Any trade show has a lot of moving parts. A virtual trade show has even more, and a virtual trade show on a platform built from scratch that we’ve never tested from the front-end is the thing of nightmares.
So last Thursday we decided to do a dry run on our platform to test the preparedness of our vendors, the experience for attendees, and the limits of the technology. In summary things went well, though there were a few hiccups.
We started with a plan, laying out the morning in blocks of time, just as we would during the actual trade show, with who-does-what-and-where all lined up and well organized. Each of the vendors took to their booths, and our emcees made their streaming debut (albeit to a private audience).
As always when you introduce technology into an equation you’re opening the door for entirely unforeseen and sometimes out-of-your-control issues to arise. For example, during our dry run the need for my server specs to be upgraded – something that had been in the plans for several months – suddenly became Priority One.
There were challenges with getting some live streams working, but as a group we bantered back and forth in our group chats to help develop a set of best practices, and general information shared along the way. The vendors, by and large, had no trouble with their content and their pacing in the dry run, which is encouraging. Engagement is a tricky thing in virtual world, especially when the budget to build the technology to make it happens was zero dollars.
But it’s all about the learning. We test the system, we try the things, we stress the system. Then we see what worked and what didn’t and we adapt and innovate.
After the dry run we all came together to debrief, and each group talked about what went well and what their challenges were. My job through most of this experience has been to ensure that the tech is doing its job to facilitate the trade show, but not get in the way of it. The feedback from the vendor groups was, for me, invaluable to the learning and final execution process.
The best practice list that came form the debrief will be invaluable for all of our vendors and makes us all more prepared to meet you, and all our attendees, and to do our very best for our charities on Thursday.
Whether it is online or in person, the design of a trade show booth or page is pivotal to bringing your audience in. There is a lot of thought, organization, and customization that goes int creating the perfect trade show booth. It is an art in itself. In today’s blog post we will explore ways to design the perfect trade show booth.
Understand Your Target Consumer
The trade show booth is designed to bring in your consumer, therefore it is important to understand your target consumer. Are they male, female, or both? What is their age-range? What are their interests? It is important to research and to establish your target consumer so you can design a booth that appeals to them.
For example, if you are designing a booth for accountants aged 25-30 you may go for sleek and professional looking colours such as black, white, and a dark blue; these stand out and have good contrast but still look professional. You would not pick the same colours for a music trade show with emerging artists as the target consumer. For them you would go for a brighter, bolder colour which would make your booth stand out – such as electric purple or yellow.
Find Your Purpose
When designing a trade show booth or an online page you must know your purpose and design it according to that. Think about how will a consumer benefit from visiting your trade show booth? Is your booth there to teach the consumer more about your product/service? Is your purpose to provide the consumer with an unforgettable experience? It is to make more sales? Knowing your purpose for your booth will help guide you to design the best booth.
Know Your Budget
It is important to know your budget and plan on how to use it for your booth. How much will you spend on renting the booth? How much will it cost to decorate your booth? Do you need technology? These are all important factors to look at when designing a trade show booth.
Go With the Flow
No one likes a squished up, closed in trade show booth; it is difficult to move around and difficult to focus on any activity at the booth. It is essential to design a trade show booth which has an open flow and is easy to move around. Each station at your trade show booth should have a purpose to be there. Don’t overcrowd your booth with unnecessary stations and only have what is needed. This will help bring the consumer in to your booth as they will be able to easily see all your stations and will be able to easily access everything.
The Visual Appeal Factor
Trade shows are highly competitive environments where, just like you, every booth is competing to get the attention of the consumer. This is why it is important to make your booth visually appealing. To do so there are many tools in your arsenal, for example you have colours, there is lighting, there are product displays, and much more. Plan out your trade show booth to be visually appealing to your consumer so you can stand out.
