May 6, 2019
How consistent is your brand messaging in your trade show
program? Whether you work for a large fortune 500 company or a
startup organization, take a look at all of your trade show assets
and ask yourself-are they consistent and what is the attendee
If you are like most companies, you may be hitting it out of the
park with the large exhibit experience but when it comes to the
banner stand or portables the messaging changes and the experience
varies from sales rep to sales rep. If you want to really
stand out-and help your company differentiate itself from the
competition-doing an audit of all assets and attendee experiences
will catapult you to the next level in ROI.
Recently we helped a client take a siloed approach for their
trade show program and create a unilateral brand experience from
modular displays to large islands. Why was this
important? At the end of the day-even if you have the biggest
budget in the world (which I suspect you are chuckling right now)
you need to show value and maybe yes maybe reduce costs. And
if you are nodding your head saying-yes! I need to reduce cost.
Then instead of looking at the individual line item costs and
asking-how can I fill in the blank-reduce drayage, shipping, labor,
onsite expenses etc.-take a step back. Better yet-go to the
30,000 feet level and ask-will being consistent across all areas of
my program help reduce cost? The answer may surprise you-yes-
it will in big ways!
This is your time to really make big strides, win friends in
procurement, sales and even stakeholders. Let’s reverse
engineer how you can reduce costs, increase efficiencies-and better
yet-and perhaps most importantly improve the attendee
experience. Ready? Let’s get started.
10 Steps to Reducing Costs with a Consistent Brand
- Audit your current assets-is there clear
identification, consistent messaging (use of tag-lines, graphic
imagery, corporate hierarchy)?
- Identify areas that are misaligned- include
all levels of exhibit properties-do you have something that scales
from banner stand to large island exhibit?
- Leverage existing assets-fill in the gaps with rental
assets. A hybrid rental will allow you to continue a
schedule- if needed on assets purchased - while adding in key
elements that will enhance the brand experience.
- Review budgets and look for hidden
costs. If you are a healthcare company or are in a
regulated industry that requires multiple submissions for approval
before a trade show-you understand the cost of those
submissions. From agency teams to internal reviews the total
budget adds up quickly. What if you had a template that
everyone used and it reduced costs by 20-30% would that help your
bottom line? Of course, it would, but too often the focus is
on drayage and things like agency content creation with new graphic
templates and sizes, digital content that doesn’t follow a system
or template all adds up. Look at the largest areas of
spend-it may surprise you that regulatory reviews that require
changes before every show could be the biggest hidden cost.
- Conduct internal and external research. Find
out from your internal stakeholders what they think of the brand
experience and see if it is aligned with attendee
impressions. One key way to test theories on brand
consistency is to conduct exit surveys of attendees. This
gives you candid information from the target audience and will help
to validate the need to create a consistent brand.
- Establish architectural brand templates. Cost
reductions can be found in standardizing the overall hierarchy and
messaging across every size exhibit from portables to large
- Create Efficiency and Cost Savings Analysis.
Many companies have two budgets-a marketing budget that is applied
to agencies and content creation and a trade show budget largely
focused on logistics and execution. Analyze the benefits and
cost reductions/break even spend based on streamlining the brand
- Establish guidelines for every sized exhibit.
Starting with the smallest table tops to the
largest displays. This process takes time, however the payoff is
simplification and eficiencies in usage and reduced attendee
confusion on brand experience.
- Include pre-show and post show
data. Compare cost reductions, attendee experience
and stakeholder feedback.
- Evaluate, report and adjust. Establishing a
consistent message is a fluid process that requires flexibility,
and adjustments. For example, it may be discovered that part
of the inconsistency in attendee experience pertains to sales rep
engagement. A targeted training program for modular displays
and each incremental size of your program may help the create a
consistent experience at every level of your trade show.
These 10 tips will help you on your way to reducing costs and
are the first steps to thinking outside of the box and generating
value for your face-to-face marketing program. Too often the
first-place marketers go is slashing budgets with the intent that
ultimately it will help the bottom line. In truth, a reduced
budget may or may not help the bottom line-although it does
immediately lower the cost of execution it may not achieve the
strategic goals for an organization.
Instead of focusing on a number or a percentage reduction, using
this methodology of finding hidden costs, you will be surprised at
the overall cost savings available while retaining the integrity of
the marketing and sales plan and establish a consistent corporate
For more insights or if you have questions about the process of
creating a consistent brand, reach out to
me. I love hearing from you and sharing tips on how this
strategy can help you get promoted.
As always thanks to Christy Haussler at Team Podcast for editing this