Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Hybrid Displays’

What Your Customer Doesn’t Know

July 1st, 2015 COMMENTS

100dayguarantee800

We recently introduced a 100-Day Money Back Guarantee on the Sacagawea Portable Hybrid System. No one in our industry has offered a money back guarantee before. It’s a first and in our opinion long overdue. As you can imagine, we’ve had a few distributors ask us about the logic behind this. So here goes.

Online Shopping

Most inline display shopping starts online. That won’t surprise you. Customers use the web to learn about their options, see designs, and check prices. Then they make that critical call or email to an exhibit sales professional. And, unlike the “old days,” they now come to the table with some knowledge and preferences — whether it’s right or wrong.

Sadly, the web isn’t always a proud beacon of transparency, particularly when it comes to online products. Renderings, text, and videos have a way of suggesting quality and features, even where none exists.

Masquerade Ball

VK_1233More and more, we’re seeing lower quality displays masquerading as upscale exhibits, especially basic hybrid displays. We’ve all experienced this trend with pop-up displays. And, sadly, many view pop-ups and banner stands as disposable. That’s unfortunate and not our opinion (Quadro). But that’s a different fight.

We have no issue with a $3000 hybrid as a $3000 hybrid. Those should exist for customers with a limited budget. However, we shouldn’t mistake a low-end hybrid as identical to a Sacagawea. It’s not. Yes, there may be visual similarities, but that’s where it ends.

Preaching to the Choir

Are we preaching to the choir? Yes. You know there are differences — but your customer doesn’t. Here’s what they don’t know.

VK_2113 A4 Render 1f1. Thousands of happy exhibitors have bought the Sacagawea — The World’s Best Hybrid.

2. Every Sacagawea comes with die-cut reusable packaging, numbered components, custom instructions, easy knob-assisted assembly, and the industry’s best HD fabric graphics. Yes, THE BEST Dye-Sub Graphics!

3. There are high-quality accessories such as monitor mounts, counters, standoff graphics, canopies, hostess shelves, literature holders, and tablet enclosures that are innovative, easy to install, and will last years and years. For example, the Sacagawea support legs are adjustable, meaning you can reposition them to compensate for heavier loads on the workstation counter.

4. Sacagawea is built with MODUL extrusion, the highest quality, most durable engineered extrusion in the world. No other aluminum extrusion has the same thickness, strength, and finish as MODUL.

So… why the 100-Day Guarantee? Your customer will ask why they should buy Brand X vs. a Sacagawea. And you’ll explain the differences. Then, should there be any doubt in their mind, you’ll tell them that only the Sacagawea comes with a 100-Day Guarantee. No one else offers that guarantee because the Sacagawea is the highest quality, most versatile portable hybrid anywhere.

In the end, we believe that quality and engineering matters to serious trade show exhibitors. And we’re willing to stand behind that philosophy with a guarantee.

Should you have additional questions, please let us know.

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

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Based in Portland, Oregon, 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.


 

2011 “State of the Company” Letter from Kevin Carty

January 11th, 2012 COMMENTS

Kevin Carty, VP of Sales

Happy New Year! Hope you had a great Holiday Season.

Classic Exhibits Inc. and its divisions continued to rebound in 2011, after showing solid increases in 2010. Across the board, volume grew from 22 to 33 percent, depending on the division. Most refreshing, we saw no single trends, meaning our sales came from kits and custom, rentals and extrusions, and trade shows and retail. Nearly every week we were surprised by interesting projects that challenged and stimulated us.

New Systems Released

SEGUE Sunrise Trade Show Display

SEGUE Sunrise Portable Hybrid

Most new kits were based on MODUL TSP extrusions, which use silicone edge graphics. SEGUE Sunrise is a good example. Released in early January 2011, the Sunrise was one of those product releases you dream about. While it wasn’t the first SEG backwall on the market, it was the first to get it right from assembly to packaging. The Sunrise assembles without tools on both the single and double-sided versions and packs in die-cut foam packaging. Much like the Sacagawea and the Perfect 10, the Sunrise addresses a specific price point while not sacrificing design or value.

We introduced several iPad solutions as well. These have done well. If you haven’t seen them, I would encourage you to add them to your arsenal:  the MOD-211 iPad Counter Insert and the MOD-1276 Kiosk.

