UNFOLDING THE APEX OF EXPERIENCE
On a consistent basis we are faced with the question about how to pick a promotion or a theme to use for a trade show or event. Often these promotional messages or themes are intended for a trade show but sometimes they are for the launch of a product or just to generate awareness or sales.
Here are steps to help you pick the right promotion to grow your leads, improve your sales and create crushing marketing results.
Word of caution: to make the most of this article, you have to READ, THINK AND COMPARE.
START WITH YOUR BRAND BLUE PRINT
Your brand blue print is made up of 5 critical elements
Spark — The Spark propels your brand into action. It ignites everything that your brand does. This is not the skin of your brand, it is the DNA of your brand. It is usually a single keyword such as 'helping', 'saving', 'sustainabliity' or 'innovation'.
Promise — Much more than a slogan or a tag line or a mission statement, a brand promise defines your ethos. Instead of a message being about you, it is promise of what you'll do and for whom.
Story — Great brands paint their stories with 3 words or less. e.g: Apple: Thinner, Faster, Lighter — Philips: Innovation that Changes Lives — and at CES2019 we saw 'Intel Outside'.
Voice — Words are the Holy Grail of your trade and commerce.
"words are a form of action, capable of influencing change. Their articulation represents a complete, lived experience."
Avoid words like 'better', 'probably', 'some of the', 'even', 'often', 'kind of', 'probably' and so forth. Anything that paints your story with a brush of hesitation, ditch it. Before, selecting your brand voice do some research on the root meaning, evolution over time and the contemporary contextual nuances.
Here, are examples of 2 WORDS that we commonly use. Take a moment and THINK about it.
'Rational' is an adjective — (late 14c., "pertaining to reason;" mid-15c., "endowed with reason," from Old French racionel and directly from Latin rationalis). When you break it up ration(al) — ration as a noun and verb — see how it mutates — 1550, "reasoning," later, "relation of one number to another" (1660s), now it means "fixed allowance of food" or restrictive. Next time, when you pride yourself as a 'rational thinker', think again.
Sticky is another word that has enjoyed expansion in the recent years. But, you want to avoid this word at any cost. Learn the different meaning of the word here.
Visuals — Beyond your logo, these include icons, colors, visual movement, patterns and more. “As bad as we are at remembering names and phone numbers and word-for-word instructions from our colleagues, we have really exceptional visual and spatial memories.”
Below, is the visual that immediately arrests us. The contradictory overtones tickle our brain and we find ourselves staring at it — it fulfills our need for irregularity rather than seamless symmetry, the transitory rather than the eternal — the bare skin simplicity shapes our sense of time and space and our we find ourselves stuck in some kind of time loop.
In an age of visual anarchy, it seems our emotional faculties are in need external guidance to help them decide what they should take note of and appreciate.
Image: world wide web
Identify if your company has a brand promise or brand image that should be considered before you evaluate alternatives. Find out the details and determine whether it is current and resonates with your customer base.
If your company does not have a brand promise or brand image identified work with your marketing team and leadership to develop one or hire out a company to help you do it.
WHO DO YOU WANT YOUR MESSAGE TO RESONATE WITH
Find out – or decide – what you are trying to promote or sell. Whether you are exhibiting at an event or creating one, consider the audience expected to attend when picking your theme or promotion.
If your constitutes of bunch of data scientists and engineers, express your exhibit design this way. If your audience suffer from attention deficit disorder, which you can be sure, that they do, here, is how you take control of your space.
If you want to try out some games to determine what moves your audience, here is a listicle that we lumped it with our Social Media offerings — (gated page).
Determine the company’s goals beyond incremental sales for the product, service or event being promoted. Communicate and confirm goals with your company’s leadership, marketing and sales teams.
IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO PROMOTE YOUR PRODUCT OR SEEKING NEW MARKETS FOR YOUR PRODUCT
If you are planning to promote a new product ensure that you understand key differentiators for the product along with the buyers for the product, or service. These may be the same as for your broader company message or it may be narrower or even different if you are seeking new markets.
Important to remember: You can fool people only once. Do not trumpet your product as being unique, if it is not.
Determine how much you need to sell or save because of this promotion to justify your investment. This could be an estimated amount of new sales or estimated savings in alternate advertising costs to get similar client engagement (this will help you determine a budget if one is not already set).
If you don’t know how to calculate or estimate the expected revenue or savings you can ask your sales, marketing or leadership teams to give you an estimate or look up results from similar promotions in the past.
JOURNEY DOWN THE PATH OF YOUR CHOSEN PROMOTION with YOUR STAKE HOLDERS AND HELP THEM SEE WHAT YOU SEE
Regardless of where you get the estimated goals, ensure to get approval and agreement on said goals before proposing a theme, event or promotion. You want to make sure that when you propose your promotion you are able to explain how it can contribute towards achieving the approved goals your company has set out.
TO GET IDEAS, GO BEYOND THE LIMITS OF YOUR INDUSTRY
Brainstorm with your team a theme or promotion that will tie in with your brand, be relevant to your target clients / event attendees and will help you achieve your goals (and that you can execute within budget).
