Saturday, March 04, 2006

Secrets to a successful setup of your exhibit at the next tradeshow

Having completed a successful tradeshow setup for one of our clients at a major show, I had a chance to reflect on the many weeks of planning, design, production and setup leading to the actual show event.

It is clear that "planning, planning, planning" is essential to the success of the show, but just as important is the ability to work with the show producers, organizers, show service contractors, laborers, exhibit house, and designers. The ability to create and communicate the vision of your exhibit, how you want it to function and what your expectations are, is key to making it happen. The old adage, "nothing goes as planned" rings true on the show floor. Being able to "think on your feet", compromise, make decisions, communicate and take action is critical. And above all, building a "team" by listening, communicating and showing respect and common courtesy will make a difference between a successful event vs a miserable experience.

A few simple tips
1. Create a vision statement with goals and objectives
2. Plan, plan, plan (budget, schedules, activities, requirements)
3. Build your team early (marcom/tradeshow managers, designers, exhibit house, show producers, service contractors, etc.) and bring them in on your vision (the quality of each participant's contribution will increase when they are in on the vision, and feel a part of the team).
4. On the show floor - Meet the show organizers, the show service contractors, your exhibit service rep, the floor manager and especially the people at the service desk. They are the ones that can facilitate the communication and action when something needs to get done.
5. Keep your database of contacts in your PDA, cell phone, Blackberry. Take notes and document the process (this will come in handy during the setup, teardown, discussing final billing issues, and reporting back to management.
6. Have a post meeting will all the above (of course this won't be a one meeting gathering but one-on-ones or by phone to recap and discuss ways to improve for the next show).
7. A final report back to management with recommendations as well as acknowledgements.

Have a great show.


Friday, January 06, 2006

Happy New Year! Time to retool business strategies.

For many, the start of the New Year is an annual reminder that in business, stagnation means death, and the vitality of any business is all about change. 2006 launches two power-engines of change, CES and MacWorld. No longer the domain of techno-nerds, both shows have embraced the open market of everyday-people as well as the glitterati of Hollywood, fashion and the 'rich and famous'.

With the likes of Microsoft's Bill Gates and Sony's Howard Stringer sitting side-by-side with Tom Hanks, Ron Howard, the Black Eyed Peas, Dan Marino and Justin Timberlake, CES is more about "lifestyle Americana" and "coolness" than techno-wizardry (almost).

And who won't be sporting the cool, sleek, "gotta-have" iPod at MacWorld? The evolution from "techno-different for the few" to "digital-cool for the masses" has invigorated Apple, and has opened up the floodgates of streaming digital content into our daily life.

A smart business plan embraces change. How we retarget, move, alter, switch, test, retreat and leap can mean the difference between glorious success and dismal failure. As the digital stream flows through our every business action and transaction, we need to be nimble and fluid to ride the waves in the sea of constant uncertainty.

Discover. Test. Try. Discard. Adopt. Move-on.

Welcome to the New Year, :-)