Funny thing happened to me a month ago as I was walking the isles of Home Depot. I was overcome with a pain that could only be described as similar to someone driving a nail into my ankle! Waiting for the funny part? So was I! Despite inheriting my father’s ”play with the pain” and “suck it up” mentality I figured being in the fetal position in the hardware section of Home Depot for ten minutes was all the sucking up I could handle and I quickly set up an appointment to see a specialist. Funny thing happened to me at the specialist. After the overly enthusiastic doctor anxiously pulled me into the exam room, along with any and all interns within earshot, to look at the x-ray she disclosed a rare condition where the synovial sack of my ankle joint was filled with tumors! Still waiting for the funny part? So am I! After an hour and a half of waiting to see yet another specialist and fearing the worst – while also attempting to humor myself by recalling Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous line “It’s not a tumaaa” over and over again – it was explained to me that while they were indeed tumors they were most likely benign and removable. Funny thing happened after the surgery. The specialist removed 126 tumors that turned out to be a medical record eclipsing the previous measly record of 22! To my slight disappointment the specialist honestly disclosed that while this was quite a medical phenomenon, it would still take a close second to his Guinness Book of World Record for largest wrapped burrito. What’s a guy gotta do??? Now that’s almost funny in a Sienfeld irony kinda way. When I asked the specialist his opinion as to why I had eclipsed the record by such a large margin he theorized that most “normal” people wouldn’t have endured the pain for as long as I did – translation: there’s a reason the cavemen had a low life expectancy.
You knew this had to tie into trade shows somehow right? Moral of the story is I meet so many clients or potential clients that have or still do live with the pain of either their non-functional budget breaking exhibits, their excessive non-productive trade show schedule or a bad vendor for far too long because they get so used to it and they start to think it’s normal. Don’t be as stubborn as I was and wait until the pain is too much before consulting a trade show professional on solutions to ease that pain. Unless of course you have a prescription for codeine to mask the pain as I did! Disclaimer – watch out for the side effects when you stop taking it as I found myself emotionally distraught over the episode of friends where Ross had to say goodbye to his pet monkey! Now that’s funny! I can say that now because I’m over it.
Skyline Northern California
Skyline Displays Bay Area, Inc.
What has emerged in the past decade in the exhibit world is a paradigm shift from emphasis on custom builds to now a more modular/custom designs. This has been brought about by a couple major factors.
• Logistics of owning custom exhibits
The more traditional custom builds from the 90’s and the first half of the last decade were very heavy and burdensome from a logistical standpoint. This meant to the consumer a very hefty price tag after the sale of your exhibit. Custom houses strategies and business plans were built on this platform. They made smaller margins on the sale of an exhibit, but made large margins on the logistics of the exhibit. Storage, transportation, refurbishment, travel, and installation and dismantle were major profit centers for custom houses.
• Green initiative
Because of the heavy and cumbersome custom exhibits they just are not very green friendly. From the materials used in the exhibit to the transportation and logistical issues these type of exhibits just do not meet the requirements of a green build.
We have endured a very difficult decade. Small start up companies to major corporations have had to analyze all budgets within their organizations. And of course the marketing budget were slashed in many cases. Because of this a more light weight modular solution once not even considered has gained in popularity and has become a viable option for all ends of the business spectrum. Because the SMART companies understand that in down economic times the need to turn up the marketing message is critical! So by saving money on the back end of these exhibits your could stretch your marketing budget
Custom exhibits based off the number of shows have a shelf life of typically 3 years. You are then faced with a large refurbishment bill or a brand new build. The modular/custom exhibits products last for well over 10 years and beyond. And because the exhibits are modular by nature you can use these in many different configurations
• Reconfigured exhibit
Once again since these are “modular” exhibits your 30×30 island can also become a 20×20, 10×20, and 10 foot exhibit. And with the shows getting smaller and more targeted by nature you are not forced into a large exhibit space by the dimensions of your exhibit.
There is no question that the lighter weight modular solutions are here to stay and will continue to dominate in the future. The question to the consumer now is how do I take a pre-engineered system and stand out. The best comparison would be found from the housing industry. Custom builds allow you the full spectrum of options. Where pre-fabricated houses in a planned community may offer 4 different designs to choose from with various finishing options.
So the challenge in today’s exhibit designs is how to put those finishing options on those prefabricated pieces that this industry offers. So understanding your options under these new criteria becomes your biggest challenge.
The following are a few suggestions on how to look different in a prefabricated world of exhibit design.
• Look for exhibit houses that consistently upgrade and develop new prefabricated product lines. Skyline for example has released 3 major new product lines in the last year alone. By allowing you different modular product lines to choose from you can stand out architecturally by taking advantage of new systems. These products typically take 4-5 years to penetrate the marketplace so by getting them while they are new you can stand out. Click here to view the three new product lines that Skyline offers.
