Applications were subjected to an exhaustive evaluation process including more than 50 individual criteria weighted to reflect how EXHIBITOR readers and Editorial Advisory Board members value them when vetting and selecting potential partners. The evaluation process also includes a survey of current clients and a review of entrants’ past projects, selling points, and innovations, conducted by corporate exhibit managers.
Of the 39 other honorees, twenty-eight were Classic Distributor Partners. Needless to say, we are delighted to be in such good company. A special thanks to the entire Classic Exhibits Family. This is an award earned by everyone at Classic and your remarkable efforts to design and build the trade show industry’s best exhibits.
In addition. Classic Exhibits won a Portable Modular Award for Best Use of Graphics on our 2022 EXHIBITORLIVE booth. Kudos to Glenna Martin for the graphic design and Kim DiStefano for the new Classic logo. The was Glenna’s second time winning this prestigious award.
“Let’s host an event in Louisville for our Distribution Partners
during EXHIBITORLIVE.” Yes, please! Throwing unique corporate events is one of the most
enjoyable tasks anyone can ask of me.
When someone says Louisville, you
might immediately think Kentucky Derby. Or where 90% of the world’s bourbon is
distilled. Not me. While they’re both iconic and associated with Louisville,
they’re both just a bit too on the nose.
Louisville to me says baseball because it’s the home of the Louisville Slugger Museum and Bat Factory. Starting in 1884, Hillerich & Bradsby (aka Louisvillle Slugger) is the country’s oldest continually operating sport’s equipment manufacturer in the United States. Every kid who’s ever played Little League knows Louisville Slugger baseball bats. And as luck would have it, it’s a convenient ½ mile walk from the Louisville International Convention Center.
Hosting Your Event
Hosting a successful event is simple if you follow a few guidelines. Here are 5 tips to hosting a memorable event that your guests will remember for years:
1. Pulling the Rope– Why are you hosting the event? Are you trying to promote a new product or service? Are you presenting year-end awards? Just like designing a successful exhibit, the best way to accomplish any goal is to know it and share it with your entire Team. Pull the rope in the same direction at the same time.
2. I Want Buzz – We’ve all attended corporate events held during trade shows. Maybe it was a party sponsored by a client, a vendor, a publication. While I’m always thrilled to be invited, these events often end up being “okay” or “nice.” I don’t want nice. Don’t they all just sort of fade away into a hazy blur of sameness just as soon as you walk out the door?
If you’re going to host a party, make
it memorable. I want buzz. I want people thinking about the event long after
3. Forget the Crudite – Hotel Ballroom? Trade Show Floor? There are reasons companies host their events in these spaces. It’s simple. But simple doesn’t usually lead to memorable.
Find unique venues. Look for a place
where parties aren’t usually held. Throw more money into the location rather
than the food being served. Guests will remember a unique space long after
they’ve forgotten about that crudité.
I’ve thrown events in a stinky 90-year-old
boxing gym, the bell tower of the National Cathedral, a wax museum, Cirque de
Soleil’s private gym for their performers, the Kennedy Center. I once scouted
the ballroom at the Russian Embassy in DC. The venue is EVERYTHING.
Once you’ve selected your unique venue, add layers. Did you know that you can rent the island of Alcatraz? You can!Thank you, National Park Service! For that party we hired an ex-guard and ex-prisoner to speak with attendees in the prison’s old chow hall. Memorable? Exclamation Point!!!
4. It All Starts with the Invitation – The event doesn’t start at 5:00 pm. It starts about a month before the event when the invitation lands. That’s when you start building the buzz with an unforgettable invitation
Louisville Slugger Museum – An oversized vintage baseball ticket and a box of Cracker Jack.
Alcatraz – An oversized Monopoly Get
Out of Jail Free card.
National Cathedral – A shocking postcard that demanded attention.
Boxing Gym – A cool, retro boxing poster.
Invitations offer an opportunity for some
pretty serious pre-buzz, weeks before the event ever begins.
5. If You Build It, They Will Come – While there are lots of things you can stress about, getting your guests to show up probably isn’t going to be one of them. As a matter of fact, once your guests experience one of your parties, they’ll be on the lookout for next year’s invitation months in advance.
Wanna talk about planning unique, fun business events for your Clients? Give me a call. Happy to chat.
