Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Events’

Erica Dougherty | A Discussion about Personal Branding and Business

January 11th, 2018 COMMENTS

Erica

What is Personal Branding?

Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. Branding has reached a new level  because of the rise of the Internet. The growth of the virtual world created the necessity of managing online identities. [Wikipedia]

Personal branding isn’t about coming up with a complicated strategy. Rather, it’s about knowing who you are and what you stand for, and then finding ways to make that visible. It’s about amplifying your skills and passions, which is key to rising up in the messy middle. [Forbes]

I am fascinated by personal branding as a marketing strategy. And it’s not as if it is a new concept. In its most basic form, it’s just Public Relations. What has changed is the democratization of branding with the Internet and Social Media. We all follow and/or connect with people who have established a personal brand. Some are famous. Some semi-famous. Others are part of our business or social circle.

Recently, I asked Erica Dougherty, an Account Executive at Exhibits Northwest Seattle, about her strategy of personal branding. From the photos, you can tell it’s distinctive, creative, and memorable. It’s also genuine as you’ll discover in the interview below.

Who is Erica and where did that pink hair come from? 

E-withPen2Obviously, the hair is natural! No really… it is. It should just grow out of my head this way, but it doesn’t, so I help it out “a little.” I am a designer by education/past life, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design, so I’ve always been dialed into trends and design-life. Sales and Marketing are both large parts of my background in various forms and should work in tandem. Social media, quite obviously, has forced us all to be personal branding experts; we all do it whether we mean to or not and it can be for the good of our personal brand… or not.

Intentional self-branding must be strategic, but I won’t pretend that my own was strategic: it sort of happened organically. When my hair became fully pink (it was a gradual transition), it wasn’t as popular of a trend as it is now. I would show up to networking events, and it seemed to be how people naturally remembered me from one event to the next. That was my ah-ha moment — the Pink Hair is a part of ME now. Might as well use it to my advantage!

How have you used your identity to your benefit in the business of trade show exhibit sales?

Exhibit Design Project by Exhibits Northwest

Recent Lightbox Project for Headset

I’m definitely more than my pink hair. Some would say I have a big personality too. I’m truly an extrovert, ready to talk to anyone. I suppose I’m easily approachable because I tend to make friends where ever I go. It drives my husband crazy sometimes. However, I believe successful salespeople should be memorable in some way, something positive that people remember about them that makes them unique. The pink hair concept just found me and it works. The whimsical pink hair is paired with my friendly, professional, and authentic self, thus (hopefully) it doesn’t seem unbusinesslike.

It’s all about balance. But being a little out-of-the-box does help specifically in our industry. Trade show exhibits are NOT something an individual really ever needs (like insurance, for instance), and not something companies purchase every day. It is my job to be sure that if there’s someone in Seattle tasked with sourcing a new trade show exhibit for their company, that they think, “Oh, I know someone!” and give me a call at Exhibits Northwest. So, HOW do you guarantee you are top-of-mind and easy to contact? Repetition, knowledge, memorable appearance and obviously, a bobble-head pen with my contact info on their desk!

So what is your strategy to be top-of-mind?

For the first year of in-person marketing efforts, I have be actively engaged in local Seattle networking events and groups. People remember me from event-to-event (and I remember them… that’s super important too!). Thus I am slowly infiltrating their memory and instilling a positive perception of Exhibits Northwest. Some new business has resulted from my efforts, in addition to event marketing opportunities and community sponsorships in 2018. Each of these is an opportunity to be in front of hundreds of local business representatives. Ironically, much like that face-to-face relationship building that trade shows provide.

Late 2017, my strategy evolved finally when I began planning for my first “Lunch + Learn” and wanted something as a leave-behind. The answer was on my desk for a year — a swag silly bobble-head pen given to me by a wonderful client (from a trade show).

What’s the pen’s story?

