Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Trade Show Display’

What’s the Expiration Date of Your Trade Show Display? 20 Clues.

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Expired Trade Show Display

Trade show displays, like yogurt and milk, have expiration dates. While it may not be printed on the box, it’s not hard to spot one that’s starting to spoil. Here are 20 Clues that it’s time to buy a new exhibit.

You Know It’s Starting to Smell When . . .

1. Graphics are attached with Velcro to a fabric backwall. While that may be OK for a FFA display at the county fair, it’s no longer acceptable at a professional trade show.

2. I&D won’t touch your property without hazardous duty pay. When show labor has to don hazmat suits before starting an install, that’s not a good sign.

3. Duct tape is an important design element. And you’re excited it now comes in designer colors — Baja Blue and Desert Sunset Yellow.

4. When your booth was purchased, a quarter could transform your hotel bed into Vibrating Magic Fingers. Ahhhhhh!

5. Attendees compliment the “vintage” theme of your booth and graphics. “Very retro!”

6. You decide to re-print your graphics and hand the graphic designer a floppy disk.

7. There are more “just in case” parts than actual display parts.

8. The shipping labels have added 50 pounds to the weight.

9. You lust over the two $99 banner stands in the adjacent booth.

10. The No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty has expired.

11. It smells like the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Even Fabreze can’t kill that odor.

12. You found your distributor by flipping through the Yellow Pages of the phone book.

13. Your storage costs have exceeded your purchase price by a factor of 10.

14. Your graphics have a “Happy Days” theme, and the Fonz is still your unofficial spokesperson. “Ayyyyyyy!”

15. Someone tagged your crate with the Rolling Stones tongue graphic (and you think that’s cool).

16. It folds and weighs more than an AMC Gremlin.

17. Children flee in terror as if they’ve just seen a circus clown. 

18. Your competitors gush over your booth . . . . “Don’t Change a Thing! Seriously, Not a Single Thing!”

19. You found a “Win a Free Palm Pilot” Promotional Flyer in the case.

20. Your boss says, “By golly, it was good enough for Old Joe, bless his heart and God rest his soul.”

If you answered “Yes” to any of these, put your display in the compost bin.

How do you determine the expiration date of a trade show display? Please share. ;-)

–Mel White
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
mel@classicexhibits.com

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.


 

How to Save Money on Your Next Trade Show Display

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Tips to Save $ on Your Next Display

Buy Value – Not Price. Too often, we focus on the price rather than the value. It’s human nature, especially when budgets are constrained. However, we all know the difference between a good value for the price and a low price on a shoddy product. If you have ever bought a cheap screwdriver, you know. It lasts about three jobs and then the tip deforms and the handle twists. A trade show display has to accomplish three basic goals:  look professional, assemble easily, and be durable. If it fails any of these, then it’s not a good value.

Understand the Channels of Distribution. In nearly every case, you will purchase your display from a distributor who represents an exhibit manufacturer. Some distributors represent a single manufacturer. Others represent multiple manufacturers. Still others are sub-distributors who must purchase their products through multiple channels. Shorter distribution channels generally reduce the overall markup. It doesn’t matter whether you purchase online or from a bricks and mortar business. What matters is whether the distributor is an authorized representative and whether the distributor has a solid history representing the product.

Buy the Right Graphics.  No one ever tells you this . . . but there are high-quality graphics and there are cheap-a$$ graphics. You may not be able to tell the difference when you see them apart, but put them together and the difference is astonishing. Greater resolutions, higher contrast, deeper color intensity, truer color matches. The other lesson comes after you’ve used them several times. Cheaper graphics do not hold up to the wear and tear of trade show (ab)use. They de-laminate, they curl, they fade, they fray.

You need to use your smarts here and recognize that $250 graphics are not compatible with $750 graphics. If all you need are disposable graphics, then the inexpensive version is perfect. If the expensive ones are too expensive, then negotiate. No one is going to send you to the timeout corner for asking for a break on the price.

Don’t Buy More Than You Need.  The most overused term in the exhibits industry is “modular.” Buy this and you can re-configure it to this or you can add-on to the display when you upgrade to a larger exhibit. From my experience, customers rarely re-configure and rarely expand their existing display. Now you may be the exception and kudos to you, but don’t buy a 20 x 20 that re-configures to a 10 x 10 and 10 x 20 if you don’t need it. Or if you don’t want to spend hours sorting through packaging identifying the right components for the smaller displays or discover that re-configurability compromises the overall design.

I’m going to take some heat on this, particularly since I work for a company that designs and build modular displays, but so be it. Here’s my suggestion:  choose modularity because you want something that is easy to assembly, not because you wanted the adult version of a Transformer.

Rental Displays

Consider Combining Rentals with a Purchase. Frankly, this is so logical that I’m embarrassed to list it. Yet, almost no one does it. I don’t know why, except that so many of us have this primal need to own stuff. In some cases, display customers fall in love with a design, which is fine, but don’t realize that there is a rental solution available at 1/3 the cost. You have to ask. That’s the key. And if the display representative or exhibit house doesn’t have the right rental solution, then go somewhere else. Not everyone has embraced customized rentals. You need to find the company or companies that have.

That said, rentals are not for everyone. Your marketing requirements may dictate a unique structure and capabilities, or you may plan to use the same structure for more than four or five shows. At that point, purchasing is cheaper. But you need to remind yourself . . . you have the option of renting some of the structure and purchasing other parts. It’s not an either/or situation. For more tips about when to rent, please see this article.

