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

A Trade Show Checklist for Packing a “Gang Box”

First Aid for your trade show display
First Aid for your trade show display

During a typical day at the office, any supplies you might need are easily accessible and it’s unlikely anyone would ever consider running out of staples to be a “crisis.” When you’re on the trade show floor however, it’s an entirely different story. Needing anything from Velcro for attaching graphics, to duct tape for a quick fix can become quite the dilemma. . . and an expensive one at that. If you’re in need of a roll of tape ten minutes before an event starts and the only supplier is Show Services, you may find yourself paying unreasonable prices. To avoid ending up in this situation altogether, it’s essential to pack a “gang box” for your next trade show.

A gang box is an event survival kit containing items to help you in almost any scenario. Experienced exhibitors bring a “gang box” with them to every event and ensure that it’s restocked before every show. Below is a trade show checklist of both the basics as well as a list of items for more extreme scenarios.

MUST HAVES

Don’t leave home without them:

  • Roll of Velcro
  • Scissors
  • Super Glue
  • Scotch Tape & Double-Sided Tape
  • Duct Tape or Gaffer’s Tape (Doesn’t leave as much residue as duct tape)
  • Mini Stapler/Staples/Staple remover
  • Black Sharpies, Highlighters & White Out
  • Box [or two] of Pens (trust me, they grow legs!)
  • An assortment of sticky notes, message pads, and three-by-five note cards
  • Binder clips, paper clips, rubber bands, straight pins, safety pins, zip ties
  • Paper towels and gentle cleansing solution (for wiping down booth counters)
  • Screwdriver set (both Phillips and flathead)
  • Measuring tape
  • Box Cutter (make this easily accessible)
  • USB/ jump drive of all booth graphics, handouts and brochures (Make sure to know the locations of the nearest FedEx Kinko’s or other copying outlets prior to the show)
  • Extra copies of demo/presentation/software & videos
  • A/V & Computer/network cables
  • Extra copy of your Setup/ Installation instructions for your display
  • Pictures of your booth completely set up from all angles (makes it easy to know which graphics go where)
  • Grounded, UL-rated surge protector strip
  • Electronic copies of your Show Order Forms/ Confirmations, Shipping Documents, and Reservations

 

PERSONAL ITEMS

Sometimes, you can’t leave the booth and these could be life savers:

  • Quick dissolve breath strips (or another kind of mint)
  • Pocket Packs of Tissues
  • Small first aid kit
  • Hand Sanitizer or Wet Wipes
  • Small Lint Remover
  • Stain Removing Pen
  • Antacid, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Tylenol (have all of them on hand, people have allergies or preferences)
  • Hand cream
  • Comb

 

OPTIONAL ITEMS

These items might save your exhibit in case of any last-minute emergency.  Think of any scenarios where these might come into play, no matter how extreme and pack the items that could save your booth.  Shipping these to your show will cost you far less than having Show Services repair your display:

  • Staple gun with extra staples
  • Battery Powered Screw Driver
  • Extra light bulbs (make sure they match the ones in your booth)
  • Extra screws, nuts, bolts, fasteners, standoffs, etc.
  • Wire Cutter
  • Calculators, clipboards & order forms, (if you write orders at the show).
  • Strong Shipping Tape
  • Double-sided carpet tape
  • Shrink wrap
  • FedEx / UPS Shipping Envelopes/ Pouches

 

While these items are all recommended, we encourage you to add anything else for your specific needs. What do you pack in your trade show tool kit that may be different from the items we listed? Add them in the comment section, below!  Learn more about exhibiting at trade shows in our other blog posts or by heading to our website.

 

Written by John Leberman, Marketing Coordinator for FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

 FB Displays and Designs trade show display

Modern Trade Show Lead Follow-Up

Modern Trade Show Lead Follow-Up
Trade Show Lead Follow Up.  Photo Courtesy of Flickr.
Trade Show Lead Follow Up. Photo Courtesy of Flickr.

 

Believe it or not, about 80% of exhibitors don’t follow up with the leads they’ve gathered after meeting new people in their trade show booth.

 

Sounds crazy, right?

 

Not to worry. This being the 21st Century, I’m going to share my favorite, easy, modern ways to connect with your leads after the event.

 


   

-LinkedIn

What could be simpler? Start typing your prospect’s name into the search bar on LinkedIn and in a few moments you can invite them to connect with you. I usually write the recipient a personal note to remind them how we met or about the conversation we had. Since LinkedIn is all about maintaining relationships with people you know, I think this improves your chances that they’ll accept your invitation. Now, this lead has a simple way to contact me, and I them.

 

-VIP Questions & Follow-Up

It seems like every show I staff, I leave with a list of a few very important clients & prospects that have questions or need quotes of a more in-depth nature. Ideally, these should be responded to within 24-48 hours. Due to the hectic timeline at the end of a trade show, I create reminders in my phone’s calendar to address these right away. I try to split the list into questions/quotes that I can ask someone at the home-office to reply to, and those that I should write to personally. This way I cut down on the overall response time.

 

-Instantaneous

Very often on the trade show floor, I’m doing a presentation for a client using a tablet or smartphone. In these instances, I find it very helpful to compose an email with the pictures, PDFs & catalogs we reviewed & send it to the prospect while they’re still in the booth. When practical, I prefer this tactic because I can ask them to verify they’ve received it (avoiding emails lost due to misspellings or hidden in Spam/Junk mail folders). In addition, they don’t have to carry around my catalog for the rest of the day!

 

-Group Emails

Did you collect contact info during the trade show with a lead retrieval machine or app? Did you get a list of attendees from show management? What about the business cards you’ve collected during the expo? A quick, group email can be used to thank those that stopped at your booth and to extend a reminder of your product & service offerings to all. We use Constant Contact to manage these lists, but there are many similar providers out there.

 


 

What steps will you take to improve your post-show communication? Leave your thoughts in the comment thread!  Learn more about exhibiting at trade shows in our other blog posts or by heading to our website.

 

Written by John Leberman, Marketing Coordinator for FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

 

FB Displays and Designs trade show display

The Five “L’s” of Exhibit Success

The 5 L's of Exhibit Success
The Five “L’s” of Exhibit Success
Photo Courtesy of Flickr

As I was cleaning my office the other day, I came across an article in Trade Show Week that was written almost 20 years ago by Michael Falkowitz, who, at that time, was Sales Development Manager at Nabisco.

Although it was printed some time ago, I would like to share a few lines of timeless advice from that article.

Following are five principles that will ensure both exhibit and job success:

* Learn:

Never stop learning.  The huge technical development that can be [attained] at trade shows is one example of the reasons why exhibit managers must continue to learn. Being a successful exhibit manager will involve knowing and applying this ever-evolving technology.

* Love:

Maintain a positive attitude even in stressful times. Respond to all inquiries. Ours is a communication business. It is rude [to] not respond to phone calls. Know everything there is to know about your company, and go the extra mile, no matter what task you face.

* Laugh:

Keeping a sense of humor can see you through stressful periods and make your- and your team members’- jobs much easier.

* Labor:

Like going the extra mile, doing the best possible job will help make your exhibit the center of attention. Hard work and sacrifice are part of the job.

* Leave:

When the show is done, it’s time to take back what you have learned and start applying those principles to the next trade show.

In closing, it is important to remember that a tradeshow display is not a museum. It’s a billboard, a time-compressed live marketing event and a communication process. Creating an exhibit that’s the center of attention is a matter of taking advantage of those features creatively.

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!