Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.
Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.

Tradeshow Photos

Tradeshow Social Media Video Guide

In case you hadn’t noticed social media video is exploding, driving traffic and eyeballs both on and offline. So it makes sense to strongly consider making video a part of your tradeshow strategy. Posting videos or going live from the show gives followers a sense of the show without actually being there, and if done correctly can help paint a picture of the people behind your brand.

If you’re going to put some videos together to promote your tradeshow appearance, it helps to color inside the lines as it were. Unless you’re a creative genius like Scorsese. So let’s take a look at some of those guidelines you might follow.

Facebook: Go Live from the show floor from your phone or laptop or tablet. Keep it short, but look to connect with viewers using short product demos, in-booth interviews with clients or visitors, interacting with booth staffers and more. Give your followers an intimate look at the people behind the products and services.

YouTube: Great for longer-form videos, but don’t overdo the length. You can go live, but it’s not a simple one-click from your page as it is with Facebook. Create videos that give information: product demonstrations, how-tos, and stories that build your brand.

Instagram: Now that you can combine stills and videos into short stories, capture several items and publish together as a single post. Aim for collections that demonstrate a lifestyle that relates to your brand. And of course, with a click you can go live on Instagram.

Twitter: Short videos are the rule on Twitter, as the stream is going so fast. One or two minutes is all you really need to capture someone’s attention. To the best of my knowledge, you can’t go live on Twitter (is Periscope still a thing?), so you’ll have to upload to YouTube or Vimeo or some other video platform and post a link.

Regardless of the platform you’re on, plan on posting multiple times during the day. If you’re going to do video from a tradeshow at all, make a full-on commitment so that your followers that are not at the show are able to anticipate your videos and join in the fun from a distance. Be sure to use show hashtags so that people outside of your company social media followers can find your video posts. And have fun – it’s just video! Everybody’s doing it! You’ll learn and get better as time goes on.

8 Ways to Use Instagram at a Tradeshow or Event

Planning on putting more focus on using Instagram at your next tradeshow or event? Congratulations. After all, it’s one of the most popular social media platforms out there with more than 400 million daily active users. But before you get started, do a little planning and it’ll be much easier to capture and post photos.

  1. Use the Event Hashtag. This way people at the show will find your posts much more easily.
  2. Go behind the scenes with photos. Show the exhibit set up, the show prep meeting, or the travel to the show. Build some excitement as you approach the show, and of course during and after.
  3. Don’t focus exclusively on your products or services. The most boring Instagram accounts are those that do nothing but promote, promote, promote their own stuff. Sure a product placement is cool, but make sure you have faces, preferably happy and smiling. Show off your exhibit and the people that visit.
  4. Use the Geotagging options. And don’t just stop there. Spend some time going through other photos from the same event and location: either comment or like those so you’re building engagement and followers.
  5. Promote the event before, during and after. Show what you’re going to do, show your team doing it, and then once it’s over, show more photos of what you’ve done.
  6. Promote a contest. Instagram contests do work – but be sure to post your rules for how it works, and how you choose a winner. And be sure to give away a relevant prize.
  7. Share to other platforms. Yeah, it’s easy, but be clear about how you’re doing it. If you just click the buttons, you’ll likely get a link to your Instagram post instead of the actual image. So either share the images separately, sign up for an IFTTT account, link your two accounts, and add this recipe that will “tweet your Instagrams as native photos on Twitter.”
  8. Share the event hashtag photos on a monitor in your booth. Yeah, you’ll probably need some smart nerdy tech guy to set this up, but it’s definitely doable.

Have a great time at the show – and share on Instagram!


Free report: What 7 Questions Do You Need to Ask Your Exhibit House?

Natural Products Expo West TradeshowGuy Exhibit Awards

Walking the floor of the Natural Products Expo West show in Anaheim, one is overwhelmed by the sheer number of tradeshow exhibitors and visitors. According to New Hope, the organization that puts on the show, there were over 80,000 visitors this year, and over 3,100 exhibitors.

