Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Classic Exhibits’

Westeros and Trade Shows: Meet Your Game of Thrones Characters as Exhibitors

June 6th, 2019 COMMENTS
Trade Show Exhibitors and The Game of Thrones

Guest Post: Erica Dougherty, Exhibits Northwest Seattle

Yeah yeah, you’ve had enough Game of Thrones analogies, articles, and opinions about how the show ended. Me too. I get it. BUT, bear with me for just ONE MORE because I bet you haven’t read something that compares your favorite characters with — you guessed it — Trade Show Exhibitors!

So, sit back and contemplate who you are, or rather, who you want to be and see if this makes sense — unlike the ending to GoT.

*Spoiler Alert:  Read only if you have finished Game of Thrones, will never watch the show, or some jerk has already spoiled the ending for you.  

In the Order of My Favorite GoT Characters

Arya Stark – Arya exhibitors are underestimated but won’t stand for anyone’s bull. They work hard and hone their skills slowly and wisely, making a list and checking it… over and over. Arya exhibitors reach out to learn from the masters. They take notes and practice until their own skills are formidable, planning seamlessly for victory each step of the way.

They surprise their adversaries and show up fearless to every show and walk away triumphant. But don’t be fooled; they aren’t perfect. They learn from failures. Step-by-step they keep getting better, cleverer, and eventually shatter their competition like a total boss.

Samwell Tarly – OK, so these exhibitors might not always be the front-runner “winners,” but I really love them. They might be a little timid at first and need some hand-holding but, dang, are they loyal. They trust those they deem experts (like their exhibit house professional), and they are generally open to new ideas and strategies.

However, these exhibitors are not pushovers:  they are intelligent and perceptive, so don’t perceive their willingness to follow as a weakness. Their intuition is spot on, and in the end, their steady strategy pays off consistently. They also tend to befriend the right people and create meaningful and lasting professional partnerships — priceless on and off the trade show floor.

Tyrion Lannister – This “wanna be” 50 x50 exhibitor excels in a 10×10 footprint. They are smart and clever, making the best of what they are given. Strategy is their king, and they make wise trade show marketing decisions in the beginning, winning the trust of many big clients. But then, over time, their confidence (and a few bad habits) gets the best of them which leads to dumber and dumber choices as they grow.

They aren’t evil. Just overly confident in their own abilities. But don’t worry, the Tyrion exhibitor is ultimately a strategic player and will wise-up and get it together (by partnering with the right supportive team). Just in time to GROW into a brilliant 20×20 booth. Still not the biggest, but it’s perfect for their awakened goals.

Game of Thrones and Trade Shows

Sansa Stark – Sansa exhibitors are supremely confident, intelligent, skeptical and bold. They exhibit with a honed strategy based on learning from past failures (traumas). They are “under the radar” triumphant in the end and with their own loyal following who will forever be faithful.

Clients stick with them for the long-haul, and their activity in the booth is mostly current customers looking for “what’s new” from their favorite vendor. Oh, and they have a design aesthetic that cannot be beat… their booth will look stunning.

Jon Snow – Essentially, one of these exhibitors is the outcast who really isn’t. Have you ever seen an exhibitor who shows up and their booth looks a little boring on the surface, but darn-it if their booth isn’t the most popular? They are cautious, slow and steady but they listen and make real connections with their booth visitors and loyal clients.

They make bold decisions when necessary but know how to read the room. They choose their shows (battles) wisely and strategize with a team to ultimately create a winning plan. They are humble to a fault and never see all that they could be, allowing others to shine more brightly… visually on the show floor and in business. But they don’t go broke (or dead), so their ROI is impressive.

They may decide to partner with a front-runner, trusting that’s the right thing to do and hoping for mutual success. When it’s proven to them that they are actually better (their clients tell them so), they refuse to believe until they must make the ultimate sacrifice… choosing themselves to WIN (maybe they steal that larger booth space from their partner… gasp!). But it’s OK:  their fans are supportive and loyal.

Game of Thrones and Trade Shows

Daenerys Targaryen – Imagine these exhibitors were start-up companies at first and then with the help of a few huge investors, grew BIG, fast. They began with nothing and were perceived as weak and easily taken advantage of. But then, (born out of fire) they shoot out into the industry with the biggest dragon of them all… MONEY. They spare no expense, and they have it all: formidable assets (killer booth and amazing swag) and an army of booth staff in matching shirts.