• Look at rental options. Great way to change your appearance year to year. And if you specifically ask to have your graphics designed to work for 2 or 3 different options you can keep your costs down in upcoming events.
• If you want to bring in a more sophisticate custom look you can design your work stations in the more traditional custom approach. There will be added weight but since 90% of your exhibit will still be modular this added cost may be acceptable.
• Bring more lighting options into your design. This can bring a visual element to give you that more custom look.
• Make your visual/audio presentations areas more creative. Many times this is an afterthought in design. Make it a requirement.
Most exhibit houses have accepted this paradigm shift and now call themselves “Custom/ Modular” exhibit houses. In reality a more apt description would be “Modular/Custom” exhibit house. It’s just does not sound as sexy. But bottom line the bulk of designs being done right not are 90% modular and 10% custom. Embrace that philosophy and make sure that you use all of the advantages of a lightweight “Modular/Custom” design in your next exhibit.
CEO, Skyline Northern California
The scene with Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty in the rain on his knees challenging god to throw everything he’s got at him after a series of life challenging events took him to the brink came to mind this morning after a series of events had me wondering if I should offer the same challenge. I rolled my ankle, my truck wouldn’t start, my so called smart phone stopped receiving email, my iPod froze and wouldn’t turn off, the commute was worse than usual after my already late start, my shoelace broke and because of the previously mentioned mishaps I skipped my morning coffee.
Now I know in the grand scheme of things these are all pretty petty and insignificant things to complain about in comparison to the plight of others who aren’t as fortunate as I am but it’s only for the sake of this blog that I whine like a baby to prove a point. That point being, no matter how much you prepare yourself for your day, things inevitably crop up that challenge you on a daily basis. Some worse than others but they all challenge you to either avoid the problem or hit the problem head on. Life is dynamic and challenging as is exhibiting. No matter how detail orientated you are or how much due diligence you put into making sure your trade show experience is a smooth one there are inevitably challenges that are going to confront you. So it is in your best interest to prepare for those unforeseen challenges because ultimately the way you are going to be measured is not how you make excuses for what happened but how you rise up and circumnavigate those challenges. If any exhibit house is telling you there won’t be any problems they are not being honest with you. An exhibit house should be measured not only by their design or breadth of products but by their ability to respond to challenges and provide the most seamless trade show experience possible for you. Ask your exhibit house how they plan to deal with an issue that comes up at a show in Orlando Florida when their office is 3000 miles away. It’s a conversation worth having.
As for me, I made it to work, my ankle is elevated, my shoe is untied, I’m going to change my fuel filter in my truck at lunch after I get some coffee and writing this blog was both therapeutic for me and hopefully informative for you! Anybody know how to unfreeze an iPod?
Skyline Northern California
Skyline Displays Bay Area, Inc.
When I walk into most trade shows today, I still can feel overwhelmed by the competition of visual effects that stand before me. Tall structures with bold logos and large format graphics….spinning towers… rear lit hanging signs are all out there to get my attention. What is it that really does catch my eye? Plain and simple, it is the smart use of color. I honestly feel it can help make the difference between blending in… or standing out against your neighbor.
Smart color accents:
Small booths are no exception to this concept. I really like how the conservative grays of the hardware, backdrop and flooring of the Con+text exhibit are brought to life with the contrasting orange and green accents. Simple, yet effective.
3PAR- Color against color. Yellow against purple. Did you know that complimentary colors have the greatest contrast and will pop most when placed against each other. What a great way to get those bridges and large banners to catch your eye from afar!
Black tones down bold color
Wow… The Chick Chocolates design almost glows in the dark, but the smart use of a black carpet actually tones down and frames the bright pinks, yellows and greens. And as a bonus , it helps bring your focus to the “Chicks” figures throughout the space
Multiple color mix
Using bold and large color blocks, Broder shows how multiple colors, one on top of color as well as next to another, can really stand out. Notice how the white booth hardware gives it extra punch as it also frames matching color products.
After all, isn’t your booth actually a work of art?
Skyline Displays Bay Area
Skyline Displays Northern California
If you are entering the trade show arena for the first time, and you have been assigned the task of purchasing a new exhibit, then I would like to offer you some helpful advice for you to consider prior to determining your purchasing budget. Many people often make the mistake of purchasing just one main exhibit for all their events ‘to save money’ when actually purchasing at least two or more exhibits may be the most cost effective route to take. I know, you’re saying to yourself, “Of course that’s what you would say! You’re Skyline Exhibits!” Well, I promise you this is good advice.
First, rate your shows according to importance. This may be determined by a number of factors that only you and your company can identify. For starters, create two tiers – primary for your most important shows and secondary for your other events. Second, rate your shows according to the length of the show by number of days. Maybe you have several one day events or even a couple of targeted shows that may only be a couple of hours in length and the cost of sending in the big guns just isn’t justifiable. Third, identify conflicting show schedules and dates. If you have an event on the east coast that ends on a Tuesday and your next event is the following Thursday on the west coast, make a note of it.
