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

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TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, April 1, 2019: NAB Show Preview

The National Association of Broadcasters Show is in Las Vegas from April 6 to April 11, 2019. I’ll be attending it for the first time ever. Crazy, right, since I spent three decades as a radio broadcaster. But it’ll be fun, I’m sure! This week’s podcast/vlog previews the show just a bit:

Check it out: NAB SHOW Website.

And this week’s ONE GOOD THING is the debut novel from Maurice Carlos Ruffin, We Cast a Shadow.

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Beyond The Tradeshow: 7 Cool Ideas For Post-Event Content

This is a guest post by Kayleigh Alexander from Micro Startups.

So you’ve had a successful tradeshow, meeting lots of new potential customers and contacts and generated awareness and sales for your product or service.

But the work doesn’t stop there. The post-event period is crucial for capitalizing on your tradeshow success and promoting your next event.

Read on for five cool ideas for great post-event content that will grow your business and ramp up attendance for your next tradeshow.

Collate attendee quotes for some quick content

One great idea for some stellar post-event content is a review piece by your attendees. During your tradeshow, you were probably laden down with business cards, coffee plans, LinkedIn requests, and Twitter follows.

Consequently, you’ve got a huge bank of people to source post-event reviews from. Reach out to your new contacts with a personalized message and ask them how they found your event, what they took away, what the most memorable point was, and so on.

Compile all these quotes into a single piece, crediting your attendee and linking out to their LinkedIn page or website. It’s quick content that serves as the perfect marketing piece for your next tradeshow.

Reach out to industry figures for their thoughts

As well as reaching out to your contacts and attendees, why not reach out to notable industry figures for a post-event review too? These influencers are respected in their field, and can provide insightful opinions on your tradeshow.

When you contact these influencers, bear in mind that they probably receive a lot of contact from their peers. Keep it professional and to-the-point.

If they’re happy to provide a quote, do the same as you did with your attendees and ask for their insights, favorite exhibit, and any actionable takeaways they can provide. Again, this makes for some valuable post-event content that’s easy to collate.

The key here is immediacy. Don’t wait a week after the event to make this content — the sooner after the event, the better.

Offer your own post-event takeaways

Beyond reaching out to your attendees and industry influencers for their thoughts, just as valuable are your own opinions. Break down your tradeshow and describe how the day went, who attended, and what attendees were able to take away.

A post-event review from your own perspective keeps your tradeshow in the mind of your attendees. Invite comments from those who attended your event and encourage them to respond with their own thanks and thoughts.

And as well as providing some useful post-event content, this also helps those who weren’t able to attend your tradeshow see what they missed.

Check out search trend data to create targeted content

After your tradeshow, the chances are that your attendees have a lot of questions. While many of them were asked during the event, plenty of attendees will turn to Google afterwards for more information.

This gives you the perfect opportunity to create content that addresses these questions, directing people to your blog after your tradeshow to drive up engagement. Use search data trends to spot what your attendees and customers are searching for online after your tradeshow.

For example, you might spot spikes in certain search terms related to a new product you demonstrated. Create content that goes into greater detail about this, and share it across your marketing channels. This addresses your attendees’ questions and keeps them engaged with your business.

Cascade tradeshow video across your marketing channels

Video is a powerful content format that’s popular with your audience and great for post-event marketing. It’s cheap to source and with the proliferation of free online video editors, it’s easy to create a slick video piece too.

Hopefully, you will have recorded plenty of video during your tradeshow. Interviews with attendees, product demos, meet and greets, talks and Q&As — these all make for strong post-event content that you can

If you used Instagram to promote your event on the day, it’s still possible to download it and reuse it across your website and email channels. Use the Repost For Instagram app to download the original clip from your social feed and cascade across the rest of your post-event marketing.

Invite interaction with a pop quiz

One piece of post-event content that is guaranteed to delight your audience is a quiz. Quizzes are fun, engaging, and great for creating discussion after an event.

Use a free quiz maker to create a quick test of your attendees’ knowledge. Write questions that reveal more about your business, product, or service. For example: “how many states did we expand into in 2018?” or “what was the number one reason why customers used this product last year?” — it’s up to you.

This doesn’t need to be particularly demanding — the emphasis here is on fun rather than competition. You could even turn this into a lead generation exercise, offering people the chance to win if they provide their email address when they complete the quiz.

The period immediately after your tradeshow is ripe for boosting your business and marketing your next event. Use the ideas above to create a great post-tradeshow content strategy that will keep you going for time to come.


MicroStartups helps aspiring entrepreneurs achieve their dreams, however big or small. We love sharing the microbusiness message around the world.

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A Company’s Sustainability Initiative as it Relates to a New Tradeshow Exhibit

When you ring up your custom exhibit house and order a new custom tradeshow exhibit, do you ever consider your company’s sustainability initiative?

Of course, there are a lot of things that can go into a company-wide sustainability initiative, such as having it as part of your company mission, doing your best to reduce waste through recycling, using less power, automate workflow or whatever else that may fit, making sure your employees are engaged in the process, and having ways to measure the effectiveness of the program so you can show it off to both employees and the public.

But do you consider how a new exhibit can possibly help in your efforts? There are a number of ways to use the opportunity of a new exhibit project as a part of your sustainability efforts.

The ECO-2118 from EcoSustainable Exhibits

First, you have to ask the question. When you are chatting with your exhibit house representative, ask them: “What ways do you implement sustainability efforts in your exhibit-design and building projects?”

That gives them a chance to show their stuff. In my experience, it’s rarely asked. But it is occasionally brought up, particularly in regard to responding to an RFP. The more formalized the process, it seems, the better the chance to have the question pop up. That’s where a company can fully respond to those concerns.

There have been some occasions when the question is asked as part of the conversation leading up to the sale, or as part of the project, but it is rarer in my experience.

Which is a shame. I think the buying / selling dance is a great chance (often a missed chance) to explore ways in which an exhibit company uses sustainability efforts to great effect.

For example, we often work with Classic Exhibits, one of the premier exhibit builders in the nation. They’re well-known in the industry for the depth and breadth of their sustainable practices. Just one example: aluminum is smelted and extruded locally in Portland, not shipped in, and recycled a short distance away to keep transportation costs minimal. Their approach to sustainability includes the ability to recycle everything except Sintra. That includes wood, aluminum and other metal, paper, foam, clear film and clear film plastic. All except wood is recycled at no cost.

Another Portland example, Boothster, uses building materials that are very easy to recycle: carboard tubes, cardboard-printed pieces, bamboo banner stands and so on. They position their company as builders that fully adhere to the practices for sustainability.

Greenspace, also in Portland, positions their approach as “environmentally sustainable design and fabrication.”

Another builder we work with at TradeshowGuy Exhibits, Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits, approachas the design and fabrication of exhibits using materials such as recycled aluminum extrusions, LED lighting, ECO-glass made from 100% post-industrial recycled content, bamboo plywood, FSC certified wood, plastic shipping cases made from recycled plastics and are 100% recyclable. Graphics are printed on ECO-board, Paradise fabric (made from 100% recycled soda bottles), and finishes are water-based low VOC (volatile organic compound) or VOD-free, and Greenguard certified.

All of these go a long way to making your tradeshow investment dollars be a part of your commitment to a company-side sustainability initiative.

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TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, March 25, 2019: Dave Scott

For this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee podcast-slash-vlog, I thought it’d be fun to chat with a longtime radio broadcaster that I’ve crossed paths with a few times during my radio career. Dave Scott started in radio about the same time I did – the mid-70s – and has tales to tell. So that’s fun.

But one of the reasons I wanted to talk to him was to get more information about his new podcast, Embrace the Change, which you dan find at his website, DaveScottNow.com.

Check out Dave’s podcast – I think you’ll enjoy it!

And this weeks’ ONE GOOD THING: Ichiro Suzuki, who just retired from his Hall of Fame baseball career.

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What to Watch for Walking the Tradeshow Floor

Naturally, your eyes will be on several different things when you are walking the tradeshow floor. And your agenda will be different as an attendee vs. an exhibitor. But if you keep your eyes open, you can spot a lot of cool and interesting things on the tradeshow floor.

