Our New, Crowdsourced Design

Our 4 Final Concepts for Our New Trade Show Display
Our 4 Final Concepts for Our New Trade Show Display

 

We at FB Displays & Designs recently had an opportunity to interact with our clients in a unique way. In preparation of our participation at a few trade shows, our creative team (which is all of us) wanted new graphics to be used on one of our trade show displays. After several weeks of brainstorming & designing, we came up with ten concepts. Over the following week, we narrowed it down to four contenders. We came to the conclusion that everyone on our team liked all four finalists. With only a week until our first event, what were we to do?

 

This is where our story takes a creative twist: we decided to crowdsource our decision.* We sent an email to all of our clients & posted a poll on our social media sites, inviting our clients & followers to vote for their favorite concept.

 

We were pleasantly surprised by the high participation rate from our fans. In the end, there was a clear winner, (Design #1,) which we produced straightaway. Here’s how the vote totals broke down:

 

Design #1: 55%

Design #2: 17%

Design #3: 17%

Design #4: 11%

 

While Design #1 was the crowd favorite, #’s 2, 3 and 4 received the most passionate responses, including the following:

 

“For me # 4 is your best bet. It’s the most arresting/cool/ “check this out!” display in my opinion. And the words are not fighting with the background.”

 

I can’t automatically put 2 & 4 in a category or stereotype them because though my mind may try to find a file for them…when it can’t…I have to stop to think about what does this mean. My favorite is 2- just more gusto, spunk and power.”

 

We are thrilled to report that our experiment was a success. The amount of votes we received exceeded our expectations, and the feedback was an added bonus. And the rest, as they say, is history. At the SBA Expo on May 13th, we unveiled our new trade show display as chosen by our wonderful fans.

 

FB Displays Trade Show Booth
Our New Trade Show Display

 

 

Do you have an interesting story to tell us about your own design experience? We’d love to hear it-Please leave a comment, below. And to see more designs created by our team, visit our project gallery.

 

* Trained professionals performed this stunt. Don’t try it at home.

 

Written by Bill Henecke, Graphic Designer for FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

FB Displays and Designs trade show display

How to Make Lemonade from a Lemon Booth Location

FBD2, Lemonade from a Lemon Booth Location
Photo Courtesy of Flickr, Yellow Sky Photography

Stuck in the back corner of the hall or behind a column? Miss out on getting into the main exhibit hall? Here’s how you can see all your clients and prospects and have a successful show:

1. Pre-show announcements.

It doesn’t matter if it’s an elaborate mailer, or a quick text or e-mail, send something telling clients and prospects you’re not going to be easy to find, but the extra effort will be rewarded. Don’t forget to maximize your presence at the show on Linkedin and Facebook.

2. Sponsor a coffee break.

Convince show management into allowing you to sponsor a coffee or beverage break. Then put a very large and colorful sign nearby with a map to your booth and a prize offer for attendees who find you. 

3. Give them a yellow brick road.

Negotiate with show management to let you place stickers on the aisle carpet leading attendees to your booth. These can be arrows, footprints or pictures of your product.

4. Give them what they want.

Do some serious brainstorming and come up with a novel – a really, really novel – promotional item that will allow people to wear or carry your logo to the masses. The right item will cause people to ask where they can get one for themselves.

5. Let Elvis do your talking.

Hire talent to hand something (samples, coupons, flyers with maps to your space) to attendees as they come into the facility. Some show managers will let you rent space or will designate a specific location for this activity.

6. Give them the shirt off your back.

Dress your entire staff in shirts with a map to your booth on the back and your logo on the front.

7. Sponsor headrest covers on the shuttle buses.

Put your logo and booth location on the back of every shuttle bus seat headrest so that everyone knows how to find you once they are in the hall.

8. Network like a madman!

In addition to every networking event, take advantage of social media. Tweet a ‘Thank you for visiting our booth’ message to every visitor to your booth. This leads to a reply or a retweet that not only creates a bond with the prospect (enhancing the possibility of a conversion) but also takes your brand and booth location to the followers of the prospect leading to more potential visitors.