They are coming for a fight with the confidence to win. And they do win… until they break. Emotions get the best of their strategy and something bad happens. Can they recover? Hmmm…

Cersei and Jaime Lannister – Cersei exhibitors think they are ruling the show floor and take no help or compromise from anyone. Other exhibitors sense their arrogance and are out to attack and overcome this misguided leader. Their “twin,” maybe a sister-company (ok, brother, but that’s not the colloquial term), is along for the ride and follows the lead. This sister (brother) company may have a wandering eye seeing what others do and their success, but ultimately stays loyal to their leader, for better or for worse.

This talented hero is known by all the land, but all of a sudden, that fame is taken swiftly and #thestruggleisreal. These exhibitors once had it all, fame, fortune and literally the world in both of their hands (ha ha), but when they least expected it, someone took their most valuable asset (maybe their biggest client?) and now they feel lost. Loyalties realign, and a new beginning is on the horizon… but old habits die hard and well… the end.

Ok, I think that’s enough. I could go on and on, but with over 150 main characters in Game of Thrones, we’d be here literally until Winter. On that note: Ready for one last GoT cliché? Winter is Coming. And in the #TradeShowLife, Winter is the TIMELINE.

Your show is coming and planning ahead is the only way to defeat the White Walkers = RUSH FEES. Knowing this… I think GoT got at least one thing right. #AryaStark

Erica Dougherty, Exhibits Northwest, erica@exhibitsnw.com

Trade Show I&D Tips: Wasting Time = Wasting Money

May 29th, 2019 COMMENTS

Guest Post by Jamie Edwards, Director of Marketing, Momentum Management

Trade Show Installation and Dismantle

As your National Trade Show Labor Service Partner, Momentum Management wants to help you save money during your trade show or event installation and dismantle. When it comes to saving money, it comes down to “time used” or “time wasted.”

Some Tips to Save Money

Items to consider for Labor Service Estimate – It is important to provide the most accurate information possible in order to avoid additional costs that weren’t factored in at the time the estimate such as:

  • Will there be hanging signs?
  • Any specific equipment needed?
  • What are the booth materials?
  • Who will install your flooring?
  • Will electric need to be installed?
  • Is there furniture to be assembled?
  • Who will provide the supervision the show floor?

After the estimate is complete, place your order early – Many show cities have multiple events going on simultaneously. The sooner you submit your order, the sooner Momentum can identify the best labor.

Installation and Dismantle on the trade show floor

Shipping Direct to Show or Shipping to the Advanced Warehouse – If timing permits, it is almost always best to ship to the advanced warehouse. Your freight is more likely to be in your booth space by your targeted move-in time. When shipping directly to the show, there can be extensive delays due to the truck driver having to check into the marshaling yard, getting the paperwork, and waiting to be called up to the docks to unload. Always delay your labor start time by at least 4 hours after your target time to allow your freight to make it to the show floor.

Scheduling Dismantle Start Time – When scheduling with your labor and shipping companies, always take into account the entire move out schedule to avoid delays. The return of empty freight can take a long time based on the size of the show, so it is often safest to schedule labor for the next morning and your shipper for that afternoon. Please note:  there are many shows that require the floor to be cleared by 12 pm the next day. In this case, you may want to schedule your labor a couple of hours after the show breaks. While this will add some additional over-time vs standard-time, it will save money compared to having your labor waiting on the freight to return.

Momentum Management is happy to help you save money on Labor Services, and we welcome the opportunity to work with you on your next project.  Momentum Management has been a national provider of outstanding installation and dismantle labor for over 25 years.

Harold Mintz Joins the Classic Family

March 21st, 2019 COMMENTS
Harold Mintz Joins Classic Exhibits

Classic Exhibits Inc. announces the addition of Harold Mintz to the Classic Family. As a Regional Sales Manager, Harold will work alongside Jen LaBruzza, the National Sales Manager, to support the Classic Distributor Partner Network throughout North America.

Harold brings over 20 years of trade show and event experience to Classic with previous leadership positions at custom houses, a portable/modular manufacturer, and a graphic printer. More recently, he worked in the entertainment industry for seven years as the Communications Director for Shady Acres Entertainment.

According to Kevin Carty, VP, “On behalf of the entire Classic Family of companies, we are excited to have Harold join us. Harold brings not just a wealth of industry knowledge, but also a great creative and inquisitive approach to relationships. He will compliment Jen LaBruzza and her efforts in creating, building, and maintaining our partnerships in North America.

On a personal note, I have known Harold for 20 plus years — first as friendly competitors which then quickly developed into a friendship. When asked internally about Harold, I tell my colleagues, ‘He is one of us’ meaning he fits our culture and how we view the relationship between Classic and our Distributor Partners. I am excited to work with him professionally.”