That’s a lot of bone broth, honey, yogurt, Paleo diets and chocolate. Oh, the chocolate!

But there are literally tons of tradeshow exhibits, many of which stand out in unique ways. Let’s capture a few of these and call them out for service and recognition above and beyond.

Best Use of Bodily Function Statistics: GoodBelly

I watched as visitor after visitor stopped at the side of the GoodBelly exhibit and snapped a photo of The Poop Report, an infographic compiled from a survey of over 3000 people who visited the GoodBelly website.

The Poop Report: Good Belly
The Poop Report: Good Belly

Best Long Form Screenplay, er, uh, Exhibit: BabyGanics

BabyGanics have traditionally occupied an odd-shaped island space for years in the convention center, so I was a bit surprised to see that space occupied by another exhibit. It took a moment of spinning on my heels, but I did eventually find the 60′ (70′? 80′?) long exhibit. Just an inline exhibit, but they jammed a lot of longevity and functionality into the space.

BabyGanics Goes Looong!
BabyGanics Goes Looong!

Best Makeover: Nancy’s Yogurt

This booth is near and dear to my heart: it’s the second exhibit project I ever sold when I got into the business 15 years ago. So this is nearly 15 years old. For years, the booth has had the same look and feel. But a laminate makeover gave it an entirely new look and feel. In fact, I admit at first glance I thought it was an entirely new exhibit! But not the case – just a quick re-skin for a whole new look:

Nancy's Yogurt Before and After
Nancy’s Yogurt Before and After

Best Lettuce on a Wall: Indoor Farms of America

Inside Farms of America had a simple concept: show people what they do, and as a result it’s an eye-catching and ‘stop-in-your-tracks’ effect:

Best Lettuce Wall
Best Lettuce Wall

Best Minimalist Exhibit: Kashi

Kashi’s <1% display got people talking and snapping photos. It’s nothing but a large space with a hanging sign, the <1% display and, when you read the fine print, you discover their message about organic farmlands. Effectively done:

Best Minimalist Exhibit: Kashi
Best Minimalist Exhibit: Kashi

Best Use of Cactus Wisdom for Interactivity: Steaz Tea

There’s nothing like handing out cards with pre-printed fortunes to get people to line up. I know I did. Clever, interactive, and engaging in a fun way – a perfect fit for Expo West:

Steaz Teas Interactive Fortune-Telling Cactus
Steaz Teas Interactive Fortune-Telling Cactus

Seriously, I could go on forever with fun and silly awards for exhibits at Expo West: it’s a place with a lot of creativity. Yes, you’ll find uncreative low-budget exhibits that should (and probably did) embarrass the exhibitors, but what’s the fun in pointing those out? They know who they are, and they know when it’s time to upgrade. So let’s go with just one more that caught my eye:

Best Photo-Op Exhibit: StonyField Yogurt

A large painting on a wall and floor made it look like you’re standing in a bowl of yogurt, if photographed at the right angle. So I joined in. Lots of people waiting for their turn here throughout the show:

Best Interactive Photo-Op: Stonyfield Yogurt
Best Interactive Photo-Op: Stonyfield Yogurt

TradshowGuy Exhibits Shows Off Three New Client Booths at Expo West

it was a good Natural Products Expo West 2017 for all of us here at TradeshowGuy Exhibits! We welcomed three new clients at the show: Dave’s Killer Bread/Alpine Valley Bread, Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant and Wedderspoon Manuka and Organic Gourmet Honey.

Expo West Tradeshow Exhibits

Dave’s Killer Bread/Alpine Valley Bread got it started with a 10×30 booth; 10′ is dedicated to the Alpine Valley brand, 20′ to the Dave’s Killer Bread brand. The booth featured three fabric graphics, two of which were backlit by LED lights, creating a bright and attractive light box. Both brands showed off their logos with stand-off direct print sintra with LED highlights. A small storage closet gave them plenty of room for product, along with two custom curved counters equipped with USB chargers and LED trim. One had a tablet kiosk affixed to the top.