9. Get friendly with show management.

Don’t be afraid to talk to show management about your dilemma. The more they know that you are serious about maximizing your presence at their show, the more likely you’ll be able to get first option on a better location if someone pulls out or is a no-show.

Good luck and have fun!

Written by Francine Brooks, President of FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

Use Words to Attract your Audience

Use Words to Attract your Audience to your Trade Show Booth

Every word can have a positive or negative impact on your marketing efforts, especially at trade shows… whether you are creating large graphics, sales material, pre-show marketing campaigns, or talking directly with a prospect.

Since exhibitors have less than 6 seconds to attract attendees to their booth, consistently choosing the “right” words becomes very important.

Below are a few proven marketing words to help you communicate more effectively and accomplish your goals at your next trade show.

#1: “YOU”

This is one of the most important words. Using the word “you” makes it easier to connect to your target audience and draw a direct line from your products/services to how they can provide a solution to your potential clients.

Selling is never about products or services.  It’s about the benefits that are meaningful to your target audience.

#2: “SAFE”

Whether you are dealing with money, health, personal well-being, technology or manufacturing, touting the safety of your product or service is important.

Potential clients do not want to take high risks to address challenges or needs with which they are already dealing. They want a trustworthy, easy solution so they can stop worrying.

#3: “RESULTS”

It is important for prospects to connect your product or service with the results they are hoping to achieve.

Prospective buyers are looking for one thing: Results. You must communicate the results your products/services provide in all aspects of trade show marketing.

Although these three words are simple on their own, by adding them to a well-constructed message on your display graphics, in  your pre and post show marketing communication, on your sell sheets, and in verbal interaction with attendees, conversion rate and ROI will definitely improve.

Good luck!

Written by Francine Brooks, President of FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

Trade Show Booth Rental 101

A great example of a trade show booth rental
A great example of a trade show booth rental

Renting a trade show display is an increasingly popular way to make your presence known at an exhibition.

In recent years, more & more of our clients have been interested in the option to rent a trade show booth.

Reasons why you might need a trade show booth rental include:

  • You’re exhibiting at more shows than you have displays available
  • You have a display that can’t be repaired in time
  • You exhibit at trade shows too infrequently and prefer to rent
  • You want a new look each time you attend an annual show
  • You need a professional look, but don’t have the budget to purchase

No matter the reason, renting a trade show booth allows you to have the professional look you require without all of the usual expenses of ownership. These can include warehousing & storage, as well as regular maintenance.

Here are some thoughts you should keep in mind when considering a trade show exhibit rental:

  • The size of your tradeshow booth space-

While it might seem obvious, it is important to think about the area you will have at the show.  Certain display systems are more appropriate than others in either large or small footprints.

  • The rules set by show management-

It is important to consider the amount of time it will take to install your booth compared to the official setup & teardown hours assigned by the managers of the trade show.  If the time allotted for installation is short, an uncomplicated system would be best.  In addition, you should look at the booth height limitations in the exhibitor’s manual and choose a booth that will comply with those rules.

  • Creativity in design-

Use this opportunity to show some creative flare with artwork that will grab attendees’ attention.  This may be a great time to test a more daring concept than what you’re used to!

  • Consider a hardware system that’s new to you-

Especially if you will be in the market for a new display system in the near future, it might make sense to try out new hardware you are unfamiliar with.  (Who doesn’t like to “try before you buy”?)

  • Be flexible-

Since you will be working with your trade show design company and utilizing their rental inventory, be as flexible as possible with your criteria for choosing a display system.  There will likely be some traditional as well as trendy options available.

  • Usability of graphics-

While you may only be exhibiting with this arrangement one time, it would be helpful to design the graphic elements in your booth so that they can be re-used in future displays, on other display systems you already own, in your showroom or in your lobby.

  • Length of rental-

Pay close attention to the installation & dismantle dates for your trade show and make sure the length of your rental allows enough time to ship the display to and from the show.

  • Options-

In addition to the display itself, you can usually rent many items to enhance your booth such as lighting, flooring & furniture.  Renting allows you to have high quality pieces in your booth without breaking the budget!

Now that you’ve considered exhibit rentals, take a look through our other blog entries for more tips.  If you have a suggestion to share, please leave it in the comments, below!

