressman Mike Turner, who serves Ohio’s 10th District. Congressman Turner spoke to the group about the importance of small business and touched on some of the issues affecting these types of companies, including insurance, health care, and job creation.

NFIB-Social.jpg“It’s always an honor to host the NFIB at our facility, an organization that works to support businesses like ours,” said Kelli Glasser, President and CEO of Exhibit Concepts. “We are a proud member of the NFIB, which gives us the opportunity to interact with influencers like Congressman Turner. It’s important for us to have a voice, working alongside policymakers to support the small businesses that support our economy."

The Latest and Greatest Exhibit Concepts, Inc. News