Trade show banner stands are lightweight portable displays with single or double-sided graphics. They usually assemble without tools and pack in carrying bags or rolling cases which makes them ideal for retail and trade show signage, events, and trade fairs. Banner stands come in a variety of sizes, styles, and prices. And are available from suppliers on the Internet and from your local exhibit house or display provider.
A quick search for “Banner Stands” on the Internet will list hundreds (if not thousands) of vendors, styles, and price ranges. It can seem overwhelming. Understanding your options will make the selection process much easier. Let’s break it down into 5 categories:
Simple Retractable Banner Stands
These are the most common. Prices start at $99 with graphics to over $1000. Why such a range? It comes down to the mechanical quality of the stand, printing materials and method, size, and whether the stand is single or double-sided. There’s no real magic or trickery. The higher the price, the more features and quality.
Basic Non-Retractable Banner Stands: By and large, these tend to be fiberglass or aluminum frames with a one-sided graphic. They’re basic and somewhat bullet-proof as long as they’re not abused.
Pop-up Banner Stands: If you’ve ever set up a pop-up display, then you’ll recognize these as scaled-down versions. Pop-up banner stands are compact, durable, and offer the benefit of one large graphic or multiple smaller graphics.
Tube Stands with Pillowcase Graphics: Tube frames, typically 1.25” in diameter, slide together without tools. They’re indestructible and offer the benefit of a two-sided fabric graphic that slides, much like a sock, over the frame. Tube stands come in a variety of sizes and shapes including curves.
SEG Banner Stands: SEG stands are the most professional looking, but the upscale appearance comes at a higher price. The frames are made with engineered aluminum, ensuring they’ll last for years. The graphics fit into a perimeter groove on the frame for a perfect fit. Best of all, SEG banner stands can be backlit which is guaranteed to attract attention!
Reasons to Invest in Trade Show Banners
If you are looking for an effective and affordable way to promote your business or organization, banner stands are a great option. They are portable, easy to set up, and durable. They can be customized to fit your needs and budget.
Features of Banner Stands:
Portable: Banner stands are lightweight and easy to transport, making them ideal for use at events and trade shows.
Easy to Set Up: Banner stands can be set up in minutes, without any tools or special skills.
Durable: Many banner stands are made from high-quality materials that can withstand the elements.
Customizable: Banner stands can be customized with your company’s logo, branding, and messaging.
Benefits of Banner Stands:
Increased Visibility: Banner stands are a great way to increase your brand’s visibility at events and trade shows. They can help you to attract new customers and generate leads.
Improved Sales: Banner stands can help you to improve sales by promoting your products or services to potential customers.
Strong Marketing Message: Banner stands can help you to communicate your marketing message effectively. They can be used to promote special offers, events, or new products.
Positive Brand Image: Banner stands can help you to create a positive brand image. They can help you to make a good impression on potential customers and partners.
The V-Stand’s clean utilitarian styling, silver finish, easy set-up and breakdown with Econo UV graphics make it an amazing value on the market. Comes with a black padded carrying bag and a 3-year warranty.
There are banner stands… and then there are excellent banner stands. The Pronto Retractable Banner Stand is a reasonably priced, high-quality banner stand that’s engineered to last for years. To assemble, simply attach the pole perpendicular to the base and pull the banner upward to the mast. It’s that easy.
Same quality as the Pronto but double-sided. Each unit comes with dye-sublimated graphics. Unlike other banners, Pronto graphics will always be flat, glare-free, and colorful. Warranty? How about a lifetime on every banner stand? Now that’s a good banner stand.
The X1 Display is a versatile no tools stretch fabric pop-up display system. Available designs and custom display options bring excitement and flexibility to your exhibit. The X1 is easy to set up, ultra-lightweight and portable, and even easier to take down.
The collapsible X1 pop-up frame uses magnetic connectors with the option of J-hook connectors for more custom or weight-bearing displays. Stretch fabric graphics come pre-attached to the frame and are easily changed out in the field! Kits come with graphics, a frame, and a drawstring carry bag.
Go bright or go home. NEXT! Backlit SEG Pop Up is truly an innovator. It combines the upmarket hard panel looks of custom SEG extrusion systems with the capability of backlighting with no tools assembly.
