Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for the ‘Charging Stations’ Category

Brainstorming with Clients on a Whiteboard Bistro Table

September 12th, 2017 2 COMMENTS

Purpose1Band

Purpose1, a Classic Exhibits distributor in Harrisburg, PA, recently purchased an MOD-1432 Bistro Charging Table for their showroom. Although most charging stations are branded with a graphic, they chose a whiteboard laminate counter top. Why? I’ll let Dan Liberatore, the president of Purpose1, explain:

Many can relate to a napkin sketch as the start of an idea. Even better, what if you could write or sketch that idea directly on a table? Whiteboard tables are the newest fixtures in our Harrisburg PA facility. Our first showroom visitor was able to share their ideas quickly and effectively, certainly a plus for all involved in the brainstorming discussion.

The Purpose1 team is in the business of ideas so we took the table to a show this month. Our exhibit space was an open 8’ x 8’ corner booth, perfect for placing of the table upfront and adjacent to both aisles. Attendees stopped in their tracks to comment ‘Wow, that is so cool!’ and ‘Where did you get that? I want one for my house.’

We invited attendees to sign or leave a message on the whiteboard top. Some even brought back others to share in the experience. Our round bistro height table really stood out in a sea of square skirted tables, thanks in part to the RGB remote-controlled perimeter LED illumination. In addition, these tables are powered with USB ports for device charging, all wired into a single plug, allowing easy assembly of the 3-piece, less than 60-pound table in about 5 minutes.”

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“Bottom line, engagement is key, especially at a trade show. Before engagement, it’s the job of your display to draw a passerby into your booth space. In my experience, clean presentation of space and lighting are two commonly overlooked attributes of display design, particularly in 10’ x 10’ booth spaces. Professional display designers are here to help you stand out from the ‘white noise’ at an event!

See the Incharg Gallery in Exhibit Design Search for over 25 charging station designs.

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

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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.

InCharg™ Charging Stations — Summer Sales Tips #1

June 1st, 2017 COMMENTS

An Electrical Oasis

At Classic Exhibits, we strive to make your job easier, whether in Design, Customer Service, Marketing, or Product Development. This summer, we’re sharing 10 Sales Tip Sheets on products like SuperNova™ LED Lightboxes, Gravitee One-Step™, Eco-Systems Sustainable, and others.  Each sheet will feature features and benefits, product descriptions, and a bonus audio clip. This week we started with our hard-charging superstar — InCharg™ Charging Stations.

To download the unbranded PDF version, click here. To listen to the special audio clip, click here. Let us know if these sheets are beneficial to you and your team.

Classic Exhibits Summer Sales Tip -- InCharg Charging Stations

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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.

EXHIBITORLIVE | Get the Skinny from Classic Exhibits

February 9th, 2017 COMMENTS

EXHIBITORBlogHeadervs2

March 12-16 at Mandalay Bay

I don’t know about you, but we are delighted EXHIBITORLIVE is a bit later this year. It was a crazy January at Classic Exhibits, and February has already gotten even wackier with designs, quotes, and orders. Thanks for all the business.

So, what can you expect from Classic Exhibits at EXHIBITORLIVE? [All future references to the show will be “EL.” If I have to type all caps and then change LIVE to italics again, I will lose my friggin’ mind]. As a reminder, the show runs from March 12-16 at Mandalay Bay. Or translated, March 13-15, which is the show hall dates. I’m never quite sure what anyone is doing on Thursday, except packing their exhibit, but there must be classes, seminars, and stuff going on somewhere. It just doesn’t apply to me, so I don’t care. 😉

You can get a FREE Show Hall pass by using code #4044. Use it or not. EXHIBITOR hypes the codes to exhibitors. Supposedly we can win a 10 ft space next year by having the most people use our code. Hmmm… I’m sure it’s legitimate. I’ve just never heard anyone boast about their free 10 ft. EL space.

According to Kevin, this is our 23rd year as an exhibitor. Even after 9/11 and throughout The Great Recession, we participated and supported the industry (a pat on the back to us). Location:  #1645 in a 20 x 30 space. Same spot as the past three years. Our neighbors change, but we stay. Not quite sure what that says about us.

GK-2002dOur main focus will be the Gravitee One-Step Modular System. Gravitee sales have soared the past six months, both for purchase and rentals, but like all new products, distributors need to see and touch it. Here’s your chance to see me demo it 1587 times over the course of three days. Connect. Plunge. Stack. Connect. 90 Degree. Adjustable Hinge. End Cap. Believe me, I’ve got it down to a Vaudeville act at this point, minus the burlesque show. It’s pretty impressive actually. The system… Not my presentation.

We’ll also show our Charging Station designs. These keep evolving based on your requests. Frankly, it’s been a lot of fun seeing how this category has grown and changed. The same point could be made for LED Lightboxes. So many leave our building everyday, both single and double-sided, in a variety of shapes. Recently, we are experimenting and selling programmable RGB lights. This is a situation where graphic design is a step behind the light technology, but once graphic designers understand what can be done, you will see some pretty exciting visual effects.

image6As you may know, Classic Exhibits has supported EL’s Portable Modular Awards since its inception. This year, we have five finalists. The awards ceremony will be held Tuesday at the conclusion of the show hall hours (3:30 pm). We would love for you to be our guest. There’s no charge (which is one reason we’re so graciously inviting you to be “our guest”).

All kidding aside, we encourage you to attend and vote for the PMA People’s Choice Award. EL will only continue to support this program as long as attendees see it as valuable. We believe, as we hope you do too, that portable modular design should be recognized in our industry. Please attend and celebrate all the nominees and winners.

Finally, we will be serving sweet treats in our booth this year. It’s not candy. And it’s only marginally healthy. But it’s for a good cause and comes around only once a year. We promise to have ALL your favorite flavors. That’s all the hints you get.

See you at EL. Don’t forget about Strategic Partner Hours on Tuesday and Wednesday, beginning at 10 am.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
https://twitter.com/melmwhite
https://www.facebook.com/Classic-Exhibits-Inc-113601405319757


 

 

 

 

 

Some Thoughts… After Visiting Classic Exhibits Distributors

February 3rd, 2017 COMMENTS

MelBlog

Southwest Ohio and Chicago

ValleyExpoIn January, I had the pleasure of visiting Classic and Eco-systems distributors in Southwest Ohio and Chicago. Reid Sherwood was my tag team partner in Ohio (Thanks Reid). In Chicago, I met up with Jen LaBruzza, our Regional Sales Manager. On our last two days, we were joined by Colleen Crawford from Eco-Systems Sustainable. By that point, we were a pretty formidable superhero team.

It’s been a few years since I had to pack a suitcase for two weeks. I’ll be on the road again later this month. Then you’ll see me at EXHIBITOR. Oddly enough, my wife has been very encouraging. Let’s just say my suitcase was partially packed before I’d even checked my departure date and time.

So, what did I hear from these distributors? Industry trends, of course, which Jen covered in her excellent video post last week (I was the dude holding the camera). Allow me to share my perspective, while not stepping on Jen’s toes.

blogheaderRentals

Rentals

Honestly, I was a little surprised by this topic. But, then again, my perception is tainted by Classic Rental Solutions, which has been crazy busy for several years. Most distributors have embraced rentals, using internal stock and external vendors such as CRS. However, not everyone sees rentals as a viable alternative to purchase. Don’t misunderstand me. I get it. If your only experience with rentals is portables or General Show Contractor kits, then rentals are a lesser option.

If I had to guess, I would say that 20-25% of larger inline and island booths at major shows are rentals — extrusion, modular wall, or custom. And it makes sense. A trade show exhibit is a marketing vehicle, and just like a car, we often want to try it before we buy it. And in many cases, we don’t want to buy it at all. Leasing makes more sense. I read recently that nearly 40% of all vehicles are now leased.

With that in mind, I would encourage you to discover if your client prefers to purchase or to rent. Give them the pros and cons of both options, then they can make the best decision for their budget and their marketing goals.

Bull vs Bear Market

This topic was all over the board. Some distributors had more business than they could handle. Others were busy, but not overwhelmed. Others were chasing orders. However, there were no “boo hoo’s” about business in general. For many of us, the Great Recession is still visible in the rear view mirror (objects in the mirror are closer than they appear).

What I heard was a variation of two themes — “My clients are getting what they need. Not necessary what they want.” OR “My clients are finally getting what they want. Not just what they need.”

If I had to guess, and this is truly a guess, it has everything to do with a client’s commitment to trade show marketing. IMHO — When you know what you want to be successful, you get what you want. When you don’t, then you get what you need. Yes, that’s oversimplification. Clearly, every business is different. But you are either passionate about trade show marketing… or you are not.

chargingstation9-16The Other

Pat yourself on the back. You are a lot smarter than you used to be. Which means, you no longer focus all your efforts on trade shows. Some distributors are heavily into events. Others are designing corporate environments. Still others make as much on graphics, if not more, than selling or serving exhibits. More and more are storing crates. Or handling show services for their clients. You are selling lightboxes in retail or corporate environments, and pitching charging stations for lobbies and events. The list goes on and on.

