A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
This week, I was on the road visiting new and potential distributors for Classic and ClassicMODUL. Meeting with these folks reminded me of the power of photos in our business. Frankly, I take photos for granted since we take multiple shots of every display we build. I assume other manufacturers do the same thing. It makes sense. Photos document the order and serve as a convenient point of reference if there are questions once the exhibit arrives or several years later when the client wants to modify the design or reorder parts.
Photos are such a day-to-day occurrence for us that I’m always a little surprised by a distributor’s reaction during a presentation. During the meeting, we invariably head to Classic’s website, or if they have Exhibit Design Search, to their website. We review the product lines and/or changes and at some point, we click on the photos button either on the home page or on a Design Detail page. That’s when the magic happens.
Potential distributors are always stunned that there are photos of kits; in fact, that there are multiple photos of actual orders. Then, once we dive a little deeper, they are delighted “slash” shocked that there are literally thousands of photos dating back to September 2006 . . . and that they can search, filter, and sort these photos. The next shock comes when they realize that these photos are not hidden behind a password protected site and that the photos can be emailed from their address using the “Email Image” tool.
Some of you may know the history of Past Five Days (P5D), our photo database, but for those who don’t I’ll share it.
On 09/23/06, we started an experiment when we launched Past Five Days (P5D). We decided to publish photos of exhibits, components, and accessories on Classic Exhibits. Mostly, we used the photos taken in our QC Setup Area, but occasionally we used photos from the Rental Setup area. We couldn’t publish every exhibit, which would be unrealistic, but we did want to show representative designs in as close to real time as possible. At the time, it seemed risky for two reasons.
- We would be showing exhibits, not as perfect renderings or as show photos, polished to perfection just minutes before the trade show opens, but as exhibits often without the final graphics and the client’s product accessories and collateral.
- We would be sharing new designs and innovations with anyone who happened to click on Past Five Days. Including our competitors. However, we quickly realized that the benefit of sharing far out weighed the risk of espionage.
Five years later, P5D seems obvious. Distributors and clients get to see photos in addition to renderings, even if those photos are of displays still in production. Renderings are the lifeblood of the exhibit design process. They allow us to illustrate concepts relatively quickly, in both the purchase and design phase. But renderings are renderings. Photos are photos. We need to see both in order to make intelligent decisions about which display to purchase and which exhibit manufacturer to purchase from.
Many of you visit P5D at least once a week to review new projects. For those who don’t, we encourage you to take a peek once in a while. You’ll be surprised at the variety of orders flowing through our shop. Yes, there are the standards, such as Sacagawea, Magellan, and Perfect 10 kits, but you’ll also see islands, custom workstations and counters, unique Aero Hanging Sign orders, and recently, Eco-systems Sustainable projects. Plus, if you enjoy graphic design, you’ll see how others present their message . . . both successfully and occasionally, not so successfully.
Hope you all have a restful weekend.