Design Monday Anniversary

In February 2011, we celebrated the 6th Anniversary of Design Monday. Kudos to Mel White, Mike Swartout, and the Classic Design Department for creating a marketing broadcast that transformed Classic and made a difference to our distributors. Other manufacturers shared their designs, but Classic made it a weekly feature. You can imagine the discipline it takes to create three new designs each week, but it’s that discipline that sets Classic apart. It forces us to never be complacent about innovation.

Exhibit Design Search/Website Changes

ClassicMODUL Aluminum Extrusions for Trade Shows

NEW ClassicMODUL Website

If you were watching closely, you saw lots of tweaks to Exhibit Design Search. We upgraded the UI, reorganized the galleries, finessed the Design Descriptions, and added 30 second audio clips. All that in addition to daily photos in P5D, new kits, articles, FAQ’s, and bi-monthly specials.

The ClassicMODUL website changed dramatically, www.classicmodul.com. If you haven’t been there recently, we encourage you to take a tour. The extrusion galleries are much easier to navigate. We’ve added a legend showing which depots have which extrusions, and (my favorite), the MODUL 6.0 Index can be viewed via Page Flip software. It’s pretty cool. As a reminder, we encourage you to contact ClassicMODUL when you need aluminum extrusion for designs you are constructing yourself.

Distributor Events

Historically, we have always been eager to participate in Distributor Events, such as open houses and training. There was a lull in those events during the recession, but 2011 saw a resurgence. We partnered with several Distributor Open Houses and Marketing Events. We applaud those distributors who took the time and effort to organize in-house activities. A special shout out to Atlantic Exhibits for their two ExhibiTrends events. Excellent turnout and they both ran like clockwork.

Alternate Markets

Like many display shops, retail and museum jobs have always been part of the mix. But this year we really pushed that envelope. Projects included studio set work for several television networks, a flagship store for Comcast Xfinity, retail fixtures for an athletic apparel company, and my favorite, building a museum onsite at a music festival celebrating the 20th anniversary of the band Pearl Jam.

These projects and many others were learning experiences that opened doors for Classic and our distributor network. We expect the trend to continue in 2012. In fact we started off the New Year with an in store display celebrating the Rose Bowl Victory for the Oregon Ducks. This display was designed to hang in a storefront of the flagship NikeTown store in Portland. Pretty cool.

VK-5077 Trade Show Island

VK-5077 Island Exhibit

Islands are Back and Better than Ever

Islands are back and not just those with meager budgets. Well thought out, design-centric islands with realistic budgets are growing and a clear indicator of the “paced” economic recovery.

Internally at Classic, Exhibits NW and ClassicMODUL

Mel and I have always bragged about the great family atmosphere at Classic. In 2011, as we grew, we added employees to that family. And our employees did their job preparing for Classic’s employment needs in the future. At least five newborns were born.

Exhibits NW added folks to the Classic Rental Division. They have been wonderful additions who fit the culture and work ethic. I know I speak for Jim Shelman when I say how happy and thankful we are for the talents they bring to the company.

We expanded the Customer Service Department, adding two new FT positions to Set-up Instructions. We have consistently gotten high praise for our personalized set-up instructions, and Jeff and Pavel made them even better. Great job guys!

The Classic Production Department has grown as well, as business grew through out the year. They have all proven to be very talented additions who we hope will remain in the Classic Family for many years to come.

Thanks to the Staff

MOD-211 iPad Counter Insert for Trade Shows

MOD-211 iPad Counter Insert

I wanted to say a special thank you to the Classic Exhibits, Exhibits NW, and ClassicMODUL staff. As always you make Classic . . . well, Classic. I appreciate all that you do to keep our customers and their customers happy. This past year, like many before, we celebrated many double-digit anniversaries at Classic. It always chokes me up when we celebrate anniversaries once a month. Usually there are several folks who are celebrating 8, 9, 10, or even 12 years at the company. Thank you for your dedication and your hard work.

On a personal note many of have asked about my travel schedule. I have stopped traveling for the most part with the exception of industry events like EXHIBITOR, EDPA, and The Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic. Except for a rare trip here and there, I have chosen to stick closer to home. And to be honest I am really enjoying it on a personal and professional level. I like being in the office every day and having more time to run the business with Mel and our management team. And I love being able to come home to my beautiful wife and two five year olds each day.

