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!

Definition of INDEPENDENCE


By: Troy Stover, FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

1: the quality or state of being independent.

As the sole military veteran at FBD2 (and one known to relish in pontificating for hours on any number of subjects), given the upcoming holiday, I was tasked with writing something in regards to independence. The only problem is that I don’t feel I have any better a grasp on the concept than anyone else. Oh, sure, I get the idea that with independence we’re free to vote for whom we want, free to worship the God of our choice, and free to marry whom we love (well, most of us, at any rate), but I tend to think that maybe there’s more to it than all that.

Initially going online in the hopes of discovering a deeper meaning behind the word – behind the concept, really – as can be seen by the above (Thanks a LOT, Merriam, this exercise resulted in very little assistance to my cause, so I fear I’m just going to have to “wing it.”

I tend to think that Uncle Ben had it right, with the whole “with great power, comes great responsibility” speech he gave to Peter Parker. For the purpose of this article however, we’ll insert “freedom” for “power.” Because freedom is just that, power. It’s also a privilege, and a responsibility. One that may be given initially, but still needs to be earned and maintained.

I think Albert Einstein said it best when he stated, “For those who would joyously march in rank and file, they have already earned my contempt, for they were given a large brain by accident when a spinal chord would have sufficed.” A bit harsh? Maybe. But you see, Albert understood that the things of this world that are worth treasuring are also worth thinking about, fighting for, and working hard at. Also, they’re worth the effort of being handled with a sense of individual responsibility, versus simply waiting around for the “other guy.”

Another of my heroes, Joe Strummer, summed it up slightly differently when he said, “When you blame yourself, you learn from it. If you blame someone else, you don’t learn nothing, cause hey, it’s not your fault, it’s his fault, over there.” Now that’s not to say that we only learn from mistakes, but I think we would do well to keep personal responsibility at the forefront, to realize that freedom truly isn’t free (I’m not even going to attempt to look that little gem up, as I’m sure the internet has it attributed to Lincoln, Twain, Freeman, Takei AND Madonna).

I suppose my nutshelled point is this: as my children’s kindergarten teacher used to say (and I know it was her who said it, versus Madonna), “Every day, just do your personal best.” That is what independence is. That; is what freedom demands.

From all of us here at FBD2, thank you for your continued patronage and partnership. We hope that you and yours have a wonderful holiday, filled with freedom, peace, and your personal best.

Going Mobile on the Trade Show Floor

Photo Courtesy of

Over the past few years, smartphones and tablets have become an integral part of everyday life. Since mobile devices are portable and can access a great deal of information within seconds, they are a natural fit for use in the trade show environment. Here are some tips for using mobile technology to your advantage at a trade show.

  • Include a highly visible QR Code on your display. The QR code should take users to a landing page that is optimized for mobile devices. The landing page can be your company’s homepage, a contest entry form, a lead qualification form, etc.
  • Use an app to collect leads. There are several apps that make lead retrieval very simple, such as iLeads and DUB, that allow you to scan a business card and enter the contact information into either your phone contacts or a database. Using a lead retrieval app will save you the headache of keeping up with hundreds of pieces of paper and trying to decipher a potential lead’s handwriting. The leads can be sent directly from your phone or tablet to your office.
  • Schedule appointments with prospects using the calendar function on your phone or tablet. This saves both you and the prospect the time of attempting to connect after the trade show and guarantees a better chance that the meeting will take place.
  • Many trade shows have an app created for the event. Download this onto your mobile devices and continually check for updates, changes, itineraries and announcements.
  • Take photos using the smartphone’s camera and share them on your company’s social media platforms. Include your booth number to encourage your followers at the show to visit your exhibit.
  • Stream video from the event to the home office, attendees and clients who were unable to attend, using social media and/or videoconferencing.
  • Ask attendees to share their own photos and videos from your exhibit through social media. To encourage attendee contributions, design a contest for attendees who share their images and videos of your exhibit through social media.
  • Design a simple, interactive game to be played on a mobile device housed at your exhibit. A game is memorable and increases attendee engagement. The game should easy to play, fun, casual and tied directly to your value proposition.
  • Process credit card payments using a device like AprivaPay, which attaches to your smartphone or tablet and allows you to swipe the client’s credit card.