Keep it Consistent
Consistency is key when designing a trade show booth. For example it is important to be consistent in the branding instead of having a lot of it in one area and none in another. The booth should feel like one with all the stations rather than being all over. It should feel like a family and the consumer should feel like they are still in the same booth.
It’s an Experience
Successful trade show booths provide the consumer with an experience. Go beyond just talking, show them your product, give them a chance to use it. Hand out swag. Genuinely interact with them. Create an experience that they will remember.
There is a lot that goes into designing a trade show booth and a lot of aspects meet to make one that is perfect. Your target consumer should have a memorable and interesting experience that will push them along the consumer journey and keeping these tips in mind you can do just that!
For a brand an essential part of their brand identity is their logo. It is more than a picture or wording – it is an identifier for the brand and something that can make the brand stand out. But how do you decide which logo to pick? There are so many styles, so many ways to go. Which one is for you?
Wordmark logos use stylized fonts to spell out the brand name. They often use customized fonts specifically created for the logo – another strong identifier for the company. The typography used in wordmark logos is used to capture what the brand stands for. For example Google uses a clean, user-friendly font because that is what their brand stands for.
Lettermark logos use initials that represent words – for example CN is Cartoon Network. These initials often use customized fonts and make the brand recognizable, even if they are using initials rather than the full name. This makes the brand memorable and also easy to say.
These are icon based logos that use graphics or icons to represent the brand. These aid in establishing a strong brand identity as the brand becomes known through their logo – the logo makes the name recognizable. These icons symbolise what the brand stands for – for example Twitter uses a bird tweeting because users tweet.
Abstract Logo Mark
Rather than being a symbol that literally represents the brand name such as the apple logo for Apple, abstract logo marks are unique pictorial logos that are abstract and specific to that brand but not a literal representation of the name. These are highly individualizes and make the brand recognizable even if their name is not on the logo. An example of this is Adidas, they include their name in their logo but because of the abstract logo mark they use a consumer can recognize their brand through the logo without the name.
Mascots are logos that use a character to represent the brand rather than going for an icon or lettering. These help in creating a strong spokesperson for your brand that speaks for you and becomes something people associate you with. This can be a useful tool for strong brand messaging. An example of a mascot logo is the Michelin man who is part of the Michelin logo – if you take the lettering away you will still recognize the brand through their mascot.
A combination mark is a logo that consists of more than one element – for example Kodak is a brand which used lettermark and abstract logo mark combined together to make their previous logo. These types of logos are highly individualized and unique to that specific brand, they are customized and make the brand recognizable. Typically combination mark logos consist of the brand name with some kind of imagery such as a pictorial mark or abstract mark. These make the logo easy to read but also easy to recognize, if you take the lettering away the logo can still be recognized.
An emblem logo have a font that is inside an icon or symbol. These are classic and timeless and work to create a strong and powerful brand representation. They can also be modernized and still be classic and timeless. An example of a brand that utilizes an emblem style is Harley-Davidson which has become famous for its strongly individual crest.
Logos, Glorious Logos
A logo should be something that is tailored to represent your brand and what you stand for, and is something that takes thought and time to make. So when making a logo write down and think about what you want it to represent and then work on the design of it. A logo most likely won’t be perfect on the first go, it takes time to make and many versions until you have made something that is the final choice.
For Marketing for Good we decided to go with a classic and timeless wordmark logo which is easy to recognize and easy to read. We wanted it to be simple and effective. That is why we went with the same fonts as our decided typography and combined both the fonts we picked to create a strong logo which is neat, clean, and has good contrast in the colour.
You can find out more about what we do and register for our trade show here.
How do you reach your customers, clients, donors while you, and they, are stuck at home? How do you show support for your favourite business or cherished charity when a global pandemic looms large over you every day?
You get innovative and you make deliberate choices.
The path back to normal will be long, slow, and faced with challenges, but there are also opportunities hiding in the nooks and crannies of our work-from-home spaces that we can use to still have an impact and do good in our communities. We just have to look for them, and then choose to pursue them.