BobbleHeaderPenThe blue pen with a giant smile and orange troll-doll hair sat on my desk for about a year, making me smile. It’s just weird and funny, especially coming from my client, QCash Financial. Yep, a silly bobble-head pen from a digital lending company. Seattle’s WeWork locations (which are full of growing new businesses, likely many never or novice trade show exhibitors) are perfect locations to start my Trade Show Marketing 101 Lunch + Learns. I really enjoy working with Trade Show newbies and helping them find success.

What I needed was a fun, memorable and personal take-away,  a small token of thank you swag. I brainstormed ideas, but then it hit me. I should give out a mini-ME, pink hair and all. Each time I give one out, I am sure to say, “It’s ME!” Hopefully, she’ll sit on your desk, waiting for that moment when the trade show booth is registered and the “What’s next?” happens. Me. I’m next. Call me. I’m your trade show support, ready to help!

Where do you go from here?

First quarter 2018 is already filling up with scheduled Lunch + Learns in Seattle, plus other networking events. I’ll toss a few pens in my bag and go! It’s all about awareness, so my continued goal is repeating Exhibits Northwest in conversation, being me, and getting a mini-me pen on as many desks as I can! (Well, my first order was 150 pens, so we’ll start there!) These pens are certainly not the quick answer to gaining tons of new business… but they certainly make the process more fun.

Thanks Erica. How can you to contact Erica, whether you need a banner stand or custom island exhibit? You can reach her at www.exhibitsnw.com or erica@exhibitsnw.com. You can also find her at her LinkedIn page (https://www.linkedin.com/in/erica-dougherty-7431ab110/). You’ll recognize the distinctive pink hair.

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

My EDPA Access 2017 Recap | Kevin Carty

December 9th, 2017 6 COMMENTS

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Greetings from the Great Northwest

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”).

CEIR

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

EDPA_2 EDPA

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.

Have a great weekend ahead with your families.

–Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a


 

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

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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.

EDPA Exhibition and Events Industry Labor Rates Survey

August 24th, 2017 COMMENTS

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The 2017 EDPA Labor Rate Survey tracks the advance order rates charged to corporate exhibitions in major U.S. and Canadian cities at exhibitions, conventions, and corporate events. The rate sources are general service contractors, show producers, and venue order forms. This is the Advanced Order Rates, not the rates charged after the early bird prices or day of show.

This includes rates for General Labor, Riggers, Electricians, Plumbers, Forklift Operators, and Material Handling. The highest general labor rates are in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Los Angeles. The lowest are in Cleveland, Louisville, Orlando, and Salt Lake City. A huge thanks to the Exhibit Designers and Producers Association for completing and publishing their results.

Executive Summary Bullet Points:

  • The 2017 Labor Rates Survey of rates charged to exhibitors at exhibitions and events has found the average hourly rate in the U.S. for General Display Labor increased by just under 1% annually over the past two years.
  • The average hourly rate has increased from $101.75 in 2015 to $103.50 this year.
  • The advance order, regular time hourly rate for Riggers decreased by 2% annually over the same two-year period, from $113.70 per hour on average in 2015 to $109.23 per hour in the new survey.
  • Material handling costs for advance shipments to the official service contractor warehouse have increased by 1.6% annually over the past two years on average in the U.S. The cost of crated shipments sent directly to exhibit halls has increased by an average of 1.1% annually from 2015 to 2017.

Click the image below for the full survey.

2017 EDPA Labor Rates Study

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

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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.

iPad and Surface Tablet Stands — Summer Sales Tips #5

June 27th, 2017 COMMENTS

Built for the Show. Designed to Go.

A few years ago, iPad and Surface Stands were all the rage. And just when you thought they had peaked, they are back with a vengeance.

Microsoft and Apple have transformed the humble tablet into a wannabe laptop with improved hardware and software. There are predictions that iOS 11 will propel the iPad even further in that direction. No company has more solutions for trade shows and events than Classic Exhibits. Choose from over 25 designs, ranging from stands, kiosks, and even lightboxes. All engineered and built to Classic’s legendary quality.

To download the unbranded PDF version for Tablet Stands, click here. To listen to the bonus audio tip, click here.

iPad and Surface Stands and Kiosks

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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.