Show them ways to experience your offerings. It helps to switch off your 'rational' thought process.
HOW TO DESIGN A THEME FOR PEDDLING YOUR COMMODITY PRODUCT
The golden rule is: you do not push products, you create things that is inspirational to talk about, write about and create nostalgic conversation.
The trick is not to compete in the crowded market place with your competition by being better, bigger and smarter, instead, harness the history of the place (that is one way of differentiation) where your product is made.
An example of this, is Shinola watches, leather straps, bicycles — everyday commodity products — "a $225 million experiment in manufactured authenticity." It established it's factory in Detroit, a deserted ghost town after the financial meltdown of 2008 with the big SPARK of helping out —
" We'll flip the city around together through providing jobs and creating top quality American products."
It goes beyond, saying, "To those who have written off Detroit, we give you the birdy." An example of shrewd commerce at play — because, "The Birdy" happens to be the name of one of their products which appears in the ad. Fully comprehending how the vision and mission fused to be the brand equity, Paper Magazine relishes that "Detroit may be bankrupt, but if Shinola is any indication... the story of America's great city revival has already begun."
Above, the illusion of designing your own watch by Shinola (image from Sinola), and right below, example of booth design highlighting the place of product origin. (image from Skyline)
HOW TO DESIGN A THEME WHEN YOU DO NOT HAVE A TANGIBLE PRODUCT TO SELL
We get a lot of questions from trade show managers who are worried that they can’t come up with a suitable promotion or giveaway because their company provides a service and not a tangible good. If that is the case for you, think of what benefit that service provides for your users. For example, it could be savings, peace of mind or efficiency. Then tie that benefit into your brand and promotion. If your company provides peace of mind for their clients you can offer a relaxation app or game. For example if you are in the business of insurance or fintech, design your product with enablers — the more the product is used by end-users, you allocate points to the user that can be redeemed after a certain point of time. Theme the booth as a gaming device. Here is how.
TAKE A BREAK — NOW WE GO INTO A BIT COMPLEX MATTER — THIS SECTION IS FOR OUR AUDIENCE IN THE BUSINESS OF TECHNOLOGY WITH CONTINUED EXPANSIVE CAPABILITIES AND CONNECTIVITY
Above, the booth design (from Skyline) talks about different sensors and the displays acts an aid in setting the context. Below, we have the Allen Curve from Harvard Business Review and the Information Value Loop from Deloitte.
HOW TO DESIGN A THEME FOR YOUR BOOTH WHEN YOU HAVE AN INCONSPICUOUS, YET A COMPLEX PRODUCT TO SELL
In the age of Internet and Technology, sensors and nano technology, you may have really unique products, but you do not know how to sell your product beyond the restrictive market that you have already established.
First, let's tackle Allen Curve — It is a quick way of demonstrating that face-to-face communication is the richest form of communication and has shown to be the most effective at social influence over other forms of communications. "The more complex the information, the more important co-presence becomes." Hence, make most of the opportunity when you are designing your exhibit booth and giving presentation about your product.
Now, let's talk about the Information Value Loop — The commerce of the 21st century demands that, for your business to thrive you have to be part of the value chain, and that is called Internet of Things.
“Internet of Things is transforming the everyday physical objects that surround us into an ecosystem of information that will enrich our lives. From refrigerators to parking spaces to houses, the Internet of Things is bringing more and more things into the digital fold every day, which will likely make the Internet of Things a multi-trillion dollar industry in the near future.” — PricewaterhouseCoopers report
Here are the steps: First, visualize what you want to highlight in the value chain.
CREATE: The use of sensors to generate information about a physical event or state.
COMMUNICATE: The transmission of information from one place to another.
AGGREGATE: The gathering together of information created at different times or from different sources.
ANALYZE: The discernment of patterns or relationships among phenomena that leads to descriptions, predictions, or prescriptions for action.
ACT: Initiating, maintaining, or changing a physical event or state.
NOW Create a SHOW SPECIFIC tagline or statement to describe your theme and how it ties to your company, brand or product
Make sure to utilize that tag or statement to reinforce your theme wherever possible. For example if your theme is all about superior performance you could have race car giveaways, race car colors for staffer shirts, a promotional email message that ties into the theme, social media hashtags that tie it all together like #SuperiorPerformance #TradeshowYear #YourCompanyName.
Now taking this idea forward, if want to highlight analysis and aggregation, use numbers and data to thematically design your exhibit. If you want to highlight 'communicate' or 'act', you can talk about the cost of security breaches and the result of such, can be akin to the "toll taken by car crashes, which have not persuaded very many people not to drive.”
Given the complex nature of digital technology it is important you target the intelligent audience with the sole intention of making them part of your product experience.
We hope these ideas help you put together a great theme for your next trade show event promotion. Let us know if you have used or seen a theme that worked particularly well for an event promotion. We love to get your ideas.
Happy Action Generating Themes! We are here to help you trade!
Read the original article here.