Out with the Old… In with the New [Website]

FB Displays & Designs New Homepage
FB Displays & Designs New Homepage

After many months of research, planning, design & coding, we, at FBD2, are very excited to announce the launch of our new website!

The new site is now live and is located at the same address, http://www.displaysanddesigns.com. We’re happy to share this new design with you, and hope that you will take time to visit & enjoy all the changes.

Our process of creating the new website started several months ago, when we defined our goals and how to best achieve them. Here are a few examples of this effort and what strategies we employed:

 

Results-Oriented

Our top priority for the new layout of our website was a design that allowed our clients the ability to easily find display solutions to meet their individual needs. To this end, we retooled the most prominent section of our website, creating the “Display Solutions” page, with subsections that focus on the priorities and needs for exhibiting at trade shows and recruiting fairs, in museums and outdoor events. We concluded that by showing examples of the most relevant designs, our visitors will have the best possible experience.

 

Engagement

Another significant area that needed improvement was providing a more engaging and rewarding experience for our visitors. To achieve this, we curated content that appears at the bottom of many of the pages, pointing visitors to additional articles or actions that may be of interest to them. In addition, we tried to use a greater proportion of “real life” photos to show how the displays we produce actually appear on the trade show floor, in a museum and at an outdoor event.

 

Simplicity

After we addressed our major goals, we focused on improving the site as a whole. We felt that our old website had become cluttered, suffering from a lack of focus. To correct this, we pared down the extraneous pages on our site, and streamlined our menu whereby all visitors can reach the content they’re looking for in two-or-less clicks/taps.

 

Quality Content

Simplifying our site was not enough by itself. We had to make sure the information presented would be the most helpful to our current & potential clients. We decided to remove large portions of complicated text and small, ineffective icons. These have been replaced with larger, more visually appealing images and descriptions that are more direct and succinct.

 

Although our everyday focus is on the design & production of trade show displays, our design team is experienced in a variety of graphic design services, including creating logos/branding, brochures, and in this instance, web design. As these services are completed in-house, the same quality and attention to detail that goes into our displays is carried through to all our design projects.

Ultimately, it is our hope that you find this new site more engaging. We think we have met that goal, but we would love to hear your feedback! If you think there are pages/areas that could be improved, or if there are topics you would like to learn more about, please leave a comment below!

 

 

FB Displays and Designs trade show display

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!

Keep It Simple – Combine Trends for Greater Efficiency!

Written by Guest Contributor – Hendrik Lenze, Director of Business Development for Nomadic Display

Combining Current Industry Trends for Trade Show Success
Photo Courtesy of Nomadic Display

In the “portable exhibit” world, Nomadic Display continues to see three major trends:

  1. Tension Fabric Displays’ rise in popularity
  2. iPad/tablet integration into booth designs
  3. Portability combined with “functional” needs

With these industry trends in mind, let’s take a closer look at these aspects of your trade show / exhibiting mix-

Tension Fabric Displays

Whether it’s for an event or trade show, graphics digitally printed on tension fabric can be seen on everything from hanging signs to backdrops & counters.  Rapid growth in the popularity of tension fabric displays in recent years is likely due to key advantages such as:

  • Fabric graphics deliver high quality, continuous-tone images in a vivid range of colors.
  • Fabric graphics are durable and easy to maintain. They don’t ding or dent. They are fade resistant and machine washable.
  • Fabric graphics are lighter in weight and ship compactly which helps reduce storage, transportation and handling (aka drayage) costs.

For a purely graphic backwall, nothing beats combining tension fabric with a pop-up for the ultimate in portability and speed. Our popular FabriMural display offers lightning fast set-up because the graphics travel pre-installed on the frame. Just pop it up and it’s ready to show.

iPad/Tablet Integration

More & more, exhibitors are leaving their printed literature at home, shifting instead to iPad/tablet integration for customer interaction, lead capturing & literature distribution.  Some of the reasons for this include:

  • Desire to be “green” ‐ Fewer resources used by reducing and/or eliminating printed pieces.  (And a smaller “carbon footprint” resulting from shipping less collateral to and from the show.)
  • Potential to save money and materials from having fewer printed pieces that will need to be discarded once they become outdated.
  • Flexibility to update messaging as quickly as your business or industry changes.
  • Information can be fed instantly to your sales network with up‐to‐date materials to begin selling/promoting immediately.
  • Collecting & managing leads electronically means ease of data manipulation and following up after the show

If you’re already using an iPad in your booth, consider investing in the amazing “Media on Demand” App and enjoy a higher return on your investment.  This app is customizable to display your brand, manage your sales literature, and allows you to view product photos/videos, technical specifications & promotions as well.  You can capture leads & email PDFs directly to your customer from within the app.

