Marketing is all about making a meaningful differentiation.
You simply have to look, feel and be different. Being different gets you noticed. And, “If you don’t get noticed, you don’t have anything."
You just have to get noticed. The challenge is how?
We live in a world of information overload. “Every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003,” according to former Google CEO, Eric Schmidt. Today, we are fortunate to have have way more than trillion web pages of information at our fingertips. The unfortunate part is, as humans our brains can consume only so much information at any given time. Given this digital scape that we preside over, it is quite challenging for a brand to strike out as unique. Thus, brands are latching on to emotional marketing. Talk to the intellect, you will perhaps get them to pay attention. But, talk to the heart you will get them to take action.
Easier said than done: many companies are struggling to become truly customer-centric and thus failing to fully leverage the potential of their brand and deliver on brand equity.
However, if you are exhibiting at trade shows your chances of striking out as a unique brand player and create a meaningful difference suddenly got a whole lot bigger and better.
Number One — Dilate the circumference of your brand
Your brand is not an idea in the minds of your customers and your prospects. Your trade show exhibit is a powerful, physical manifestation of your brand...so take charge: enlarge, engage and excite.
Enlarge your brand by increasing the circumference of your brand offering. Entwine it with the current challenges of our times.
Get out of your comfort zone. "If you decide that you’re going to do only the things you know are going to work, you’re going to leave a lot of opportunity on the table."
You can dream to excite and engage only if you are radical in your thought process. Else, you can be rest assured of your inevitable demise.
Being unique does not have to be a ‘thing.’ Simply changing the way a brand communicates with potential prospects and customers can allow them to see the brand with fresh eyes and unlock new growth potential. "Adidas, Subaru and Snickers have each reaped significant benefit from changing their communication strategy and connecting with consumers in a new and different way."
Snickers has dreamed to become unique by tapping onto the primal emotion of anger and marrying algorithm to the price of it's product. The brand's online/offline advertising-meets-point-of-sale hybrid campaign gauges the mood of the Internet and adjusts the price of its candy bars in 7-Eleven stores accordingly, in real time. "Hungerithm" is the unique communication tool that has helped the brand to personalize relationships with individual consumers without obtrusively encroaching in their privacy
Adidas has dared to strike the chord creativity beyond the field of sport. The brand is redefining the athletic pursuit as a form of creative expression. According to Ryan Morlan, VP of Global Brand Communication:
The rules of sport are not defined. We believe in the power of writing your own rules, but it will take those who think differently and are confident enough to make it happen. It will take Creators. Adidas is shaping the future of sport every day through our products, partnerships, and innovations, and with this campaign, we’ve called on some of the most admired faces in sport culture to help us inspire others to find their Creator within, no matter what their field of play.
"TO A LIFE FILLED WITH OPPORTUNITIES TO GIVE THANKS" — this is the highlight of a brand that manufactures whiskey as their 'widget'.
MACALLAN EXPLORES OTHER PLANETS IN ORDER TO EXTEND THE BRAND CIRCUMFERENCE AND RETAINS THE REALM OF GRATITUDE BY SPIRITUALIZING MARTIAN LIKE LANDSCAPE WITH THE PROMISE OF A NEW SUNRISE AND SUNSET
MACALLAN HUMANIZES TIME AND SUB-CONSCIOUSLY ESTABLISHES A LINEAGE THAT NEEDS TO BE PASSED ON
Can time be stopped, captured or even known? Does it exist, or is it all just an illusion? While we leave the tough questions to the physicists and the spiritualists, the secret ingredient in creating any time honored meaningful experience, is via empathy — the NEUROECONOMICS of your trade.
How can you be unique when you design your booth?
Obviously, unique concepts help. If you are unable to flex your creative muscle, use the analogy of sports. It is a big part of our non-working life.
The safe bet is create your booth design that is consistent with your website. If you play safe, you will not get noticed. Create a theme. Carry out the theme with design details and active elements of exciting participation. Do not worry about being consistent with your website. Instead, create a microstie that will act as a digital interactive tool of empowerment for pre-show, at-show and post-how communication.
Participation creates experience. Experience enriches the memory module within us. And memory is more real than objective knowledge that you gleam from the digital media. “Your memory is a monster; you forget—it doesn't. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you—and summons them to your recall with will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you!”
As an exhibitor, you get to create and enhance the memory of your attendees. Think for a moment the power you wield.
Number Two — Add Flesh, Skin Tones and Make Up
Your brand is a tangible expression of color, form and motion. Make use of it. And see how you gain admiration and evoke inspiration. Remember, "color answer feelings in man, shapes [form] answer thought; and motion answers will."
The Color Surge trend highlights the ability for image-makers to liberate themselves from the accepted theories of “what something should look like.”