Apps that are Lifesavers at a Trade Show

FBD2 - Download these apps before your next trade show
Photo courtesy of Flickr

Your mobile device can be the “backup” to your “backup plan” & help you to save time and make better decisions.  Here are some of our favorite apps and why they’ll be a great resource when you travel to your next show.

Sometimes, getting to the Expo can be half the battle. Fortunately, search apps like Kayak & SkyScanner Flights can help you with last minute travel snafus.  Encourage your coworkers to use Just Landed to instantly let you know when their flight has arrived.  (Don’t forget about your favorite airline’s app- it can help to confirm details, speed up check-in, access your boarding pass & look for upgrades!)

If you shipped literature to the show at the last minute, knowing where your parcels are is priceless.  The FedEx, UPS and USPS apps are comprehensive, save your preferences, and bring instant peace of mind.  (Some freight carriers have tracking apps too!  [For tracking your entire trade show display shipped in on pallets].)

While on the show floor, check to see if show management or their contractors have an app.  Show apps are great for quickly accessing maps of exhibits, viewing daily schedules and connecting with other attendees.  Sometimes using the show contractor’s app can save you from walking across the whole expo hall to get help from the service desk.  (Save your energy for setting up your trade show booth!)

Having printed copies of your receipts, order forms & installation instructions goes a long way towards avoiding complications & misunderstandings.  But having an electronic copy to instantly share with show management, vendors & co-workers is even better.  PDFExpert, Dropbox & iBooks are all fantastic options for storing, organizing, accessing & sending your important documents.  With Dropbox, your files are stored in the “cloud” so even if you lose your phone & paper copies, it is still possible to gain access via a desktop computer or borrowed device.

Need to edit or create a document on the fly?  Look no further than Google Drive & Genius Scan.  Google Drive is great for editing text & spreadsheets, and Genius Scan turns your phone’s camera into a full-fledged scanner & PDF creator (perfect for documents that need your signature!)

If you’re traveling to an exhibition in another country, having a local translator is obviously best.  However, in a pinch, iTranslate is a fantastic tool that allows both parties to speak into the app and see/hear the translation in their native language.

You’re in a strange city & want to take a client out to dinner, but don’t know where to go?  Of course there’s an app for that, and it’s called “Yelp!”  Once you pick the perfect spot, make a lightning-fast reservation with OpenTable.  Both apps allow you to leave a review of your experience, so other business travelers will know what to expect.

While digesting your meal, take a moment to save the details to Concur or TimeSheeter for easy tracking of your expenses.  These flexible apps allow you to save information on meals, mileage and hours, all with the ability to easily export the data when you get home.

For anything else a “road warrior” might need in an unfamiliar town, check out AroundMe.  This app uses the GPS in your phone to find the pharmacy, gas station, ATM, coffee shop, parking lot, supermarket, taxi, etc., nearest to your current location.  One of the fastest & easiest ways to get accurate information on the businesses closest to you-Don’t leave home without it!

If all else fails, there’s Evernote.  There are too many features to list, but the big ones are:

  • Taking notes-it’s the perfect place to help you remember useful websites & important details
  • Making “To-Do Lists”
  • Uploading documents & photos
  • All notes you enter, documents & photos become searchable for text; you can easily find whatever you’re looking for with just a few taps.
  • With options for all operating systems, desktop computers & web/cloud access, you’ll never be without the information you need.

Most of the apps mentioned here are free and available for Android and iOS.  Hopefully, these apps will take a little bit of the stress out of your next trade show appearance and make you more productive!

Tell us about your favorite apps in the comment section, below!

Would you stop at your own booth?

Boost the “Curb Appeal” at your next trade show!

Photo courtesy of Flickr
Photo courtesy of Flickr

Have you ever thought about the similarities between the “curb appeal” of a home that’s for sale and that of your trade show booth? In both instances, the first impressions that newcomers have are crucial in determining whether they will stop, learn more and ultimately, if they will buy.  Attendees at a trade show are going to make judgments about your company & products, based on your booth’s curb appeal (or lack thereof…) before they ever talk to you.

Here’s some familiar advice for increasing the curb appeal of a home, translated into ideas for success at your next face-to-face marketing event.

