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 experience? And the next question to ask-what would be the cost savings if the branding is consistent across all assets in your program?
Does this sound familiar- you may have segments of the program that hit it out of the park with the large exhibits but when it comes to the smaller modular displays, 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 and help reduce costs to boot.
Recently we helped a client take a siloed exhibit approach for multiple vertical products and create a universal brand experience from modular displays to large island exhibits. The benefit was not only a consistent brand, reduced costs; the company won an award for their re-branding of their program.
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 also reduce costs. And if you are nodding your head saying-yes! I need to reduce costs, 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 30,000 up and ask-will being consistent across all areas of my program help reduce costs? The answer may surprise you!
This is your time to really make big strides, win friends in procurement, sales and even leadership. Let’s reverse engineer how you can reduce costs, increase efficiencies-and better yet-and perhaps most importantly improve the attendee experience as they will understand your messaging better.
10 Steps to Reducing Costs with a Consistent Brand Experience
- 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 stands to large island exhibit?
- Leverage existing assets-fill in the gaps with rental assets. A hybrid rental will allow you to continue a depreciation 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 and your marketing program includes multiple submissions for regulatory approval before each 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? When the first focus to reducing costs is on drayage important areas that can also reduce costs including agency content creation can be overlooked.
- 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 islands.
- Create an 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 two budgets together.
- 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 efficiencies 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 with the benefit of reducing costs 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 create a consistent experience at every level of your trade show.
Listen to the full podcast episode as part of the Get Promoted series on Rock Your Trade Show for more tips on how you can generate value for your face-to-face marketing program. And if you would like 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!