Portability (Here’s where we bring it all together)

For those of you already familiar with the FabriMural display, you may know about the RollOne storage case, which can convert to a display counter featuring matching graphics.  You can now take that a step further by utilizing the new iPad counter-top. Cleverly inset portrait or landscape into the counter-top, an acrylic shield provides security during show hours while offering cut-outs for access to all the tablet control buttons.  To ensure continuous power to the tablet, the cord can remain in place while secured into the counter-top.

By making the most of these concepts you can look forward to a display design that is cutting edge, while still being simple to ship & easy to set up. Please contact the staff at FB Displays & Designs, Inc. in order to find out more about The Nomadic Display FabriMural, iPad counter-top upgrade or the “Media on Demand” application.

How To Get The Most “Bang For Your Buck” (Part 1)

Used under Creative Commons License from Flickr
Photo Courtesy of Flickr

When exhibiting at a trade show, one of the most important parts of your participation in the event is obviously the booth itself.  Since you’re already participating in the show… are you sure you’re getting the most “bang for your buck”?  At many shows, there are other opportunities -besides just your booth space- for you to connect with attendees.  Here are a few examples…

  • Sponsorships:
    • Consider the additional exposure from being an official sponsor for the event, which usually offers the opportunity to have your company’s logo/ name prominently displayed in the exhibit hall / on the property
    • Are there other branding opportunities at the event?  Perhaps the ability to have your name or logo on wristbands, badge holders, or tote bags for holding brochures? These options allow the attendees to have significant, extended exposure to your brand
    • Are sponsorships available for Charity Auctions, Receptions or a Golf Tournament associated with the show?
    • Shuttle Bus – Is there a courtesy shuttle running between the expo & the show hotel?  Ask if there is an opportunity to sponsor this bus & have your company name, logo & booth number shown here.  It’s a captive audience!
    • Directory/ Map/ Kiosk sponsorships – Whether in print or electronic, this is another way to stay “top of mind” with show attendees.
  • Does the show offer the option to provide your literature pre-stuffed in a bag for attendees?  Mitigate the possibility that some attendees might not make it to your booth by taking advantage of this service.
  • “Hand out” your literature electronically – With the universal use of tablets & smartphones, you now have the option to send your catalogs & handouts to attendees by email (while they’re in your booth!)  You’ll know they have received the information they need about your company plus you now have a direct method to contact them to follow up after the show.  In addition, some shows host a database where you can store an electronic copy of your literature for attendees. Either way, this eco-friendly option ensures information is delivered to your potential clients, (not to mention they won’t have to carry around your catalog all day.)
  • Pre-show marketing/ attendee/member lists & mailing/emailing – This is your chance to announce to attendees that you will be participating in the show, get them excited about your company and let them know why they should stop at your booth!  Most shows will make this list available to you & this step is a “must”!
  • Outgoing email signature – Consider integrating a line about your trade show participation into your outgoing email signature, with basic information about the show, dates & (most importantly) your booth number.  This is a great way to build early buzz/excitement (with very little effort!)
  • Have you completed your vendor profile?  In addition to a printed version for the show floor directory, many shows have a website, electronic directories & mobile apps the attendees may use to find out more about your company.  Don’t miss a single opportunity to connect!
  • Schedule meetings with customers – If there are clients attending the show that you want to devote ‘quality time’ to, write to them ahead of time & schedule a meeting. (This could be during show hours if you know there will be a lull or over dinner when the show floor closes).  This way, you will be able to give them your undivided attention.  Some shows offer to facilitate meetings between vendors & attendees, either through an in-person coordinator or an electronic appointment system.
  • Are there any opportunities to display your products/ services in other areas of the exhibition building? (For example, in the entrance hall/lobby, in display cases, at receptions, etc.)  Are there any of your products/ services that could be used as an in-kind donation to the show?  (Another way to get credit for your brand on a sign that says “Provided by…”)
  • Are there press/reporters that attend this show?  Does show management allow you time in front of the press for announcements about your company or to unveil new products?  Provide any reporters you speak with your business card, and offer product photos/ videos for their articles!  Of course, you should send a press release to trade reporters & to your local media contacts regarding your participation in upcoming shows, too.

Some of these options are free, others will have a cost – depending on the show.   You will need to weigh the exposure you’ll receive with the fees being charged.   The point is, for a little extra effort, you can dramatically extend the number of attendees you engage with & the quality of those interactions.

Trade Show Trends of 2013

Photo Courtesy of Troy Stover
Photo Courtesy of Troy Stover

Once a year, trade show professionals assemble in Las Vegas for the industry’s leading conference and exposition, Exhibitor. Professionals in the trade show business have the opportunity to attend seminars, touch base with current suppliers, learn about new products, network and look into the future of trade show marketing.

Our operations manager, Troy attended Exhibitor2013 this year and returned to the office with some fresh ideas. Based on his observations from the show floor, there are 4 major trends this year in the trade show world. 