Having said that, I know this leaves a void in visits to you. For that I apologize. We expect to add to our outside team this year, sooner rather than later, to complement the great work that Mel and Reid have been doing. I look forward to updating you on this in the coming months. And certainly look forward to seeing you all in Las Vegas at EXHIBITOR 2012.

Speaking of additions, I want to welcome to the Classic Family a new Designer. Katina Rigall starts on January 16. She is a talented and much needed addition to the Classic Exhibits Design Department. I know I speak for Mike when I say, “We can’t wait for your arrival Katina.” 🙂

I hope you have a very successful 2012 and that we continue to be a part of it. Thanks for all your support and business over the past year. We really, really appreciate it.

Thanks,

–Kevin Carty

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

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Based in Portland, Oregon, 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.

10′ x 10′ x 10% Perrrfect Specials

January 3rd, 2012 COMMENTS

January and February Specials on Perfect 10

Everyone stares the first time they see a Perfect 10 Portable Hybrid Display. It’s mesmerizing how the patented “S-shape” appears to defy gravity. The magic of the Perfect 10 is all about creative design and smart engineering. The distinctive frame is engineered for perfect weight distribution and each functional accessory— such as the cubby, monitor mount, and dimensional signage—enhances the Perfect 10’s visual and functional balance.

You work hard to find the perfect balance for your trade show marketing. Look to Perfect 10 for a display that combines large graphics and functional accessories into a stunning exhibit at a sweet 10% discounted price.

You better get used to the attention . . . because they can’t not stare.

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Based in Portland, Oregon, 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.

Small Can Be Beautiful

December 29th, 2011 2 COMMENTS

Pintos, Gremlins, and Vegas

I can already hear the chuckles and see the smirks. Anyone who knows me, knows it would be a stretch for me to be chosen as a forward or center on any basketball team. I barely qualify as a guard on most middle school teams. But this is not about my height. It was inspired by an article in The New York Times about the unloved small car trio of the Pinto, Vega, and Gremlin (Import Fighters? No, Just Punchlines).

Chevrolet Vega

Chevrolet Vega

While many of my friends owned Pintos and Gremlins, I owned a 1975 white notch-back Vega. I loved that car. By 1975, GM had fixed the most glaring problems with the Vega, including seal leaks and a tendency to rust whenever dark clouds appeared. I bought the car used (less than 12,000 miles) from a father who worried the car would die somewhere between WV and FL where his daughter was attending college. 130,000 miles later, the car finally left me stranded on the side of the road outside of Versailles, KY.

With one or two exceptions, small cars in the 70’s and 80’s, whether domestic or foreign, were designed for the frugal, the poor, or the seriously brain addled. Or in my case, all three. You prayed they would last 75,000 miles. You accepted the fact that no one would ever give you a thumbs up at a stop light, and you set your sights on a girlfriend or boyfriend who respected “value” and “inner beauty.” Small cars were unloved, and the manufacturers did very little to make them loveable.

The history of portable trade show displays is not much different. Through much of the 80’s and 90’s, they were functional rather than beautiful. Pop ups were lightweight and convenient, and if you could afford mural graphics, often attractive (if at times fragile). Folding panel systems were more durable, but regardless of how many detachable graphics, lightboxes, shelves, or backlit headers were added, they were folding walls with carpet. And they were heavy. Laminate modular systems upped the ante a bit since they mimicked many custom features. These were an improvement, but the prices were no longer portable.

Times Have Changed

Perfect 10 VK-1507

Over the past 7-8 years, trade show display manufacturers have evolved, much like the auto industry. Smaller products come in far more designs, in a wide range of price points, and can be basic or upscale. No display category speaks to that more than “hybrids.” Hybrid displays are much sexy than pop ups or panel systems, without necessarily sacrificing the benefits of portability or modularity. Hybrids combine engineered aluminum extrusion and large format tension fabric graphics with just about anything else that makes sense. And because metal can be bent, hybrids move beyond squares, rectangles, and 90 degree corners. Curves elevate simple designs into alluring, attractive, and lightweight displays.

Does that mean hybrids are custom displays? Not necessarily yes, but not necessarily no. The very nature of a hybrid display makes it somewhat of a chameleon. For example, they can be simple 10 ft. kits between $4k to $8k, or ground-up island designs between $60k to $160k. It’s their upscale look and adaptability that make them popular choices. Hybrids can pack in portable roto-molded cases or ship in custom crates, all depending on the complexity, scale, and features of the exhibit.

