Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for the ‘Exhibit Design’ Category

An Interview with Tom Beard, National Sales Manager of Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits

January 12th, 2019 COMMENTS

So much has changed over the past 10 years regarding recycling and sustainability. Most medium to large companies have corporate sustainability policies. And we are all much more aware of how our actions affect the planet.

Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits has been a leader in responsible trade show exhibiting since 1997. From the very beginning, they focused on combining green materials with affordable upscale design. They believe that a booth doesn’t have to look “crunchy” to be green. It simply has to be sustainable.

Recently, we sat down with Tom Beard, the National Sales Manager of Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits, and asked him eight questions about the company and 2019 trade show marketing trends.

Q1. You’ve been on the road a lot in 2018 visiting Eco-Systems distributors. What have you learned/discovered?

I’ve discovered that distributors love our designs. It’s the one thing I hear the most when visiting our partners, followed by how much they enjoy working with our team.

I have spent a fair amount of time this past year being a myth buster. There was a belief that purchasing an eco-friendly booth was more expensive and only for exhibitors needing a sustainable exhibit. Both are not true.

Q2. What are your plans for 2019?

My plan for 2019 is to visit the Eco-Systems distributors that I didn’t meet in 2018 and make follow-up visits with those I was able to see. I’m an old school guy that loves meeting people face-to-face and learning about their business and talking about how the Eco-Systems team can be a valuable resource to them.

Feedback from our distributors is very important to us and helps us to become a better partner. I will also continue to dispel any myths about purchasing a sustainable exhibit.

Q3. Have you seen any specific design trends the past year based on your distributor requests?

We continue to get a lot of requests for Islands that can be reconfigured to 10 x 10 and 10 x 20 inlines using the same components. We have seen more solid wall structures incorporated with SEG graphic light boxes and quite a few requests for custom designs outside of the kit options we have on our website.

Q4. The term “FSC Certified Wood Crate” is listed on most Eco-Systems kits. What does that mean and why is it important?

FSC is The Forest Stewardship Council which certifies that the wood we use is harvested sustainably and comes from responsibly managed forests. It’s important because the FSC certification helps protect fragile eco-systems, prevents illegal logging, and provides re-planting plans to ensure we have plenty of resources in the future.

Q5. What do you wish the typical Eco-Systems Distributor understood about Eco-Systems?

That our singular goal is to provide our distributors with a design that meets their client’s expectations visually and financially regardless of the materials we use to build the exhibit. Plus, we’re more than just a portable modular manufacturer. We have amazing custom capabilities as well.

Q6. My client hasn’t asked for an eco-friendly exhibit. Why should I show them Eco-Systems designs?

It’s all about the designs we offer and how we support our distributors. Then there’s the added benefit of using eco-friendly materials that are of equal quality to standard materials and aren’t more expensive. The best of all worlds!!

Q7. What’s the history of Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits?

Eco-Systems was founded in 2007 and is based in Grand Rapids, MI. We immediately began using ClassicMODUL extrusions in our systems, and until 2010, we did all our manufacturing in Grand Rapids. In 2010, we were acquired by an investor and became a sister company to Classic Exhibits and moved our production to Portland OR but kept our corporate office in Grand Rapids.

Q8. Assuming you’ll be at EXHIBITORLIVE 2019, what are the three questions you want attendees or Distributors to ask you about Eco-Systems?

  1. What makes your designs different?
  2. Are the eco-friendly materials you use of equal quality and price to standard materials?
  3. What makes Eco-Systems unique?

Visit Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits at www.ecosystemsdisplays.com. You can contact Tom Beard, National Sales Manager, at tom@ecosystemsdisplays.com or 616-726-6563. Or visit them at EXHIBITORLIVE in Booth #1941.

Updated Design Policies — Effective January 2019

October 24th, 2018 COMMENTS

Stephanie L’Herault, Designer for Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits

July 27th, 2018 COMMENTS

Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits welcomes Stephanie L’Herault to the Eco Design team. Stephanie works directly with Eco Distributors on exhibit and environment design projects and then with internal project managers, detailers, and production specialists to turn those 3D concepts into reality. We asked her to share a short bio about her personal life and professional background.

“I have lived in Grand Rapids all my life and am now married to my best friend John. My husband is a systems administrator, who loves video games and is always happy to talk about ideas that could change the world. We both love animals and have a ferret (Tom Tom), a cat (Mara) and a new puppy (Eva). We spend our time visiting family and friends or just getting outside.