Harold states, “The trade show industry is chock full of creative, talented people. Classic has all that, plus a supportive, dynamic culture. I believe my background in sales, politics, training, and public speaking combined with Classic’s capabilities are a perfect fit. I couldn’t be more excited to be joining the Classic Family. I look forward to working with the Distribution Network.”

On a separate note, for those who know Harold, you are familiar with his passion for organ donation programs. He states, “I donated my left kidney back in 2000. It was one of the best and most impactful things I’ve ever done. I often speak to groups large and small about the life-saving benefits of organ donation.”

Please take a moment to welcome Harold to the Classic Family. You can reach him at harold@classicexhibits.com. For more information about Harold, see his LinkedIn profile.

Classic Exhibits Inc., based in Portland, OR, designs and manufactures trade show, retail, and corporate environments for over 200 independent distributor partners. For the past two years, Classic Exhibits has been named a Find It Top 40 Exhibit Builder by EXHIBITOR Magazine.

Women in Exhibition Breakfast @ EXHIBITORLIVE 2019 | Mentoring Opportunities

March 19th, 2019 COMMENTS
Featured Speaker
Sandy Jones-Kaminski

Our thanks to everyone who supported the Annual Women in Exhibitions Breakfast at EXHIBITORLIVE. It was a huge success! Attendance increased from 100 in 2018 to 150 in 2019.

Here’s what our members are saying:

“I attend the Women in Exhibition event each year at EXHIBITORLIVE and bring the women on my team for networking and education. At this event, we are able to connect with other women in our industry who have various roles and challenges within their organizations. The breakfast is professionally facilitated with a keynote speaker to allow for education at all levels.

“I started my business 26 years ago after the President of the company I worked for told me I would be great at what I did, if I were a man. This simple statement fueled years of passion in starting and growing my own business where women play a key role. Women supporting women is the right thing to do.” – Donna Shultz, President & CEO of Mirror Show Management

“Optima was proud to sponsor the WIE breakfast at ExhibitorLive 2019! Looking around the venue that morning, I was proud to be sitting amongst the best and brightest women in the industry. I think we all felt a sense of camaraderie.

“I walked away being reminded of the importance of mentoring and being mentored. Each of us can mentor and share our knowledge and experience with someone less tenured. Being mentored doesn’t stop, no matter what age or level we are in our career, we can always learn something from someone else, especially in this industry.”  – Gina Porcaro, Account Executive at Optima Graphics, Inc.

Connecting and learning from each other is the basis for Women in Exhibitions, founded in 2002. The incredible women in our group have proven to be a valuable resource to each other. It has become critical to optimize our meeting time and location at EXHIBITORLIVE to bring more of us together. And how better to keep the connections growing and vital throughout the year than through a mentorship program?

Want to be a mentor or have a mentor?  Start with this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WIEmentorship

This year’s speaker Sandy Jones-Kaminski pointed out: “Mentorship is what you make of it. Set expectations, set goals. Each of us can learn from each other.” Sandy shared so much with us, not only about mentorships, but about networking and building a personal brand. Here is a link to her presentation if you missed it or just want to review: http://www.belladomain.com/exhibitorlive/

Both our financial and in-kind sponsors deserve so much credit: Exhibitor Media Group, Classic Exhibits, Optima Graphics, Exhibit Concepts, Access TCA, Live Marketing, Highmark Tech, Pinnacle Exhibits, ProExhibits, AFR Furniture Rental, Brumark, Skyline-Holt, Condit, Steelhead Productions, and Exhibit Expressions. An extra special thanks to Freeman who added their support to our cause as well!

Have questions? Want to get involved? Have a great idea to name of our mentorship program? E-mail us at WomenInExhibitions@gmail.com. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Katina Rigall Zipay, Creative Director @ Classic Exhibits (katina@classicexhibits.com)

Do You Believe in Magic? Attending EXHIBITORLIVE 2019 in Las Vegas

March 7th, 2019 COMMENTS
Erica Dougherty and EXHIBITORLIVE 2019

How many of you out there have been in your industry for longer than 5 years? 10 years? 20? Look, I’m a Millennial (but really, truly an Xennial) and part of what defines us is the sort of “bounce” from industry to industry, job to job — essentially, career building with fast jumps from one thing to the next. I’ve officially been with Exhibits Northwest in Seattle for three years, and in the Trade Show industry for… you guessed it… three years! And last week, I went to my first EXHIBITORLIVE in Las Vegas. Are you ready to hear what this “newbie” thought?

It’s a bit trite, but honestly, MAGICAL is the best word to describe it. Literal magic and figurative magic! So, for all of you seasoned pros out there, do me a favor:  remember your first real dive into your industry’s deep roots (Trade Show or otherwise) and join me as I tell you about mine.

