Why Aren’t You Exhibiting?

Seeing as our last blog article focused on keeping your team motivated during times of economic downturn, I felt it would only be fitting to continue the theme and discuss the importance of exhibiting, especially now while our economic situation is getting back on track.

We have been fortunate to see a steady increase in both attendance and exhibiting since the start of 2011. Companies are becoming enthusiastic about increasing their participation in face-to-face marketing events. While many industries still have very tight trade show budgets, here are a few reasons why it’s important to be exhibiting now more than ever:

To Close Deals & Sell More Product

Why would you want to shut off a stream of revenue when every bit counts?  Studies have shown that sustained marketing, even during times of economic upturn, yields higher sales in the short term. A comprehensive exhibiting strategy will continually expose your brand and help you bring in more prospects. Who wouldn’t want an increase in their ROI?

To Remain “Top of Mind” for Prospects and Existing Customers

Take advantage of the fact that many companies aren’t valuing the benefits of trade shows this season and stake your claim to the top player position in your niche. Exhibiting will not only give you a foot up against your absent competition, but it will also convey to prospects that your company is willing to go the extra mile for them.

To Take Advantage of Less a Crowded Space

Certain events may still be seeing less traffic than previous years, but that shouldn’t stop you from exhibiting at them. Perhaps your company can secure more prominent booth space that may have been vacated by the competition. Another plus to being present among fewer exhibitors is there will be less noise, allowing your message get through and resonate longer with attendees and the media.

To Make High Quality Connections

While attendance at trade shows is steadily returning to full strength, the QUALITY of the visitor now is much better. Companies may no longer be sending 25 reps to a conference or industry expo, now it’s maybe 10 or 12 – but those that are being sent are the key decision makers and top representatives of companies you are looking to connect with. While companies are watching travel and entertainment expenses, they still feel that it’s important for their staff to stay connected, stay current on emerging trends in their industry, and to participate in education opportunities typically offered in conjunction with trade shows and other events.

Face-to-Face marketing experiences are personal, sensorial, tactile, emotional, and tangible.  No alternate or surrogate for that kind of direct contact exists.

SOURCE: Page Ballenger, ExhibitResources.com

Bring Motivation Back to Pre-Recession Levels

Despite the economic obstacles that many businesses have had to struggle with over the past couple of years, FB Displays & Designs, Inc. has held its own in the small business community. Instead of focusing on how the fragile economy may prove toxic to our business model, the FBD2 team continually drives to do what we do best – provide our clients with the most creative and beneficial solutions for their exhibiting strategies.

While we have been fortunate during these hard times, other businesses are faced with issues of morale. In order to maintain growth, it’s essential to help your employees overcome their fears and uncertainty with the following tips:

• Address Their Needs Individually

Keep in mind that employees are motivated by different factors. Our team is rewarded in multiple ways from being treated to lunch when a successful project is completed or getting to go home early when goals are met ahead of schedule. While an overall program of incentives may increase morale and productivity to some extent, tailoring rewards to individual motivations will add to your efforts.

• Recognize Their Fears

While our office is small, there is still the occasional nervousness about the possibility of cutbacks. Fortunately, our fears are always acknowledged so the focus is on work. It’s important to acknowledge the worries of your employees so you too can start to move forward without illusions on anyone’s part.

• Tap Into Your Employees’ Energy

Each individual member of the FBD2 team possesses a unique talent and desire that allows him or her to be a vital part of the company as a whole. Look at what your employees and teams are doing well. Instead of drastically changing their direction, build your plans for growth around their strengths.

• Highlight Employees’ Achievements

We always like to give positive feedback to each other when it’s due. Our team is very supportive as each individual contributes to the business in his or her own unique way. Look for examples of what an employee is doing well, and praise him or her for it. A small victory can boost an employee’s motivation and spur him or her on to bigger accomplishments.

