Trade Show Marketing Lesson from Johnny Weir: Authenticity Stands Out

February 13, 2014

Like them or not, figure skater Johnny Weir’s dramatic outfits at the Sochi 2014 Olympics stand out. This authentic representation of Johnny gives us some insight into Johnny the person and sets him apart from the typical network blazer-wearing sports commentator. It also elevates his memorability factor way off the charts.

This same technique can be applied to help differentiate your company and your exhibit from the competition on the trade show floor. We challenge you: pick something unique about your company or its culture and integrate it into your display. It takes guts, but as Johnny proves—the payoffs can be huge.

·         Is there a game you play in your office? Paper airplane contests, karaoke, ping pong breaks in the warehouse? If so, bring it to the booth.


·         Is there an element of your corporate environment you can recreate on the show floor? EPIC, a huge supporter of local artists always integrates some of its collection into its exhibit. Burwood demonstrated its problem solving process by integrating white boards throughout its display.

·         Does your company have any traditions that relate to fashion? An in-exhibit ugly sweater contest would certainly get attendees talking—as would a display of your team’s vintage concert t-shirts or wild golf outfits.

The key is to be open about who your team members are as people and trust that your target audience will appreciate your honesty.

I suspect that years from now, when we think back on the Sochi Olympics, Johnny and his statement of personal freedom are going to stand out as a highlight of the games. Can you make your exhibit marketing do the same for your company at your next tradeshow or event?

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Partner Voices

Business success — you may think it’s all about the bottom line, but savvy CEOs like those at Apple, Starbucks and IKEA know otherwise. Although profits play a big role, it’s also important for companies to be socially responsible by considering their impact on the environment, their local economy and their customers. One way that companies can practice corporate social responsibility (CSR) is by incorporating it into company events.