The Write Stuff
Material swatches are only effective if they make it home with clients and prospects. But much like collateral literature, samples and swatches have a tendency to be left behind or thrown away before buyers even leave the convention center. So at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Convention, Valspar Corp. put a clever – and memorable – twist on its material swatches. In addition to hundreds of 3-by-3-inch samples of its colored metal surfacing products that visitors were free to take home with them, Valspar also invited architects to select from a wide variety of Sharpies and colored pencils in hues similar to colors of the swatches on display. As such, interested clients and prospects left Valspar's exhibit with a few samples and writing implements which, due to their usefulness, were more likely to make it back to buyers' home offices than mere swatches alone.
A cardboard display sounds about as exciting as a paper bag. But at Interbike 2015, Flybikes S.L. constructed a cardboard display that was anything but ho-hum. Throughout the space, Flybikes positioned cardboard components with product-shaped cutouts to house everything from bike frames to drive trains. A waist-high table made of similar material, however, took center stage. Here, products were housed in cutouts in the table top, and text on its surface explained the benefits of each component. The lightweight, inexpensive material not only provided a unique, on-brand display, but also attracted attention and educated attendees.
Share the Love
It's not uncommon to spot a coffee bar in an exhibit, nor is it unusual for an exhibitor to hand out premiums in return for a complimentary tweet or post from attendees. It is rare, however, to see those two popular tactics combined, which is what Astound Group did at EXHIBITORLIVE. In exchange for a badge scan, Astound's baristas treated attendees
to one of several premium coffee beverages and a branded tote bag featuring the company's "I Heart Trade Shows" tagline. Show goers could also post to Instagram or Twitter using the #ihearttradeshows hashtag, and those who did were rewarded with branded mason-jar tumblers. By combining social media, coffee, and swag, Astound created an experience that surpassed lead goals by 25 percent and generated hundreds of social-media posts on Twitter and Instagram throughout the show.
At FMI Connect, Polymer Logistics Inc. turned its own product into a clever tchotchke. The company, which makes bins, crates, dollies, and pallets for the food industry, downsized a crate into a 2-by-3-inch model that ships flat and bears the Polymer logo. Staffers used the mini crates to hold their business cards on the exhibit's reception desk, giving attendees an idea of how they could put the tchotchkes to work in their offices. The simple display ensured attendees would instantly see the usefulness of the branded box, and that Polymer's logo would have a place on their desks after the show.
Exhibit house Public Address Messebau Oehme & Partner GmbH wanted attendees at EuroShop to know that its creative capabilities can be deployed anywhere in the world at a moment's notice. So to demonstrate that trait – and incorporate an iconic element that says "global" and "deployable" – the company built a couldn't-miss corner exhibit comprising 120 hard-sided suitcases in the company's corporate orange hue. Video monitors embedded into the back wall displayed photos of the firm's past projects, while text projected on the dimensional back wall reinforced brand attributes via single words such as "design," "conception," and "construction." The unique exhibit stood out amid aisles of comparably traditional (and forgettable) structures, and as the show wound down on the last day, Public Address happily distributed all 120 suitcases to clients and prospects in a move that provided recipients an extra bag to haul home the promotional items and collateral literature they'd collected, while also lightening the load on the exhibitor's return shipment.
At an eco-minded show such as the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, Kimberly-Clark Corp. stood out like a sore thumb. On a show floor teeming with companies that make hand dryers – billed as more eco-friendly – Kimberly-Clark, which owns the Kleenex brand, displayed a large graphic panel in its booth with the text, "Blows, doesn't it?" Statistics about jet air dryers explained the devices are 75 times more contaminated than a toilet seat, blow spray up to 6.5 feet, and increase germ count on fingertips by up to 42 percent. Additional signage extolled the recycled content of Kimberly-Clark's products, as well as information about the company's Green initiatives, proving paper towels aren't all bad and other companies were really just blowing hot air.
Best known for its instant film and cameras, Polaroid Corp. has had a difficult time finding a footing in the landscape of digital photography. But in recent years, Polaroid has returned to its roots (relaunching some of its iconic offerings) while also forging ahead with digital products. So to give attendees a visual representation of the brand's story at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show, Polaroid invited two artists from "Street Art Throwdown," a reality-show competition, to create an interactive art installation in its exhibit, with different murals taking shape each day. On day one, the artists' work depicted Polaroid's past, while murals created on day two and three represented the company's present and future. The tactic positioned Polaroid as forward thinking (without erasing its historic past) and attracted attendees, many of whom revisited the booth each day to see the new artwork.