  • Interactive technology: If you were looking for a keyboard at Exhibitor, you would have been disappointed, as there were none to be found. The importance of technology of the show has increased significantly due to both the rise of social media and advances in touch screen technology.  Touch screen technology is being integrated into the displays themselves by way of large screens, into the staffers conversations with potential clients with tablets, and throughout the attendees’ experience via mobile devices. This is no different with our clients. We recently created a display for biomedical waste company BioServ that included 2 iPad stands. One iPad station will be used to run an E-procurement demo, while the other station will run a virtual golf game.
  • Fabric graphics: Fabric graphics have become the preferred graphic medium of choice, thanks to the emergence of dye sublimation (or dye sub) printing. Dye sub provides display manufacturers the opportunity to produce a high quality graphic at a lower price. Dye sub graphics also save exhibitors a considerable amount of money on shipping and repair costs, since fabric is lightweight, easy to transport, very easy to clean and less vulnerable to irreparable damage.  We have seen many of our clients move towards using fabric in their displays, including Curbell Plastics and Softlips.
  • Creating an environment vs. fabricating a display: Exhibit designers are focusing their attention on creating an experience at an exhibitor’s booth.  Display professionals have been taking a more holistic approach to exhibit design and using every tool at their disposal to create an ambiance that both engages attendees and represents the exhibitor’s branding.
  • Relaxation of booth staff uniforms:  Companies are moving away from mandating that booth staff wear the traditional suit at the company booth. Many exhibitors are choosing more “inviting” attire that helps create the feeling that staffers are approachable.  Many exhibitors have a staff uniform that is reflective of both their industry and the brand itself. For example, attendees at high-tech shows are often dressed casually and the expectation is that booth staff will be dressed casually as well.

Just like every other marketing channel, the trade show industry is constantly changing in response to advances in technology, product development and improvement efforts, and shifts in marketing ideologies. The major trends for 2013 reflect changes that are aimed at increasing attendee engagement and creating an inviting experience for attendees universally.

Going Mobile on the Trade Show Floor

mobile
Photo Courtesy of http://www.npaworldwide.com

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).

Trade Show Trends of 2012

By Lisa Shackelford

The fall trade show season is upon us, which means exhibitors are inspecting their old displays, purchasing new displays and graphics, repairing broken parts and revising their past trade show strategies. In doing so, exhibitors will undoubtedly evaluate the upcoming trends in the trade show environment.

Here are some of the recent trends to consider when updating your trade show strategy, based on the results of Exhibit Surveys, Inc. annual Trade Show Trends report and the 2012 Social Media Marketing Survey.

  • 35% of attendees in 2011 reported that their intent to buy was more favorable after visiting a company’s exhibit.  This means that for companies that exhibit, the value of attending trade shows lies not only in meeting prospective clients, but also in building brand loyalty and brand awareness.
  • There has been a 90% increase in the amount of marketers using social media as a part of their exhibiting strategy in the past two years. Marketers utilizing social media for exhibit marketing cited benefits such as increased booth traffic, increased brand awareness, improved relationships with clients, increased event attendance, additional press coverage and increased sales as a direct result of their social media campaigns.
  • 81% of trade show attendees in 2011 had the power to make a purchasing decision or influence the purchasing decision. Despite recent economic challenges, trade shows continue to attract attendees that either are decision makers, or have are influential in the buying process.
  • Technology is becoming more integrated into trade show exhibits. IPads and tablets are not just used to show videos and photos of a company’s product. Tablets and CRM software are increasingly being partnered to streamline the lead management process.
  • 36% of attendees on average are first time attendees. Trade shows are attracting a wide variety of decision-makers; from the first-time attendee to the seasoned trade show professional.
  • Many exhibitors have been focusing on creating metrics to justify the initial investment necessary required for exhibiting. The most common metric being discussed is ROI (return on investment), but exhibitors are looking for supplementary metrics as well, such as ROO (return on objectives).

The trade show environment is rapidly evolving to make the experience on the trade show floor more interactive for attendees, by means of social media and technology. Trade shows continue to attract attendees that are decision-makers in the purchasing process, which means that trade shows continue to be a highly effective method for marketers to reach their target market.

Lisa Shackelford is the Marketing Coordinator at FB Displays & Designs. 

References

Sequeira, Ian. “EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Trade Show Trends, April 2012.” EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Trade Show Trends, April 2012. EXHIBITOR Magazine, Apr. 2012. Web. 06 Sept. 2012. <http://www.exhibitoronline.com/exhibitormagazine/apr12/trade-show-trends-exhibit-surveys.asp&gt;.

Stanton, Travis. “EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Social Studies, June 2012.” EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Social Studies, June 2012. EXHIBITOR Magazine, June 2012. Web. 06 Sept. 2012. <http://www.exhibitoronline.com/exhibitormagazine/jun12/research-social-studies.asp&gt;.