What you learn from this exercise may surprise you. Say you have your most important show and you obviously are planning on having your primary exhibit on display. Well, your next event is a second tier show and it happens to be only a day or two after your main event – and it is a thousand miles away! The operating costs associated with transporting your main exhibit from point A to point B may well exceed any perceived value you were hoping to recoup from attending this event in the first place. Perhaps a smaller, simpler exhibit can be shipped to the lower tier event in pace of the main one – and at a less accelerated and costly rate. You may find that the cost of a secondary exhibit alone may be far less than just the operating costs you would have incurred from rushing your large exhibit across the country.
So you get the point. This is just a helpful suggestion to conduct an exercise of this sort to help you plan your show schedule and determine a purchase budget for ALL of your exhibit needs. Please give us a call and schedule your appointment today. You’re well on your way to successful exhibiting!
Skyline Displays Bay Area
Skyline Displays Northern California
After visiting the Exhibitor Show 2011 a few weeks ago, it has become apparent that the industry has morphed to the Skyline model of custom modular. Because of that I started thinking more about the logistical costs associated with owning an exhibit.
With systems becoming lighter in weight in general why not demand that the logistical cost be associated with any exhibit design. Because we all now look at every penny of our trade show budget why not attack the single item (logistics) that creates the most demand on our marketing dollar!
In the example shown we have designed an custom-modular Skyline exhibit that comes ships in only 2 pieces. One 4′ x 4′ x 8′ crate & one monitor case 50″ x 24″ x 46″ (AV anvil case not pictured)
The difference alone in shipping, drayage, and installation and dismantle is $25,000 cost per show. Multiply that over the life time of an exhibit the numbers becomes staggering. The exhibit shown below is priced at $56,000. You can justify the cost of a new exhibit after just 2 shows. And keep in mind this does not include storage, in and out fees, material handling fees, and labor to upkeep your exhibit.
So demand from your design team that they incorporate in the design process the logistical demands of the exhibit. I know that you will find that justifying a new exhibit purchase will become much easier in your next marketing meeting.
CEO, Skyline Northern California
In December 2010, a tax bill was approved for business capital tax deduction. If an asset is acquired and placed in service between September 9th and December 31, 2011, this asset can be fully expensed at the end of the year. This will create a tremendous cash flow advantage since the tax benefit can be recognized immediately instead of an installment each year over the lifetime of the asset. Please note that this only applies to new properties and there is no limit to the purchase amount.
In 2012, the bonus depreciation will be reduced to 50%.
For used assets, section 179 is still available. For 2011, the current law will allow a limit of $500,000 . This will be reduced to $25,000 in 2012.
Again, it’s important to remember that good must be delivered by 12/31/2011 in order to be qualified for the 2011 benefit.
There are many elements to prioritize when preparing for a trade show, sales staff, booth design, pre show marketing, etc. Are you ready for the secret of overall success? Plain and simple, your visibility.
Keep in mind you probably will not have this issue when exhibiting at smaller events held in hotel ballrooms, however your large annual event spread across 350,000 square feet becomes quite the challenge to be seen. You have 2 -3 days for over 15,000 attendees to find you, sometimes they will and sometimes they wont. You can not build any relationship or close a deal if people can not find you.
Now most companies do not have the long term seniority or large budgets for sponsorship to obtain the premium space 20′ from the front door. Even a good amount exhibitors are still trying to grow brand recognition, so being easily spotted is not as easy as someone like Panasonic. Here are a couple rules to make sure your visibility is done correctly.
Every marekting team, during each years trade show brainstorm meeting, should always cover the the visibility topic.
For ideas on booth visibility feel free to email me at email@example.com
Product demos are the most important element you can control in your exhibit to create more memorable exhibits.
Product demonstrations take full advantage of the face-to-face, interactive trade show environment. A good product demo can set you apart from other exhibitors who just sit there, even if they have a popular product and a well-known company. A good product
This is jump-up-and-down, shout-it-from-the-show-hall-rooftops news. This is where you can make your trade show marketing more powerful, more memorable, and more effective than your competitors.
So if you are not doing a demo in your booth, create one. And if you are, make it even better.
To help you, here are 7 elements that make a great trade show demonstration.
Make Your Collaterals Work Harder!
Scientific studies have proven that repetition improves recall. Potential customers who visit your tradeshow booth may or may not remember your company name after the event is over, but the chances they will recall who you are and what you have to offer increases dramatically if they visit your booth one week and receive company literature the next week. Jogging their memory with a short, personal note included with your literature will also make readers feel appreciated. Everyone likes to be remembered. Read more!