Trade Show TalesBlog

Turn Green Into Gold | Eco-Systems Sustainable Winter Promotion

December 15th, 2017 COMMENTS

To ALL Classic Exhibits Distributors

There’s never been a better time to consider an inline or island from Eco-Systems Sustainable, whether you are an ECO expert, novice, or newbie. For the next two months, Eco-Systems will reward you with $500, $250, or $100 Visa Gift Cards.

Who wouldn’t want a little more cash? Especially if Santa brought you a Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders Chia Pet for the holiday. Yikes!

Contact their talented Designers for your next project — whether it’s a kit, modified kit, or a custom build. They do it ALL. If you are a Classic Distributor, you are also an Eco-Systems Sustainable Distributor. Sweet!

GreentoGoldPromo

 

My EDPA Access 2017 Recap | Kevin Carty

December 9th, 2017 6 COMMENTS

EDPAHeader

Greetings from the Great Northwest

It’s December and almost Christmas, which means I am just as busy away from work as I am at work. I trust you had a great Thanksgiving and have amazing plans for Christmas and New Year’s.

Last week, I attended EDPA Access which was held in beautiful Carlsbad, California at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort. Let me say, as someone who has been a member of EDPA for more than a decade, this was easily one of the Top 3 venues ever. Great layout, outstanding services, beautiful facilities, and much more.

From start to finish, the content was on point, applicable to every business in our industry, and well organized. Our industry is changing because of how our customers do business. And it will continue to change. The next generation of exhibit marketing professionals are calling on us to serve them in different ways than in the past. EDPA started to address this change by replacing the “E” in EDPA to “Experiential” (from “Exhibit”).

CEIR

Exhibits and events, once thought to be separate things, are more and more the same. And the Exhibit/Experiential Marketing Professionals of today are largely driving this with “Emotion-Driving Experiences” being a leading theme. What does that mean? Regardless of what a person or company is buying, they expect an emotional connection with the product or the team presenting it to them.

We spend 90 percent of our day indoors. It’s imperative to design environments that create positive emotions, stimulates productivity, and inspires creativity. Not just for your employees, but also for your customers in their exhibit/event space. It needs to make them comfortable and allow them to understand who you are and how your collaborate.

Being an “Agile Organization” is increasingly important. Historically it has meant being everything to everyone. NOT ANYMORE. Today’s customers want companies that can help them with everything, but they appreciate collaboration. They expect you to work with partners to achieve the best outcome. It’s time to embrace a “Shared Purpose” in your products and solutions and celebrate it!

Classic Exhibits at ACCESS

EDPA_2 EDPA

If you were there, you saw the beautiful “Late Night” set we created. It was definitely a show stopper, not just because it looked great but because it showcased our custom wood fabrication capabilities. That was an eye opener for many who have not tapped into our custom design and wood fabrication. This segment has grown faster than any other division within manufacturing over the past two years. Yes, we still design and build modular, hybrid, and portable exhibits, but custom now represents a significant percentage of our sales.

Our Late Show theme with Kevin and Jen had a special guest — Alexa. She was everything you would expect from a star — personable, knowledgeable, and witty. Alexa provided some great laughs and many “inquisitive” looks with her questions. On a personal note, I now know Brennan Curtis’s from Mostre Design “smell preferences.” There’s no way to cleanse my brain of that information. Our congratulations to those who won an Echo Dot. We might just repeat the game at EXHIBITOR.

Once again, our thanks to those who spent time with Jen, Alexa, and me. We always appreciate seeing you. And special thanks to the entire team from EDPA HQ for putting together one of the best ACCESS events ever.

Have a great weekend ahead with your families.

–Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a


 

EXHIBITOR Magazine’s 2018 Portable Modular Awards (PMA)

December 1st, 2017 COMMENTS

PMAHeader

Portable Modular Awards (PMA) and People’s Choice Voting Page

EXHIBITOR Magazine announced the finalists for the 2018 Portable Modular Awards this week. They also launched the People’s Choice Voting website where you can vote once a day for your favorite design (regardless of the category).

