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The Latest and Greatest Exhibit Concepts, Inc. News

Exhibit Concepts

How to Evaluate Your Event Marketing Program

Exhibit Concepts January 23, 2018

The most common (and difficult!) question asked by Event Marketers is:

How do I evaluate the success of my face-to-face marketing program?

Which is closely followed by: How do I capture the right data?

Like so many things, it depends. Specifically, it depends on your goals and objectives for your program.  For example, if your event is primarily planned for lead generation purposes, then it will be important to have a mechanism to capture leads, score them based on pre-set criteria, and follow them through the sales cycle to evaluate quality of the leads and how they contribute to sales. On the other hand, if you are looking to build brand awareness and activation, you might conduct pre and post brand awareness surveys or track total visitors and social media engagement.

OBJECTIVES

Regardless of your program's goals, the first step is to document quantifiable objectives. Be as specific as possible and base your objectives on historic, real information. Another important consideration is to understand what is different about your program this year that would affect results versus prior years.  For example, if your company has exhibited at a particular trade show for several years and each year you collected approximately 100 qualified leads at the show, then all things being equal, it stands to reason that you will collect approximately 100 leads this year. However, if you have added a sponsorship or an integrated social media campaign, you will likely generate more leads and should adjust your objective accordingly.

With respect to the point about being specific, all booth visitor interactions are not created equal. It is important to define what "counts" as a qualified lead.  Depending on your product line and the attendee personas at the show, any visitor who exchanges information (e.g. completes a survey or allows a badge scan) with you would count as a lead. In other cases, you might define a qualified lead as an attendee who has overtly expressed that they are shopping for a solution or that they intend to issue an RFP next month and are vetting potential candidates. You may also have a highly profiled target list of prospects and your objective is to secure prescheduled meetings with a specific number of those prospects.

As much as your focus is on quality engagements during the event, don't forget about the importance of your pre-, during and post- event marketing activities. Establishing goals and measuring results here is important as well.

DATA CAPTURE

With your objectives clearly set, the next order of business is laying out exactly how you intend to capture actual results to measure against your objectives. Here there are two considerations: 

What do you need to achieve?

What have you historically achieved?

If there is a major difference between those two measures, you want to make sure that there is something new and different in your program to help make up the difference.

Establishing baseline measures is important at this stage. Select a date (ideally the end of a period to make it easier on you) and record your current metrics. For example, record the number of LinkedIn connections and Twitter followers your company has as of that date. Use whatever social media and digital channels are important to your company to establish a baseline measurement.

You very likely will supplement your exhibit with email and web landing pages so you will want to make sure that each of these tactics is set up for tracking and attribution. You also want to think about how long after the event you will continue to measure results and attribute them to the event.

At the actual event, you need to have your data capture method selected, tested and ready to go before the show opens. If you plan to qualify and score leads based upon set criteria, make sure your lead capture app has been programmed for those attributes.  For example, if urgency is a key criterion as to how you score a lead, make sure that you have a mechanism for the attendee to submit that information or for your brand ambassadors to capture it.

LEAD FOLLOW-UP & VALIDATION

It is important to reach out to all visitors in a timely fashion, thanking them for their time and, as appropriate, provide follow up material. For most visitors, your follow up material is relatively general because they are not active in the sales cycle. But for those attendees who represent bona fide opportunities, you want your follow up to be timely and specific to their needs.

The validation step is about objectively reviewing all leads captured at the event and modifying lead score if necessary. Also, if your product is purchased by a company vs. individuals, you want to consolidate leads by company to reduce counting duplicates. You may also find that you want to remove certain visitors that you know will never become customers.

ONGOING TRACKING

Depending on how you stated your objectives, as well as your sales cycle, the task now is to periodically evaluate results. If your goal was brand awareness, you likely set a timeline upon which you wanted to see an increase in awareness. In that case, you would make your assessment and document your results. If your goal was lead generation, then you will want to capture # of leads as a result of the event, but then periodically report on how many of those leads resulted in sales and at what dollar amount? For transactional businesses, you might only measure lead conversions to sales for 30 days or perhaps 3 months.  For products and services with longer sales cycles, you might continue to track sales for two or three years.

