Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘tradeshows’

Classic Exhibits Corporate Profile in Exhibit City News

September 18th, 2019 COMMENTS

To many trade show folks, Classic Exhibits is still a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. It’s time to untangle the mystery. This month, we’re featured in Exhibit City News, online and in print. In the article, we explain our unique “unbranded” business model.

See the article below and the link to the full ECN online version.

Classic Exhibits Inc.: An Industry Chameleon

There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Classic Exhibits but don’t know all they do. Mel White, VP for marketing and business development, describes the Portland, Ore.-based company “as a chameleon that not only changes its colors, but also its shape. Repeatedly.” Every four to five years the company morphs into something different based on the needs of its more than 200 distributor partners and their customers.

So, who is Classic Exhibits right now? That depends upon who you ask—and what they need.

According to White, “Our customers come to us for a broad range of solutions. In short, we’re a job shop for over 200 distributor partners who assist their customers with tradeshows, retail displays, events and corporate environments, both for purchase and rental. We accomplish that as a ‘White Label, Unbranded’ designer and builder that’s largely invisible to end-users but not to the tradeshow and event industry. Our mission has always been to prioritize our customers’ brands in the marketplace, not only with unique designs, but also with brandable marketing tools.”

Founded in 1993, Classic started as a portable systems company, then a modular-hybrid supplier and now a design and builder of 3D structures. Currently, about 75 percent of what the company builds and ships can be classified as custom or customized. Nothing gets pulled from a shelf and shipped, even rentals. “We’re not that kind of company,” according to White. “We build to the order, stage each one, take extensive photos and create job-specific setup instructions and customized reusable packaging.”

Identifying Trends

Classic has been remarkably adept at identifying trends and creating tradeshow and event-specific solutions. Those include modular iPad and Surface stands, wireless charging stations, counters, pedestals and kiosks and tool-less LED lightboxes with accessories like tablet brackets, literature holders and adjustable shelves.

Wireless Charging Stations

Most recently, their evolution has included modular wall systems, like the tool-less Gravitee One-Step. “As modular wall systems have come to the forefront,” says White, “we’ve worked hard to introduce new designs on Exhibit Design Search. One of the benefits of a large distributor network is identifying successful designs quickly and making them available to our partners. For example, the blending of modular walls, custom components and LED lighting has been very popular. Every week we introduce new designs to our network through our Design Monday emails.”

Being Invisible

According to Executive VP Kevin Carty, “Invisibility often comes with misunderstandings and misconceptions about who we are and what we do. We’ve never been a Portland or Northwest-focused company. From the very beginning, we’ve relied on independent distributor partners for our sales since we don’t sell direct. This wasn’t unusual in the past, but the model has become less common as our competitors have either disappeared or chosen to sell direct to end-users. In some ways, we are the last company standing that honors that model.”

Classic’s “White Label” model includes, at the distributor’s request, branded crates, instructions and mailing labels with the distributor or end-user’s logo.

Carty, who has been with the company since its inception, has watched it grow to 85 employees across four divisions, encompassing 120,000 sq.ft. outside of Portland, Ore., that uses five internal web cameras to share the progress of exhibits from design to finish with customers.

Click HERE to read the full article in Exhibit City News.

Since 1993, Classic Exhibits has been North America’s leading builder of quality trade show exhibits for professional exhibitors. Browse through 1500 contemporary displays or request a custom design personalized to your trade show marketing goals.

Find success on the trade show floor with an exhibit that reflects your marketing message… at a price that will make your CFO giddy. For more information, see http://www.classicexhibits.com.

20 Clues It’s Time to Check the Meter on Your Trade Show Display

May 22nd, 2019 4 COMMENTS

Several years ago, I wrote “What’s the Expiration Date of Your Trade Show Display?

Recently, I decided to update it, but after re-reading it, I decided not to make any changes since it still makes me smile. I know… that sounds egotistical, but the line “It smells like the Pennsylvania Convention Center and even Fabreze can’t kill the odor” makes me laugh.

Instead, we give you 20 MORE Reasons to Check the Meter on Your Display. Enjoy and please add to the list. 