PMA-GraphicThe categories are:

  • Best 10-by-10-Foot Exhibit
  • Best Fabric Exhibit – An exhibit comprising predominantly fabric components
  • Best Use of Graphics – Graphics for the entire exhibit and/or individual applications or purposes, such as info graphics, way-finding systems, product-display graphics, overhead-signage design, large-format graphics, etc.
  • Best In-Line Exhibit (10-by-20s, 10-by-30s, etc.)
  • Best International Design – An exhibit designed by a company outside of North America or an exhibit designed by a North American firm but launched at a show outside of North America.
    Best Island Exhibit Less Than 600 Square Feet
  • Best Island Exhibit 600 to 1,000 Square Feet
  • Best Island Exhibit More Than 1,000 Square Feet
  • Best Reconfigurable Exhibit – An exhibit that can be reconfigured to accommodate various footprints, goals, shows, etc. Entrants must submit photos of the booth in at least two different configurations.
  • Best Rental Exhibit – A portable, modular, or system exhibit comprising predominantly rented components.

Classic Exhibits has been an active supporter of the PMA since its inception five years ago, both through submissions and advertising. This year is no exception. We submitted five entries, and four were accepted as finalists.

Best Island Exhibit 600 to 1,000 Square Feet

Parrallon

Design/Marketing Challenge:  Parallon wanted an exhibit that made a big impression with attendees from across the show hall and in the booth space. They requested an open concept allowing for a natural flow of traffic through the booth and multiple conversation areas. In addition, the modular components had to fit different size footprints. Equally important was the use of technology and integrated lighting throughout the design. One big challenge was Parallon’s requirement to easily re-brand the booth for their strategic partner HealthTrust, which uses the structural components of this booth at shows where Parallon does not exhibit. Finally, the client wanted to improve their operational cost savings compared to their previous booth.

Design: Astor Group, Cheryl Harnishfeger and Classic Exhibits, Kim DiStefano

Best Rental Exhibit

ForRent

Design/Marketing Challenge: ForRent.com wanted a substantial presence on the show floor with cohesive branding for all their divisions. They decided to feature all their sub-brands in their booth for the first time:  ForRentUniversity.com, ForRent.com, CorporateHousing.com and After55.com. With 30 working employees in their booth, they needed a large amount of secured storage, lots of interactive demo areas for 1-on-1 sales, social media activity, and both in-depth and casual meeting spaces for building relationships with customers. The materials needed to have a residential feel to focus attention on their residential properties. Finally, they wanted more design flexibility while achieving their goals which is why they choose a 20 x 50 rental (rather than a typical purchase).

Design: Classic Rental Solutions, Doug Cole and TPS Displays Richmond, Neil Carroll

Best In-Line Exhibit

Schmidt

Design/Marketing Challenge:  Schmidt’s Naturals wanted the natural and clean qualities of their well-established brand to be reflected in their booth. They wanted a clean product display area, storage, space for casual meetings, and an overall inviting feel. The space also needed well-organized sampling areas where visitors could smell the products.

Design:  Classic Exhibits, Kim DiStefano, and TradeshowGuy Exhibits, Tim Patterson

Best 10-by-10-Foot Exhibit

ShoesForCrews

Design/Marketing Challenge:  Shoes For Crews wanted their trade show displays to reflect their recent updated branding. The company participates in about 70 shows per year with various booth sizes, so they needed a distinctive, lightweight, reconfigurable, well-lit exhibit with enough shelving to show 40-50 shoes representing all their product lines. They didn’t want typical shelving;  they wanted their shoes displayed in a creative fashion. Also they hoped to engage customers in their booth space with media, recreating a breakroom experience that their customers experience in their respective environments.

Design: Classic Exhibits, Kim DiStefano and Art Guild, Ron McEntee

We encourage you to vote for your favorite(s) over the next three months. Let us know if you have any questions, and we would enjoy hearing your comments about the four finalists. Finally a HUGE thanks to the Classic Distributors for their support with PMA and to Katina Rigall Zipay, our Creative Director, for submitting the entries.

Winners will be announced at EXHIBITORLIVE.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite

**********************************************

Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.

How to Fix 12 Trade Show Bad Habits

November 16th, 2017 COMMENTS

Trade Show Habits

All animals, humans included, are creatures of habit. We learn how to survive or just get by, then follow those routines day after day. Breaking those ingrained habits can be tough, even when we recognize the benefits. Scientific studies have shown us that individuals rarely change without a supportive group either encouraging them or modeling alternate behavior.

Trade shows are no different. Exhibitors and attendees find their safe space and get comfortable: same shows, same people, same message.

Let’s examine some “comfortable “trade show habits that are undermining your ability to succeed. Fair warning. Some will be easy. Others much harder.