The Magic of Sneakers

2.5 years ago, my very first 20×20 island client exhibited in Vegas, and I was on the show floor supervising the install. I knew I needed comfortable shoes, so I did some research and decided Tieks would be cute AND comfy, based on tons of excellent reviews. Here’s what some of you may not know about me:  a large part of my identity is SHOES. I’ve worked in the high-end shoe world, and I’m a bit of an admitted shoe snob. And at the time, I did not really own a pair of sneakers that didn’t look like I had them for 10+ years (because they were literally that old and I wore them to do house projects involving paint). Nor did I want to buy or wear sneakers in a professional public place!

Well, after walking 20 miles in 2 days in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, wearing little flats and walking on concrete floors, my entire body felt like I was 85 years old with bad hips. Oh, man. Lesson learned! I still love my Teiks, but my eyes were opened — I needed supportive sneakers. So, while I still want to look cute (sneakers are not my favorite shoe genre), I have learned the MAGIC of sneakers on the trade show floor! This time, I walked and walked all over EXHIBITORLIVE between Mandalay Bay Convention Center and Luxor, and I wasn’t waddling through the airport upon my departure. WIN! When your feet are happy, you can focus on making connections, saying yes to that walk back across the show floor or to drinks with a vendor. But I’m still on the hunt for shoes that are fab and feel like pillows… hmmm.

The Magic of “Behind the Curtain”

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” ~ The Wizard

Erica Dougherty and EXHIBITORLIVE 2019

Events are full of behind the curtain magic. Trade Shows are no different. Walk behind a booth or look in the closet, and you’ll find electrical outlets and cords, laptop bags, extra swag and maybe even a person sneaking in a phone call or work! But what’s really cool is seeing what makes the display work: What’s behind the graphic? What’s behind that pipe and drape? What’s under the flooring? Admittedly, Exhibits Northwest does not (yet!) specialize in large format video tech — think, Giant LED Media Wall.

We refer or outsource these needs for our clients, so I’ve always been a little hands-off about taking ownership of a Media Wall as part of an exhibit strategy. But, being able to see behind the curtain (literally), to get a better understanding of how it works and how to explain to and prepare my clients for the cost (dollah dollah bills, y’all!) really helped me put some puzzle-pieces together. I slipped behind a curtain to use a hidden restroom, and low-and-behold, there was the back of a media wall! Such a great example of the specialized install skill and technology that makes them work.

Seeing a Media Wall is impressive, but the cost, time and technical skill involved in making it happen is taken for granted by the audience. There were also other cool tech innovations (moving image and RGB lightboxes, digital shadow boxes, and cookies with your printed selfie on them), but what struck me the most was really being able to see a giant Media Wall’s backside secrets!

The Magic of Team Bonding

Erica Dougherty and EXHIBITORLIVE 2019

As I said, I’ve been with Exhibits Northwest for three years, but for reasons I can only attribute to time flying by, I never really spent quality time with our team in Portland, namely, our Senior Account Executive, Laura Magdalen. Laura, thank you for being as eager as I was to get to know each other better! We experienced some MAGIC as we found out we have lots in common and can learn from each other.

We also got to hang with our newest Portland addition, Bobby Brown. Having meals and walking the show floor together, with our Manager, Michael McCord was beneficial beyond magic. We took our fast 2 days together and made the best of it, bonding over stories about spiders and food we hate. Everyone making fun of me for thinking there were two pyramids in Vegas (yeah yeah, true story, I got confused, ok!?) and laughing together as we watched Laura “schlep” her suitcase around. Bonding as a team is so crucial, and I am thankful for the magic of laughter and comradery.

And… Actual, MAGIC!

Our friends at Classic Exhibits had a performing Magician in their booth! He blew my mind several times, making me question the existence of mind-reading! Classic Exhibits is certainly “Knot Your Typical Exhibit Builder,” and they had a magician to prove it. His act was clever and thoroughly connected to the theme and message, creating a fun experience that also helped break the ice to make connections with the Classic Exhibits team. Ask me how that magician knew what I wrote on a pad of paper that he wrapped closed in a rubber band? I have no idea. But ask me how Classic Exhibits builds custom booths that impress my clients… well, that is less of a magic act and slight-of-hand, but more like the magic of teamwork.

I was told during my interview three years ago that once you get into the “Trade Show Business” you can’t leave. And I’ve heard it multiple times since then too — “Erica, you’re stuck with us now!”

OK, sounds good to me. Thank you for the welcome.

Erica Dougherty, Exhibits Northwest, erica@exhibitsnw.com