For us, as advertising and marketing students, that meant looking for ways to still run our annual charity trade show even though we can’t have crowds or use the space on campus. That was certainly a wet blanket thrown on our usual plans. But rather than just throw up our hands and say “whelp, I guess we just can’t” and opt to study trade shows in theory online, we decided to look at our options and find solutions.
The solutions available to organizations and businesses are going to vary based on industry and product/service delivery, but there are some good examples of creative thinking happening already: hair salons that offer services on the sidewalk, stores that have contracted with locals to do deliveries or do curb-side pickup, and charities that address food insecurity that are using take-out meals as a method of service delivery.
You have no doubt heard of examples of these businesses in your local community, in no small part because of the appreciation of their customers and the public for their innovation. This is where it becomes our turn to have an impact, too.
When we hear about local organizations and businesses that are staying open, offering their products and services, we must be deliberate in making the choice to support them. The big online retailers are an easy choice at a time like this because they can seemingly catapult anything you need onto your doorstep at a moment’s notice. But the more you look, the more you can find local organizations and businesses stepping up to match their larger competitors – sometimes by working together.
This is the approach we’re taking with Marketing for Good. We are using our marketing skills to further our reach beyond what we would usually have at our disposal – the regular traffic on campus – to have an even greater potential impact for the charities our groups have selected.
What is going to set my booth apart from everyone else? That is something that might go through your mind when planning your booth layout in a trade show. You want to stand out from the crowd, but how?
During our planning of the Marketing for Good: Charity Trade Show (make sure to register at marketing4good.ca), we went through specific lists of what we should make available for our vendors to use. We wanted to provide them that aspect of still sticking out to the crowd.
We narrowed it down to the top 3 things that should be in your trade show booth. All three of these apply to online and in-person.
Number 1 – Interactive Content
When people come to your booth, whether online or in-person, how will you keep that person there to talk with you? Having interactive content is great to keep people at your booth and hopefully creating leads.
Interactive content could be anything from a game with prizes (of your product or service) relating to your company or having people test out your products. It is anything that people can interact with.
Some of my favourites are spin the wheel, testing out products, and anything to do with games (I love a good competition).
Number 2 – Takeaways
Everyone loves FREE things. It could be a pen or a hat, and it will get people talking. Try providing free stuff at your trade show booth. You won’t regret it.
If it is an in-person trade show, have free samples, pens, branded apparel, etc. If it is online, have downloadable content with resources or a digital coupon code that people can download and use.
Having “physical” objects to give to people creates a memory for them, connecting that object with your brand. Forming this connection can build trust in the brand and a relationship with the consumer as well.
Number 3 – Eye-Catching Graphics
Have eye-catching graphics in your booth. This alone can intrigue customers to visit your booth because it can draw them into wanting to learn more. People are visual individuals. We can interpret and understand an image quicker than if we were to read a paper.
Having the proper graphics with little to no text and a strong message can trigger emotional responses. Do you want people to feel guilty, excited, confident, etc.?
For example, you are at a trade show as a nonprofit company, and you want people to sign up to donate monthly to your cause. You would probably have graphics that exhibit the feeling of guilt or responsibility to the problem, so they feel they need to make things right and donate.
No matter how you decide to plan your booth layout, if you include any of the three strategies above (or all three), you will have people coming to your booth in no time.
You may be thinking ‘Why is typography important?’ Well, the typefaces you select can contribute to setting the entire mood and feel of your brand. Typography is just as important as colours – it has power to evoke feelings in a consumer.
Typography can also help you attract your audience. Think about it, when you visit a website and the font is effortless to read do you tend to keep reading? And what if you visit a website where the font is difficult to read? You end up going off the site, right? Even if the information to the consumer is valuable if it is ineligible consumers will click off it and go search for information elsewhere.
Another thing typography does is help build a stronger audience retention. If something is easy to read it will help keep the reader gripped, and may even make them click on another article or another post to continue interacting with your brand.
Typography is also a powerful tool in creating a recognizable brand. Some brands have gone to adapt their own font which they are well known for; when you look at that font you automatically associate it with the brand – that is the power of typography.
Typefaces, typefaces, typefaces
There is a certain psychology that goes behind fonts; font style can create different feelings in the consumer. There are many varieties and styles of type. They generally fall under the categories of serif, sans serif, script, and decorative.
Serif fonts promote feelings of class, respectability, and reliability. They are seen as classical and formal fonts and therefore are suitable for brands that want to convey authority, opulence, and grandiosity.
Sans serif do the opposite – they are modern, clean, and project stability. The fact that there are no decorative elements in sans serif fonts means they convey strength and honesty. Sans serif fonts are used by brands that are objective and know what they stand for.
Script fonts are much more decorative in nature. They create feelings of elegance, creativity, and affection. A lot of female-oriented brands utilise script fonts as they are seen as more feminine. Script fonts are also heavily utilised by luxury brands.
Decorative fonts are unique, stylized, and highly individual. Brands use decorative fonts to stand out, as it is only something that they use, so they become recognized for it. Decorative fonts work for brands that are highly expressive and want to covey friendliness.
How we did it
Here at Marketing for Good we wanted to go for fonts that were timeless, easy to read, and were strong. That is why we paired Garamond and Monserrat. These two fonts work beautifully together. Garamond is a strong font that is timeless as it is serif. It is also a font that provokes comfort and trust, and is easy to read. Monserrat is sans serif, it is fun, clean, and modern. These two fonts go perfect hand in hand and helped us build a strong brand identity through typography.
We have been working hard to build a one-of-a-kind trade show and invite you to the experience! You can register today at www.Marketing4Good.ca
When a long silence follows the question “what’s our budget?” it doesn’t take me long to start building a no-cost-low-cost solution in my head.
But I still wanted to see what was out there.
The first step in deciding whether to buy a platform on which to host Marketing for Good or whether to built it was to figure out what features we wanted our vendors to be able to access. We started by listing out the things we could think of off the top of our heads:
Easy to build buttons/outbound links
Customization of look and feel
A way for visitors to be able to browse the “booths”
Then I set about figuring out what platform(s) offered this and what they cost, and how much time and effort it would require to build a free(ish) platform that could do the same.
There are many platforms – more now, I think, due to the pandemic – including INXPO, vFairs, 6connex, Hexafair, and more, that offer most or all of the things that I was looking for.
INXPO is a platform that has been around for a while. With its live-streaming service, it excels at presentation elements like keynote and breakout sessions, which can be presented live or as “watch on-demand”.
VFairs is geared towards online conferences, but can also do trade shows, and job fairs. Its trade show offering provides customizable booths that are designed to look like actual booths on a trade show floor that attendees can visit.
6Connex‘s virtual event platform is specifically designed for virtual trade shows and job fairs. It offers a ‘Sims’-like experience of walking though the different parts of a convention centre. Each exhibit booth appears as an image on the screen, and it can be customized to include brand materials. Some interactive features are missing, such as live video chatting.
Hexafair is the only tool on this list that focuses on being a tool for virtual trade fairs and expos; though you could certainly use it for conferences as well. The platform includes booths that attendees can interact with and even review in real time. It has that ‘Sims/Second Life’ feeling through its avatar-based interaction as well. It too does not offer live video demonstrations.
Each of these, while feature-packed and good platforms, was quickly ruled out for the purpose of Marketing for Good because they have, well, a cost that’s not zero and we have a budget that is. So, it then became a conversation about what do we sacrifice from these brass-ring offerings to be able to still have an engaging, informative trade show without spending any money.