Beware of Purchasing Magic Beans. Like any industry, the exhibit industry is not immune to charlatans who want to sell you “magic beans.” Their system will save you 50% or increase your leads by 200% at the first show. Aren’t numbers fun, when you don’t have to document the results?

Honestly, there are no magic beans. Some displays are better than others. Some are MUCH BETTER than others. But in the end, what matters is the quality of the display and how you prepare for your show. Your show will be a success based on your preparation before, during, and after the show. It’s that simple. Having the right display will assist in that effort and present the right image to potential customers, but a good display can’t overcome laziness, a lack of preparation, and procrastination. Not even a six-pack of Red Bull can do that.

Quality Matters.  Admittedly, this is sort of repeats the first one with a twist. I know you don’t want to hear it . . . but you get what you pay for. Here’s a metaphor for pop up displays, which many folks now consider a generic product (they’re not, but that’s OK). When is the last time you purchased blue jeans? There are budget, mainstream, and designer jeans. The bargain basement jeans are sold for around $14.99. Have you bought those? I have. They fit (kind of) and they wear like toilet tissue. They may resemble Levi’s, Wranglers, or Lee jeans but that’s about it.

Levi’s, Wranglers, and Lee jeans cost about double the price of the cheap pairs, but you’ll own them for years. They may not have decorative stitching or funky pockets or the cache of designer jeans, but they are functional and attractive.

Then there are designer jeans at double, triple, or quadruple the price of the Wranglers. They are well made and will also last for years. And, they may get you noticed a little more, which sometimes is a fair trade-off. But in the end (no pun intended), what gets noticed and admired is the package and not the packaging. Now take everything you just learned about jeans and quality and apply it to displays.

Consider the Packaging. One quick tip: Don’t assume the packaging is first rate. It’s usually not. Ask to see examples of how the manufacturer packs their displays. Excellent packaging is expensive and that’s where some manufacturers and custom houses cut corners. That’s too bad because the right packaging will save you lots of time before and after the show and ensure that the display arrives at its next destination in perfect shape.

Finally, don’t forget to review the setup instructions. You may decide to ignore them when you assemble the display, but Wanda in Human Resources won’t when she uses it at the Employment Fair. I don’t know about you, but I never want to make HR mad.

Let me know if you have any questions and I welcome your comments.

–Mel White
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
mel@classicexhibits.com

See Also . . .

13 Common Trade Show Mistakes
What Smells? Top 10 Trade Show Odors

What Not to Wear (at a Trade Show)

Polarized Artwork on an Inline Hybrid Display

Monday, April 12th, 2010

One of the luxuries of working in the trade show business, particularly as a manufacturer, is seeing so many creative displays and graphics. Not a day goes by that we don’t witness something impressive. But there are those days when we see something truly spectacular.

The images shown in these photos and video were designed by Austine Studios for Maui Jim Sunglasses. The Classic Exhibits distributor was Chris Chase at Everything Tradeshows. When you first glance at this Visionary Designs exhibit, the backlit graphics are dull and obscured, but put on a pair of polarized glasses, in this case Maui Jim sunglasses, and the images are instantly transformed into a vibrant, tropical mosaic. It’s AMAZING! See for yourself . . .

Without Polarized Glasses

With Polar

With Polarized Glasses

–Mel White
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite mel@classicexhibits.com Classic Exhibits Network (LinkedIn)

Introducing the Sacagawea Portable Hybrid PS-Series

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Display

Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Display

Classic Exhibits announces the new Sacagawea Portable Hybrid PS-Series, a design addition to the very popular Sacagawea Display line. The PS-Series designs split the backwall into two distinct tension fabric sections while adding both depth and curves to the overall appearance. And like the existing P and T-Series, the PS includes options such as monitor mounts, workstations, pedestals, brochure holders, and standoff signage.

The backwall assembles with attached knobs, and the entire display packs in portable roto-molded wheeled case(s) with reusable dye-cut foam packaging.

Features include:

  • Stylish Hybrid Design
  • Portable Knob Assembly (backwall)
  • Large Format Tension Fabric Graphics
  • Lightweight Aluminum Frame
  • Header and Standoff Signage Options
  • (3) 10′ x 10′ Kits
  • (3) 10′ x 20′ Kits
VK-2117

Sacagawea VK-2117

Normally, we don’t “toot our own horn,” but in our humble opinion, the new PS-Series may be the most attractive and functional portable trade show display EVER INTRODUCED. It has it all . . . looks, portability, durability, large graphics, and practical accessories.

Click on the links below to see all six kits:

  • VK-1235 (backwall)
  • VK-1236 (backwall, workstation, brochure holders, standoff signage)
  • VK-1237 (backwall, workstation, brochure holders, standoff signage, and pedestal)
  • VK-2115 (backwall)
  • VK-2116 (backwall, workstations, brochure holders, standoff signage)
  • VK-2117 (backwall, workstations, brochure holders, standoff signage, and pedestals)

We’d love to hear your reaction to the newest sibling in the Sacagawea line.

Perfect 10 Portable Hybrid Display — Setup Animation for Trade Show Exhibit (Cool!)

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

Excellent animation by Mike Swartout, the Classic Design Director, for the Perfect 10 Portable Hybrid Display. The animation video shows the P10 Helio (VK-1507) with inline wings, hard rock maple laminate, and a rectangle header. The background jazz music is the perfect compliment to this video.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKM-ZtSGf48

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