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Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

Sour Apple(s): Word on the Street — March 24th thru March 28th

March 30th, 2014 1 COMMENT
Sour Apples

Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Fuji Me Once. Shame on You.

I have long admired the folks in Cupertino for their innovative thoughts, ideas, product aesthetics, design intuitiveness, etc. Apple is a model in many ways of how marketing and product development should be.

When Apple is attacked by other brands and other brand lovers, I, like others, defend it. Sometimes it’s as simple as using the old phrase, “Look at the scoreboard baby!” meaning the facts don’t lie. Just look at the number of iPhones and iPads sold compared to other brands. The numbers don’t lie. It’s much more than the delectable taste of their Kool-Aid that draws its legion of followers and converts to evangelize their love for Apple. It’s their technology-driven solutions, designed purely for consumers, which match their every need as if the developers were thinking the same thoughts.

I am proud of my Kool-Aid stained upper lip and the following gripe will not change that.

In business, I agree that Apple may not be the best solution for all. Yes, I said it my fellow fruit basket dwellers. But, it’s true. I can defend the business applicability of Apple when needed, but that is not my point in writing this blog post. I only bring it up because the iPad (all generations) have become integral to trade shows and events — driving presentations, lead retrieval, on counters, stands, and handheld sleeves. iPads are EVERYWHERE.

We Love iPads

About three years ago, Classic Exhibits targeted this segment aggressively. We are proud of our success as THE iPad Solutions Provider in the Exhibit and Event Industry. No other company has more solutions and no one else engineers iPad Solutions specifically for trade shows and events. We specifically created  plug and play solutions,which meant included cabling in all our kiosks. Cool idea and the kudos we received for that simple add-on have been huge to be frank.

Well rewind to a few months ago. The long awaited and much anticipated iOS7 was released by the Cupertino-clan. As a user, I loved it! There were some little bugs, but they fixed those almost immediately. But overall a huge win from a user interface, aesthetic, and product development standpoint.

All good, right? Well . . . even the shiniest Apples sometimes have a worm in them, or best said, sometimes they are picked a little too early. This apple is a little sour once you take that second or third bite.

This is the sad case with a little known (at the time) hidden firmware change that Apple put into the latest iOS7 updates. Those with Apple devices running the new iOS7 know what I am talking about. Apple programmers updated the code to detect “non-Apple” branded charging cables. So the buzz and frustration all over the web has been, “My phone won’t charge now that I have updated to iOS7” and “Is my iPad broken? It will no longer charge since the update.”

I am a capitalist, but the answer from Apple was sad to be blunt. Apple’s response was that they were protecting their market share. REALLY? Do you expect the average consumer and business purchaser to really think an 1M or 2M cable is a critical part of your market share? I guess at $19-$29 each (plug not included), which is the price Apple wants for a $.12 cable, maybe it really is a crucial part of your ability to pay your bills.

Anyway, I digress. My business frustration is this — iPad’s RULE the trade show floor market. RULE IT! But when you get out of the United States that is not the case. At EuroShop this past February, we learned that other tablets have an equal if not greater presence on the trade show floor. From a business perspective, as a company that has embraced iPads and their value in our space, this short-sided, money grab by Apple is a stinger to us all.

I admit, the cables we provide are not bought from Apple. They are purchased from a manufacture that certifies them and sells them to many big box stores in the US. They are a safe product that we have chosen to buy in bulk as a benefit to our clients, clients who are buying iPads from Apple to use in our solutions.

Hard Apple Cider

But now, we find ourselves as a business and as consumers stuck with only ONE option for our Apple Juice. That does not sit well with me.  Maybe I am being hypersensitive. But it seems a little stupid and arrogant on the Apple folks part to tell me, “Yes Mr. Loyal Consumer, you do need to explain to your daughter that her Hello Kitty Charger is not authorized.”

Now that I have ranted, what does this mean for Classic Exhibits, the iPad Solutions Leader in the Exhibit Industry? Well, we’re going to be making a separate announcement that the cords may or may not work. So end-users will need to bring their Apple authorized charging cord with them to their show, (which by the way is TOO short), but that we will be including with each unit a USB extension cord that will allow them to extend the length of their Apple authorized cord.

Until, of course, Apple decides that extension cords are critical to paying for Sally and Billie’s dental coverage. Stay tuned.

Hope you have a great weekend with your families.

Be well.



Apple iPad and Tablet PC Options for Trade Shows

August 4th, 2012 3 COMMENTS
Apple iPad

Apple iPad

Apple iPad and Tablet PC Ideas

Back in late 90’s, Geoffery A. Moore wrote Crossing the Chasm, a book that explained how many high-tech products are purchased by early adopters. After the early adoption phase, a lull occurs before mainstream buyers purchase them — but when they do, sales skyrocket.

