The Experiential Designers and Producers Association, via their Exhibitor Advocacy Committee, recently published a statement regarding the future of post-pandemic trade shows. It’s a MUST MUST READ.
The first three paragraphs are below with a link to the full statement on the EDPA website.
WHO WE ARE
“The Exhibitor Advocacy Group is an ad hoc group whose members come from the corporate exhibitor community, exhibitor-appointed contractors, unions, show management, and general service contractors. Our mission is to ensure the successful future of trade shows, conventions, congresses, and other face-to-face business events. Our focus is on promoting transparent and reputable business practices, consistent standards, and new business models. We encourage all trade show industry constituents to join us in identifying best practices and helping to build a profitable and equitable industry for all constituencies.”
“Before COVID-19, the exhibitor experience on the show floor was deteriorating. Every year, exhibiting costs increased, and issues around transparency, metrics, and cost savings became more problematic. Exclusive show site services from the general contractor like material handling, electrical, and rigging became more complex and expensive, creating a lack of transparency for these services and the associated costs. Leads and data from attendees became proprietary information of show management, and the data was rarely shared so that exhibitors could calculate a meaningful ROI.
Most importantly, there was a significant lack of support from most show management organizations to find cost savings for exhibitors. Instead, the general contractors’ cost savings went to show management and were subsequently recovered through higher costs to exhibitors. Expenses continued to increase without added value. The industry had become stuck in a rut and very hesitant and reluctant to change. Many shows found themselves in a ‘business as usual’ scenario that added no value to anyone – organizer, attendee, or exhibitor.”
President Biden took
office last month and was tasked with bolstering an economy that has struggled
with the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic for almost a year.
With millions of people still unemployed due to the pandemic and businesses across
the nation facing continued uncertainty, reestablishing a sense of economic
security will be a daunting challenge.
As Biden and his team
weigh their options and decide how best to proceed, they should prioritize
lifting the tariffs that the last administration made central to its trade
strategy. While the tariffs were intended to level the playing field,
especially in trade with China, they have actually created complex and
difficult problems for U.S. businesses and consumers, especially as they navigate
the struggles posed by COVID-19.
Tariffs Punish American Workers and Companies
These problems arise
from the very simple truth that tariffs are taxes paid by the importer to the
U.S. government. They do not punish companies in China or Europe — they
punish businesses, consumers, workers, manufacturers, and families right here
Since the Trump
administration handed down its first slate of tariffs, igniting the trade war
in 2018, businesses such as ours have been forced to reckon with difficult
choices about how to handle the new costs. Either we could take on the costs
ourselves, which in many cases would simply prove burdensome, or we could pass
those costs on to customers, regardless of whether they were everyday consumers
or other businesses — as is the case with our own companies.
including ours, cannot simply pick up and move operations. Doing so would mean
jumping through extensive regulatory hurdles and incurring heavy costs
(sometimes tens of thousands of dollars for just a single product) as we
work to establish new relationships and supply lines.
While there was a
process for seeking exclusions to the tariffs levied by the last
administration, this process was muddled, was non-transparent, and resulted in
denied requests for exclusions for many of the businesses that applied, leaving
them stuck with the costs of the tariffs.
The Cost to Small Businesses
While some larger
corporations may be able to afford these kinds of burdens, these costs are just
too much for many smaller businesses to bear. As these businesses fail, so too
does the broader economy. Small businesses contribute hundreds of billions of
dollars to the U.S. GDP annually, and every business forced to close due to the
excessive costs of tariffs represents a significant loss.
Biden and his nominee to be the next United States trade representative,
Katherine Tai, have pledged to implement a trade policy that puts workers first. But simply put, that is not possible as long
as we remain engaged in a trade war that has cost the U.S. more than $68 billion, whose toll grows greater with every passing day and still has
no decisive end in sight. Every day that the trade war continues means greater
pressure on job creators and further job losses for hard-working people trying
to get their families through the coronavirus pandemic.
It was clear from the very beginning of the Trump administration’s trade wars that the heaviest losses would be felt at home, though the past administration pushed ahead, regardless. Now, Biden, Tai, and the rest of the administration’s economic decision-makers have the opportunity to right the ship and help businesses and families emerge from this pandemic even stronger.
You’ve probably seen the “Match Made in Hell” commercial by the Ryan Reynold’s creative team. The only thing missing was an empty convention center.
It’s been a tough year for the exhibition and event industry, as well as travel, food, and hospitality. With the release of vaccines, there’s a glimmer of hope for a healthier 2021.
It would be easy to pooh-pooh the holidays this year. To dismiss it and move on. And yet, neither you nor Classic has taken that path. During our Classic Conversations sessions in December, you’ve talked about what you’re grateful for. For example, how the pandemic strengthened relationships, broadened your skills, and allowed you to reassess your business. And how you have learned to embrace the present and are planning for the future.
The Classic Exhibits Family wishes you a Joyous Holiday and a Brighter New Year. Above all, we are grateful for your friendship and support throughout 2020.
PANTONE Color of the Year 2021
Introducing Cheerful and Dependable | The EXACT Opposite of 2020.
PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating, a marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting. Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued withsolar power. Ultimate Gray is emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation.
