Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘charging stations’

Never Eat or Drink in Your Trade Show Booth. Seriously? Dude, It’s 2018!

November 2nd, 2018 1 COMMENT

Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Displays

You Know the Rules:

#1. Never eat or drink in your trade show booth and

#2. Don’t stare at your cellphone while on the show floor.

It makes sense, mostly. But you, me, and the guy with the taped together pop-up across the aisle all ignore those rules. We want our coffee in the morning, and we’re going to check our emails from time to time. It’s all a matter of degree. Don’t chow down on Kung Pao Chicken or obsessively check your text messages. Basically, act like you want to be there. 

It’s 2018, Dude. There’s gotta be a middle ground, and your display should facilitate it, whether you view it as a necessity or a necessary evil.  Think of Classic Exhibits and the Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Display as your personal bad-habit enabler. The Updated Sacagawea System includes two features not found on any other portable display and rarely seen on far more expensive exhibits: The Hostess Shelf and USB Charging Ports

Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Display, Hostess ShelfHostess Shelf

Most portable displays have limited shelf space. That shelf or shelves are typically used for laptops, tablets, literature, or product samples. Not your beef burrito or latte. But, what if there was a small, less obvious shelf that didn’t interfere with your presentation but was readily accessible?

On the Sacagawea System, any kit that includes a backwall workstation counter includes (1) Hostess Shelf. The Hostess Shelf is perfect for your morning coffee or danish. It’s discrete, sitting below the larger workstation counter. Where there’s a workstation counter, you can add another Hostess Shelf so Ronnie in Sales has his own personal pantry on the show floor. The shelves are laminated so that nasty coffee ring can be wiped clean with a quick spray of Windex or Formula 409. 

Enjoy your caffeine fix my friend, guilt-free. Just be sure to set it back on the Hostess Shelf before you shake hands with the prospect you’ve been calling for 3 years. She just step in the booth. 

Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Display, USB Charging PortsNew USB Charging Ports

Benjamin Franklin may have discovered electricity, but you know there’s more to power than a kite and a key. And just like you need caffeine, your phone needs juice during a long day on the show floor. Who wants to be Magellan circumnavigating the hall looking for an elusive electrical outlet? You’re better than that, and you belong in the booth talking about the revolutionary EN4CX-1287 industrial sump pump. It’s awesome!

The Sacagawea Portable Hybrid has your back. Two USB Charging Ports are included on any kit with a workstation counter. You don’t even have to share with Polly in Product Development, who’s still using a Nokia flip phone with an annoying “Welcome Back, Kotter” ringtone. Whether you need a full charge or just a quick top-off, the USB ports are always there. Safe. Dependable. Satisfying. Need more ports? No problem. Additional USB ports can be added when you add another workstation counter.

BTW, did we also happen to say that no other portable display offers this indispensable charging feature? Well… we did now. 

If That’s Not Enough…

  • Easy Knob-Assisted Assembly
  • Numbered Components and Detailed Setup Instructions
  • Vibrant 5K Dye-Sublimated Fabric Graphics
  • Adjustable Workstation Legs for Stability
  • Lightweight Engineered Aluminum Extrusion
  • LED Stem Lights
  • Portable Roto-molded Cases with Wheels
  • Jigged, Reusable Packaging
  • 100-Day Return Guarantee
  • Made in the USA

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

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

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.

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.”

Purpose1TallerImage

“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

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

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.

Who is Classic’s Biggest Competitor?

June 15th, 2017 4 COMMENTS

Who is Classic's Biggest Competitor?

Recently, I’ve been on the road, visiting Classic Distributors in the Midwest and South. We chat about industry trends, new products, and challenges in their market. Occasionally, they will ask me about competitors. That’s a topic that always makes me uncomfortable.

Now, why should talking about competitors be uncomfortable? Handled professionally, it can be instructive for both of us, and I am just as guilty of asking a distributor, “What are you hearing in the industry?”