ANALYSIS & STOP, START, CONTINUE

Perhaps the most important thing you can do when measuring your face-to-face program results is to provide contextual analysis of what worked and what needs improvement. While it is very gratifying to be able to say, "My program generated 30% more leads than our goal," it is important to be able to articulate why that happened so that you can continue to improve your program.  Consider any changes you made to the program, tactics you added, altered messaging, more experienced brand ambassadors or other changes that would help to explain your results.

An important exercise to conduct while the event is still fresh in everyone's memory is Start, Stop, Continue. This is a framework to capture what worked well and should be continued in future events, what didn't work as well and should be eliminated from the program and what other ideas might be added in the future.

 

Reporting on the results of your trade show can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming if you follow this simple formula:

  1. Establish quantifiable objectives
  2. Develop the plan to capture results
  3. Set your baseline
  4. Validate and follow-up as appropriate
  5. Continue ongoing measurement
  6. Explain why you achieved your results

EXHIBITORLIVE All-Access Passes Giveaway 

Exhibit Concepts January 12, 2018

We’ve already given away two EXHIBITORLIVE All-Access passes, and we are looking for three more lucky recipients. The passes are an incredible opportunity for trade show and event marketing professionals looking to expand their industry knowledge at the annual EXHIBITORLIVE event taking place in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay February 25 through March 1, 2018.

Pass winners will receive full access to the exhibit hall, Peer2Peer Roundtables, workshops, and unlimited educational sessions. This is an incredible opportunity for attendees to sharpen their skills, continue their education, and interact with their peers. The program includes 182 professional development sessions, 151 world-class practitioners, and up to 5 days of interactive learning and networking.

The passes, valued at $2,295 each, are part of Exhibit Concepts’ ongoing initiative to invest in the educational side of the trade show and corporate event industry.

To be entered to win one of the EXHIBITORLIVE All-Access passes, visit https://www.exhibitconcepts.com/el2018 Contest ends Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST.

7 Success Factors for Sales & Marketing Alignment

Exhibit Concepts January 05, 2018

This is a portion of the presentation, Sales and Marketing: How to Get-and Stay- on the Same Page, to be presented by Ellen Campbell-Kaminski at ExhbitorLIVE Thursday, March 1, 2018. For more information on this session and to register to attend, click HERE.

Sales and Marketing organizations that are well-aligned, collaborating together to achieve their goals, and delivering on corporate objectives: it is a beautiful thing. It's also something that most sales and marketing executives dream of and aspire to, but rarely achieve.

There are many reasons why alignment is so difficult to achieve in most B2B organizations but rather than dwell on the negatives, here are seven critical success factors necessary for alignment to take hold. As is the case in so many business culture issues, it starts at the top. The examples and behaviors that senior leaders demonstrate set the tone for the entire organization.

Assume Positive Intent

Very few people actually want someone else to fail. While questions and suggestions across departments can seem mildly offensive or even treading on another's territory, that is rarely the case. Most questions and suggestions are well intentioned. Focus on the spirit of the question. In most cases, it will be clear that the questioner was legitimately trying to help rather than point out shortcomings.

Be Open and Transparent

Nothing can derail alignment more quickly than withholding information. This immediately leads to both distrust and doubt. Share your data. Explain your sources and calculations. Document assumptions. Socialize your plans and priorities. Solicit and accept advice. Openly talk through differences and work toward mutually agreeable resolutions.

Shared Goals and KPIs

Not all objectives are the same for sales and marketing teams. Marketing will likely have specific objectives related to brand awareness or social media engagement. Likewise, sales may have tactical objectives related to numbers of first appointments. Still, there are key objectives that should be shared by the two departments around revenue, new customers and/or retention rates. In these cases, it is vital that the measurements are the same or you will spend unnecessary time attempting to reconcile the data.

Choose Your Battles

There are some issues that are material and need to be worked through and others that are not worth the angst. Focus energy on those areas that have a material impact on achieving your objectives. Get to the other things when time allows but those are not the ones to escalate.

Pilot First

Nothing drives a wedge between sales and marketing faster than an ill-conceived plan or campaign. Start small with a few sales people or one sales region. Take all of the feedback and learnings from that small market and adjust the campaign accordingly.  Then, when you roll out your program more broadly, you will have something that is proven to work and the added benefit of sales people who can attest to the program's success. (see Find Evangelists)

Find Evangelists

Sales people are most trusting of other sales people who walk in their same shoes, face the same competitive pressures and the same customer reluctance. Finding sales people, ideally at different levels in the sales organization, that are willing to test a new program and then serve as a champion within the sales organization is key.