 

Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant is a relatively young company that has seen its products make a big impression in the marketplace. This year they introduced a new soap product to go with the deodorant, and showed it all of with a custom 20′ inline booth featuring two large fabric light boxes.

Both of these booths had custom flooring, which we’re seeing a lot more of these days.

Last, but not least, we worked with Wedderspoon from Philadelphia to create a wood-shelf oriented booth to show off their line of New Zealand honeys. This was a simple, elegant wooden booth that gave them a large hanging graphic in the middle, several display shelves and ample storage space.

All of the companies reported glowing comments from visitors on their new exhibits. But more importantly, the great folks from Dave’s Killer Bread, Schmidt’s Naturals and Wedderspoon loved the exhibits and were a joy to work with. It’s another good reminder of why we’re in this industry: to make you look good!

Who Wants to Take Better Tradeshow Exhibit Photos?

Do you want to take better tradeshow exhibit photos? Or are you satisfied with quick smartphone photos of your booth?

Learn to take better tradehow exhibit photos!

It all depends on what you want them for.

If your goal is to simply document how a booth looks at any given show, your smartphone should suffice. Point and shoot. Wait as best as you can until people are out of the way and snap your photos.

If you want something more professional, simply hire a pro. I’ve done it more than once, even though I’ve had decades of experience behind a camera. Sometimes you just need a photo at a show you’re not able to attend, or you want a very high quality photo that you can submit to a magazine. That’s probably reason enough to hire a photographer. If you do hire a local photographer, you can always ask for recommendations from colleagues. If that doesn’t work, do a search for local photographers, reach out to a few and ask questions such as how much they charge, what’s their experience shooting tradeshow exhibits, and can you schedule the session at a time of day when the show floor is not crawling with people? Preferably that would be prior to a show opening in the morning, during the time when only exhibitors are allowed. A short session should only cost two or three hundred dollars, and if you hire a local you won’t have travel costs to worry about.

If you rely on your smartphone, you’re still able to grab some good shots. Keep these tips in mind:

Know your goals: are you gathering exhibit photos for possible online sharing? To document the state of the booth? To show visitors and/or staffers in the booth so you can share online? All of the above?

If you’re taking photos during a busy show, wait until people walk past your viewfinder. Try to get as much of the booth in your screen as possible. This may take a little moving around to look for the best angle.

If you’re able, go early and take photos of the exhibit prior to the show opening. Take them from all sides, and take close-ups as well.

Hold the camera steady! Even though it looks great on your phone screen, if you’re moving even a little bit, the photo may end up somewhat blurry (one of my hard-earned lessons!).

Finally, if you have editing tools on your smartphone, you can crop, filter, brighten and so on to make the photo mo’ better to share!

Oregon Cannabis Growers Fair: A Visit

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The recreational cannabis business is exploding. At least in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Alaska and Washington, DC. Which means that the marijuana growing and selling is also booming. I attended the Oregon Cannabis Growers Fair recently to find out exactly how big it really is.

It’s big. And getting bigger. The two-day event was held at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem (just a hop, skip and jump from our office!). There were roughly six dozen exhibitors, hawking things from cannabis growing containers, to business support software, makers of pot edibles, promotional items aimed at the ‘high’ market and much more. I should emphasize that no one was allowed to sell or consume any cannabis products on site. However, you could collect business cards and discount coupons for your next visit to the local marijuana dispensary.

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One representative of an industry group, the National Cannabis Industry Association, told me that the industry has seen an explosion in tradeshows. “Some are great, others not so great,” she said. When I picked up a free copy of DOPE magazine, I saw at least a dozen other shows being promoted between now and early next year, so the growth is evident.

