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March 12th, 2020

3 Ways To Repurpose Your
Exhibit Architecture in this COVID-19 Environment.

 

By Marcus Vahle, Creative Director of Share Experience Co.

 

Most exhibits are already used several times - rarely do we “build and burn” anything in our industry. And though many shows have been cancelled or postponed, you’ve still got these properties in your inventory. You’ve already developed messaging, maybe a campaign, collateral materials, social posts, and trained your staff. Why scrap all of that value now? Repurposing your existing show properties and using them in a new way yields countless benefits for you and your audience. Your customers can still experience your brand face-to-face, media can still publish your story, and you can still use all of the messaging and assets you’ve got.

 

I started in the exhibit business smack-between 9/11 and the 2008 depression. Throughout my entire career in this illustrious industry, the future of shows and events has been in question. Would the Internet completely eradicate brick and mortar business? Would online press announcements continue to displace big debuts at shows? What will become of traditional trade shows and marketing events? Here in 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic raises more questions over how to exhibit and stage events in a world of considerable travel restrictions, public fear, and increased social-distancing. If you still need to have physical experiences and still need to be face-to-face with customers, how will that happen?

 

There is still a great need for physical experience and education, but this will not be happening much at trade shows for the foreseeable future. Your customers aren’t traveling to shows and the shows themselves are being cancelled. But are you ready to forgo such an important and effective tool for your business? Are you ready to just close up shop?

 

I hope not. You have many avenues available - some require a little innovation and creativity. If you’ve already invested time and money in an exhibit or show program, don’t throw away all that development. It’s still worth what you’ve put into it. Here are a couple suggestions:

 

#1: Stage an Off-Site Event

If you’ve got an exhibit program and are dealing with your shows being cancelled, it could be more economical to simply hold your exhibition or event at a different time and venue. This could be a temporary structure, a branded experience center at one of your corporate facilities, or even a small tour that travels to multiple areas of the country. Attendees could be limited to just a few delegates from geographic areas or customer companies. Your existing exhibit assets can be utilized and your marketing plan continue with less disruption.

 

PROS: Uses  properties, collateral, and other assets. Allows your customers to maintain their existing travel schedules. 

CONS: Requires some travel, fewer attendees.

 

 

#2: Create Your Own Venue

This is an opportunity to create an even more immersive branded experience. Beyond public health concerns, you may wish to eschew traditional trade shows and special events altogether. Consider creating your own show. Using your existing exhibit properties, hold a smaller, more contained version of your show near your corporate HQ or literally anywhere. Erect a temporary structure or used a flex space in your own building. Perhaps set it up in your parking lot - even tour it to your different regional offices. Include sanitation facilities and use materials and surfaces that can be easily disinfected. Give attendees hand sanitizer, booties, masks, or gloves at their discretion. Schedule times for individual customers or groups to use the space to limit contact with others. Include product specialists in the space that can help detail guests. Encourage them to take video and photos, providing lighting in the space to make that possible. Encourage press and influencers in your industry to visit and share the experience with others.

 

PROS: Reduces social contact greatly, allows control of sanitation and visitors, uses existing properties, allows different levels of face-to-face marketing.

CONS: Removes your presence from existing shows. Requires some additional training and travel.

 

#3 Broaden Your Audience

We are often focused on speaking to potential customers at trade shows, but there are a variety of audiences that an exhibit or experience can appeal to. Certainly you have customers, buyers, different levels of users and decision makes and one that has become increasingly visible: recruits. For companies seeking skilled workers, trade shows and events have become some of the most effective recruiting tools available. If you’re no-longer able to physically attend some of your industry events, bring them to your home.

 

Use your existing trade show properties to create a brand experience / recruiting center. It could be located in any space that your potential candidates could visit. If it’s at your HQ, you can then show-off the campus to recruits. If it’s off-site at a college or public area, you can draw-in many more candidates. Consider this an opportunity to speak directly to those people. Address the concerns of why you’re doing this exhibit outside the normal show environment. Even that kind of thinking on behalf of their safety can be appealing to people courting a new employer. 

