In addition to the traditional branding work that I do, I also consult with clients on their trade show presence. Exhibiting at a trade show is often about presenting a distillation of your corporate or product brand to your key audiences. To ensure that you’re making an impact at your trade shows, keep these concepts in mind:
- 1. Ask yourself what you’re doing there. The most common issue I’ve seen companies wrestle with when it comes to their trade show presence is why they’re exhibiting. It should be something more than “It’s the largest show in our industry — we have to be there,” or “A lot of our clients will be there.” Is it to generate new leads? Announce a new product or service? To position yourself as an expert in a certain part of your market? Once you know what you want to accomplish, developing messaging for that show becomes a lot easier.
- 2. Be about one impactful idea. Too often companies at trade shows try to be all things to all people. Ask yourself what is the one idea or impression that you want those who visit or pass your booth to come away with. Exhibit halls at trade shows are packed with messages competing for the attention of your target audiences. Focus on one thing at each show that you can make an impression with. To that end, it’s important to…
- 3. Know your audiences that will be at the show. Figure out what these audiences need, and how you meet that need. If you can explain that clearly at your trade show booth, you’ll give attendees a reason to come by and engage with you. Think about what’s driving your target audiences to attend the show, and build your booth strategy around telling them how you address those drivers.
- 4. Treat your exhibit space like point-of-sale signage. You only have a few seconds to engage people walking by your booth, so be sure your graphics and messaging are eye-catching and get attendees to stop and engage. You can pose a compelling question, or tout what makes you unique from your competitors.
- 5. Have something for those who know and don’t know you. The people who you most want to engage with at trade shows fall into one of two categories: those who know who you are and what you can do for them, and those who don’t. Make sure you have messages at the booth for both of these types of people.
Using these basic guidelines as you think about your brand’s trade show strategy will help you develop a more impactful presence and make the best use of your resource investment.
In CBD Marketing’s work with its clients, we’ve always asked the hard question: What is most meaningful about your brand to your customers? Getting to the heart of that, and being able to craft value propositions around it, is where a brand gains the most differentiation, traction and connection with customers.
Our emphasis on meaning starts with defining the rational and emotional benefits of a product or service to its target audiences. But it goes much deeper than that. It also consists of defining the brand’s responsibility to something greater than itself. A study by psychological scientists looking to help articulate how American’s define a meaningful life found that people who have high meaning in their life are more likely to help others in need. It went on to report that having more meaning in one’s life was associated with doing activities like buying presents for others, taking care of children and making small sacrifices on behalf of others.
Most of us recognize that we’ve all been living with this need to find meaning in life for some time now. It transcends several generations and stems from experiencing and overcoming negative events. And while marketers have often focused on meaningful responses, there has been a recent shift that suggests these gestures should be treated less like a trend and more as a permanent strand of a brand’s DNA.
So there is a new question CBD Marketing is asking as we strive to help our clients Market What’s Meaningful. How does your brand express its fundamental humanity? How can you make your messaging more inspirational, more humanly relevant?
Most importantly, it’s about offering something new about your brand that has potential to make a deep and long-lasting connection.
While singing valentines and handwritten love letters seem like a thing of the past, the digital age lends itself to creating similar experiences around Valentine’s Day.
From viral videos and e-cards to social media contests and mobile apps, this holiday is the perfect opportunity for people to show some love, and brands are no exception. According to an infographic from MBA, consumer spending in 2012 went up 8.5 percent compared to 2011. There are many forms of spending that happen around this holiday. From an evening at a fancy restaurant to a box of chocolates, purchases vary greatly in price range and type.
With people beginning to spend more around Valentine’s Day, one marketing tactic that comes to mind is appealing to emotion. By understanding your audience and what triggers their emotions, the connection you create can be powerful. When a consumer associates a positive feeling behind a brand or product, he or she may be more inclined to make a purchase. Coca-Cola is one brand that successfully reaches its audience with emotion. By asking “What is Happiness?” this company has gone far beyond being just a beverage. Whether it’s a random act of kindness, a commercial that tugs on our heart strings or the iconic logo that reminds us of our past, Coca-Cola gets its message across with emotion.