Building a virtual world, with an avatar that attendees can use to walk around in, would have been amazing, but it’s just not feasible on a zero dollar budget, so that was the first thing to go, but as we look into other options and solutions – and we got a little innovative with it – we realized that it was also almost the only thing we had to sacrifice. We could offer most of the other things we wanted for our vendors, without costing any money.
Marketing for Good runs on the WordPress platform and uses a number of high-powered plugins to make it work. Since we couldn’t be sure of our vendors’ technical skill with website building we’ve included Elementor as a page-building tool for them to create and customize their virtual booth. This includes widgets that allow them to embed video, chat, documents, links, downloadable, games, and much more at the click of a button.
A bit of tech-savvy and some light coding has allowed us to create a guided-tour linking system that will take attendees from one booth to the next through the trade show on the day, to help ensure that all our vendors get maximum exposure. And one of the more creative – and dare I say edging on innovative – things that we’ve decided to do is to have emcees hosting a live video throughout the trade show where they will talk about what’s happening in the booths, the purpose of the trade show, and the outcomes being achieved as they happen. We believe that this little-bit-extra will drive up engagement, enjoyment, and interaction with our vendors and their chosen charities.
It now seems like it was an easy choice to build our own platform on which to run Marketing for Good, but it really wasn’t. A lot of thought went into it, and there were many nervous comments when we tentatively settled on the idea.
But sometimes innovation requires you to jump in with both feet and find the solutions to the challenges you’re presented with. And that is the common thread you will find in these pages, whether on this blog where we discuss the behind the scenes of the trade show, or on the vendors’ pages where they work to do right by their charities in a virtual world, or with the charities themselves and the challenges faced by our community that each one of them is tackling head-on in its own way.
Please register to join us and our vendors on November 26th, to experience the fruits of our innovative labour, and consider giving a little something back to one of the charities doing good work in hard times.
And also enter to win a prize. That’s worth it, too!
When creating a brand there are many parts to think of – like puzzle pieces that come together to make a greater whole. One of the pieces that make a up a brand is its colours. In this blog post we will take a look at why the colours of a brand matter and how we chose the colours for Marketing for Good Charity Trade Show.
Colours Evoke Feelings
One aspect that makes colours powerful is their ability to evoke certain feelings when looked at. There is a certain psychology to colours and this table below demonstrates it very well.
Each colour has its own effect on you and how you feel. For example blue is a cool colour which communicates feelings of peace and strength whereas yellow makes one feel cheerful and warm.
Brands really focus on the colours they use as it aids in communicating the feelings they want a consumer to have when interacting with that brand. The table below shows brands who use this well.
Nikon is a brand which is fun and energetic, and they use yellow to portray just that to their consumers. When you look at the logo it brings happiness and gives a surge of energy. Virgin is a brand that strongly uses red in its branding. Virgin is a brand that stands for boldness and passion, and the use of red conveys just that
Marketing for Good Charity Trade Show
When picking colours for Marketing for Good we wanted to stick to colours that evoked passion, power, character, and hope.
We as a brand are passionate about what we do. We are daring and are never afraid to face any challenge head on. This is why we picked red as it communicates just that.
Our brand stands for strength, balance, and character – these are things we believe in and gray communicates just that.
We love the contrast that is brought when we add black to the mix – a color which adds power and sophistication.
Marketing for Good wants to add light to this world whilst also bringing hope and coolness, thus we chose white to complete our colour guide.
This image highlights a fun and interesting way to help you decide which colours to use for your brand.
When picking colours for your brand think what you want to make people feel when they look at your logo or visit your website. Do you want to add freshness or go for something that is more regal? Jot down a list of feelings that matter to your brand and then pick colours that bring that. Don’t be afraid to experiment and play with colour and don’t be afraid to be bold and make a statement!
The Covid-19 era, as some would say, has thrown a lot of things for a loop. Now more than ever, have we been using technology to our advantage to connect with people. Everything is online now, whether it’s teaching classes, meetings, and the most significant change of all, online events such as trade shows. The event industry has taken a massive hit during this pandemic, but we aren’t letting that stop us.