Don’t settle for lower quality 4 and 6-color SEG graphics – With NEXT! Modular SEG Fabric Systems, your graphics will be printed HD Grand Format 8-color, then sewn and finished to perfection by professionals. Our special fabric is FR coated and when installed the graphics are unmistakable at any event.
The double-sided SEGUE Sunrise offers all the advantages of a traditional banner stand — portability, ease of set-up, and a large graphic – with the benefits of a large format SEG tension fabric graphic, durable aluminum frame, and no-tools assembly.
Unlike traditional banner stands which are rectangle and single-sided, Aero tension fabric banner stands can be almost any shape and are almost always two-sided. The frame assembles with push-button connectors, requiring no tools. The graphic slides over the frame like a pillowcase and secures with a zipper. It’s that easy.
The SEGUE Lightboxes with Shelves take a familiar concept, lightboxes, and transform them into a two-sided billboard using lightweight aluminum and tension fabric graphics. Better yet, these are not ordinary graphics. They are silicone edge graphics or SEG. With SEG, your graphics are perfect every time; there’s no guesswork since the silicone fits into the pre-existing aluminum channel.
Assembly takes less than 10 minutes. Best of all, the silicone edge graphic guarantees a perfect fit every time, and the fabric graphics mean worry-free performance from show to show. You can even wash them. The Sunrise is the perfect choice for a banner stand that looks amazing and will last for years.
Trade Show Banners with Classic Exhibits
Choosing the right banner stand shouldn’t take hours of research. It should be easy. At Classic Exhibits we have a wide range of solutions, all designed to meet your specific marketing needs and budget. Let us assist you with selecting a banner stand that checks every box.
With over 200 Distributor Partners throughout North America, there’s a Classic representative close by to assist with any project. Contact us today whether you need an inline rental display, a double-deck island exhibit, or a contemporary kiosk rental. At Classic, we’re not just different. We’re better.
Our thanks to Popshap for inviting Classic Exhibitson their Beyond Interactive video/podcast channels . Mel White from Classic Exhibits and Eitan Magid and Dahlia Lopez from Popshap discuss digital signage and interactive technologies. These technologies are a relatively new element on the exhibition floor. In our conversation, we review current trends in the exhibit industry and how digital signage and interactive kiosks are becoming an essential tool for exhibitors.
When Marlys Arnold wrote the book, Build a Better Trade Show Image, her goal was to create a how-to manual for new exhibitors. Since then, her book has been a must-read guide in the trade show industry for over 20 years. The updated version includes many new examples of creative exhibit designs, promotions, attractions and beyond. You’ll find fresh ideas, as well as advice that has stood the test of time.
Marlys was kind enough to answer some of our questions about the book, her background, and the challenge of updating Build a Better Trade Show Image.
Why did you write the book in the first place?
When I wrote the first edition, I had been collecting notes and ideas as I either walked a show or when I exhibited or worked at shows. So basically it was the how-to manual that I wish I would have had as a beginning exhibitor. I wanted to walk people through the entire process of what to do before, during, and after the show to have better results and really make it more worth their time and investment.
Why did you use the analogy of building a house?
Even if someone hasn’t actually built their own house, they understand the concept that first you have to lay the foundation, then you build the framework. Once you get the house built, then you work on the interior and you want to have good curb appeal. There were all these different pieces that I could then align with the process of doing a trade show. Building the foundation is the idea of setting goals and preparing for the show ahead of time. Curb appeal is doing your promotions and getting attention and drawing people into your booth. So there were a lot of ways that I could draw those parallels between the two ideas.
So what prompted you to revise the book?
When I initially wrote and debuted it back in 2002, I never had any idea that I ever would do it again. I really didn’t ever plan on doing it again. But over the years, people began asking if I would consider doing an updated edition. And especially about the time that we all went into lockdown, I had people starting to ask because there were things in the first edition, like we don’t use faxes anymore. And then there were a lot of brand new things … social media didn’t exist back then, and people didn’t carry smartphones in their pockets back then. So there were a lot of new ways and new strategies that people could implement now that weren’t even available to us way back then.
So I finally decided it was a good idea — but I should have started on it a little sooner than what I did and worked on it during lockdown. Instead, late in 2021 I got the idea to starting the second edition just as everything was opening up and we were all starting to get really busy again.
How have face-to-face events changed, especially post-pandemic?