20 Clues Your Exhibit Has Expired

  • Your last legal source for halogen lights is now a frozen yogurt store. Your next option is a dark web site run by a dude with the handle “NotWearingPants.”
  • Your 19” flat screen monitor was made by Magnavox. Or Zenith. Or RCA.
  • Six months ago, you bought a display from a company that specializes in imprinted coffee mugs and key chains. Surprise! That display lasted for one show.
  • EXHIBITOR Magazine included your exhibit in its article recent History of Portable Displays 1995.
  • Your repair kit is a shoebox with zip ties, Velcro, duct tape, a box cutter, Tylenol, a hammer, lipstick, and fifty mousepads.
  • There’s a COMDEX label on your crate.
  • Your logo hasn’t been that color since the Bush administration. The FIRST one.
  • Jimmy, your labor guy at Moscone, remembers setting up your booth at TS2. Whenever he wants your attention, he says, “Hey, Whippersnapper!”
  • Two (very painful) words: Foldable Truss
  • You put your glasses on only to discover that your graphics are even fuzzier.  

  • “Parts and pieces” means something different now than when the display was new.
  • You think SEG stands for “Some Extra Gravy.” Which makes you very happy whenever someone asks you if you want more SEG.
  • Your primary colors are Harvest Gold and Avocado Green.
  • Show organizers keep suggesting space near the restrooms because of “all the extra traffic you’ll see.”
  • You play “Eye of the Tiger” in the booth and your hanging sign announces you are “Risin’ Up to the Challenge of Our Rival.”
  • Your exhibit house stores your crates near the fire escape. They’ve stenciled a skull and crossbones on all four sides.
  • The manufacturer had to entice Eddie the Machinist out of retirement with three bottles of Jack Daniels to fulfill your order for replacement parts.
  • The storage closet smells like Becky’s perfume, and she quit 11 years ago.
  • Your portable display case has more stickers than the VW van of a Grateful Dead groupie.
  • Your colleagues are always busy whenever you ask for volunteers for a January trade show in Las Vegas or Orlando. And your company is based in Fargo.  

Bonus: When You Bought Your Display…

  • You were addicted to TAB.
  • You paid a bribe to get your kid a Teddy Ruxpin.
  • Your new car came equipped with ashtrays and lighters and flipping the windshield wiper switch on and off was intermittent wipers. The high-beam switch was on the floor (where it still should be!).
  • Your iPod Shuffle held 120 songs!
  • You had 12 magazine subscriptions.
  • You dropped your film off at a FOTOMAT in a Woolco parking lot.
  • Danielle Steele and Stephen King had only written 50 books between the two of them.
  • You had a MySpace account
  • Zombies were a musical group.
  • “Sustainable” meant making it through an 8-hour shift on the tradeshow floor after partying with Mikey and the guys until 5 am.
  • Mr. Coffee was all the coffee you needed.

How do you determine the expiration date of a trade show display? Please share. 😉

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

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Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, custom, rental 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.

Modern Smartphones and 21st Century Trade Shows

April 30th, 2019 1 COMMENT
Modern Smartphones and 21st Century Trade Shows

You probably don’t consider smartphones and trade shows as having much in common. After all, one is small enough to hold in your hand, and the other is a large attractive display in an exhibit hall. However, you might be surprised at how similar they really are.

9 Ways a Trade Show is Like a Modern Smartphone

1. Videos. After Google.com, YouTube is the most popular site on the web. We love watching videos on our smartphone whether for entertainment, education, sports, or news. We are equally captivated by videos on the trade show floor, and the rise of large format LED Video Tiles has turned the typical show floor into a walking YouTube with real people who greet you and answer questions about the video. This trend will only continue as the prices of video tiles comes down, and even smaller inlines start to take advantage of the benefits of video.

2. Alerts and Notifications. Smartphones are like a clingy girlfriend or boyfriend, always wanting your undivided attention. What’s new? What’s next? What’s happening? Smart trade show marketers know that attracting your attention is critical — before, during, and after the show. Exhibitors can’t rely on you randomly wandering into their booth at the show. Smart exhibitors spend significant marketing energy notifying and alerting you to visit them on the show floor.

3. Apps. There are apps for just about everything from shopping, exercising, nutrition, cooking, home improvement, and even the handy flashlight (that you probably can’t imagine not having). Apps are our handheld experts on every topic. You have your own experts in your trade show booth, namely your employees. Your knowledgeable employees are essential since attendees expect exhibitors to answer their questions about your products and services. Nothing is more frustrating to an attendee than an exhibitor who can’t answer basic questions, or when the “expert” is unavailable.