The first day of a tradeshow, when the doors open for the first time, the first things you’ll see as you walk through the floors is how bright and clean everything is. Hundreds of people, maybe thousands, have been working for days to put on their best for you and all of the other attendees.

walking the tradeshow floor
What do you see when walking the tradeshow floor?

When you walk by a booth, look for the brand and image. Is it well-represented? Are people smiling and greeting you, but not pushing themselves on you? Are they asking good, engaging questions that make you stop and respond? Are they trying to catch your eye?

Is their booth made from sustainable materials? Can you tell? Is that part of their message – that they are a company dedicated to being as ecofriendly as possible?

Also look to see if they have new products. If they have samples, are they easy to reach? If they have demos, do they look easy to engage with? If they have a professional presenter, is it obvious that’s the case and is there a schedule for the day’s presentations easily available?

Is the booth crisp and clean and sharp? Or do you see ragged edges? Is the carpet spotless and brand-new looking? All of these things suggest something to you and help determine what your impressions of the company will be.

If the company is giving away promotional items, is it obvious? If they have some sample-like things on display but are not for giveaway, is that spelled out? Are they looking to collect business cards in a fishbowl? Why?

What is their lead capture strategy? Are they talking with people, or just engaging enough to scan a badge, thinking that is going to be enough?

Later in the day, or on the second or third day, look for places where the booth might be fraying, where garbage might be piling up, where personal belongings are spilling out of a storage area.

Look for stories. People engage with stories and the companies that best tell their stories will be the most memorable. What stories are the exhibits and their products and people telling?

Look for teamwork. Is the booth staff operating as a team, or do they just seem to be….there? Are they dressed in identifiable same-color tees, for example, or are they just in typical work clothes? Can you tell who’s a staffer and who’s not?

If you can walk the floor and make mental notes on day one, digest what you see, try again on the last day of the show when people are almost in their “bug-out” mode. Things will be mighty different!

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A Single Big Tradeshow is Still a Year-Round Event

I’m guilty of sometimes thinking that once a tradeshow is over for the year, it’s over. For a long time. Until next year! But that’s not really the case, no matter how much I’d like to be done!

As a tradeshow manager, or someone who attends or exhibits at tradeshows on a regular basis, it’s easy to compartmentalize each show:

“Got another show in two months, but it’s a small regional one. I can wait another couple of weeks to make sure I get it all together in time.”

“Well, that big expo is done! Don’t have to worry about that for another year! Or maybe ten months if I’m lucky.”

But now that the show is over, it’s a good time to start planning – or at least thinking about – the next time you’ll exhibit at the show. Look at your preparation time from how much of a splash you want to make, how much “new” stuff you’ll implement in your exhibit, and of course, budget. Budget drives everything. Almost.

If the biggest show of the year just ended, and you’re back in the office, you have another 11.5 months before you pack up and head to the airport again (and that doesn’t take into account another half-dozen smaller shows that may keep you on the road).

What now?

Relax for a Few Moments

Give yourself time to breath. There’s still follow-up and record-keeping to be done from the last show. File and share data such as photos, visitor comments, leads, etc. with the proper people. Go over the metrics you collected, identify important information that will help you make decisions for next year’s show. Whatever you chose to document, make sure it’s archived and available for your team to review, digest and understand. As they say, if you didn’t write it down or document it, it didn’t happen.

What’s New Next Year?

But before too much time passes, look at the show from a new angle: if you’re going to do something new, exciting and impactful (and why wouldn’t you?), you need time to brainstorm, plan, research, talk with partners such as exhibit houses, tech and AV vendors and more.

Most of your time will go into planning and design. Once the plan is set, the implementation starts. Depending on your plan, that could mean working with a designer or exhibit house to create a new exhibit from scratch, or it could mean adding some unique element to your current booth (like we did with our client Bob’s Red Mill when they wanted a 42” touchscreen with several videos that visitors can pull up with a touch of a finger).


Bob’s Red Mill’s exhibit alcove featuring 42″ touch screen with directional speakers

During the planning phase, you might be addressing the launch of new products, new branding, redefining your objectives and goals, and identifying how you’ll communicate your messaging, capture new leads and so on. It’s a long process, and you should give it the time it deserves.