 

Consider it an opportunity to promote your employee perks and your corporate culture. Leverage social and LinkedIn and YouTube to publish targeted content. Create live video presentations or panel speaker events in your off-site space. Transport your temporary recruiting station wherever you can safely interact with recruits. Most of all, don’t let this chance go to waste.

 

PROS: Uses existing properties, expands or alters your audience, allows the physical experience to live beyond the show.

CONS: Require adjustment to your message, some travel involved.

 

We always strive to align our messaging and content with what customers want and need. Increasingly, we need to extend this mentality into how we deal with public health concerns. Face-to-Face marketing remains extremely effective and necessary in many instances. It’s still critical for training, relationship development, and education. Understanding and adapting to our customers’ changing needs and changing technologies has always driven our work. We need to extend that thinking into the physical of exhibiting in the modern age. This isn’t the first time we’ve had consider the evolution of our industry, nor will it be the last. Let’s step-up to the challenge and not walk away from the opportunities.

 

If you would like to investigate repurposing your exhibit architecture, please find us at www.shareexperience.co, email Marcus Vahle at mvahle@shareexperience.co, or call 407-965-6118. We can provide no-cost consultation on anything related to your face-to-face marketing.

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January 20, 2020

For Immediate Release

 

Share Experience Co. Introduces the Next Generation of How Companies Will Purchase Trade Show, Auto Show, and Event Services Partner Model Streamlines Costs for Marketers, Expands Opportunities for Agencies 

 

Newly launched company, Share Experience Co, is reinventing the way exhibit and event design services are purchased. ShareX is an exhibit and event design, strategy, and management company that partners with corporate marketers and their agencies to create and consult on remarkable marketing experiences and environments of all sizes and kinds. 

Marketers and their agencies both benefit from ShareX’s unique business model that considers each project individually to create and execute the best event marketing strategy possible. Unlike traditional exhibit houses, who make their money selling architecture, ShareX is focused on experience. ShareX does not maintain its own warehouse and manufacturing facility. When architecture is required, ShareX partners with a diverse variety of suppliers who deliver an unlimited number of fabrication options and rentals. Whenever possible, ShareX sources components locally to eliminate shipping. Also, ShareX has the freedom to work on a project-basis rather than locking clients into annual or multi-year contracts.

“We believe in maximizing impact — and doing it in the most sustainable way possible. Our approach isn't for everyone — only those who value experience over inventory; engagement over structure; and excellence over the status quo,” says John Pugh, founding partner, ShareX. 

Advertising and marketing agencies partner with ShareX on an as-needed basis to offer their clients the highest possible level of face-to-face brand experience design expertise. Even agencies that have previously been minimally involved in their clients’ trade shows and events can partner with ShareX to deliver comprehensive exhibit and event solutions.

Brunner is one of the innovative agencies who has partnered with ShareX to expand its in-house expertise. “As a full-service integrated marketing firm, we are often responsible for leading our client’s brand in every channel — including, at times, experiences in the exhibit or event space. ShareX is a perfect partner for us. They have the dimensional design, fabrication skills, and the big-time event operational experience that we don’t go deep in — and they work in an agile and nimble way like we do,” said Scott Morgan, president of Brunner.

ShareX also brings a thorough understanding of event technology to the table —everything from lead capture and analytics to engagement approaches that create interactivity, mesmerize attendees, and increase message memorability.  Clients can partner with ShareX for as much or as little of their program as they need. ShareX can even act as exhibit manager for companies that do not have their own full-time exhibit specialist.

ShareX founders, industry veterans Marcus Vahle and John Pugh, possess decades of experience with high profile companies in the automotive and other industries—for which they’ve won numerous awards. “We’ve designed and managed everything from high profile trade show exhibits and golf tournaments to museums and corporate lobbies,” says Vahle.

ShareX’s agency and corporate marketer customers are early adopters who are ready to re-invent the trade show, auto show, and event services industry. “In 10 years, this will be the way everyone does things. We are pioneers in search of other pioneers who want to blaze the trail with us. We're looking for the innovators who are ready to go there first,” says Pugh.

 

For more information about ShareExperience, contact John Pugh at 412.915.4103 or jpugh@shareexperience.co. Or visit ShareX online at www.ShareExperience.co.

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