Trade Show LED Video Wall

4. Operating System (OS). Whether your smartphone runs on iOS, Android, or some obscure operating system, you rely on it to keep your phone running smoothly. Every successful exhibitor needs their own booth operating system, one that handles traffic flow, presentations, lead retrieval, and a myriad of other essential show tasks. And just like an OS, it doesn’t have to be the latest version. It simply has to work for your team.

5. Social Media. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn – Your smartphone is undoubtedly your go-to device for social media because it’s convenient and easy. Think of a trade as a live version of Social Media, where you post news, updates, and share stories about your company or your team. What could be more social than chatting face-to-face with someone? Consider the booth an extension of your existing social media campaign before, during, and after the show. Use social media to create a buzz, drive traffic, and create conversations in your booth about your company.

6. Fully Charged. Face it. You’re a very happy camper when your smartphone is fully charged. The possibilities are endless, whether you want to watch hours of videos, exchange text messages, or navigate around town using GPS. At a trade show, staying upbeat and charged can be challenging after several long, grueling days on the show floor. However, most exhibitors have stories about meeting that perfect client on Day 3 at 4 pm in the booth. Those once in million customers are as likely to walk in your booth on Day 1 as Day 3 – and you better be prepared. Those golden opportunities don’t close into deals when you’re operating at 25%.

7. Photos.  Smartphones changed photography forever because it allowed us to capture memories effortlessly. Think about how often you share those photos with friends and family, and how just scrolling through your phone’s photo album reminds you of those moments.

Think of photos like leads in your booth. Imagine taking that same time, attention, and energy to capturing the details of meetings with clients in your booth. Those details are invaluable when following up with the prospect after the show. Specifics make it easier to address their needs quickly without stumbling through an awkward re-introduction.

Trade Shows and Smartphones

8. Service. We all have our preferred cell phone provider. Sometimes it’s because they have a stronger network where we live. Other times, they have pricing and plans that meet our needs. Or, they have proven time and time again that their customer service is superior to their competitors. It’s easy to forget that customer service is important in your trade show booth. Whether it’s existing or new clients, they are judging your customer service at the trade show. Critically. They expect you to be at your best… and yet, many companies stub their toes by “going through the motions” in their booth.

9. It’s Just a Tool. Smartphones are essentially a communication device, a way to stay connected with others. But as we’ve learned, they’re not a substitute for face-to-face human interaction which we all want and crave. For twenty years, “experts” have predicted the demise of trade shows, and yet, trade shows and trade show attendance continues to grow. Why? Because shaking someone’s hand matters. Because looking someone in the eye as they explain their product or service has value.

Like smartphones, trade shows are a tool that allows us to communicate with others. It’s how we use it that gives it meaning in our lives and adds value to our lives both professionally and personally.

So, at your next trade show, whether as an attendee or an exhibitor, be sure to bring your smartphone. Not that you need permission. But remember to occasionally glance up from the screen from time to time. You just might discover there’s another human eager to talk to you. Not through email or text or Skype, but in person and face-to-face. Who knows, you might just meet a new friend or a supplier or customer that will change your life. Happy Exhibiting!

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

**********************************************

Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, custom, rental 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.

New Unbranded “Under” Brochures

April 29th, 2019 COMMENTS
Unbranded Literature from Classic Exhibits

Did you know that Classic creates unbranded marketing literature as PDFs for our Distributor Partners? One of those is the “Under Sheets” which shows Classic Exhibits designs under certain prices, like Under $6K or $12K. Recently, we updated these sheets (except the Under $2K and $4K).

Below are examples, including the NEW Islands Under $60K. Click on the images below to download the latest unbranded PDF set (10 pages). The $2K and $4K will be available in early June.  

CLICK To DOWNLOAD the NEWEST “Under” Literature

NEW Unbranded Literature from Classic Exhibits

An Interview with Jim Shelman, GM of Classic Rental Solutions

October 2nd, 2018 COMMENTS

Every week, Tim Patterson, a.k.a. Tradeshow Guy, conducts an interview on his Monday Morning Coffee video/audio broadcast. Sometimes it’s someone from the trade show community, but more often it’s an expert on various business topics. It’s my go-to stop every Monday morning. 

This week Tim interviewed our own Jim Shelman, the GM of Classic Rental Solutions. They chatted about rental trends, the evolving reasons to rent, and why purchase and rentals are not so different. The interview starts at 4:15. Enjoy!