What Makes Them Different?

So what makes similar hybrids different from manufacturer to manufacturer? Design for one. In that respect, it’s very similar to buying a car. There are certain looks that appeal to us, and others that don’t. Features are another. For example, you may need locking storage, a large monitor option, or an iPad solution. Not all manufacturers or designs will address those requirements. Finally, there’s assembly, packaging, and quality. Except for design, this is where you’ll find the biggest difference between hybrid manufacturers.

  • Assembly:  You have a choice. There’s the ‘bag of bolts” approach, where assembling a hybrid requires multiple tools, loose parts, and generic instructions. Unfortunately, there’s no rule of thumb since price doesn’t dictate ease of assembly. It depends on whether the manufacturer values easy assembly and custom instructions. Manufacturers who value easy assembly design their systems with attached knobs and connectors. This approach limits the number of loose parts, and all components are numbered (and referenced in the instructions). There’s a night and day difference between a “bag of bolts” vs. “knob and attached connectors.”
  • Packaging: Few exhibitors think about packaging when purchasing an exhibit, but they should. Quality manufacturers sweat the details. They make sure that packing is just as easy as unpacking. They remove the guesswork. They don’t rely on bubble wrap and lightweight disposable foam, but die-cut foam packaging, fabric lined crates, and permanent jigging.
  • Quality: You know it when you see it. It reveals itself in hundreds of tiny, seemingly insignificant ways. Is everything labeled? Has the exhibit arrived clean? Is the case protected? Are the instructions specific to your display? Does the exhibit look remarkable after 10, 15, 20 shows? When shopping for a new display, ask your exhibit consultant to compare the quality of one system to another. There’s a reason why one costs $4k but another one $7k?

Exhibit Design SearchIf you are shopping for a new display, we invite you to browse through Exhibit Design Search, the world’s largest database of exhibit designs. In addition to pop ups, banner stands, table tops, and hanging signs, you’ll find over 500 portable, modular, and custom hybrid displays. Each one can be customized to your unique trade show marketing goals.

And if you’re still exhibiting with the trade show equivalent of a Pinto, Gremlin, or Vega . . .  it’s time to get a new ride. Times have changed and Small is Now Beautiful.

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

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Based in Portland, Oregon, 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.

The ABC’s of Classic’s Hybrid Display Systems

September 18th, 2011 COMMENTS

Perfect 10 Hybrid Display

New distributors and account executives often ask, “What’s the difference between a Sacagawea Hybrid and a Perfect 10 Hybrid? Or a Magellan and a Visionary Design?” Can it be confusing? Absolutely! Classic Exhibits has six distinct hybrid lines:  Sacagawea, Magellan, Perfect 10/20, Visionary Designs, SEGUE, and Euro LT. Or to look at it another way, it’s more than any other systems manufacturer. Learn why there are so many and how they are truly different.

History

Over the past six years, we have significantly expanded our design offerings. In some cases, these new designs were prompted by internal market research; others were necessitated by outside market forces, such as distributor requests or more recently, The Great Recession. In the beginning, there were two Classic hybrid lines: Visionary Designs and Euro LT Modular.

About four years ago, we developed the Perfect 10/20. We did so to tap into an unmet price point, look, and functionality: namely, a $5000 to $9000 10 ft. custom portable hybrid that assembled without tools. There were no other products that combined custom hybrid design in that price range. It was a no brainer to attack this segment and an easy decision to market it as a distinct product line. It did very, very well, until . . . .

At the start of the recession, customers were looking for displays with lower prices and fewer bells and whistles. We introduced the Magellan Miracle and MOR. These are built entirely from one cost-effective extrusion – the ClassicMODUL Z 45. Magellan Displays look much different than either Visionary Designs or Perfect 10 kits and to bury them within those product lines didn’t make sense. Yes, they are still basically aluminum extrusion and tension fabric, but they were unique. Since then, we have expanded the line with more elaborate designs at higher prices, but the system continues to rely on the Z 45 for its frame.