• Push Yourself

We are fortunate enough to have a team that loves coming in every day and bringing our client’s ideas to life. Hopefully, you possess the same enthusiasm for your company so let your employees know it! If you come across as cynical or burned out, they won’t see any reason to act differently. Commitment and desire to your business will be one of the largest factors in helping it grow during a recession.

SOURCE: MotivationalManager.biz

Destructive Design Decisions

These days, almost anyone can create graphics from their computer. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that those graphics will effectively convey their intended message or have any kind of visual impact on their target audience. Successful graphics begin with utilizing a series of good decisions. Too often, a design will be compromised due to a lack of judgment or too much focus on current creative trends. To prevent future designs from missing the mark, here’s a list of destructive decisions that all designers should avoid:

Please Stop Using a Rainbow as Your Company’s Colors

Some companies can’t make a decision. They use all the colors of the rainbow to communicate their visual brand. If you’re Binney & Smith’s Crayola crayons, you’re allowed. If you’re not, then it’s time to get choosy about how many colors you use.

Color can work either for your brand or against it. The way to make color work for your brand message is to pick two colors, and use them consistently in everything you do. You can expand this palette with background tints and an accent color, but nothing should replace your two main colors. Use them all over so that your audience will come to associate your two colors with your company.

Please Stop Dipping Into the Font Honey Pot

You don’t have to clutter your hard drive with thousands of fonts. You just need two. Pick two fonts that represent your business. If your business is traditional, or your company wants to look large and corporate, pick a classic serif font. If your company is contemporary, modern and high tech, pick a sans serif font. If you’re a little of both, try combining them.

Please Stop Adding Unnecessary Drop Shadows

There’s nothing wrong with drop shadows when they’re used to make things clearer. Normally, if you put either type or an image over a background and there’s not enough contrast to see the edges of the image that’s on top, adding a subtle drop shadow will help to define the edges. If there’s plenty of contrast already, then don’t add a drop shadow. It will only make your design look muddy and dark.

The best solution is to avoid picking colors or tints that will obligate you to use a drop shadow in order to see type or a shape. Drop shadows may be unavoidable at times, but you shouldn’t depend on them to make up for bad design decisions.

Please Stop Thinking Good Design Is About Visual Tricks

Good design is about communication. When you focus on communicating clearly and make all your design decisions with that filter in place, you won’t expect graphic trends to carry the weight of your brand. You’ll know that only clear copy and visuals will do that.

SOURCE: Pamela Wilson, BigBrandSystem.com

Trade Show Floor Invasion: Here comes the iPad!

Even if you don’t own one by now, I’m sure you’re well aware of the iPad. The portable tablet is currently one of the most popular products on the technology market. Boasting a large array of features and apps that allow the device to serve as a useful resource in almost any situation, it is obvious it wouldn’t be long before the iPad invaded the trade show floor. During his visit to the 2011 Exhibitor Show in Las Vegas, Troy Stover, our operations manager, also noticed a “sea of iPads” being used by both exhibitors and attendees alike.

Whether you are an Apple advocate or not, here are 5 great reasons why the iPad makes an excellent tool on the trade show floor:

1. On the Go Product Demonstrations

Unlike laptops, the iPad is extremely portable and can be used virtually anywhere. The tablet has an 11-12 hour battery life, which gives it more than enough working time for an all-day show. The touch screen allows for interactivity with prospects and the bright, crisp display serves as a great visual sales tool.

2. Go Green Literature Display and Distribution

By displaying literature and other sales related information in a digital format, you’ll save money on handouts that are rarely read by prospects and often just thrown out. You can also email prospects demos and marketing material immediately after meeting them, rather than give them printed materials.

Using an iPad on a stand creates a “kiosk” that will allow prospects to read detailed information or watch promotional videos.

3. Branding Opportunities Galore

Sponsors have the ability to brand their logos on iPad cases and can even feature logos on trade show specific apps. There is a lot of screen real estate for including innovative sponsorships.

4. Promotions, Giveaways, Raffles

Offering a game that allows your visitors to win a prize on an iPad is a great way to draw traffic to your booth. Random digital prizes such as special coupons can be transferred and used with an iPad.