A heightened sophistication around visual language means we can use color in ways we previously couldn’t, breaking the rules and embracing unnatural combinations and unseen co-existence.
"Our understanding of the power of color has evolved through history. Painters, photographers, filmmakers and advertisers use it to manipulate our senses and emotions on many levels." In a hyper-kinetic world, your audiences are fatigued by that which is ordinary. Unusual color combinations and unique fusion of concepts immediately ignites interest and enchants your booth design with intrigue and curiosity.
Whether they are overwhelmingly beautiful or exquisitely ugly, the powerful manipulation of color stops us in our tracks. It embellishes our Memory Palace.
Elevate your space into a consequential color of fantastic. Because, “Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.”
Take advantage of the 5 senses to maximize brand memorability. It is a sure-fire way to implement brand uniqueness.
Number Three — Eradicate the suspicion about your brand
You are a citizen of a world that is widely adaptive and changing rapidly. Figuring out who you can trust is easier said than done. Faced with new-found freedoms of information, 'identity-formation' and innovation, we are suspicious of whatever, we are being 'sold' or told we should believe.
Many startups and innovators do believe that what they are trying to communicate would benefit humanity.. if they can get others to see, care and believe in the same story. Somehow, the core language of language of communication is missing.
This core, we call it, storytelling. Story telling is about making choices, and every choice reflects a deeper set of beliefs and values. the choice of your narrative has everything to do with how your story is received, accepted or rejected bu others.
What is your story?
Can people identify and belong with your story?
“We are in the twilight of a society based on data. As information and intelligence become the domain of computers, society will place more value on the one human ability that cannot be automated: emotion. Imagination, myth, ritual - the language of emotion - will affect everything from our purchasing decisions to how we work with others. Companies will thrive on the basis of their stories and myths. Companies will need to understand that their products are less important than their stories." Rolf Jensen, Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies
TOMS Shoes weaves a great story. Buy a pair of shoes and and identical pair goes to someone who does not have shoes. The story is not about about the fabric or the workmanship, the story is about what your act of buying did.
Image Source: RSA 2019
Above, the brand weaves a visual story and lends dynamism to their booth space by identifying malware viruses with illustrated characters of contemporary comic culture.
We seek out stories in order to know who we are and where we belong.
As Seth Godin puts it: "Great stories agree with our world view. The best stories does not teach people anything new. Instead, the best stories agrees with what the audience already believes and makes the members of the audience feel smart and secure when reminded how right they were in the first place."
Every time your audience encounter you, unknowingly, they neatly tuck away a story in their mind attached to your brand.
According to BrandZ, knowing how people think, feel and behave in relation to a brand can often reveal an immediate opportunity for growth. Perceived differentiation proved to be the leading indicator of success for the 6% of brands that did grow over three years. Similar to much more disruptive brands, these growing brands started out as more different than expected. The challenge for a well-differentiated brand is to identify what will make it more salient and meaningful to potential consumers.
Number Four — Shake up the status quo and find out the existential implication of your brand's existence
What is your unique brand proposition?
A good brand proposition includes the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that states the benefits that no other brand can provide. It addresses the current needs of your audience and the future aspirations. A worthy brand proposition connects with its audience on a emotional level. It is laced with a grand purpose. A compelling brand proposition delivers a connection between product and purpose.
A strong emotional connection happens when you are fearless in speaking out as to what is wrong with your industry.
People start trusting you. You start creating valuable brand equity.
Now, this is what I would say an unique brand proposition (watch the video below and you will get it.) It takes a contemptuous look at corporate culture, and how companies are tackling the big problems facing the planet.
This satirical take shows the worst side of business and gives you a subliminal message that highlights the importance of companies to think about people, planet and profit. "F**k you takes what would be our present day financial burden away from us, and transforms it into a chronic economic, social, cultural and political crisis for future generations. It ensures solid returns to our shareholders - by killing their grandchildren."
At the end of the day if you are peddling the same stuff, pitching the same features and claiming to be the world's biggest and best all in the same voice, you are destined to be doomed.
For a moment think about this: there are countless institutions that we have built. Many now require re-invention, re-vitalization and renewal. Not complete rejection or destruction. Invent and re-invent words that better reflects the world that you seek to create. We are human species. We posses the weapon of imagination that the much feared robots will never have. With that tempestuous imagination, humanize your brand. You are bound to stand out.
Always remind yourself: Your brand "is composed of many different pieces which, together, capture the attention of your buyers. Some of the pieces are physical, but much of branding is intangible; ideas and thoughts put into words, pictures and videos.” And, your exhibiting space is a creative expression of your brand experience — make it a fluid space where your audience can try, buy, admire, engage and be inspired!
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