WAKE-UP, THE SECOND RENAISSANCE IS HERE!
In 1396, a man named Manuel Chrysoloras, was hired for the official academic post created for the first time to teach Greek in Florence. The man brought with him a copy of Ptolemy’s "Geography" from the East.
Knowledge, that was hidden for centuries, resurfaced, and within a short span of 80 years Europe emerged from being, the most backward regions of the world to being the most advanced.
But, this advancement was not easy. It ushered in disruption and disharmony.
Today, change is happening at a rapid speed both in the virtual space and the your 3D space. Trade is no longer about goods. In an age of plenitude, trade is more about exchanging, extending and updating information. Trade is about meaningful interaction.
So, if you wondering why your trade show exhibit is failing to bring in the attendees and leads you had hoped for, KEEP READING.
You have your booth staff, you have your demo, and you have an in-booth promotion. So what is the deal? What is missing. KEEP READING
Take a closer at the exhibit that you already own. Because, your booth design and your offerings has so much more to do with your image and success than you realize. It is a decisive way to have a competitive edge in the chaotic digital marketplace of the 21st century.
Here, we lay out the 3 design and marketing pitfalls and we give you the how-tos to correct it and the reason behind it.
1. WHEN YOUR GRAPHICS SCREAM "I DO NOT CARE" —
THE PRODUCT YOU ARE PEDDLING, AUTOMATICALLY DUMPS YOU INTO THAT CATEGORY
Like it or not, graphics, that are poorly printed and poorly fitted nudges the sub-conscious with the nagging feeling of negative notes. They create a poor image of your company and scream “I don’t care.”
People will simply pass you by, including your existing customers and hot prospects because, they don’t want to be seen visiting your exhibit display that shouts lack of thought and the intelligence to manifest that thought into being. Nicely finished, designed graphics that make the mind think keeps up with the trend, shows your audience that you are present with the code and the culture of the times.
DO CARE about YOUR GRAPHIC DESIGN — IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THESE 3 DEFINING VISUAL TRENDS TO SPARK YOUR DIGITALLY DAZED FOLLOWERS
The Creative team AT GettyImages.com studied advertising trends, and examined pop culture shifts to predict THESE three defining visual trends THAT ARE IN MOTION
THE SECOND RENAISSANCE — THE NEED TO BELONG AND THE WANT TO BE SEEN
Re-picturing colors and icons in a more diverse, multicultural and modern context.
It is time you update your 'SAFE BLUE BOOTH'
As searches for “luxury abstract” soar up 186% and “vintage portrait” by a humble 94%, we are craving for belonging in a community that seeks to express itself as "positive, culturally rich visual narrative through the subversion of classic art techniques”. In an age where it's never been easier to take a photograph, design your graphics, to ignite the fire of thought and carve out a space in your booth to foster craftsmanship. Create ways to tie in the craftsmanship with your giveaways. Your target audience plays a role in their business environment — that is all, a role. You will gain much benefit if you tap into the bigger role that they want to play.
The First Renaissance, witnessed the decline of the feudal system, proliferation of knowledge and expansion of trade and commerce. And yes, it is marked with the invention and proliferation of such potentially powerful innovations as paper, printing, the mariner's compass, and gunpowder.
The Second Renaissance is witnessing the buildup of the world wide internet Internet as it harnesses the global capacity for connectivity, creativity and ingenuity, but "also brings us malware, cybercrime and the sacrifice of privacy".
Art had always played a deciding role in the way we express and communicate in the era of transformation — today, "The Mona Lisa has sparked Solange Knowles' A Seat at the Table, we see the Last Supper is mirrored in Stormzy's Gangs, Signs & Prayer. And, Pari Dukovic's "Art of Beauty" shoot for Harper's Bazaar recreates iconic paintings with trailblazing models like Winnie Harlow and Halima Aden."
Truth be told about The First Renaissance — "The Renaissance was a culture of wealthy nobles and burghers. Their economic activity and their wealth gave them a feeling of freedom and a sense of individuality. But at the same time, these same people had lost something: the security and feeling of belonging which the medieval social structure had offered. They were more free, but they were also more alone."
Sounds familiar IN our digital culture of 2nd RENAISSANCE?
— technologically empowered, socially inadequate and spiritually exhausted —
In our affinity to swing with thoughtless speed, we spend a lot of time doing the same thing with mindless monotony, moving from one click to the other — trying to belong to something or somewhere.
CONCEPTUAL REALISM — CRAVING FOR PLAY, DELIGHT AND IMPOSSIBLE PRESENTATION
It is about time that you sober up from your 'applesque' white hangover
Combine your customer stories with artistic overtures — conceptual realism thrives on the edge of abstraction and the ordinary. design exists in the space between the abstract and the ordinary.