Please join us in congratulating Katina Rigall Zipay, Classic’s Creative Director, for receiving EDPA’s Designer of the Year Award.
The award was presented to Katina at the EDPA ACCESS Conference in San Antonio. The Designer of the Year Award acknowledges a designer who works diligently to enhance the professional standards of experiential/exhibit designers, contributes their talents, creativity and personal time to bring innovation to experiential/exhibit design.
She was also recognized as a 2020 EDPA Future Leader. Congratulations Katina!
EXHIBITOR Portable Modular Awards
Earlier this week, EXHIBITOR announced the finalists for the Eighth Annual Portable Modular Awards. We are delighted to have five finalists: Greystar Worldwide, NuNaturals, Verity, Odyssey Foods, and GE Appliances. This is our eighth straight year of having multiple finalists. And, yes, we are bragging (a bit).
See all 40 of the finalists on the PMA People’s Choice Voting Page. You can vote for your favorite, once a day, until March 1. Classic has won the People’s Choice Award on several occasions, including last year (yes, a little more bragging).
We encourage you to vote and support the PMA’s.
Event Marketer Fab 50
Absolutely Fabulous! If you understood that reference, then you’re clearly over 45 and watched too much Comedy Central (or PBS) in the 1990’s.
Our thanks to Event Marketer for naming Classic Exhibits a Fab 50 company, their annual editorial listing of the industry’s top builders.
What’s even more exciting is how many Classic Exhibits Distributors made the list – 34 TOTAL. That just proves we are in good company.
This year represents our fifth year as a Fab 50 honoree. If you watch Saturday Night Live, you know the importance of being on the Five-Timers List.
A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to all the Exhibit Builders on the Event Marketer Fab 50 List.
Classic’s Exhibit Design Search
Recently, we updated EDS on the Classic website to the format of the branded EDS sites. Over the past three years, we’ve made significant UI changes to the branded sites, such as larger gallery images, full screen optimization, hamburger menus, and a mobile-friendly format. Those upgrades are now part of the Classic EDS.
Please let us know if you see any issues or have questions. We welcome your feedback.
Some Good News: As we head into 2021, we’ve made the decision not to charge a subscription fee for your branded EDS sites for at least the first six months of 2021. It’s in everyone’s best interest. We want you to have Classic products on your website. AND, we both know you’re more likely to be successful selling portable, modular, custom and rentals with a branded EDS. It’s that simple.
This applies to all Classic Distributors with an active branded EDS beginning in 2020 or added EDS this year. We will re-evaluate in May for the second half of 2021.
It’s December and almost Christmas, which means I am just as busy away from work as I am at work. I trust you had a great Thanksgiving and have amazing plans for Christmas and New Year’s.
Last week, I attended EDPA Access which was held in beautiful Carlsbad, California at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort. Let me say, as someone who has been a member of EDPA for more than a decade, this was easily one of the Top 3 venues ever. Great layout, outstanding services, beautiful facilities, and much more.
From start to finish, the content was on point, applicable to every business in our industry, and well organized. Our industry is changing because of how our customers do business. And it will continue to change. The next generation of exhibit marketing professionals are calling on us to serve them in different ways than in the past. EDPA started to address this change by replacing the “E” in EDPA to “Experiential” (from “Exhibit”).
Exhibits and events, once thought to be separate things, are more and more the same. And the Exhibit/Experiential Marketing Professionals of today are largely driving this with “Emotion-Driving Experiences” being a leading theme. What does that mean? Regardless of what a person or company is buying, they expect an emotional connection with the product or the team presenting it to them.
We spend 90 percent of our day indoors. It’s imperative to design environments that create positive emotions, stimulates productivity, and inspires creativity. Not just for your employees, but also for your customers in their exhibit/event space. It needs to make them comfortable and allow them to understand who you are and how your collaborate.
Being an “Agile Organization” is increasingly important. Historically it has meant being everything to everyone. NOT ANYMORE. Today’s customers want companies that can help them with everything, but they appreciate collaboration. They expect you to work with partners to achieve the best outcome. It’s time to embrace a “Shared Purpose” in your products and solutions and celebrate it!
Classic Exhibits at ACCESS
If you were there, you saw the beautiful “Late Night” set we created. It was definitely a show stopper, not just because it looked great but because it showcased our custom wood fabrication capabilities. That was an eye opener for many who have not tapped into our custom design and wood fabrication. This segment has grown faster than any other division within manufacturing over the past two years. Yes, we still design and build modular, hybrid, and portable exhibits, but custom now represents a significant percentage of our sales.
Our Late Show theme with Kevin and Jen had a special guest — Alexa. She was everything you would expect from a star — personable, knowledgeable, and witty. Alexa provided some great laughs and many “inquisitive” looks with her questions. On a personal note, I now know Brennan Curtis’s from Mostre Design “smell preferences.” There’s no way to cleanse my brain of that information. Our congratulations to those who won an Echo Dot. We might just repeat the game at EXHIBITOR.
Once again, our thanks to those who spent time with Jen, Alexa, and me. We always appreciate seeing you. And special thanks to the entire team from EDPA HQ for putting together one of the best ACCESS events ever.