Many companies approach a new exhibit project as just that: a new exhibit and nothing more. Which means they don’t give all of the other items enough time and space. The exhibit is not a standalone item; it’s integral to everything else that your company is doing for the show. New products require proper display space, adequate space for graphics, and perhaps space to sample or demo them.

Social Media

If you have a social media marketing director, make sure you bring her into the mix during the process. They can pass along photos and videos from the recent show and use them to build interest in next year’s show. During the lead-up to next year’s show, focus on building interest in the event, building interest in your appearance at the event, and finally on building interest in the products or services you’ll debut or feature. Yes, this deserves a much longer discussion, but don’t let this element slip away. Make sure, as a tradeshow manager, that you’re involved in the discussions on how this will unfold.

Booth Staff Training

This subject could be the topic of a complete book (maybe I’ll make this my next book!), but suffice it to say at this point that, all other things being equal, a well-trained dynamite booth staff will perform head and shoulders above a staff that isn’t properly trained. Your staff should be outgoing without being pushy, engaging without being trite. Know what questions work and what don’t. Always have a smile. Don’t take rejection personally. If you haven’t trained your booth for a while, consider how good of an investment it can be.

Get Everyone On Board

Before undertaking a new large project, make sure you are communicating properly with all of the various entities: management, marketing team, sales team, production team, outside vendors and partners. They should all be aware of the project from the beginning and what their potential part in the dance might be. Communicate often and do it well. It’s hard to over-state the importance of your ability to communicate!

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TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, March 18, 2019: Expo West Recap

Natural Products Expo West is in the books for another year. About 85,000 attendees, 3,600+ exhibitors made for a crazy, chaotic and ultimately fun week in Anaheim. From the Airbnb in Santa Ana where I caught a little down time between long and busy days to the early morning free breakfast and the after-show Oregon party at McCormick and Schmick’s, it was a helluva week. Take a look:

This week’s ONE GOOD THING: Paul McCartney’s album “Memory Almost Full.”

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Tradeshow Tricks: How to Make Eye-Catching Signs and Brochures

This is a guest post by Tania Longeau of InkJet Superstores.

Setting up a booth at a trade show is a great way to build awareness of your brand and gain new leads. On the busy floor of a trade show, however, you only have 6 to 10 seconds to catch the attention of a passerby and draw them into your booth. You are lined up alongside several other businesses and, depending on the size of the show, you could have several thousand people walking past over the course of just a few days. If you want them to stop by your booth, you need eye-catching signage to draw them in.

Once you’ve gotten their attention, you need well-designed marketing materials like brochures, flyers, catalogs, and cards that they will take and look at again after the event. It sounds difficult, but learning how to make eye-catching signs, brochures, and other branding and marketing materials isn’t as hard as you might think. Keep reading to discover a few of our favorite trade show tricks.

Plan Ahead

Businessman Alan Lakein once said that “failing to plan is planning to fail,” and he was absolutely right. If you fail to do extensive planning prior to attending a trade show, you are very unlikely to have a particularly successful event. Goals and desired outcomes need to be established months before the date of the event to ensure that you have time to create everything you need.

Set SMART goals and come up with a solid plan of attack for meeting them. Think about what advertising and marketing materials you will need. Figure out whether you will make those materials in-house or have them printed elsewhere. If you plan on making them yourself, make sure you are stocked up on printer ink, paper, and other essential supplies. Trust us. Few things are worse than running out of ink at 11 p.m. the night before a trade show because you failed to plan and waited until the last minute!

Say it with an Image

When you only have a few brief seconds to grab someone’s attention, a sign or banner with lots of words just won’t do. A picture says a thousand words and, when you use images that are eye-catching, your signs will say a lot about your business, products, or services without needing to say a word. Keep the wording on your booth graphics short and to the point. Your signage should mostly consist of attention-grabbing images. Text should be kept to a minimum. On a busy trade show floor, very few people are going to stop and read an entire paragraph or a long list on a sign. Keep your message short and sweet.

Don’t Go Crazy with Fonts

You may love the look of the fancy font you use on your website or logo, but it may not be the best choice for creating trade show signage and displays. When you are designing signs, banners, and anything else that will be viewed from afar, choose fonts that are simple and easy to read. Remember that, on the trade show floor, your booth is competing for event attendees’ attention. If your advertisements aren’t easy to read, those attendees are just going to look elsewhere.