5. Lead Retrieval

The iPad’s touch screen, advanced capabilities, vivid LED-backlit IPS display and expansive onscreen keyboard are perfect for lead retrieval, surveys and product demos. iLeads is the first lead retrieval app on the market as well as the recipient of the 2010 Breakthrough Award from TSEA. It was developed in response to complaints about traditional lead retrieval, more specifically barcodes and unqualified lead lists.

Using the easy touch screen display, exhibitors can enter attendees’ badge numbers, and then have the option to add a note, qualifier or take a survey. The app allows the user to capture qualify trade show leads anywhere and anytime, on the show floor, at parties even at the airport.

SOURCE: Joyce McKee, LetsTalkTradeShows.com

For more information on the iPad, visit http://www.apple.com/ipad

Are They Lying to You?

We’re all taught at a young age about the negative consequences of lying. Unfortunately, deception is a common occurrence in the workplace. Anyone in business can tell you that at one time or another, they have trusted the wrong person and have been lied to. Deception can take quite the emotional toll on the victim, not to mention the financial toll on the business that’s been swindled.

Interestingly enough, people tend to give signs when they’re being dishonest. Here are 7 subtle cues that will help you tell when you might be being deceived:

1. Nose touch: We have erectile tissues in our noses, which engorge with blood when we lie. This causes a tingling or itching sensation that makes us want to scratch our nose. The presence of a nose touch often means deception, but sometimes a person will touch his or her nose because of a non-deceptive cause, such as a cold. With some practice, you can quickly learn to distinguish a deceptive nose touch from something innocent.

2. Speech disturbances: When we lie, we force our brain to pretend that the lie is true and the truth is a lie. This can cause confusion in the mind of the liar. The process of deception taxes our cognitive ability to think efficiently. So when we lie, we pause longer and speak slower than normal and often experience speech disturbances that serve as gap fillers, such as “um,” “er” and “ah.”

3. Incongruent behavior: When our words and our body language don’t agree, our communication is incongruent. Imagine that you ask a salesman if he can assure your delivery will be on time. If he explains how certain he is about it being on time while also shaking his head–as if non-verbally saying “no”–he is incongruent. When this sort of incongruence occurs, you would do well to believe the person’s body over his words.

4. Neck rub: We rub our necks because of the stress we experience when we feel that an obstacle may be insurmountable. If one of you’re employees is rubbing his neck while discussing how easy a project will be to complete, he may feel deep down as if he’ll be unable to accomplish it. He might be wrong, but if we know anything about human psychology, it’s that if someone believes that they can or can’t do something, they’re probably right.

5. Eye rub: An eye rub is an indicator of disbelief. If an employee starts rubbing their eyes as you speak to them, this could be a sign that they may disagree with what you’re saying. It would be wise to stop and ask a question to allow the employee to verbally object. Many subordinates feel uneasy about disagreeing with the boss, but their bodies don’t hesitate. Perceiving a potential problem and dealing with it early can be the difference between a simple misunderstanding and a business disaster.

6. Upward inflections: We upwardly inflect our words when asking a question. You may have noticed that some salespeople will upwardly inflect certain statements of fact. This is a red flag that should alert you to potential deception. The salesman might say, “Your competitors have seen their profit margins increase by 30 percent by using our product.” If you notice that he upwardly inflected the words, “30 percent,” you should disregard this statistic and be suspicious of him altogether.

7. Stabbed hollows: In the study of graphology–or handwriting analysis–hollow letters represent honesty. Anything that disrupts a hollow letter could indicate deception. Let’s pretend you enter your office to find a note from your top salesman on your desk. His note indicates that he had to go out of town to visit his sick mother and won’t be able to go to the annual trade show. You notice that every “o” in his note has some sort of mark interjected into the hollow space of each letter. You would be right to be suspicious of the facts in the note.

SOURCE: Ken Osborn, Entrepreneur.com