Workshops

Whenever possible, whether setting annual plans or working on the details of an upcoming trade show, conduct joint planning workshops. The practical feedback from sales will be invaluable as they are closest to the customer and have insight as to what is most likely to work and where there could be resistance. Plus, there is likely more buy-in when they have had a hand in developing the program in the first place.

At the end of the day, it's important to focus on the fact that both sales and marketing have a shared goal: they want the company to succeed and to grow the business. Each department has a different job to do in order to achieve the overall business results. By focusing on the commonalities vs. differences and practicing open communications will lead to better alignment and improved results.

Want more tips on sales and marketing alignment? Read Ellen’s other blog post on the topic, Get in Formation: How to Align Sales & Marketing.

Exhibit Concepts’ Six Most Popular Trade Show Tools and Tips of 2017

Exhibit Concepts December 30, 2017

It’s been a great year and as we head into 2018, we wanted to take a look back at our most popular tools and most visited blog posts in 2017. You can view all of this content on the Resources Page on our website.

Top Trade Show Tools

  1. Whitepaper: 10 Steps to Prepare for a Successful Trade Show

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 ensure your investment is well spent and your goals are met, there are many plans and considerations to walk through. This white paper covers ten key steps you should take in order to have a well-managed, successful trade show.

  1. Template: Creative Brief

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.

  1. Worksheet: Start, Stop Continue

This exercise is a great way to pause, evaluate, and take action while a recent event or trade show is still fresh in your mind. We use this method to discuss internal processes, values, and behaviors as part of overall best practices and in conjunction with analytics.

Top Trade Show Tips

  1. Crates Can Make or Break Your Trade Show

Crates are expensive. And for clients with large exhibits requiring many crates, it can be a large line item cost. So, why are they so costly? What makes them such an important element of a successful trade show experience? When you know what goes into making these wooden marvels, it’s easy to see why the humble crate is much more than it seems.

  1. Staying on Top of Trade Show Trends is a Key Factor of Success

If there is one constant in the trade show industry, it is this: there is always some new development or trend emerging. Earlier this year, we identified five (5) trends to watch out for in 2017. 

  1. Choosing the Right Trade Show is Possible, with a Few Steps

The decision to attend a trade show is not one your company takes lightly. It’s an investment (and a worthwhile one, at that) and therefore the pressure is on to make the most of your allotted budget. There are many considerations, from ensuring you have a timeline in place to choosing the best trade show hall location. While these and many other elements like booth design are crucial to a successful trade show program that meets each of your goals, we believe choosing the best shows for your brand is another key consideration and one that you should evaluate on a regular basis.

Here’s to a wonderful 2017 and an exciting 2018! Want to see more trends, tips, and resources? Visit the Blog page of our website or the Resources page.

Ask the Experts: Trade Show Trends & Engagements, Part 3 of 3

Exhibit Concepts December 20, 2017

There is a saying in business: innovate or die. This maxim holds true in trade shows as well, where staying up to date on the latest trends and most compelling engagements is one of the key components of success. Technology seems to evolve at the speed of light, but there are ways to stay informed and educated—and incorporate those cutting edge trends into your next trade show.

As professionals who are “in the trenches” of the exhibit industry and observing the latest and greatest in trade show trends, we asked each department to weigh in on 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 this third and final part of the series, we are diving into the third question to understand the ways technology and engagement are shaping the future of the trade show industry.

You can read part one of the series and then check out part two.

From the Creatives

From a design perspective, there is definitely a trend toward open and airy booth design that isn’t just aesthetically pleasing; it serves a specific purpose. This means that the focus is placed on the client’s goals for a space, whether it is to conduct face to face meetings, raise brand awareness, or encourage engagement from visitors. It’s all about creating an environment where meaningful conversations can take place, rather than big, heavy architecture that looks impressive, but may not help the exhibitor achieve their specific goals. Keeping these guidelines in mind will result in an overall experience that is a worthwhile investment.

From the Graphics Department

On the trade show floor, every exhibitor is competing for attention. The show floor is a busy place, and graphics are a key component to help stand out from the crowd. Increasingly, exhibitors are replacing traditional signage with digital signage like video walls and OLED monitors. Technology has obviously played a huge role in the industry, and a combination of traditional graphics and digital signage can garner attention without breaking the bank. Using a combination of digital, traditional, and fabric signage can make for a big presence.  

