Five Ideas to Steal from EXHIBITOR 2013

March 26, 2013

From digital sketching to wall projection to social media inspiration, finding new and meaningful ways to connect brands with attendees was at the top of the priority list for many at EXHIBITOR 2013, held March 17-21 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.

“Everything that’s here is meant to facilitate face-to-face interaction,” said Brian Baker, creative director at MC2. “That’s what’s precious about a trade show.”

Baker noted that to create the right experience, it’s important to start with the brand’s goals and only then move to strategy and specific tools.

To capture imagination, and future business, of attendees at EXHIBITOR, several brands adopted a winning strategy of focusing on the guests and found innovative ways to do it.

Apps That Work

It’s hard to get attendees to download apps and even harder to get them to use them. EWI Worldwide created an app that attendees were happy to share with their peers, even during educational sessions.

Building on a concept of creative storytelling, EWI asked attendees various fun questions, such “What is your guilty pleasure?” and had an artist sketch out their answer.

Their photo with the drawing was uploaded to an album in the app, which also contained a dream journal, a brag book with case studies and more on the company’s creative process.

Social Media That’s About Them

Lots of brands encourage attendees to follow them on social media, but few offer something that can spark ideas. To help attendees find the right feel for their next exhibit, Hargrove created curated photo boards that track design trends on the visual-minded Pinterest social network.

"The worlds of fashion, art, retail, architecture and interior design are interconnected and can serve as inspiration for exhibit and event design," said David Solsbery, executive director of design at Hargrove.

Attendees browsed through the boards on interactive screens in the exhibit while discussing what they saw with company reps and walked away with a personalized exhibit mood board.

Personalized Face Time

A captive audience is every trade show marketer’s dream. It might sound like a gimmick, but attendees crowded around the EventToon’s booth, where a digital artist sketched their image on a tablet – that’s at least five minutes of face time.

The caricature portraits were printed out and many attendees sported them in their badge holders as they roamed the aisles, happy to show off their personalized giveaways.

Five Minutes of Fame

Larger-than-life projected imagery may not be a new concept, but what about when it’s your photo on the wall? MG Design brought a 20-foot projection mapping wall that used Pandora’s Box system for traffic-stopping effect. 

Attendees loved large dynamic imagery even more when they realized that for their own Times Square moment they could have their photo taken at the booth and in seconds, it would be part of the projection.

“If you’re doing multiple shows, you don’t have to redo the whole exhibit and you can adjust the content for multiple brands or product lines,” said Ben Olson, vp of marketing for MG Design.

Comfort and Joy

After a crazy day on the floor, it’s hard to resist plopping onto a comfortable couch in a cozy lounge environment.

Add to that a meaningful and inspiring conversation with a top creative, not a sales person, who is not following a script but actually knows how to help. Factor in a cup of coffee and an éclair. Priceless.

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Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework: