Word on the Street by Kevin Carty
I’m back from the inaugural E2MA Association / The Red Diamond Congress in Chicago. And, despite my initial misgivings, I am inspired.
Let me back up a little and explain. On Monday, I was in Chicago for the EDPA Board Meeting (Exhibit Designers and Producers Association). Like all EDPA Board meetings, it was productive — planning, industry discussion, and talks related to the growth and betterment of EDPA and the industry as whole. For anyone considering attending ACCESS 2012 in Palm Springs, it’s primed to be a stellar networking and educational event.
Tuesday through Thursday, I attended the 2012 Red Diamond Congress, an event associated with the former TSEA. It’s now an event organized and hosted by the newly formed E2MA (Exhibit and Event Marketers Association), an association with members from the former TSEA and EACA.
In quick summary, kudos to Jim Wurm and his team for putting on a thought-provoking three days of discussion related to the future of the new E2MA. My compliments to the educational seminars taught or hosted by Marlys Arnold, Justin Hersh, Tony Earping and Gary Slack (The Keynote) to name a few.
What I appreciated the most was the sense that Jim and his group used this time to truly gain a historical perspective from the two old associations and work to set forth a clear direction for the new E2MA. It’s not often that someone takes such a bold and transparent approach. It’s clear from what I saw that it will be inclusive, with a strong exhibitor and education focus, in addition to participation by show organizers, labor, general contractors, and suppliers.
You may be wondering, “Is that truly possible?” I’m optimistic. I left with a real sense that the association (and yet to be named board) will be digesting everything that was said during those three days and using it to chart a positive future for E2MA and our industry.
As with any meeting or show, I not only learn from the speakers, but also from industry colleagues. This week was no different. I would like to share an exchange I had that really stuck with me.
During one of the morning sessions on Tuesday, I was sitting with Chris Griffin from Tradeshow Supply, someone I’ve know for many years. He’s a colleague, a distributor, and a friend. The Keynote Speaker, Gary Slack, was discussing the “Brand” for the new association. In that conversation, Gary referred to Seth Godin. I do not know a lot about Seth, except his name and his reputation, but Chris follows his daily blog and reads his books. According to Chris, Seth’s take on “Brand” is . . . loosely, “Your brand is not your logo or your tagline. It IS a set of expectations.” Take a moment and think about that.
I hesitate to say this, so please understand that this comes from a truly modest place, but the definition above really speaks to what we have striven for at Classic Exhibits regarding our “Brand.” Our Brand is not our logo or our tagline; it’s the service and the products you have come to expect from us.
Now, we are not Nordstrom or Apple. Their “Brands” speak to that very definition. And while their logos are instantly recognizable, it’s their product and services that really speak to what they represent to customers.
Make sure to subscribe to Seth’s blog. It’s daily and not time intensive. You won’t regret it: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/
The week left me with lots to think about and share in upcoming blogs. This week’s post would be four times as long if I shared everything.
Hope you all had a great week and an even better one to come.