From the Fabricators

Finding new, innovative ways to incorporate elements that can pull “double duty” is a great way to save both time and money in the build process as well and I&D (installation and dismantle). For example, in one configuration, a cabinet might serve as a reception counter and in another it could function as a base for a tower or you could use shipping containers that can be configured to function as counter space or storage closets in the booth. These interchangeable elements also mean less shipping and drayage costs, and still allow you to have a different look and feel for each show. Better yet, this will also minimize your upfront investment in property.

From our Engagement Specialists

These days, simply showing up at a trade show and setting up a booth is not enough. Trade show attendees want to be educated and entertained. They are looking for a memorable experience. Engagement is more important than ever to attract and draw the audience into the booth. And it also serves to engage the audience and communicate key message points. Whether it’s through a contest or game, or some other interactive digital format, it is all about drawing the right people into the booth. The key is to focus on buyer personas – who are you trying to reach, what is their perspective and situation and what do you want them to take away? From a time and money perspective, it is important to support the engagement in the space: make the most of the investment by storyboarding the experience, choosing the right brand ambassadors and creating a script to ensure it is a smooth, well executed engagement every time. Much like the wheels on a car, it is an investment, but arguably the most important aspect of the trade show experience.

From Show Services

Technology plays a starring role in our lives, and event/show services are no exception to that shift toward automating processes. For many years, ordering show services was done manually, which meant lots of paperwork and forms to be filled out by hand. Now, most shows or events are ordered online, which saves time and improves the consistency and accuracy of information. Likewise, technology has allowed for most vendors to have a chat feature on their website, making it ideal for multitasking and getting quick responses from vendors.

From the Shipping Department

While technology doesn’t necessarily play a direct role in shipping, there are innovations that can be utilized to reduce costs in this area. For example, using fabric and other lightweight materials in production can reduce overall transportation expenses. Likewise, multi-purpose designs can have a big impact in shipping. These elements that serve multiple purposes in different configurations mean fewer items to ship, lower weights, and ultimately, less room for storage costs.

From Leadership

Focusing on a theme for a particular marketing campaign is the key to a consistent experience that will help a brand stand out from the crowd. This means that the trade show is just one element of a larger experience, providing experience continuity for consistency and ultimately, brand recognition. Think of the trade show as an opportunity to extend your marketing efforts directly to customers and prospects. Unlike digital marketing, you can observe firsthand how customers and prospects are reacting to your messaging and programs. Embodying the brand at a trade show can easily integrate technology, through experiences and engagement that fit the theme and create a big impact on the busy trade show floor.

This is the third and final installment of our “From the Experts” trade show series. For more trade show information, visit our RESOURCES page. 

The Difference Between International & Domestic Trade Show Costs

Exhibit Concepts December 08, 2017

From Jeff Hannah, VP of International, Commercial Interiors, & Creative

We often get questions about Domestic Exhibiting Costs & International Exhibiting Costs and why they can vary so drastically. Here's the best way to understand the differences- and why U.S. exhibiting costs tend to be higher in comparison. 

We’ve recently started exhibiting internationally, and compared to crafting a similar experience in the United States, international exhibiting is downright cheap! Why are U.S. exhibiting costs so high?

Exhibit marketing is a fairly complex endeavor involving everything from transportation and drayage to design and fabrication. Multiple companies, each with their own policies, rules, and fees, provide products and services within each of the industry’s unique aspects. Therefore, explaining what may be driving up the price of exhibiting is just as complex as the industry itself. Plus, the economics of every country play a role in how much services, products, and labor cost, which in turn affect the price of exhibiting. That said there are generally three factors that elevate the price to exhibit at U.S. shows over similar events in other countries: segmentation/location, unions, and industry sophistication.

Segmentation/Location

The U.S. exhibit industry is segmented into multiple areas of specialization, more so than in many other countries. Plus, the distance booths travel to and from shows is typically far less in other parts of the world. Thus, factors related to transportation and segmentation often result in higher fees.

Most international exhibit builders craft exhibits in their own shops, sometimes only partially constructing a one-time use structure that is later fully completed on the trade show floor. These same firms often transport the exhibits from their shops directly to the venues, rather than hiring outside trucking companies. And since these are typically temporary builds that will only be used once or twice, as opposed to over the course of several years, the exhibit components are minimally secured for transport and not housed in heavy crates or customized shipping containers.