Be careful when choosing fonts for printed brochures, too. If most of your marketing materials currently exist online, adjustments may need to be made to ensure that they print well. Fonts and colors that look great on a computer screen or a smartphone might not look so good on paper, so be sure to do some experimentation to make sure everything is flawless.

Know When to Hire a Professional

There is a lot that you can do with the inkjet printer or laser printer in your office. Many of today’s higher-end models are capable of creating prints that rival professional quality, and you may be able to get away with printing many of your own signs, flyers, brochures, and pamphlets. It’s also important, though, to know when to hire a professional. Unless you have a high-quality inkjet printer that’s capable of printing large-format banners and other big displays, you should definitely work with a professional printing company. You only get one shot at making a good first impression, so the signage and displays you put up at your booth are extremely important.

Unless you have professional graphic design skill, working with an expert designer is a smart idea, too. A design may look awesome to you, but it may not actually be all that great. There is a lot more that goes into a successful design than just making it look pretty. A good designer can help you create brochures and signs that are eye-catching, tell your brand’s story, and evoke emotion. It takes a lot more than a copy of Photoshop to do all that!

In Conclusion

When you are attending a trade show, setting your booth apart from all of the other ones around you is extremely important. There will be hundreds or thousands of people passing by your booth over the course of a few short days, and you will only have a few seconds to grab each person’s attention. With eye-catching signs, banners, and displays, you can let event attendees know what your business is all about and encourage them to stop by. With eye-catching brochures and pamphlets, you can encourage them to pick up your marketing materials and check them out after the event. Keep the above listed tips in mind, and you will be well on your way to meeting your goals for the event!


Tania Longeau serves as the Head of Services for InkJet Superstore. Tania oversees a team of Operations and Customer Service Reps from the Los Angeles headquarters. Before joining InkJet Superstore, Tania was a team leader and supervisor working for one of the biggest mortgage and real estate companies in the country. Images are provided by the author via Shutterstock.

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How to Use Instagram to Spread the Word About Your Next Tradeshow

This is a guest post by Kayleigh Alexander from Micro Startups.

Instagram is one of the biggest social media platforms out there today. With more than one billion monthly active users and a diverse array of features, it offers plenty of scope for getting your tradeshow noticed.

Read onto discover how you can use this visual social platform to spread the word and drive up attendance to your next tradeshow.

Reach out to industry figures to reach a wider audience

Industry influencers are the perfect way to spread the word about your tradeshow. Notable figures within your business niche that command significant influence online are great for getting attention (and attendees!) to your event.

You likely already know scores of renowned individuals in your industry. Indeed, you might even have connections with them from previous tradeshows. Reach out to them with a friendly email and ask if they’d be happy to share an Instagram post promoting your event. Be sure to include your contact details so they can find your website and social profiles easily too.

Of course, this is two-way street. Offer your influencer contact something in return, such as a free piece of content or even just a coffee. You could even offer to promote their event, product, or service on your own social channels too.

Use hashtags to get your tradeshow noticed

Hashtags are the foundation of a solid Instagram strategy. People use hashtags to find the people and content they love, and the same applies for your industry too.

Find hashtags related to your niche by using a hashtag research tool. Simply enter the keywords relating to your business (for example, if you’re a grocery wholesalers, you might choose “grocery wholesalers” or “grocery distributors”), and search.

This will throw up a whole list of hashtags that you can use in your tradeshow promotional campaign on Instagram. Use a blend of both generic hashtags (e.g. #retail or #tradeshows) with more specific hashtags (#wholesalerstradeshow or #callcenterevents) to get your content seen by a wide audience.

Combine Instagram with email for strong lead generation

While Instagram is a marketing powerhouse, it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) exist in a bubble. Social media and email actually work in tandem with each other, with the former sourcing your leads and the latter locking them into your marketing funnel so you can promote your tradeshow to them time and again.

Use your Instagram as the launch pad for capturing attendee information. Grab your followers’ attention with eye-catching posts promoting your event, and include a trackable link in your bio that your followers can use to sign-up to your newsletter.