Your 12 Trade Show Bad Habits (in no particular order) 

1. Goals: Once upon a time you were new to trade shows. You asked, “Why are we attending this show”? “What is the desired outcome?” “Who are our prospective clients and what is the best message to attract their attention?” Those questions still matter, even if no one is asking them.

BoothDork2. Clothing: Are you still wearing that same polo with your corporate logo from 2014? It still looks OK, unless you’re standing next to Randy who was hired in March and has a new shirt. Trade show clothing is the exact opposite of your normal wardrobe. If it’s “really” comfortable, then it’s probably time to switch.

3. Day Three: Yes, it’s Day Three. Experience tells you that nothing happens on Day Three. Until it does. For many attendees, that’s the ideal day to walk the show floor. The crowds are thinner, and they see and hear the unfiltered stories. Often, it’s the BIG DEALS that get done during those last four hours.

4. Leads: On Day 1, you are studying each lead like a forensic scientist. Day 2, not so much. Day 3, Warren Buffett could have dropped his business card in the fish bowl and you wouldn’t know until next week. Reviewing leads notes each day turns cold leads into warm ones. The more notes the better for everyone.

5. Mixers: Every year, the show throws a gala where exhibitors, attendees, and presenters mingle. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people in a casual setting. A long time ago, you were the consummate sales professional, chatting with folks and working the room. Now… you gravitate to the people you know or hang with co-workers. The trade show doesn’t end at 4 pm each day.

6. Labor: We all have war stories about labor. Some are valid… and painful. But it doesn’t have to be unpleasant. Many exhibitors order labor from the general contractor. The form is in the packet which makes it convenient. Instead, consider an Exhibit-Appointed Contractor (EAC). They want to earn your business for years, not just that show. It’s a new habit worth keeping.

7. Graphics: The graphics were awesome at the last show. Same as the one before. And the one before that. Graphics, whether fabric or direct print, have a half-life, closer to a fruit fly than uranium. Graphics are the single most important visual in your booth, even more than the model you hired to demo your new gizmo. At least get them reprinted. At best have them redesigned.

Mixer2

8. Early Bird Submissions: SHIT! You missed the early bird submission date again. How does that keep happening? Perhaps you might want to set a reward for yourself (and your team)? Whatever money you save by completing those forms early will go towards a nice meal to celebrate your success at the trade show.

9. Booth Camping: You love your booth. It’s familiar and comfortable. Your co-workers are there. You see friendly customers. But when someone asks you what you saw at the show, you pause… because you never wandered around. You never saw your competition or discovered new vendors. A trade show is more than finding new customers. It’s about meeting new people, finding alternative suppliers, and upping your industry knowledge.

10. Pre-show Marketing: This one will be short and sweet. You know you should do it. You used to do it. What changed? Don’t make me lecture you about the importance of pre-show marketing.

11. Education: Think back to when you were an industry rookie. You were eager to learn. They couldn’t stop you from attending classes. Heck, you wanted to be the one teaching newbies about the industry you love. Time to reset your priorities. If nothing else, those classes are great places to meet new people (and potential customers).

12. Size: Year after year, you reserve the same size booth space at the same show. Doesn’t it make sense to evaluate it based on your sales, marketing focus, show effectiveness? Of course it does. That doesn’t mean going larger. Sometimes it means going smaller. The same analysis should be made about the shows you attend. Shows ebb and flow for a variety of reasons. Just like your business.

We all know habits die hard, both good and bad. As you head into 2018, vow to be a better trade show marketer. And unlike New Year’s resolutions, you shouldn’t have any problem keeping these. You’ll feel better, and your trade show marketing results will improve.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite

**********************************************

Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.

Submit Your EXHIBITOR “Plan B” Story for Publication

November 8th, 2017 COMMENTS

PlanB_EblastImage2

Would you like to see your name in print? EXHIBITOR Magazine is currently looking for Plan B stories.

Plan B is a humorous column about trade show disasters (e.g. missing graphics, last-minute booth alterations, exhibit fires, missing staffers, AWOL tractor-trailers, flooding, and more). More importantly, it’s about how you or your client solved or at least coped with them.

If you’ve suffered a snafu (or a straight-up disaster) and lived to tell the tale, email EXHIBITOR’s senior writer, Linda Armstrong (larmstrong@exhibitormagazine.com) to share your story.

If the tale fits the column parameters, she’ll take your short but detailed synopsis, massage it into column format, and send it your way for a final fact check. When it publishes, you’ll receive the free byline — and industry kudos for your disaster-aversion techniques.