For some products, this “lull” barely exists. The Apple iPad is a great example. We saw few requests for iPad stands with version 1 and 2, but now that version 3 has hit the market, we’re seeing a dramatic upswing in activity. We expect this trend to continue as more customers want iPads or tablet PCs incorporated into their trade show displays. Make no mistake. Your customers expect that you already have iPad solutions for their display. I emphasize “solutions” because there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.

At Classic Exhibits, we are looking at multiple options for trade shows and events.

I thought I’d share five examples. These are intended for iPads, since Apple is the first mover in this market right now, and we’re only getting iPad requests. But the concepts can be adapted to PC tablets once we see more of them.

iPad Counter Insert (MOD-211)

This insert fits in most Classic Exhibits counters and pedestals, assuming the counter top is large enough. The iPad installs underneath the counter top without tools in under a minute. Once installed, it’s secure, seamless, and practical. The MOD-211, an inexpensive and impressive addition to any counter, workstation, or pedestal. $295 retail

MOD-211 iPad Counter Insert

MOD-211 iPad Counter Insert

iPad Portable Kiosk (MOD-1312 and MOD-1314)

This one is a slam dunk. The Classic iPad Kiosk is durable, affordable, and secure. It’s perfect for trade shows, retail applications, events, or anywhere there’s a need for a portable iPad application. The steel and aluminum kiosk comes with a locking clamshell lid, wire management, and a 4-plug outlet. Choose from a silver or black version, both powder-coated.  Its lightweight construction makes it the ideal accessory when your customer wants convenience and security at an attractive price. See MOD-1320, MOD-1321, MOD-1322, MOD-1324, and ZB-221 for Accessory Options. $495 retail

iPad Kiosk

iPad Portable Kiosks (MOD-1332, MOD-1333, and MOD-1334)

Let’s not mix words, the sleek Port\Land iPad Kiosks are stunning — graceful, elegant, and lightweight. But don’t let their supermodel looks fool you.  The engineered aluminum construction is designed to withstand the most grueling trade show or event schedule. The locking clamshell frame fits iPad 2 and 3 and includes the innovative Swivel Stop feature for an effortless transition from portrait to landscape mode. All three models, including the MOD-1334 with two Clamshell Frames, assemble easily and pack in the TF-700 or TF-701 fabric cases.

iPad Clamshell Extrusion Connection (MOD-1316)

We’re surprised no one else thought of this yet, but, we’re awfully glad we did. The MOD-1316 enables you to attach one, two, or multiple iPads, in a secure clamshell with locks, to engineered extrusions like MODUL and AGAM. The iPad clamshell case locks into the groove of the extrusion using a hex key. One turn and you have a convenient and adjustable iPad on your counter, backwall, or island upright. Very smart. The MOD-1316 comes in silver (powder-coated aluminum). $129 retail

MOD-1316 iPad Extrusion Attachment

iPad Extrusion Attachment

iPad Frame/Stand

The iPad Frame/Stand is constructed with MODUL aluminum extrusion and connects securely to the counter. Although it doesn’t work with every Classic counter and workstation, it can be adapted to fit many standard kits. The extrusion includes a plastic insert to protect the iPad from scratches. Pretty nifty! Plus, tThere are hundreds of powder coat and anodized color choices.

iPad Frame

iPad Frame/Stand

iPad Frame/Stand

iPad Frame/Stand

iPad Kiosk (MOD-1276)

There’s probably no more attractive or practical iPad kiosk anywhere than the MOD-1276. The modular construction consists of engineered aluminum extrusion, a laminate base, and a MODUL clear-coat aluminum frame. The power cord feeds through the vertical support and base. $825 retail

MOD-1276 iPad Kiosk

We’d enjoy hearing your thoughts about these iPad options from Classic Exhibits, and we’d love to hear your ideas about iPad fixtures for trade shows and events. Send us an email or comment via this post. What have you seen?

Update:  Tim Patterson at Tradeshow Guy blog writes about the Exploding iPad Use at Tradeshows and how they are being used. Great post with lots of links.

–Mel White


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.

Delight and Surprise: Word on the Street — July 16th thru July 20th

July 22nd, 2012 COMMENTS
Delight and Surprise

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Over Promise and Under Deliver

We all know the danger of “over-promising and under delivering.” In business, there are few errors that can be more damaging, particularly when trying to attract new customers or launching a new product to existing customers. Then there’s the flip side of “under promising and over delivering” which has its own risks.

Over hyping a program or product can kill it if the deliverables don’t match the pre-hype. That’s not to say that promoting a new product or service is not critical. It clearly is! But at a minimum, there needs to be as  much effort in the “frosting,” i.e., the experience of receiving the product or service. I would argue that the “end experience” is the most critical experience.

Let’s look at something near and dear to me — Apple. I’ll admit it. I’ve drunk the Kool-aid and have been an Apple Fan Club member since May 2010. For years I fought it, accusing Apple of being just a marketing machine. Nothing more. Something the “cool kids” had to have to be “ccol” for those who bought into the Apple hype.

