Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for March 4th, 2016

EXHIBITORLIVE 2016 | Gravitee Strikes a Winning Chord

March 4th, 2016 1 COMMENT

Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Happy! Happy! Happy!

I’m at 32,000 feet, headed home from EXHIBITORLIVE 2016 in Las Vegas. After four weary days (and nights), I wanted to share with you the overall show vibe from the Classic Exhibits perspective.

To those not in attendance, I hope you viewed our videos highlighting Day 1 and Day 2. They show how slammed we were both days. On the morning of Day 2, I was approached by another exhibitor who said, “Kevin, ya know in grade school where we all learned to share. Would you mind sharing some of your attendee traffic with the rest of us?” 🙂

IMG_0180All joking aside, we were fortunate to have heavy traffic on all three days. Exhibitors came to see our charging stations, tablet stands, and lightboxes, but the BIG DRAW was our new Gravitee One-Step Wall System. Gravitee was a HUGE HIT. We heard the accolades in our booth, but it was the compliments we heard while walking the show floor and at after-hours functions that was more impressive. Lots of kudos and several comments of “Gravitee is the next big thing in our industry.”

At the airport waiting for our flight home, my wife asked me why Gravitee was so impactful compared to past product releases. I will tell you the same thing I told her, using a recent build as an example.

Gravitee is the culmination of 23 years of Classic manufacturing expertise and growth. When we initially developed this new product, we sat down and reviewed the entire Classic Family of Products. What made the Intro Fabric Panel System so successful in the mid 90’s? The patented hinge! What made the Euro LT Modular Laminated System so successful in the late 90’s and early 2000’s? The slide clip connection system and panel lock! What has made Visionary Designs, our hybrids, and our custom builds so successful to this day? Our ability to customize, be nimble, and do what others either can’t… or simply are unwilling to do.

Gravitee was born out of 23 years of knowledge and Intellectual Property. In the end, we developed Gravitee, a revolutionary wall system that self levels, requires absolutely NO TOOLS, has two corner options that allow you to make ANY angle connection, works seamlessly with Euro LT and MODUL, and accepts direct print or SEG graphics. Plus, you NEVER have to notch the SEG when a graphic extends over multiple panels or curves.

IMG_0350Pretty cool. Now let me use a real world example. You may recall our show booth from EXHIBITORLIVE 2015 and 2014. It was a modified version of the VK-5095 Island featured in the Visionary Designs and Rental galleries. One of our distributors asked if we could create the same design for their HIMSS clients… but using Gravitee. Well, you know we said, “Yes!” Our show booths in 2014 and 2015 took three guys eight hours to set up, and it packed in two crates at 2200 lbs total weight. But the Gravitee version took three guys four hours to set up the booth! Half the time! AND it shipped in one crate, not two. Think about that from an operating cost. Your exhibitor will save up to 1/2 on labor , 1/2 on shipping, and 1/2 on drayage compared to the previous Visionary Designs build. Oh, I should probably mention, the booth cost about 7% less retail as a Gravitee System.

The Rest of the Show

Alright… you can clearly tell I’m excited about Gravitee. But let’s talk about the rest of the show. We saw so many wonderful Classic Distributors as well as a few new distributor prospects. End-users stopped by the booth in numbers we haven’t seen in the past, so there will be a about 80-90 leads sent to distributors next week.

20150918-0804We won! Classic Exhibits took home another EXHIBITOR Portable Modular Award! Last year we won for Best Small Island. This year we won for Best Inline 10 x 10 for the “So Young” booth designed by our very own Katina Rigall. A special thanks to Tim Patterson at Communication One Exhibits for bringing us this great project. Way to go TradeshowGuy.

The mood on the show floor was upbeat and the vast majority of distributors and suppliers told us they are growing. Frankly, the show floor itself looked better than it ever has. As an industry I applaud everyone for putting their best foot forward from a design perspective. Two people who walked HIMSS (which is HUGE as you know) said the EXHIBITORLIVE floor looked infinityly better from a design perspective.

Lastly, there are never enough words to describe the pride I have in our team/family here at Classic. To John, Jim, Reid, James, Jen, Glenna, Jim P, Katina, and Mel who joined me in LV, I can’t thank you all enough for all that you do as co-workers and friends in this business. Once again, you made the entire company proud with your efforts and enthusiasm on and off the show floor. And to each and every Classic employee who wasn’t in Vegas, you were with us in spirit and your efforts showed each and every time a distributor heaped praise on Classic Exhibits.