What’s more, many international exhibit builders produce stands that will be used at nearby venues, which means they’re often transporting booths across a city or regional area as opposed to across a country the size of the United States. Finally, once on site, the same exhibit-building firms frequently install their own exhibits, as opposed to hiring separate installation-and-dismantle (I&D) companies — a factor that not only saves money but often saves time, as exhibit houses can usually install their own exhibitry far faster than labor crews that are viewing the setup plans for the first time.

In the United States, however, an exhibit house typically constructs a sturdy and often heavy exhibit that will be used multiple times over the course of several years. It’s then securely crated for long-distance transport. Then, the exhibit house hires a freight carrier to transport the booth to the show, which could be literally thousands of miles away. When it arrives at the event, it is assembled by a labor crew (either an exhibitor-appointed installation firm or general contractor labor) that many times isn’t employed by the original exhibit house.

Thus, in the United States, there are multiple players involved, each of which comes with a fee aside from the design and construction of the booth. And often, if the exhibit house hires such a firm on your behalf, you’re also paying a markup on the original cost of the service.  In addition, exhibits usually travel greater distances from the exhibit house to a show in the United States than they do in many international locales. Bottom line: international exhibitors typically pay a turnkey fee to an exhibit house for a booth at a specific show; whereas, U.S. exhibitors pay an exhibit house, transportation firm, drayage provider (more on that later), and an I&D company. The sum of all companies’ fees is typically greater than the total amount for a single international exhibit house to perform the same functions. Add in the transportation fees — as well as the following factors — and you’ve racked up a hefty bill.

Unions   

Unlike most other countries, I&D labor in the United States often falls under union jurisdiction. So not only are you paying for an independent or general contractor to install your booth (using exhibit components that laborers are usually seeing for the first time when they step on the show floor), but also their rates are generally higher due to union mandates. Additionally, tight regulations govern union workers’ actions. For example, union rules stipulate how many hours laborers can work per day, the standard rates being charged, when overtime rates apply, and when there are four-hour minimums that you must pay (even if workers only spent an hour in your booth). Furthermore, labor unions often maintain exclusive control over certain types of work activities in various venues, such as drayage, cleaning, rigging, decorating, cleaning, running electrical wiring, etc. As such, this exclusive control drives costs higher due to a lack of competition and alternative choices.

In comparison, most overseas contractors aren’t under union jurisdiction and as such pay rates and hours worked are far more flexible — a factor that results in decreased costs for exhibitors. Plus, the majority of international exhibit houses offer a fixed fee to produce a turnkey exhibit, including labor, transportation, material handling, etc. Unless clients make major changes along the way, they pay the exact cost that was stipulated prior to the beginning of the exhibit build. Regardless of how long it takes laborers to install your stand, you will be paying the same amount you originally agreed upon. This practice eliminates extra fees for overtime charges, unexpected snafus, and ineffective or inefficient laborers.

Industry Sophistication

Simply put, countries where the exhibit industry is mature and more sophisticated tend to have higher costs than those where the industry is less developed. That’s because greater sophistication often results in higher-quality exhibits, and the designs, materials, crates, etc. associated with these stands cost more than lesser-quality booths. 

In addition, custom U.S. exhibits are usually built as multiuse properties that are used for three or more years. Many of them are at least partially modular, allowing for easier transportation and I&D than fully custom builds. However, almost any degree of modularity requires specialized connectors, panels, flooring pieces, etc. In contrast, exhibits built overseas are more frequently single-use “build and burn” stands that are used for only one show. They are constructed to withstand a single, often one-way transport to the event and three or four days (not three or four years) of wear and tear. As such, their structural quality can be much lower, and thus, their costs are similarly decreased.

So in the United States, everything from materials and levels of industry sophistication to the presence of unions and multiple supplier fees drive up the price of executing a face-to-face marketing program.  But it’s kind of an, “It is what it is” situation. While international exhibitors building booths in the United States experience pretty severe sticker shock, U.S. exhibit professionals are fairly used to their unfortunate hurdles — and they typically exhale a big sigh of relief when they get their international-exhibiting invoices.

This article originally appeared in the November, 2017 issue of EXHIBITOR magazine.

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.

MississippiMuseum5.jpg

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.

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