As far as exhibits go, there were not too many that one would call sophisticated. However, that leaves room for growth, no doubt. Certainly a handful of exhibitors came prepared to show off their business in a good light. Some booths were professional, some were home-made. Most appeared to be slapped together by companies that either don’t have much of a budget or weren’t aware of what it really took to put a good booth together. Some exhibitors I spoke with were very new to exhibiting, so that makes it understandable. But with more states voting to legalize recreational use of cannabis this fall, with California squarely in that target as being not only the most populated state in the nation but with polls showing that 60% of voters in the state currently favoring legalization, the industry is poised at a tipping point to continue to boom.

Author Ed Rosenthal poses for a photo with a cannabis fair visitor.
Author Ed Rosenthal poses for a photo with a cannabis fair visitor.

 

Meduri Farms Exhibit Project

Meduri Farms 20x20 custom exhibit, seen at IFT, Chicago, July 2016
Meduri Farms 20×20 custom exhibit, seen at IFT, Chicago, July 2016

You never know exactly how new clients will find you. It could be from an introduction at a tradeshow. It might be from someone hearing a webinar that impressed them enough to make a call. It might be from an internet search or a referral. The Meduri Farms exhibit project came about thanks to an online search.

One of our most recent clients, Meduri Farms of Dallas, Oregon, found TradeshowGuy Exhibits through a Google search. Through a few months of back and forth to answer questions, the issuing of a Request for Proposals including a design from scratch, we ended up getting the project. It was awarded in March after a competition of four or five exhibit firms, and kicked off in April, finally making it’s debut in July at the Institute of Food Technologists show in Chicago at McCormick Place.

Design was by Greg Garrett Designs. Fabrication by Classic Exhibits. The 20×20 structure was a combination of original design (the tower/alcove unit and product display unit) and rental (counters). The top section of the tower features SEG fabric images up to about a 15′ height which grabs eyeballs from a distance.

The 15′ tower is 9′ x 9′ with a meeting space in the bottom. Two sides are taken up by alcoves that display products and offer plenty of storage room. The roughly 10′ counters give more product display area and more storage for the oodles of samples handed out during the show.

According to Sara Lotten, Sales & Customer Service for Meduri Farms, management loved the booth and the results it brought (“that’s beautiful!” was the comment passed along as the president first laid eyes on the booth at the show). Meduri Farms got a great number of positive comments about the booth. Comments are great, but results are more impressive.

“We got as many leads the first day with the new booth as we did all of last year’s show. We ended up with three times as many leads for the show as last year,” said Lotten.

Meduri Farms, Inc., founded in 1984 is a premier supplier of specialty dried fruits to food manufacturers around the world.

Check out our Meduri Farms photo gallery here.

Find out more about how you can get a new tradeshow booth here.

 

Double Deck Booth Puts Your Meeting Space Upstairs

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I’ve been seeing them more frequently at the big shows: double deck booths that create a private meeting space above the crowd. But is it something you should consider? Is it worth it?

Let’s take a look. First, if you are considering a double deck rental for your island space, keep in mind you’ll probably need at least a 20×20 island, if not 20×30 or larger. Due to the physical engineering and space of the stairs and the height needed, the stairs themselves will take up about 16′. In a 20×20 booth, you can put a smaller upper deck, but it still dominates the space. Perhaps that’s okay – only you can decide that.

But the double deck also comes with other considerations. Do you rent or buy? A purchase commits you to the double deck for at least a few years. Now, if you’ve determined that a double deck is a useful part of the booth perhaps purchasing the deck is the thing to do. If you rent, you’re only committed to a single show.

Another question is: do the upper meeting areas get used enough to warrant the additional cost? If it’s a busy show with tens of thousands of visitors and a few thousand exhibitors, there’s probably enough traffic to warrant the cost. If you schedule enough meetings in your pre-show planning, you might be able to justify it. But if you end up with an upper area that only gets used a few times during the show, you’ll probably regret the expense.