I graduated from the Kendall College of Art and Design, which is part of Ferris State University in Grand Rapids. Over the years, I have been fortunate to work on many creative exhibit projects with local distributors and through my own exhibit company.    

Some of my favorite things to do are research, building projects, and more than anything finding innovative solutions and ideas to improve systems or ways of living. So, it’s no surprise I went to school for Industrial Design. In my career, I have found ways to make laundry and household chores more efficient through home storage systems, worked on the safety, efficiency and fun of ropes courses, and improved the positioning and effectiveness of chiropractic equipment.

Now I am excited to be working with trade show booths once again. Trade show design is one of my favorites with all the potential it offers. To be efficient and effective. To be exciting and impact the way you feel about a brand or product. To consistently be new, and for many other reasons, I am happy to be joining the Eco team. 

I look forward to meeting everyone and bringing your projects to fruition.” 

You can contact Stephanie at stephanie@ecosystemsdisplays.com or 616-726-6267 (direct) or 866-463-2611 x-314. 

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Since 2007, Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits Inc. has been the leader of contemporary, design-driven green displays. Over the years, we’ve won many industry awards for our revolutionary designs and eco-friendly construction, including Buyers Choice and Best of the Best Awards at exhibit industry trade shows.

 

Two Full Buckets of Exhibit Design Search Upgrades

July 20th, 2018 COMMENTS

Exhibit Design Search Updates

Recently, we made multiple upgrades to Exhibit Design Search, which probably isn’t a big surprise. 😉 The upgrades fall into two buckets:

EDS Bucket #1: 

We reorganized the EDS Home Page.

1) Modern Islands & Inlines now has 12 galleries.

It includes ALL inlines and islands, except for the tension fabric pop-ups from Optima (like the X1 and NEXT!). We kept all the Optima (OP) products together (see gallery header #4). 

2)  The ecoSmart line from Eco-Systems Sustainable Displays expanded to three galleries: 

3)  The Price and Display Type drop-down menus include more price ranges and products. 

4)  There’s a new P5D Button (no longer buried in Photos)

5)  EVEN MORE Rental Designs from Classic Rental Solutions

EDS Bucket #2:

Exhibit Design Search UpdatesAdditions to our Strategic Partner Galleries.

1)  Display Supply and Lighting (DS) made extensive changes to their Lighting gallery, including: 

  • Zig Zag LED Tape
  • RGB Modular Strips
  • LEDSTRAND Lights: Magnetic LumiRail System (Rail, Magnetic Light Modules, LUMIRAIL Kit, LUMI Power Supply)
  • LED Stick Lights (High Output and Super High output – Flat, Round and Angled options)
  • “U” Series LED Slim Line Fixture
  • LED Flex Panel Quick Kits
  • LED Pendant Lights
  • LED Ceiling Mount Fixtures
  • LED Wall Sconce Fixtures

 2)  Brumark (BR) added new products and revised existing ones, such as:

  • Image White Flex Floor
  • Chilewich Tiles with BioFelt in Basketweave, Lounge, and Rib Weave
  • NextGen Carpeting

3)  The CORT (CT) Furniture Rental Galleries are REVISED with a larger assortment and the latest designs. Definitely worth reviewing the changes. 

That’s it. Well…. for this week.

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

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Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including SuperNova LED Lightboxes. 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.

Erica Dougherty | A Discussion about Personal Branding and Business

January 11th, 2018 COMMENTS

Erica

What is Personal Branding?

Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. Branding has reached a new level  because of the rise of the Internet. The growth of the virtual world created the necessity of managing online identities. [Wikipedia]

Personal branding isn’t about coming up with a complicated strategy. Rather, it’s about knowing who you are and what you stand for, and then finding ways to make that visible. It’s about amplifying your skills and passions, which is key to rising up in the messy middle. [Forbes]

I am fascinated by personal branding as a marketing strategy. And it’s not as if it is a new concept. In its most basic form, it’s just Public Relations. What has changed is the democratization of branding with the Internet and Social Media. We all follow and/or connect with people who have established a personal brand. Some are famous. Some semi-famous. Others are part of our business or social circle.

Recently, I asked Erica Dougherty, an Account Executive at Exhibits Northwest Seattle, about her strategy of personal branding. From the photos, you can tell it’s distinctive, creative, and memorable. It’s also genuine as you’ll discover in the interview below.