Well that’s a tough one because I would like to say yes, they’ve changed dramatically and they’ve improved. But unfortunately, in a lot of ways — a lot of the wrong ways — they haven’t. Walking shows now, I still see what I call the Ten Commandments of Booth Staffing, things like people eating in the booth, people sitting and ignoring the traffic that’s walking by. There’s still all this bad behavior.
We had this wonderful opportunity during lockdown to completely revise and improve and move forward. And a lot of exhibitors and a lot of shows didn’t really take advantage of that opportunity. So now is a good time to just reset and move forward and do a better job. My goal is to see every exhibitor at every show have the best show they’ve ever had now, as opposed to last year or even pre-lockdown. I want to see exhibitors take the strategies and tools and really build on it and make their shows more productive and more valuable.
What was the most challenging part of doing the update?
Well, there were a lot of parts that were more challenging than I expected. I mean, just things like trying to do some of the research and find updated statistics. Sometimes it was really tough to find updated studies or research that correlated with what was there 20 years ago. And of course there are a lot of companies that are gone, so there were industry resources that don’t exist anymore. Other than CEIR, which obviously has great statistics — but some of the other stats were hard to research now.
It was also tough because everybody was starting to get busy right about the time that I began working on the new edition. I remember one person in particular that I reached out to in June or July, and I was finally able to do an interview with him in October so that I could include his story in the book. It was challenging trying to gather all of the great examples and information that I really wanted to include, but of course there’s no way to ever include everything. I squeezed in as much as I could, but obviously I couldn’t fit everything into the book.
So who’s the audience for this book?
Ultimately, I wrote it with the hope that it will be relevant to any exhibitor, no matter the level of experience or size or what industry that they’re in. I include a lot of very universal principles in there, but my passion is always to help the newbie exhibitor, somebody who’s just getting started, or maybe a really small company. A lot of exhibitors that I’ve consulted with over the years have been those in the 10’x10’ or 10’x20’ spaces, because they know they need to work hard to try to compete and get attention when there’s all these huge booths and household-name exhibitors on the show floor.
I know right now it’s definitely a challenge because so many people have left the industry. Long-term exhibitors and vendors — people that had years or decades of experience are now gone. And so a lot of the people who are coming in are newbies that have zero experience and don’t know what they’re doing.
I really want the book to be a tool that they can pick up and use. Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of exhibitors say they use it as a how-to manual, and that’s really what I wrote it to be. But I’ve also included a lot of next-level ideas in there as well. So even somebody who’s been exhibiting for 10 or 15 years can pick up the book and discover new tips and examples and find some aha moments that they can implement as well.
And finally, what are two or three pieces of advice you’d share with your clients about trade show success?
The key is what you do before, during, and after the show — because it’s not just what happens on the show floor, and it’s also not just a checklist of things to do. A lot of times exhibitors that have been doing shows for a long time may just look at it as a checklist: We have to get our booth designed, we have to order our promotional products for giveaways. They’re not really looking at the strategy behind it all. It’s just become a routine. It’s almost like they’re on autopilot.
So what I really tell exhibitors is focus on the strategy. Why are you going? What are you wanting to accomplish? What is your core message? Then use that and work backwards and figure out what are the tasks that I need to do, or even better … what are the things that I should include, or the things I should not include that don’t necessarily enhance that strategy.
Another thing is, like I mentioned earlier, the whole idea of what I call the Ten Commandments — having good booth staff behavior. That can be as simple as paying attention and being engaged in the booth, instead of checking your cell phone, or everybody on your team standing around in a huddle, having a conversation instead of being proactive and interacting with the people that walk by. I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement, even with long-time exhibitors. I go to shows like EXHIBITORLive, and I still see a lot of these bad booth behaviors. So it’s something that everybody has to consciously work on and make sure that they’re putting their best face forward in the booth.
As an exhibit marketing strategist, Marlys Arnold combines image expertise and real-world marketing experience with a passion for trade shows. Not only has she been an exhibitor, but also the organizer of several expos and events. This unique perspective of the industry allows her to share new insights with both beginning and experienced exhibitors, teaching how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads.
She’s led workshops for groups including Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the International Association of Exhibitions & Events (IAEE), TSNN and EXHIBITOR, as well as providing exhibitor training for events in a variety of industries, ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S.