Beyond the cost of purchasing or renting the double deck, there’s the additional cost of setting it up. You’ll often need a supervisor from the double deck rental company to be a part of the I&D to ensure it is set up properly. There are legal engineering and fire safety requirements, along with insurance and other regulatory requirements which can vary from city to city, so make sure you work with a company that is familiar with the legal requirements.

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Exhibiting halls in different cities can have differing height requirements. There are weight capacity requirements and depending on total space for meetings, the number of stairways (tied to upper capacity). Typically a structure must be engineered to withstand 100 to 125 pounds per square foot.

In some cities, such as areas of California and the Northwest, the structures must meet earthquake codes as well.

There are certainly other city and hall requirements, but your exhibit provider should be able to ensure that your double deck booth, whether a rental or a purchase, can meet those requirements whatever they are.

Whatever your decision, a double deck is a big step if you’ve never done it before, and it warrants a thorough consideration of all of the ramifications. Take a longer look at double decks here.


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Expo West 2016: Notes from the Swirl

Natural Products Expo West 2016 is in the books. I’m sure they’re still counting the numbers, but I have no doubt the final tally of visitors and exhibitors will top last year’s 71,000 (update: final numbers: 77,000+ attendees, over 3,000 exhibits, 600+ of which were new this year). It’s my 13th time I’ve walked the floor and worked with client exhibitors, and have always enjoyed it. It’s a grueling and weary four days, but well worth the time.

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Some notes and thoughts…

At first blush, it appears that hundreds of exhibitors really stepped up their game. New booths, refreshed and repurposed older booths and new looks were the common themes that run throughout. Having said that, there were still a lot of exhibitors that seriously looked like they didn’t really know what to expect. I did talk to dozens of exhibits (maybe a hundred or more), and many are looking to upgrade for next year’s go-round, simply to compete with their neighbors down the aisle.

Last year I lost count of the time I saw the word ‘natural’ used in graphics. This year, not so much. I did however, see the term ‘superfoods’ used extensively.

Things are always in flux. I talked to several company reps who are facing personal changes because the company they work for has been or is being acquired by a larger entity. This means that while doors close, others open; new opportunities abound because there are always changes afoot in the industry. And even with 70,000+ visitors and exhibitors, it seems like a small industry (which I’m not even a part of, except peripherally!). Many people change companies but still land at this industry show each year.

Big is in – always. While there are hundreds of smaller exhibitors that are in the aisles with 10×10 or 10×20 in-line booths, the convention center is packed with large island booths, 20×20, 30×30, 40×40, 40×70 and more. I know the space is not cheap, so the investments made in marketing at this show are substantial. I spoke briefly with Bob Moore, the iconic “Bob” of Bob’s Red Mill, and he reiterated what he’s said many times before: exhibiting at Expo West year after year has helped the company expand and grow and reach new markets they couldn’t have otherwise reached. Without a doubt, many companies increase the size of their booth simply to show competitors that they’re in charge.

Exhibit construction: while I saw numerous fabric graphics and hanging pillowcase signs, there were hundreds of exhibits that featured solid wooden panels in their construction. At least six companies brought in vehicles (trailers, cars) as part of their exhibit. I saw one table made from a surfboard, a photobooth, one stuffed bear sitting on a toilet, and one iconic dread-deaded lion drinking coffee. There were loads of large graphics that caught your attention from several aisle away.

Social media: always lots of action on Twitter and Instagram. A handful of exhibitors pushed contests from their booth to tag them or tweet or ‘gram them from the show floor for a chance to win. A few years ago, that was a big deal, now it’s just part of the game – some are involved and some are not. Nobody seems to make a big deal about it, but social media engagement and contests are there, just not ubiquitous.

As always, Natural Products Expo West is a big deal – the biggest show of the year for the industry. Always great to be a part!

Check out the photo gallery!


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