Conceptual Realism was recently described by photography authority Getty as one of the other key image trends. "Exploring everything from own ownership of our bodies, to fashion to banality," — it’s an enduring theme that allows product marketers and image makers to inject their ordinary human stories with extraordinary gesture in an effort to stand out.
Images: World Wide Web
Conceptual Realism has gained ground in the "post social media culture, which goes against “authentic and real” imagery in an attempt to create something unexpected." Our technological society has produced a number of by-products — graphic image searches for “emotional stress” are up 263%, “emotional abuse” by 110%, and “mental health awareness” by 258%.
This means, chances are very high, that your clients and prospects are immersed in some form of suffering. Conceptual Realism depicts this truth in a playful and understandable manner.
"Any truth must be in a humanly conceptualized and understandable form if it is to be a truth for us. If it's not a truth for us, how can we make sense of its being a truth at all?”
― George Lakoff, Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought
Your audience are now exploring their creative side. They are now content creators for themselves and for their companies. When creation/creativity comes with a deadline, it is usually not very polished. It is imperfect. Imperfection looks authentic. If it looks authentic, the brain automatically computes that it is honest.
"As trust in media diminishes, we crave imagery that looks real, even if the idea does not. “Conceptual realism” – such as the bizarre yet authentic S/S 2017 campaign from Kate Spade – has emerged to meet this need from a range of long-term visual and social drivers."
MASCULINITY UNDONE — EMBRACING THE FEMININE ASPECT OF BEING 'MAN, HUMAN BEING'
“To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.”
The millennials (a good portion of your booth visitors) are exploring their softer side, that the traditional advertising media has done a good job of suppressing it — masculinity has been held hostage by abstractions like: “buffoon” (incompetent dad); sports advertising “hero”; beer commercial “tough guy”; “abman” of Diet Coke “hunkvertising”; and car ad “existentialist man”
The millennials are now rejecting the gender stereotypes and challenger brands are rising to the occasion. For example, Axe’s #IsItOkForGuys, explores social anxieties based on Google searches: “Is it OK to be skinny… to wear pink… to not like sports?”
Again, get to know your target audience. Check out their social likes and dislikes. In a fast-changing changing landscape of social and visual culture, differentiate your brand by discarding the destructive male stereotypes — "swap competitiveness with community, silence with support and make room for vulnerability and diversity."
Men are increasingly responding to empathetic and authentic storytelling that conceptualizes the complex and divergent possibilities in becoming a man.
2. WHEN POOR MESSAGING IS PREVALENT—
WHEN YOU FEVERISHLY FALL IN LOVE WITH THE BORING LIST OF WHAT 'YOU DO'
When you are taken hostage by a list of what you do — all you are doing is creating anxiety in the minds of your audience. The do not care about the list of stuff that you do, nor do they have 10-15 minutes to read through it.
Rows and rows of text don’t sell your products or services, you do.
State your main message in no more than 5-7 words and engage people with empathy as you encounter them. These words are the deciding factors for the existence of your brand and the underlying force that propels your company to move forward.
VERY IMPORTANT – These 5-7 words should be built on 2 aptitudes:
EMPATHY & AUTHORITY
Empathy is not a mere mental projectioN
Real empathy means letting your booth visitors know, that you see them as you see yourself. They are looking for brands to do business with, that, they have something in common with. Essentially, human beings think in chunks rather in details. The brain automatically calculates that and make conclusions 'if the brand understands my pain, it will serve me better.'
Remember, the things that torment people are the very things that connect people. Harvest commonality and reap it to the extremes.
Seeing, Hearing and Understanding makes up the sum total of Empathy
HERE IS WHAT EMPATHY IN MESSAGING, SOUNDS LIKE
In the 1992 election, when George H. W. Bush was faced with the question: “How has the national debt personally affected each of your lives?”, he said, in a non-feeling way that, you don't have to be personally hit by recession to know what it's like.
Then, Clinton offered his response. He walked right up to the edge of the stage and engaged in a conversation with the woman who asked the question.
CLINTON: Tell me how it’s affected you again.
AUDIENCE QUESTION: Um —
CLINTON: You know people who’ve lost their jobs and lost their homes?
AUDIENCE QUESTION: Well, yeah, uh-huh.......
HERE IS WHAT EMPATHY IN ENGAGEMENT, SHOULD FEEL LIKE
Before, you say HELLO to your booth visitors, in your mind, do a quick recall of the word "Sawubona" — literally translated, it means, "I see you, and by seeing you, I bring you into being." Sawubona is the Zulu word for Hello.
Try it. This will discipline your mind to become aware of the seer within you. This will help you in understanding what someone else is thinking or feeling, thus making it becomes easier to interact with them.
Authority in the Second Renaissance
The 2008 financial crisis demonstrated that, the powerful institutions responsible for securing economic stability are dismally unequal to the task. No wonder trust in authority has been severely eroded. And skepticism regarding expertise has become poisonous. To establish authority you really have to work for it.