IMG_2647

Now, my back is killing me, my feet are numb, and my brain is genuinely fried, so I look forward to the weekend with my family. I hope you do the very same.

Thanks again to our distributors and our vendor partners for continuing to trust in your relationship with the Classic Family.

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


 

EXHIBITORLIVE | Thumbs Up & Thumbs Down

March 4th, 2016 COMMENTS

EXHIBITORBlogHeader

We’re back from an early EXHIBITORLIVE 2016 this year. I have a vague recollection back in the days of Bally’s of one around Valentine’s Day but then again, all my EXHIBITOR memories are somewhat fuzzy for reasons that would be best not to explore. While it’s still fresh on my mind, I thought I’d share a few Thumbs Ups and Thumbs Downs.

Thumbs Up

1. Gravitee, our new modular wall system, was the Belle of the Ball. Several Classic Distributors told me that Gravitee was “the next big thing” in exhibit industry. No tools. No loose parts. Seamless SEG graphics. Compatible with MODUL and Euro LT. What amazed me the most was the number of distributors who saw the demo, then came back again and again to see another demo. It’s as if they thought they’d finally catch the Classic magician hide the ball under the cup.

IMG_26212. Katina Rigall, Tim Patterson at Communication One Exhibits, and our Production and Project Management team for winning the 10 x 10 Portable Modular Award. Frankly, I knew in my gut that the So Young booth would win after seeing the other 10 ft. finalists. It wasn’t even close.

3. Congratulations to all the EXHIBITORLIVE PMA Award Winners. Each year, the number of entries increases and the design bar rises

4. Class Act Competitors – Several friendly competitors asked to see Gravitee, our charging stations, tablet stands, and our new backlit extrusions. They were gracious and respectful, never taking photos without permission or peering behind the “curtain” without asking.

5. Glenna Martin, our Graphic Design Manager, for her tireless work getting the booth ready each morning, taking photos during the day, and creating the two entertaining videos (Day 1 and Day 2). And, for her amazing “It didn’t fall far from the tree” graphics.

6. The year Optima decides not to hold a reception is the year I decide not to attend EXHIBITOR. It’s the single best place to talk to industry friends, meet new ones, and let all the pre-EXHIBITOR stress melt away. Thank you Optima!

7. The Entire Classic Team, including those who attended and especially those who stayed behind. While you couldn’t all be there, I promise you that you were there in spirit with every accolade about the exhibit, the products, the quality, and Classic Commitment to Service. We heard again and again – “You are the BEST!” We wish everyone we did business with had the same Shared Success philosophy as Classic.”

8. Classic Distributors. Thank you for spending time with us, asking questions, and sharing your concerns. You are the reason we participate in EXHIBITORLIVE each year.

9. Our Neighbors. Thank you! No crazy presentations. No blaring music. No 20 ft. wall blocking visibility. My apologies to the transportation company across the aisle. I turned off your video loop at 9 am Wednesday while we were recording a video. And frankly, I couldn’t listen to it one more time without suffering a mental breakdown.

10. Finally, the guy in the middle seat on the flight back to Portland, who clearly had work to do, but graciously chatted with woman on the aisle ALL THE BACK to PORTLAND. If not you, then it would have been me. Thank you.

Thumbs Down

1. The Portable Modular Awards – Not the awards themselves, but the companies that didn’t attend, particularly the finalists. This is your award program, something we have wanted for years. I encourage you to submit next year, attend the PMA ceremony, and support the portable modular segment of our industry. Please.

2. Classless Competitors – We saw, but we didn’t say anything when you snuck into our booth to take photos and fondle Gravitee. You know who you are. Shame. All you had to do was ask. We would have gladly given you a demo.

3. Has anyone ever finished a meal in the Mandalay Bay/Luxor complex and said, “Well, that was worth the price?” That’s not saying the food isn’t good, and often excellent, but the restaurants make drayage fees seem reasonable by comparison. You know you’re in an alternate universe when a fast food meal exceeds $15.

4. Finally, to the dude who felt compelled to have three LOUD phone conversations at Gate 5 while waiting to board the plane back to Portland. Did I really need to know the details about the person you plan to fire on Monday or all the ways your teenage daughter is out-of-control? Perhaps not.

May the exhibition gods grace you with strong sales. 😉

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

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

Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid 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.