  • “Have a welcoming entryway” – Just as you want guests to feel welcome in your home, you want attendees to feel the same in your booth. Visitors are more likely to enter a warm, inviting environment. Adding greenery/ potted plants & having professionally dressed staff will help with visual appeal.  Also, as a general rule, you want at least 60% of the frontage open to avoid a perceived barrier to entry.
  • “Keep it bright” – Lighting along the outside of a house enhances architectural elements, adding a decorative touch.  Lighting in your booth ensures that your display is prominent & can be used to focus attention on specific messages.
  • “Put on a fresh coat of paint” – Sometimes, a new coat of paint can help a house that feels ordinary or dated.  Similarly, updated graphics could help to draw attention to your booth and better communicate your messaging.
  • “Cut back on clutter” – Having too much clutter in a house, or trade show booth, creates visual noise that distracts prospects & keeps them from focusing on the benefits you’re trying to convey.  Organize your literature & samples, and try to have at least 60% of the floor space unoccupied so your area won’t seem cramped.
  • “Keep it clean” – Dust & dirt in a home make potential buyers wary of other kinds of neglect in the property. When you keep the elements of your display clean, free of dust & visually appealing, the “take away” for attendees will be that your company knows how to handle the small details.

    A booth with curb appeal
    A booth with plenty of curb appeal
  •  “Be in a great neighborhood” – While most homeowners can’t choose where their property is located and can’t influence how neighbors maintain their homes, you-as an exhibitor-can select where your “real estate” will be. Opt for a booth space in a section of the hall that will have good traffic throughout the show. If you’ve been to this particular show before, choose to be near neighbors who do not have loud/distracting displays, and stay away from those who construct displays that will block attendees’ ability to see you when walking the aisles.
  • “Cut the grass” The ultimate tip for improving curb appeal is to keep the lawn in pristine condition. At a show, your choice of flooring and how well it is maintained will tell the client something about you. Choose a color/material that matches well with your graphics and pick something that’s comfortable to stand on. (Clean/vacuum the floor as needed.)

Focusing on these improvements before your next show could help boost the number of attendees that stop, and at the end of the day, the number of leads you walk away with.

We did our homework on curb appeal at the Advice section of Realtor.com.

What ideas do you have to impact the curb appeal of a trade show display?  We welcome your comments, below!

How To Get The Most “Bang For Your Buck” (Part 2)

Photo courtesy of  Jeff Golden via Flickr
Photo courtesy of Jeff Golden via Flickr

You’ve put so much time & energy into the design of your trade show booth, backdrop & other elements… are you getting the most ‘bang for your buck’ out of these materials?

Your trade show display is designed to quickly & effectively communicate your organization’s identity and message.  One way you can ensure you’re getting a good return on investment (ROI) is to put the display to work more often.

Depending on your business & the activities in the community your company participates in, the additional opportunities to use your display will vary, but might include:

  • Summer Festivals & Fairs
    • If a good fit for the product / brand, you may consider looking for additional brand exposure at art, music & food festivals / fairs
    • Consider how can you engage new customers at these events & tie that to the positive experience they’re already having at these memorable occasions
  • Press Conferences – If you are inviting members of the media to a press conference, (to launch a new product, announce an expansion, etc.) your display could be the perfect professional backdrop
  • Community events, chamber of commerce events – Check the calendar for your local chamber of commerce events to see if there is an opportunity to introduce your organization to the business community.  Your display would be a great visual aid
  • Charity Events – Do you sponsor any events, such as a race for a charity, auction, symposium or golf tournament?  Make sure the attendees know your organization is involved!
  • HR/ Recruiting – At career/job fairs, let your HR staff attract more potential job candidates to their booth/table using the great graphics/messaging you’ve already created!
  • Lobby – When not in use at shows, consider installing elements from your trade show display in your lobby / retail space to invite visitors & improve the “first impression” they have of your organization
  • Online – Any video displays / slideshows you have designed for use at trade shows can be uploaded to YouTube to increase your internet presence
  • Company Events – Welcome guests at your summer picnic, holiday parties or hospitality events with elements from your display to let them know, “they’ve arrived” and to show the pride you have in your organization!

If you have other ideas, please share them in the discussion below!