Who is Erica and where did that pink hair come from? 

E-withPen2Obviously, the hair is natural! No really… it is. It should just grow out of my head this way, but it doesn’t, so I help it out “a little.” I am a designer by education/past life, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design, so I’ve always been dialed into trends and design-life. Sales and Marketing are both large parts of my background in various forms and should work in tandem. Social media, quite obviously, has forced us all to be personal branding experts; we all do it whether we mean to or not and it can be for the good of our personal brand… or not.

Intentional self-branding must be strategic, but I won’t pretend that my own was strategic: it sort of happened organically. When my hair became fully pink (it was a gradual transition), it wasn’t as popular of a trend as it is now. I would show up to networking events, and it seemed to be how people naturally remembered me from one event to the next. That was my ah-ha moment — the Pink Hair is a part of ME now. Might as well use it to my advantage!

How have you used your identity to your benefit in the business of trade show exhibit sales?

Exhibit Design Project by Exhibits Northwest

Recent Lightbox Project for Headset

I’m definitely more than my pink hair. Some would say I have a big personality too. I’m truly an extrovert, ready to talk to anyone. I suppose I’m easily approachable because I tend to make friends where ever I go. It drives my husband crazy sometimes. However, I believe successful salespeople should be memorable in some way, something positive that people remember about them that makes them unique. The pink hair concept just found me and it works. The whimsical pink hair is paired with my friendly, professional, and authentic self, thus (hopefully) it doesn’t seem unbusinesslike.

It’s all about balance. But being a little out-of-the-box does help specifically in our industry. Trade show exhibits are NOT something an individual really ever needs (like insurance, for instance), and not something companies purchase every day. It is my job to be sure that if there’s someone in Seattle tasked with sourcing a new trade show exhibit for their company, that they think, “Oh, I know someone!” and give me a call at Exhibits Northwest. So, HOW do you guarantee you are top-of-mind and easy to contact? Repetition, knowledge, memorable appearance and obviously, a bobble-head pen with my contact info on their desk!

So what is your strategy to be top-of-mind?

For the first year of in-person marketing efforts, I have be actively engaged in local Seattle networking events and groups. People remember me from event-to-event (and I remember them… that’s super important too!). Thus I am slowly infiltrating their memory and instilling a positive perception of Exhibits Northwest. Some new business has resulted from my efforts, in addition to event marketing opportunities and community sponsorships in 2018. Each of these is an opportunity to be in front of hundreds of local business representatives. Ironically, much like that face-to-face relationship building that trade shows provide.

Late 2017, my strategy evolved finally when I began planning for my first “Lunch + Learn” and wanted something as a leave-behind. The answer was on my desk for a year — a swag silly bobble-head pen given to me by a wonderful client (from a trade show).

What’s the pen’s story?

BobbleHeaderPenThe blue pen with a giant smile and orange troll-doll hair sat on my desk for about a year, making me smile. It’s just weird and funny, especially coming from my client, QCash Financial. Yep, a silly bobble-head pen from a digital lending company. Seattle’s WeWork locations (which are full of growing new businesses, likely many never or novice trade show exhibitors) are perfect locations to start my Trade Show Marketing 101 Lunch + Learns. I really enjoy working with Trade Show newbies and helping them find success.

What I needed was a fun, memorable and personal take-away,  a small token of thank you swag. I brainstormed ideas, but then it hit me. I should give out a mini-ME, pink hair and all. Each time I give one out, I am sure to say, “It’s ME!” Hopefully, she’ll sit on your desk, waiting for that moment when the trade show booth is registered and the “What’s next?” happens. Me. I’m next. Call me. I’m your trade show support, ready to help!

Where do you go from here?

First quarter 2018 is already filling up with scheduled Lunch + Learns in Seattle, plus other networking events. I’ll toss a few pens in my bag and go! It’s all about awareness, so my continued goal is repeating Exhibits Northwest in conversation, being me, and getting a mini-me pen on as many desks as I can! (Well, my first order was 150 pens, so we’ll start there!) These pens are certainly not the quick answer to gaining tons of new business… but they certainly make the process more fun.

Thanks Erica. How can you to contact Erica, whether you need a banner stand or custom island exhibit? You can reach her at www.exhibitsnw.com or erica@exhibitsnw.com. You can also find her at her LinkedIn page (https://www.linkedin.com/in/erica-dougherty-7431ab110/). You’ll recognize the distinctive pink hair.

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