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.

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.

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!

Why Halloween’s #1 Rule Applies to Trade Shows

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lizhenry/2990037101/sizes/o/in/photostream/
Courtesy of Flickr

When you think of Halloween, you might picture hordes of youngsters at your door, on their crusade for free candy.  One thing all those kids will have in common is that they have to earn it, by shouting “trick or treat!”

When you’re exhibiting at a trade show, sometimes working at a booth can feel like that as well.  You’ll see tire-kickers coming from across the hall, “trade show trick-or-treaters”, with large branded totes full of free pens, stress-relief-balls and, of course, candy.  They’re probably not planning on doing business with very many vendors; they are scouring the show floor, looking to fill their bags with free stuff.  What’s an exhibitor to do?

Obviously, you’re not going to ask trade show attendees to say “trick-or-treat!”  However, you should try to get them to earn the free item by having a conversation with you.

Consider these ideas to make the most of your promos:

  • Keep free candy & giveaways towards the back of your booth, to avoid “hit & run” behavior.  Put these items on display, but compel the attendee to enter your space and interact with your salespeople.
  • If you tend to give out candy, consider serving mints, as these are inexpensive treats that can help to ensure your booth staffers have fresh breath, too.  (This is Face-to-Face Marketing, after all!)
  • Use promotional products as a conversation–starter.  Something as simple as “Have you seen one of these before?” can break the ice and quickly pivot into a chat with the attendee.  This is a perfect chance to build rapport for a future business relationship
  • Ideally, promotional gifts should be branded with your logo, be an item with some usefulness & be relevant to your organization.  (Hint: use something more creative than a pen or sticky-note pad!)
  • Use this opportunity to qualify leads before inviting them to take a gift.  Collect business cards & ask to scan badges; take notes about their company’s needs, schedule a follow-up if appropriate.
  • Focus on distributing your giveaways to the most valuable prospects you meet.  Let’s face it, the freebies really aren’t free… your company had to pay for them, hoping that future business would come your way.

The most important lesson here is this: don’t let the “trick or treaters” distract you from your goals of meeting prospects, writing orders & obtaining leads.  A disciplined approach to handing out free items should help you to engage with more clients at your next event.  Remember, giveaways can have an important role in your trade show strategy, as long as they are targeted to the right people.

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.