That brings us to the Sacagawea. Go back two years. The Recession has gotten even worse. We are being asked for an even more cost-effective line – less expensive than the Perfect 10 and the Magellan. So, we went back to the drawing board and used the VK-1001 as our inspiration. The VK-1001 was our first hybrid in 2003. We took that basic idea, a square frame with wings, and re-designed it with smaller extrusions, portable assembly, and about 50 kit variations. Within the first month, sales exploded for Sacagawea and sales have grown every since. It continues to sell well even as our other hybrid lines have seen significant increases as well.

SEGUE VK-1900 Hybrid Display

Finally, there’s the SEGUE Hybrids. In the beginning, the SEGUE designs were added to the Visionary Designs line. There were only a few kits, and it didn’t make sense to create yet another hybrid line. However, over the past year, the SEGUE line has expanded as customers asked for silicone edge graphic solutions. We found ourselves having to guide distributors to the SEG designs within Visionary Designs, which was inefficient and confusing. Distributors were requesting more and more SEG solutions and wanted one SEG gallery with inlines, lightboxes, and hanging wall solutions. So, we removed them from Visionary Designs and gave them their own gallery to make it easier for everyone.

What Makes Them Different?

It’s actually very logical. It’s based on design, price, and function. But let’s make this even easier, let’s focus on price as the driver for Sacagawea, Magellan, Perfect 10, and Visionary Designs. We’ll explain Euro LT and SEGUE a little later.

Hybrid Display prices are based on six basic factors:

  1. Size of the extrusion (larger extrusions cost more)
  2. Whether the extrusion is straight or curved (curves cost more)
  3. Size and number of graphics
  4. Type and number of accessories
  5. What options are included in the base price
  6. Assembly (knob, locking hex key, or slide clip)

Let’s start from the least expensive to the most expensive lines. Note that as the complexity of the system and size of the graphics increases, so does the price.

Sacagawea VK-1222 Portable Hybrid

Sacagawea Portable Hybrids:

  • Smaller extrusions, such as the S 40
  • Mostly straight metal
  • Typically one tension fabric graphic
  • Common accessories
  • Three laminates, nine sintra/acrylic, silver aluminum
  • Quick assist knobs and locking hex key assembly
  • Example:  VK-1231

Magellan Portable Hybrids:

  • One primary extrusion, the Z 45
  • Curved and straight metal
  • One or two larger tension fabric graphics
  • Common or unique accessories
  • Three laminates, nine Sintra/acrylic, silver aluminum
  • Quick assist knobs and locking hex key assembly
  • Example:  VK-1065

Perfect 10/20 Portable Hybrids:

  • Multiple smaller extrusions
  • Mostly curved metal
  • Two larger tension fabric graphics
  • Extensive accessories
  • Three laminates, nine Sintra/acrylic, seven powder coat colors
  • All knob assembly
  • Example:  VK-1506

Visionary Designs VK-2044 Hybrid

Visionary Designs Hybrids:

  • Full line of extrusions and designs
  • Curved and straight extrusions
  • Unlimited graphic options
  • Unlimited accessories
  • Wide assortment of laminates, Sintra/acrylics, powder coat colors
  • Locking hex key assembly
  • Example:  VK-2044

SEGUE and Euro LT Hybrids, unlike those listed above, are categorized by function rather than by price. For example, our least expensive hybrid kit is the SEGUE Sunrise (starting at $2833). One of our higher priced 10 ft. kits is the SEGUE VK-1901 (at $12,458).

SEGUE Hybrids:

  • Relies on Silicone Edge Graphics (SEG) and ClassicMODUL TSP Extrusions
  • Curved or straight extrusions
  • Graphic options depend on kit or design
  • Accessories depend on kit or design
  • Wide assortment of laminates, Sintra/acrylics, powder coat colors
  • Quick assist knobs and locking hex key assembly
  • Example:  VK-1900

Euro LT LTK-5014 Custom Modular Hybrid

Euro LT Custom Modular Hybrids:

  • Based on Euro LT laminate panel system
  • Extrusion complements the laminate panels
  • Graphic options depend on kit or design
  • Accessories depend on kit or design
  • Wide assortment of laminates, fabrics, Sintra/acrylics, powder coat colors
  • Euro LT clips and locking hex key assembly
  • Example:  LTK-5014

If this still doesn’t make much sense, then give me a call. I’ll be happy to walk you through the basics in a 15 minute GoToMeeting session.

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

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Based in Portland, Oregon, 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.