Exhibitors who learn to leverage mobile technology on the trade show floor will ensure that their trade show appearance goes smoothly, while also increasing engagement with the show attendees. This leads to a greater amount of leads generated at the show and less time spent on administrative tasks associated with post-trade show follow-up, which ultimately improves ROI (return on investment).

Marketing Lessons from “America’s Next Great Restaurant”

I had the opportunity last night to catch the pilot episode of a new reality program on NBC called “America’s Next Great Restaurant”. The concept of the show rather intrigued me – a group of contestants from various professions are given the opportunity to present their idea for a fast, casual restaurant to a panel of “investors” comprised of internationally renowned chefs Bobby Flay and Curtis Stone, Chipotle founder Steve Ells and executive chef Lorena Garcia. Like all reality TV series, the contestants will have rigorous challenges to go through every week and the last person standing will have their restaurant built in New York City, Minneapolis and Hollywood.

Yesterday’s episode showcased the top 21 contestants pitching their ideas for what they believe will be the next big thing in the world of fast and casual dining. Unfortunately, only 10 would be able to make it through to the next round. Throughout the proposals, I noticed some contestants integrating smart marketing strategies into their presentations to make themselves truly stand out. Here are some of the valuable marketing lessons I took away from the show:

Make Your Brand Memorable

When contestant Joseph Galuzzi presented his waggishly named “Saucy Balls” concept, I couldn’t help but laugh as the panel snickered at his amusingly titled restaurant. The origin of the name actually came from Galuzzi’s young daughter who had randomly suggested it based on one of his signature dishes titled “Grandma’s Meatballs”.

Despite the element of humor in his pitch, Galuzzi hit it right on the mark with his branding concept. Whether people get a chuckle out of the mildly inappropriate pun or deem it utterly ridiculous, “Saucy Balls” is quite memorable on either side of the fence.

Have Confidence In Your Idea

When former WNBA Champion and personal trainer Fran Harris conveyed her vision of a health and fitness based restaurant chain that would promote a nutritional menu with sports culture, she spoke with such conviction and enthusiasm that the panel instantly chose her as the first to advance on the show.

Pairing her confidence for her concept with knowledge of the restaurant business really helped Harris make an impact among the many unassertive contestants. This just goes to show that if you can’t stand behind your ideas, don’t expect to see them come to life.

K.I.S.S. (Keep It Short & Simple)

Presenting a 10 page menu with over 100 items is not an ideal marketing strategy for a restaurant defined as “fast and quick”. Neither is spending a good portion of your proposal time inflating a giant tent that has absolutely no correlation to your concept. While some contestants missed the mark of presenting a simple and unique restaurant, others hit it right out of the park.

Eric Powell’s “Meltworks” idea offered variations of the classic grilled cheese sandwich while Alex Terranova’s fusion taco concept “Hard N Soft Tacos” put a new spin on a traditional fast food item. The “Investors” were sold on both ideas due to the simplicity and focus on one speciality. With any new brand, it’s essential to start small and progress naturally, adding new divisions over time. Rushing to incorporate multiple branches into a new business will be a “recipe” for disaster.

Stand Apart From The Crowd

While a handful of contestants were eliminated for bringing the overdone “burger joint” or “chicken wing place” concepts to the table, other ideas held their own in the realm of creativity. Sandra Digiovanni cleverly designed a concept she called “Limbo”. Her idea was to create a restaurant that gave you the option of eating either healthy, bad, or both. “Limbo” would offer two separate menus – the first menu (“halos”) would offer healthy meal options while the second menu (“horns”) would present over-the-top “unhealthy” versions of the same dishes.

While Digiovanni’s food entry was well received, her concept didn’t rely on a specialty dish as much as it did on an interesting idea. It’s always fun and beneficial to find creative inspiration wherever you can. Take time out of your day to simply brainstorm and jot down any thoughts that may come to you. You never know when the next great idea for your brand may come about!

Scott Bykowicz is the Marketing Coordinator for FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

My Favorite Super Bowl Ad (and the Story Behind It!)

During the Super Bowl, we all anxiously wait for those memorable commercials. My personal favorite this year was a Bridgestone ad where a company employee accidentally hit “reply all” when sending an inappropriate e-mail to his co-worker. While the ad itself was quite hilarious, the scenario was actually based on the real, humiliating experiences of a creative at the Richards Group.

A few months after last year’s Super Bowl, the agency started brainstorming ideas for this year’s potential hit. Creative Bill Cochran decided that in order to get himself and partner Patrick Murray psyched about competing for the next Bridgestone ad, it would be a good idea to write an informal e-mail discussing all the other creative teams they were up against. “I started breaking it down by name–the teams that I thought were really gonna bring it, as well as some teams that I thought we didn’t have to present against… It was pretty much unedited thoughts from my head.”

After Cochran finished the e-mail, he accidentally hit “Reply All”, sending it to everyone in his office. A few minutes later, he got a puzzling email from another co-worker about this “strange email” Cochran had just sent out. “All I know is just the blood completely rushed out of my head. I felt lightheaded.”

Six hundred Richards Group employees worked in the building and Cochran estimates that the e-mail reached most of them within minutes. He became the laughing stock of the agency and even worse, he had to face all the creatives mentioned in that e-mail on a daily basis – those he admired, those he deemed unworthy, and those who he felt weren’t even worth mentioning.

He contemplated whether or not he would survive at the agency but kept his focus on the work at hand. At the next pitch meeting, Cochran knew that only one thing would be on people’s mind as he spoke, and that he “might as well walk through the fire and address it.” As a sort of self-effacing joke, he floated an idea of a spot called “Reply All.”

The more he and his partner thought about it, though, they realized that the idea had real potential and decided to develop an actual spot concept based on Cochran’s faux pas. To his amazement, the concept he and Murray came up with won over his colleagues, and finally Bridgestone. The ad aired just this past Sunday and the full version can be viewed here:

Source: David ZaxHow a Real “Reply-All” Faux Pas Yielded Comedy Gold”,

Not Just For Trade Shows!

Believe it or not, trade show displays and components are commonly used in both television and movies. FB Displays & Designs’ major partner, Nomadic Display, is constantly proving how their custom products can transcend the trade show floor. Here’s some of their work that you may have seen on the screen!

Nomadic created the black and yellow backdrops used behind the commentators for FOX’s Sunday Night Football. In a frame of four days, eight custom made fabric backwall displays were created to be used from coast-to-coast. These displays were designed to be easily broken down and set-up for the filming of game highlights.

The NFL Network was so impressed by the FOX Sunday Night Football set designs, they asked Nomadic to create the backdrops for their sets on Thursday Night Football. The goal was to create a unique custom display that gave maximum visual impact with ease of setup.

Nomadic has been providing the backdrops for “American Idol” since 2002. The  backdrops can be seen at the first weeks of each season during the audition process. The popularity of the American Idol sets caught the attention of NBC who requested Nomadic create the set for their popular reality TV show “America’s Got Talent”.

This portable backwall was used on set during the audition episodes of the show.

Back in the late 90s, Nomadic’s C34 Instand frames were used as an element on the set of Start Trek Voyager. The frames made up the design of the Holodeck, a cyber portal on one of the most advanced vessels in the star fleet. This set marked Nomadic’s television debut.

Nomadic displays have also appeared in the recent films “Up In The Air” with George Clooney and “Love and Other Drugs” with Jake Gyllenhall. For more information on Nomadic Display’s projects in the entertainment industry, please visit