Social media users make their feelings apparent every day — by liking a page, entering a contest, uploading a picture or sharing a video. Online communities foster engagement, and users can become invested brand advocates in this environment. When content on social media targets emotions and makes users feel happy, nostalgic, excited or intrigued, it can spread quickly.
Knowing what your audience truly loves is not only the key to their heart, but the mark of a successful campaign. When a company sparks this online “love-sharing,” the results can be viral. Valentine’s Day should serve as a reminder for marketers to reach their audiences in a meaningful way. Positive marketing is one way to get an audience interested, because a little love can go a long way.
For tips to get your brand started on social media, download our Social Media Starter Kit.
Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away now. Will your company leverage this prime opportunity to cultivate and nurture relationships?
We don’t see a lot of B2B or B2C companies doing a great deal during Thanksgiving. As we collectively rush toward the December holidays, it’s understandable that we all have to prioritize internal and external touch points. But if you’re worried your organization is getting lost in the rush, strive to stand out by making Thansgiving a day of gratifying focus.
As relationships are a primary driver of most businesses, think about partners, alliances, customers and employees. Who deserves a hearty handshake, a warm hug or a little something extra? Delivering added value at an unexpected time can underscore the sincerity of your sentiments and create stronger bonds.
- Get social – As well as offering your heartfelt appreciation, find ways of engaging your community around their own traditions, recipes and remembrances.
- Connect – Internal promotions and gatherings inspire and motivate. What about a contest for employees to compete for the most creative way to reward customers or partners? Or celebrate individual accomplishments with an awards luncheon?
- Surprise and delight – A personal thank you call from your CEO to high value customers, a service award to a vendor, a special contribution to the personal cause of a alliance partner… You can be selective and strategic in your giving of thanks.
Create impactful memories this Thanksgiving for everyone who is a vital part of your community. Acknowledgement doesn’t have to cost a lot, and meaningful outreach pays big brand dividends.
Every executive is a spokesperson for their company and brand. Be sure your team is ready to meet with trade and business reporters by scheduling a CBD Media Training Workshop. With group sessions and one-on-one training, we help you align your most important messaging with what reporters and editors want to know.
Our coaching enhances knowledge and skills that you already have, while offering best practice tips to promote a unified voice for your company. From media interviews and webinars to panel discussions and video appearances at trade shows, we help you stay on message, and provide you with the tools necessary to influence any audience on behalf of your brand. Contact us for more information.
Chicago recently lost two agency brands—Element 79 was dissolved and its people absorbed by Draft, and Euro was rechristened Havas. This is both good and bad.
What’s good is that divisions that underperform are going away. And agencies are practicing what they preach, applying some brand architecture to their own organizations.
What’s not working is that holding companies are turning into one big brand. From boutiques to some biggies, M&A’s assimilate talent and specialties once they’ve demonstrated their magic. The result is that the key team leaves, the agency loses its relevancy and ultimately turns into the “Denver office that does healthcare and pharma…” or something like that.
In some rare instances, acquired specialty shops, PR firms or media companies may be allowed to retain their independence for the purpose of continuing work on accounts that might represent a conflict with the parent agency.
But are office A and office B that different on a balance sheet? Not really. It’s very reminiscint of national and super-regional banks gobbling up smaller banks. You see it in Chicago, where the Bank of Montreal (BMO) bought hometown favorite Harris Bank.
It stayed Harris for a few years, and it’s now become BMO Harris. The red Harris logo has become blue (because the world needs more blue bank logos) and somewhere, in the not-too-distant future, the Harris name will probably be dropped all together. Then all that will remain are the megas. It’s BMO versus Chase versus Citi versus…
And we’re all clear on how differentiated these big banks are in the marketplace, right?
It’ll eventually be that way with agency holding companies as all the unique brands are absorbed. After all, these are business entities designed to create efficiencies and generate profit for their shareholders.
Viva La Mega Difference.
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