I Took the Bait

When i received my Macbook Pro in the mail, I took it home, opened it, and begin the set-up process. That’s where the “delight and surprise” began. Mind you, I already was a “win” for the Apple marketing machine. I bought the laptop. Victory for them right? Yes and No, but I would argue Not Yet. The “Yes” came next.

When I tore the packing tape off the plain brown corrugated shipping box and peered inside, the packaging was amazing. Well thought out, clean, everything had a place and was in its place. It was COOL. But again, the victory, while building, was not quite complete.

After removing the Macbook Pro from the box, the real victory materialized. I plugged in my shinny new laptop via a magnetic plug. What a great concept, especially for someone with two five year olds racing around who trip over things like cords. The cord wouldn’t get damaged (or do any damage to a five year old). Genius.

Them I hit the power button. Being a PC user for the prior 16 years, I was prepared for an agonizing 4-6 hours of set up and install. But something very strange happened. My Macbook Pro began to set itself up — literally! It was the definition of “intuitive.” By the time I was done, I looked at the clock and realized that it had only taken (1) hour from start to finish, migration time for email included

Back to my point. Here was a marketing machine that not only exceeded expectations, but “Surprised and Delighted” this new user!

There are millions of great products and services. We all yearn to design, sell, or own them. But, and this is the important “but,” there are far fewer with great user experiences. For example, who wants to buy a beautiful 20 x 30 island like the one featured in Design Monday this week and then receive a box of metal with some unintelligible set-up instructions. Nothing will spoil the buying process more. After all, your client just spent thousands of dollars on the booth space, the exhibit, and all the show services. They expect a perfect exhibit and a positive exhibit experience, as they should. But we need to surprise them as well and leave a lasting impression. At Classic, we hope we do just that, which is why we are always asking you in phone calls, in Customer Feedback emails, and in this blog, “Was your customer ‘Surprised and Delighted?'”

How do you accomplish that in your business? How do you make the “End Experience” as delightful as everything that precedes it? What’s the “frosting” that turns a mere cake into a party? Please share your secret with the other Classic Exhibits community.

STARTING TODAY, let’s change the tired “Over Promise, Under Promise” cliches into something more meaningful — “Make a Promise and Over Deliver!” True, it’s not as catchy, but it’s a real goal with real outcomes.

Be well!

–Kevin Carty


Word on the Street — January 11th thru January 15th

January 17th, 2010 COMMENTS
Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

A Lasting Impression

Ever leave a meeting or sales presentation and wonder if what you said “stuck”? Better yet, after giving a presentation, have you ever discovered that your client went in another direction? Worse, the direction they chose was something you could have handled as well. Wonder why?

It happens to all of us. For me, it makes me look back at what I did not convey properly in my presentation to that person or group. So I wonder . . . what are the keys to making a lasting impression?

1. Emotion

Experts will tell you, the stronger the emotion, the stronger the impression. Sometimes the biggest error we make is to get “too comfortable” with our service and product offerings. We assume that the folks we’re talking to have the same understanding of how “great” our products or services are, that they see the features and benefits, and finally, that they are just as passionate about these unique advantages as we are. This can easily happen if you are not careful, especially if you are giving the same presentation over and over.

Once we turn eighteen, the word “Cheerleader” doesn’t have the same impact. That’s too bad because all companies need cheerleaders who are passionate about their products and services. We remember cheerleaders. In our hearts, we all want that same passion and commitment. Steve Jobs at Apple is a great example of that unabashed “cheering” of the company’s products and culture. Wrong or right, we all want to hear what he has to say because we know he believes and he cares.  

2. Use Images

People’s memories are triggered more through the use of effective images than through words. Think about it, it’s the key to making a good commercial or ad right? Well, the same applies to presentations for a live audience. The images you choose are critical. Using images that are too simple or plain will not only be ineffective, but can also actually turn off the crowd. For example, if presenting Aero Overhead Hanging Signs, I would show the jobs that highlight the most creative and custom shapes. Showing the standard shapes and sizes would be less effective. I’ve learned over time that there is a natural assumption made by the audience that you can do the standard stuff, when you WOW them with the truly custom stuff.

3. Differentiate Yourself and Your Product or Service

When there are several other companies that make or sell similar products, you need to emphasize what makes you truly “different.” Differentiation can be in service and capabilities. For example, look at Nordstrom. They sell many of the same brands as the other stores, but their service is unmatched. You know when you buy something from Nordstrom that you are going to receive the best customer service at the time of the purchase — AND, should you ever have to return the product, you know you will get a “no questions asked” approach when you walk back into the store

From a product standpoint, capabilities are the key! For example, for over 10 years, the Quadro S has been a leader in Pop-up Systems. The reason is simple — it’s the only system of its kind that can hold up to 200 lbs on any internal shelf on the straight frame. It can hold multiple flat screen LCD’s within one unit, and it is the only pop up that can double as a full video presentation wall with 9 large LCD’s inset into a straight frame.

What are some methods that you use to help leave a lasting impression on your clients?

Please share your comments via the blog comment section and have a safe and restful weekend!

–Kevin Carty