HOW TO EXPRESS COMPETENCE WITHOUT BRAGGING
Let your existing clients do the talking for you. Motivate your client to do face to face sessions with your prospects.
Satisfy the left brained visitors with statistics, numbers and facts. If you have won any awards, highlight that via gamification. Build in logos of the brands that you have worked for.
The brain loves the easy depiction of numbers and icons. Because, believe it or not, the brain is quite lazy by all accounts. For example, look at the chart below. It talks volumes about human empathy without uttering a single word.
[Chances are, you are surrounded by your competition and your competition is exercising the same tactic. What they are not doing is, giving them the next steps. ]
Give your prospects a plan, written out personally for them, after the show. This plan will detail out the problems that they are facing and the solution that your brand can offer. Commitments are risky for your prospects. They can loose something. Most of them will not take the risk. To ease the decision, give your customers the plan to follow through. Plan creates clarity for your audience and helps them navigate their own internal process.
3. WHEN Shoddy Materials & TRUNCATED JARGONS is what you Opt FOR —
THIRD RATE MATERIALS CREATE LESS THAN FIRST RATE COMPANY IMAGE
It makes attendees or potential customers ask the question, “If this is how a company puts their best foot forward, what kind of quality am I going to get if I buy their service or product?”
Most companies earn 70 percent or more of their revenue from a small percentage of their clients. Using state of art technology and design, will make your existing clients feel special. We all enjoy being special. We like to be unified with somebody or something that makes us feel elevated. When your exhibit design is dressed up for success — in the mind of your customers and your targeted prospects, you appear to be more appealing, esteemed and respected.
Detail out your booth design with high quality and fit and finish.
Duct Tape should not be a prerequisite to take to a show and should not even be considered if “you’ll probably need it.”
Dated, worn and poorly executed exhibits and graphics convey the worst possible message to show attendees. This poor representation tells them your products are out of date, you don’t care, or you’re attending the show to build up frequent flyer miles and eat at a few good restaurants.
Think about how much it costs to prepare for the show, travel and hotels, lost productivity in the office and ultimately, how much it costs to lose current customers or prospective clients because you tried to save a few bucks on your exhibit.
It defies logic to invest so heavily in all the other facets of going to a show, and to then cut corners on your exhibit that that is the sole face of your company at a show, and potentially your biggest advantage to the competition.
As marketers, generating traffic and leads is the most formidable aspect of your job, (stats below, by Hubspot says it all). Why not use your booth design space to generate buzz and increase traffic flow — in short, construct an inspiring inbound hub and let your attendees gradually, gravitate towards it
FUEL YOUR BRAND PRESENTATION WITH THE POWER OF WORDS
Words create your world. Empires, governments, businesses have risen and subsided because of words. The right words can empower you and prompt you to act. Not so right words often leads to confusion and division.
Learning from the British
In 1858, British Crown rule was established in India, ending a century of control by the corporate East India Company. Though enslaved, yet India was coined as the 'Jewel of the Crown' — a clever anchor statement for exploit and export. Then you realize, what Edgar Allan Poe meant when he said, "Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality."
How to use Words in the Second Renaissance
"Don’t get hung up on words, like digital, or artificial intelligence, or ecosystem, or even the word technology. It will stunt your creativity. See through your own vocabulary, and understand the vocabulary of others. There may be concepts hidden there, that otherwise you wouldn’t even see."
DROP THE JARGON. NO ONE CARES OR UNDERSTANDS.
HERE IS A GOOD EXAMPLE.
You are building a wearable device so parents can track their kids' location, you can start by saying "We built an IoT wearable device using low every Bluetooth 5.0..." and you have already lost the person to whom you are speaking. Or, simply, you can and say "You know how you were in the park that time and you were afraid you lost your kid? "Yea, we cracked that." Now you have their attention, and their head nod. You have essentially painted a visual picture for them as to what your product does.
For inspired exploration, study, President Obama’s inaugural speech, John Lennon’s Imagine, Shakespeare’s King Lear, The Oprah Winfrey Show’s 25 years of broadcast, Omar Khayyám's Quatrains - Ballades, Pliny The Younger’s Love Letters to Calpurnia (just to name a few) and you will come to realize the expansive experience in the power of words.
In a world that is increasingly visual, you are missing opportunities to connect with your audience if you are not using your booth design as a medium for connection. If you are an exhibitor, pay minute details to every aspect of exhibiting. "Why did you go to the show if not to engage with prospects and clients? Was it to stock up on a year’s supply of pens and coffee mugs?"
Create a message that is alluring to your target audience. Portray your brand that is fashioned to encourage engagement.
"Renaissance moments are associated with an intensifying battle of ideas."
Go ahead, design your offering with captivating ideas. If this leads to controversy, deal with empathy. You are bound to stand apart from your competition.