Nevertheless, “Who is Your Biggest Competitor?” always makes me squirm. You would expect me to list a handful of systems manufacturers or internet resellers, but while they are competitors, they are not our biggest competitor. So, who is?

Our Biggest Competitor

You. You are our biggest competitor. Now don’t take that the wrong way. You are also our customers, colleagues, and friends. We like you. We respect you. Our business depends on you. We are honored to have you as part of the Classic Exhibits Family. And, yet, you are also our biggest competitor — day in and day out. That shouldn’t surprise you. If it does, it shouldn’t.

Every single day you listen to clients about their projects. Then you make a decision about who designs, manages, and builds that project. You? Another builder? Classic Exhibits? Let’s explore some examples together.

CustomBlogpostHeader

Custom Exhibits

Do you design and build it, assuming you have in-house custom capability? What’s the budget? What are the client’s expectations? Will it interfere with other projects or customers currently in the pipeline?

  • Will it keep my shop busy and/or happy?
  • Is the client’s budget realistic for our shop rate?
  • Can I make margin?
  • Is it within our skill-set or would it make more sense for someone else to build it?
  • Should I send it to Classic Exhibits for a quote?

Assuming you don’t have in-house capability, do you find a contract builder?

  • Do I have the in-house talent to project manage it?
  • Should I find someone local?
  • Do I trust that shop and do they have experience?
  • What if the client expects me to store the exhibit and prep it for each show?
  • Should I send it to Classic Exhibits for a quote?

Hybrid Exhibits

Aluminum extrusion systems seem, at first glance, an easier decision. What’s so challenging about designing and building a display from modular aluminum components. After all, it only requires:

  • Designing a hybrid solution using standard and customized engineered aluminum components
  • Ordering those components from an aluminum supplier at the correct size(s), angles, and finishes
  • Supplementing them with accessories from other manufacturers such as counters, lighting, graphics, and casing
  • Creating detailed setup instructions and numbered components
  • Creating re-usable packaging that protects the components
  • Completing all above within a 10-15 day time frame
  • Ensuring margins are acceptable, including time and materials and lost opportunities

chargingblogheader

Specialized Displays

Specialized displays include lightboxes, charging stations, retail fixtures, corporate environments, or anything outside your normal trade show or event world.

  • What is the client’s expectation of quality?
  • Is the budget realistic?
  • Is the time frame realistic?
  • Should you design, project management, and build it?
  • Do you have the capability to handle the project?
  • If not, what company has the inventory, technology, and capability to produce it?
  • Should it be handled locally or online?
  • Can you make margin, complete the order on time, and continue to pursue other opportunities?

blogheaderRentals

Rental Displays

The growth of rentals, especially customized rentals, has created a dilemma for many Classic Distributors. Building a rental inventory takes financial capital, warehouse space, and a steady order turn to be successful. And yet, rentals can be very profitable assuming there’s sufficient turn on your inventory and minimal damage.

  • Do you pull from your inventory, add to your inventory, send it to Classic, or send it somewhere else?
  • Do you have the physical space to warehouse a rental inventory?
  • How deep should that inventory be?
  • Are your designs limited by your in-house inventory?
  • What if the client requires multiple quantities of counters, monitor stands, or kiosks?
  • Do you have the time/talent to create detailed setup instructions for each project?
  • Does geography or the show location determine whether to use your rental inventory or rely on a supplier like Classic?
  • Are you accounting for the labor to design, build, pack, receive, and clean the rental? What about damage?

You get my point. If there was a way to measure lost opportunities for Classic, I suspect that we lose more business when you choose to build or rent something in-house than when the order is sent to another manufacturer. At Classic Exhibits, our job is to excel in design, customer service, production, packaging, instructions, and even marketing so you choose the easiest and most profitable path for your company. We have to win your approval, day after day. And that’s our goal since we don’t sell direct.

So, to you our competitor and our customer, while we don’t win them all, we win far more than we lose when we have the opportunity. All we ask is that we get the opportunity.

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


 

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.

GraviteeBanner

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