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History that Resonates
Sometimes, in misguided attempts to position their products as the newest, most cutting-edge offerings on the show floor, exhibitors focus exclusively on the present and future. But at the International Consumer Electronics Show, Klipsch Group Inc. celebrated its illustrious past with an in-booth museum featuring founder Paul W. Klipsch's high-school headphones, iconic Klipsch products from bygone eras, modern-day memorabilia, and more. In addition to the artifacts, which were displayed in glass cases, the booth offered up a timeline comprising imagery and concert posters that spanned several exterior walls. The vintage vibe and museum theme positioned Klipsch as a company with a rich history and a bright future, as the timeline ended with the announcement that Klipsch had just become the official loudspeaker and headphone brand for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Functional Fabric Swatches
For makers of upholstery textiles, displaying a barrage of fabric swatches in an exhibit is par for the course. But flat and forgettable samples do little to help potential clients envision those textiles atop dimensional furnishings. That's why Wolf-Gordon Inc. stepped up its swatch-centric game for the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York. Rather than two-dimensional squares of fabric, the company covered an undulating back-wall seating element with nine different patterns. The unique and colorful display not only aided interested prospects in envisioning the textiles atop their own furniture, but also provided plenty of in-booth seating where qualified guests could sit down, rest their feet, and talk shop with Wolf-Gordon's staffers.
Mind Over Matter
Managing a trade show program can be stressful. So to give attendees at the 2016 Healthcare Convention and Exhibitors Association's HCEA Connect conference and expo a chance to relax, experiential marketing agency Impact XM transformed its exhibit into a calm and meditative space. After stepping up to a magnetic wall covered with pieces of rice paper folded into origami boats – each with the name of a work-related stressor, such as budgets, regulations, etc., written on it – attendees selected one of the delicate constructions and placed it into a small reflecting pool. As soon as the rice paper came in contact with the water, it began to disintegrate, subtly conveying the message that attendees' stressors could be avoided if they selected Impact XM as their firm's exhibit house.
A Sweet Treat
Offering free food in your company's booth can attract hungry attendees in droves. But Indeed Inc., an online job-posting hub, managed to turn the traditional feeding frenzy into a buzz-worthy traffic builder at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference with a station at which molecular gastronomists whipped up ice cream using liquid nitrogen. As smoke-like clouds billowed from the booth, attendees crowded in to watch the culinary professionals at work and then lined up to taste the finished product. Staffers engaged waiting attendees and sent them on their way – or deeper inside the exhibit – with a spoon, a dish of ice cream, and a branded napkin. All told, the edible offering generated buzz, booth traffic, and badge scans, making the marketing effort a major success indeed.
Light and Bright
Sometimes the most literal approach is also the most effective. Patagonia Inc. wanted to spotlight its new Houdini jacket (which packs snugly into its own zippered chest pocket and weights just 3.3 ounces) in its exhibit at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. So the adventure outfitter did just that. The company placed two models of the jacket in different shades of blue atop translucent mannequin torsos, which were hung in front of a graphic panel. Lights inside the bust-like forms made the jackets seem to glow from within. The simple display attracted attendees like moths to a flame while showing off the ultralight yet durable and weather-resistant materials that comprise the garments.
Playing the Slots
Dockers, a Levi Strauss & Co. brand, capitalized on the Las Vegas location of the Magic trade show with a novel in-booth activity and giveaway that gave a nod to both Sin City and the company's wash-and-wear apparel. After meeting with a Dockers account executive, attendees were invited to step up to a branded slot machine, aptly named the "Dockers Spin Cycle," and try their luck with a few pulls of the machine's lever. Participants who got three of the same image were presented with a corresponding Dockers item, such as a belt, wallet, or pair of swim trunks or khakis. Winners walked away delighted with their prizes, and Dockers won big, too. Many attendees chose to carry their items in branded shopping bags – giving the company a presence on the show floor that reached far beyond the confines of its booth. Now that's a sure bet if we ever saw one.
Step and Repeat
You can't judge a booth staffer until you've walked a mile in his or her shoes. And any exhibit manager will tell you that one of the top priorities of most staffers is comfort. That's one reason Online Software AG selected a booth uniform that kept things simple, offered staffers a bit of comfort, and still clearly delineated company reps from EuroShop attendees. Rather than forcing employees to wear ill-fitted, branded shirts or uncomfortable business suits with dress shoes and heels, Online Software allowed staffers to dress in whatever they felt comfortable wearing, so long as the pants and shirts were all black. Each staffer was then issued a pair of tennis shoes in Online Software's neon-green corporate color. Simple, comfortable, and on brand, the atypical booth uniforms helped staffers start the show on the right foot.
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