Trade shows are probably the most in-person event out there for companies to meet and demonstrate their services and products to prospective buyers. Now with in-person trade shows, each vendor is treated equally. Each vendor pays for their booth space and location with a table and chair included. The rest is up to them to make their booth stand out in the crowd.
How does one do that in the virtual world? Throughout our planning and brainstorming of our trade show, Marketing for Good: Charity Trade Show, we had to develop a way to give each vendor equal spaces. Here is what we have found:
Trade Show Landing Page:
When people come to our page, how will they find links to the vendors that we are showcasing? We came up with the idea of thumbnails. Each vendor gets the same sized thumbnail on our landing page, along with a little blurb of who they are.
Why you might ask, well, we want people to know as soon as they “arrive” what we are offering them. We give each vendor an equal opportunity to be picked by the visitor by offering the same description space and thumbnail size.
When looking into where to place the thumbnails, we turned to eye-tracking research. During our search for specific research related to eye-tracking, we found 7 Marketing Lessons from Eye-Tracking Studies. They provided different visuals (how appropriate) on where people’s eyes go first on websites. When there was an image associated with a little blurb, people’s eyes were drawn to the picture first, then the supporting text. We also learned that people follow an “F” pattern when scanning a webpage. They go from left to right, back to the left side, down, then left to right until the page ends.
We made it so that each vendor could buy their respective thumbnail spots on the landing page, so you still have the feeling of picking your booth location as you do with in-person trade shows. If they decided not to buy a specific spot, their thumbnail location would be picked randomly by our team. The main struggle with an online trade show is having it come across as you still get to travel to each booth and conveying the actions of what you do at an in-person trade show to a virtual one.
Vendor “Booth” Set-up:
If you don’t have a booth, are you really at a trade show? In our case, yes, but the booth isn’t what you think of when someone says trade show booth.
We chose a webpage as our booth. Now creating a booth means all vendors have access to one, so we did exactly that. Each vendor was provided a log-in for their charity’s webpage. We are giving them full reign of the webpage on our website.
We went back and forth on limiting what they could place and link, but we found that it took away from the creative side of designing your “booth” to stand out. We have specific items like the ticker message, the header, and footer that will be the same on all pages, but the rest is up to them.
They each have full access to widgets, embedding links, and so much more to personalize their page to their charity and what they want to showcase. We found this was the best bet because vendors can choose their booth’s objectives, whether it’s gaining donations, getting people to sign-up, bringing awareness, and the list goes on.
We didn’t want to impede their creativity and design, let alone give them a disadvantage because all the pages would look somewhat the same. We had to make it equal, just as if they were given an empty space of a booth. You don’t see trade show organizers demanding booths to be set up a certain way. They provide the vendors with a blank canvas and say do what you want.
Creating an equal playing ground for vendors of an online trade show will be challenging because you have to think outside of the box to provide the somewhat of the same experience. Of course, somethings will be different when comparing in-person and online trade shows, but that is just how things are during the Covid-19 era. Creating events for online experiences is a whole new skill set involving problem-solving and creative thinking.
“Use your marketing powers for good!” It’s one of the first things you’re taught in the Advertising and Marketing Communications program at St. Lawrence College. Part of the way that we bring that mantra to life is by working with real clients almost from day one of our classes.
Working with real clients as students means we get to work with charities and that has been wonderful. In our second year, our class worked together on a large leadership project that saw us raise more than $14,000 to help build a well in a village in Mozambique.
Now in our third year, we’re doing it again – this time with a twist. Our class has broken into 7 groups, each of whom has chosen a charity to represent and we’re hosting a virtual trade show in support of them. But if you’re reading this blog I guess you already know that.
Over the next six weeks this blog will be exploring the process gone through by me and the two other students who are working as planners and administrators of the trade show.