Archives for posts with tag: The Display Builders

(Episode 2: I just told the show organiser to get bent. Now what, genius?)

It was back on the 11th July that I wrote the first part of this post and much like my golden years of TV where I was left wondering between seasons who the hell really did try to kill JR (anyone reading this sub Gen-X…ask a grown up), I finally have coughed up the finale. Let’s dive straight back it to where I left you…..

So you’ve pulped your exhibitor manual and blocked calls from the show organiser….. Now what?

Create your own trade show. It sounds like a mountain of work and I won’t lie, the organising of your own event is EPIC but there are heaps of people you can outsource to like my wonderful friend Jade who loves staging events as much as I love a rock festival with short queues for food ie. A SHED LOAD!  There are some major benefits to you staging you own event such as:

  1. You own the show

Yep. You company name looms large everywhere and you don’t have that sinking feeling when you get to the traditional trade show and realise that your opposition has spent twice the GNP of Fiji on their stand design.

And have sponsored the keynote.

And they have better coffee.

Your show, your way….doesn’t that sound divine?

The Display Builders do Schneider’s own events and they have had HUGE success with these.  See below for a pretty pic of Schneider’s own event.

Schneider's own event as done by The Display Builders

Schneider’s own event as done by The Display Builders

  1. You set the program

I’d suggest reaching out to your ideal customer here and ask them what would make them give a “HELL YES!” to them to taking time out of their packed schedule and to a self-produced event. Don’t fall into the trap of booking speakers that would parrot accepted business practise. You really want to mix it up! Some of the best events I have been to included a left-of-centre presentation on “How the world sees you” by Sally Hogshead. Totally fascinating stuff (I’m the trendsetter according to her online tes), so make you program free ranging, intriguing and even controversial. But please, no cheesy corporate presenters. That stuff is so Chamber of Commerce 1970’s style.

  1. You control the invites

No more wondering if your ideal market will even be there, you control the list. You will have to work harder at getting your ideal clients along to convince them their time at your event is worth clearing their calendar for. Send save-the-dates at least 9 to 6 months in advance and then have a solid pre-event strategy where you send regular reminders and updates. Consider using direct mail to target your customers and send this in an express envelope (everybody opens an express post envelope!)

  1. You can measure success. (Bonus: You get to define what success means to you) 

To prove the worth of you own self funded event, you can set what you measure against. Invitees versus final registrants. Post customer feedback forms. Number of press impressions. Total count on follow-up meetings or demos booked. No more rubbery figures provided by show organisers. You set the benchmarks of what you want to measure, then you find a way of either counting or measuring this.

I’d recommend investigating further if running your event is a good move for your company to either stage in conjunction with your trade show program or to replace some current trade show events with your own. The first step – as always – is to look at your objectives and see if that is being currently served by your show roster or if you are going to look at solo events to achieve your aims. To help get a feel for costs, speak to your trade show partner so they can give you a budget guide of the costs you can expect to be up for and don’t forget to add in costs to boost your in-house resources. Depending on your expected numbers, you will definitely need someone – or a tribe – to help with the invites and delegate management. Getting your ideal customer to the event is paramount. No-show people wise means no-show event wise.

Now I am moving this blog over to my new home at: Please come across and visit me there. I decided I wanted more sparkle, a bigger lounge, perhaps a guest bedroom and a walk in heel-drobe. So yeah, come over, bring a plate and make your self at home!

And if you did find yourself in my actual real home (oooh look! She does have a LOT of recipe books that seem to be only about cake…), you would be listening to this tune on high rotation. I’m going to give it another spin now!  And really….this is the only blurred lines song you need.  That other one with la douche Robin Thicke?  Total rubbish.


See you at my new home!

Are you new to the world of trade shows?

Or are you a seasoned pro that could do with a behaviour reboot on an exhibition stand?

Whatever and whoever, this quick how to video will help ensure that your trade show staffing style is tip top and ready to sparkle.  Feel free to drop any queries in the comments section below and remember if you like the vid, please hit that thumbs up button!

See you next week!

Current industry thinking says you have around 3 seconds to make an impact with your trade show stand and within those tiny 3 seconds, your potential customer is weighing up whether to set foot on your stand.

Holy cats…3 seconds! That is less than the time it takes for me to decide what heels to wear (patent black with shiny buckles if you are interested)!

So let’s look at what makes a trade show stand memorable.

1. We all like pretty!

This means all sorts of thing to members of the mob but in general terms, think of an exhibition stand’s aesthetics like a ideal date partner: clean, well put together,considered and unique. You are highly unlikely to visit or remember a stand that looks messed up and weird…and weird in not a good way. As with all things in life that matter, put your best high heeled foot forward.

2. Tap that emotional gauge

Now when I mentioned “unique” above, this might also be interchangeable with whimsical, powerful, quirky, bold and so on. The key thing here is connecting the look of the stand with making your ideal customer feel something.  Emotions are intense markers, if you elicit something in your audience that prompts a raised eyebrow, a smirk, a sense of wonder, you are barking up the right trade show tree.

3. What did you just say?

One of the biggest single killers of memorable is the twin threat of mixed messaging and many messages. And I hear you, this is so hard to keep it tight when ever single brand manger insists that they must have a messaging statement.  With supporting graphics. With a plasma screen showing a scrolling presentation. And supporting copy.  Siemens faced a similar type of challenge with their trade shows. In previous years we had a cavalcade of text and graphics that totally overwhelmed at the visitor.

Siemens @ ASMMIRT 2011 – The Display Builders

Now, with the support of key members of the Siemens marketing team we have got out the pinking shears and trimmed the messaging overgrowth.

Siemens @ ASMMIRT 2012 - The Display Builders

Siemens @ ASMMIRT 2012 – The Display Builders

I partner with The Display Builders on a number of trade shows, including those of Siemens.  See more of our work here:

4. Different….and unusual!

So yah, you do trade shows all the time and it’s working OK for you.  But what if you could do one thing differently than you normally do? What if you were a car manufacturer at a motor show but you had this crazy-awesome lighting and projection where it seemed like the car was actually moving on the stand? I project managed motor show stands for yonks and for the life of me I could not work out why something designed to move you was presented so statically.  Or what about, you sold wallpaper and you were exhibiting at a design show and you employed a wallpaper installer to continually re-wallpaper the stand walls throughout the show thereby ensuring visitors returned to your stand again and again to see the latest change? So many options, so be brave.

5. I’ll call you!

We are made so many promises: “this is good for you”, “I’ll pick your daughter up at eight”, “The fridge will be delivered on Tuesday”. We are so used to little or no follow through, we are thrown and also hugely impressed when someone does what they say they will do. So when you are talking to your customers on the stand and telling them you will send the email with the PDF brochure, or you will ask one of the sales reps to deliver the promised samples or call them with that piece of information that they really need…then just bloody do it. Your word is your promise so follow through and become instantly memorable.

If you like what you have read here and think we might be able to create something memorable, please get in touch:

In keeping with our memorable theme, I’d like to share this music video to illustrate point 4. Those garden variety treadmills were elevated to memorable through clever choreography and a natty shirt selection. Remember if you like the song, buy it and see you next week!