To boost the chances of people signing up, offer a freebie such as a downloadable ebook in return for their email address. These are easy and virtually free to create, and gives your followers a real incentive to sign up.

Embrace video to engage potential attendees

Video is a popular content form that’s great for engaging customers. By simply using your smartphone camera, you can quickly and easily create videos to share on your Instagram and promote your tradeshow.

Video is highly versatile. As this article on Instagram marketing from Moosend explains, video offers a staggering variety of formats, and there are plenty ideas you can use to spread the word about your event.

A simple piece to camera in which you let your followers know about your tradeshow is simple and easy to do. But beyond this, you can also share clips of your previous events, as well as sneak peeks of product demos you’ll be displaying.

And when the day of your tradeshow rolls around, you can use Instagram’s IGTV feature to live-stream your event as it happens. Your followers receive a notification when you start a live video, so it lets people who couldn’t attend experience your event too.

Sharing clips on your Instagram feed and Story makes for great adverts for your tradeshow.

Armed with the knowledge above, you’re now ready to launch your Instagram marketing campaign for your tradeshow. Follow these tips, and you’ll see your event attendance soar. Get started today and start promoting your tradeshow.


MicroStartups helps aspiring entrepreneurs achieve their dreams, however big or small. We love sharing the microbusiness message around the world.

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TradeshowGuy Exhibits: Our Expo West Projects

This year, our company TradeshowGuy Exhibits, had a great showing at Natural Products Expo West. In fact, our best ever, as we introduced three new clients and five new projects. Let’s take a look:

Schmidt’s Naturals

Schmidt’s Naturals has been a client for a few years, but this year they stepped up from a 10×20 custom exhibit to a brand new 10×40 custom exhibit. The brand, which was purchased in late 2017 by Unilever, has seen fast growth for an expanding product line that was created basically out of a Portland garage a decade ago.

The new 10×40 custom booth features backlit panels from side to side, a generous closet and a pair of LED-highlighted display podiums with storage. The design is clean with lots of white space, and is set off by colorful iconic custom flooring.

Wildbrine

Wildbrine’s designer worked with our designer to come up with a clean and colorful 10×20 design that featured a bright green design for the flooring, and bright colors for the back wall and side return walls. There is an inset shelving unit in the closet, lit by white LEDs and a set of RGB custom-controlled lights.

Organixx

Another custom 10×20, this one highlighted by a large mounted monitor, a big lightbox and a custom product display. Two similar counters for drink machines and literature and an LED-highlighted round charging table topped it off, along with a white oak printed rollable vinyl floor.

Hop Tea

Hop Tea, out of Boulder, Colorado, is a company founded last May! They found us online and we partnered with Salem’s TimbrandMoss to create a custom reclaimed barnwood back wall and counters to serve their brewed tea through kegerators. The back wall accommodated a rented refrigerator. The front counter was highlighted by a burnt-in logo. We also created a cut-out vinyl-wrapped 3D version of thei rlogo to hang from the back wall. Their product won a Nexty award for Best New Ready-to-Drink Beverage. And their exhibit went over really well in the Hilton Hot New Products hall!

Hyland’s Homeopathic

I go back over a decade with Hyland’s. The company I worked for back in 2005, Interpretive Exhibits (since closed due to retirement), designed and built a unique koa wood 10×20 exhibit. They’ve used it ever since – except for this year. They wanted a brighter, simpler approach, and we helped put together a large 8′ x 20′ single-photo pop-up back wall. Striking!

Graphic Updates: Bob’s Red Mill, Wedderspoon and Dave’s Killer Bread/Alpine Valley

Long-time clients Bob’s Red Mill, Wedderspoon and Dave’s Killer Bread had us do some updates. For Bob’s Red Mill, we coordinated the creation of a 42″ touchscreen video unit in the alcove portion of their booth, along with graphic updates throughout the exhibit.

For Dave’s Killer Bread, new graphics included a stark look at second-chance employment for convicted felons on their front counter, and the addition of a video monitor which looped a short video on the issue.

For Wedderspoon Manuka Honey, some more graphic updates. All great clients to work with – and glad to have them all!


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