It’s refreshing. Because as your business evolves, so does ours. We now do more retail, corporate, and event work than ever before. And we love it. Better yet, it rarely follows the same seasonality as the trade show business. June and July are busier. There’s a boost of business in September and October. We all win. Well, except for November which continues to suck.

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Modular Wall Systems

This came up in every conversation with distributors. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I had a case full of Gravitee Modular Wall panels and connectors. 😉 Modular walls are becoming the backbone of rental displays and many modular designs. We’re not naive. There are several systems in the market with a head start. Gravitee will have to earn your business largely through creative purchase designs and Classic Rental Solutions orders.

That said… Every distributor felt that Gravitee was the smartest, easiest, and best engineered modular wall system on the market. Now, that may sound like boasting and hyperbole, but I heard it again and again and again during the visits. No tools. OK. No loose parts. Really OK. No holes. Really, really OK.

We’ll win you over in time. We know that. We encourage you to see us at EXHIBITORLIVE.  We will be featuring Gravitee. And if you are especially nice, you just might get a special treat. But, I’ll save that surprise news once we’re a little closer to the show.

Kick ass my friends. Business is good!

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
https://twitter.com/melmwhite
https://www.facebook.com/Classic-Exhibits-Inc-113601405319757


 

Is Imitation the Sincerest Form of Flattery? Nope!

December 30th, 2016 COMMENTS

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In the past month, our designs have been copied three times. Three clear examples, all very different in scope. Question:  When do you throw up your hands vs. taking legal action to protect your intellectual property? Thought you might like to read what we decided to do in each situation.

Base Plate.

To be honest, we expected this to happen at some point. About seven years ago, we created an identifiable base plate for our Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Display line. The design made the base plates lighter, distinctive, and easier to carry. We expected other display manufacturers to create their own unique designs. What we didn’t anticipate was that a budget manufacturer/importer would simply tweak our existing design. See the minor difference.

baseplates

What was surprising was seeing it at an exhibit association event, where members take an oath to honor one another’s intellectual property. I asked the owner about the base plate design and basically got a shrug. In other words, it is what it is. Will we pursue this legally? No but it’s an annoyance. This manufacturer has purchased parts and pieces from us in the past. We won’t sell to them again.

Charging Table.

Over the past year, we’ve designed and engineered a line of charging tables in various sizes and heights. The tables are clearly identifiable as Classic Exhibits designs, including the LED lights around the perimeter. Other charging solutions fit into one of two categories:  sofas, tables, and chairs with plugs or charging towers, similar to what you would see at an airport. Ours look nothing like those.

mod-1432gLast week,  I noticed a photo showing our MOD-1432 in LinkedIn… yet, it wasn’t. The shape was the same, along with the LED lights, USB charging ports, post, and base. Only the proportions were different. Honestly, we were surprised that someone would copy a design so clearly identifiable with Classic Exhibits. Yes, a round bistro table is a round bistro table, but the copy appeared to have the same LED light pattern and number of USB ports. Frankly, that’s being intellectually lazy.

I won’t share the photo because it would implicate the customer, rather than the manufacturer. So, what did we do? We sent the owner an email, who was kind enough to give me a call. While he felt their design didn’t infringe on the MOD-1432, he did agree to revisit the design and see if some changes were possible. We’ll see what happens.

Island Exhibit.

eco-4073_1_webThis one will blow your mind. Late last summer, our sister company Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits quoted a modified eSmart ECO-4073 island to a Distributor which included several Classic Exhibits counters and iPad stands. Several months later, we were contacted by a graphic designer asking for templates on the island they purchased in September. Except, we never built the island. The graphic designer sent us their invoice, which listed Classic kit numbers.

What the client purchased was a copy of the modified ECO-4073. Some small variations but 98% the same. The Distributor chose to build part of it and purchase other components, but it was an ECO-4073. And the distributor even included our part numbers on the invoice. For legal reasons, I can’t go into details; however, we are pursuing this aggressively with an IP attorney and expect a lawsuit to be filed within the next two weeks.

Like you, we are in a very creative business, so we’re always surprised when someone takes a design shortcut by copying. It’s one thing to improve, refine, expand on a design. It’s another thing to blatantly copy. And like you, we have to decide on the best recourse each time. We always address it. Sometimes tactfully, Sometimes bluntly. And sometimes legally. If you don’t, then the lazy will do what they do best. Steal your designs.

We would enjoy hearing your experiences and thoughts on this topic.

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