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Pinstripe Answers: Do We Need a Bigger Trade Show Booth?

by Michael Premo, Content Specialist

This is one of those questions that’s bigger than it seems. Much of it depends on a range of factors that you’ll need to drill down and figure out what matters. Anything you can do to raise your visibility in a unique and engaging way will have a greater impact on your audience.

The guiding force behind any appearance at a trade show should be setting specific goals well in advance:

  • Visibility
  • Networking
  • Engagement
  • Sales Leads
  • Strengthen Relationships

These are only a few that will guide your decision on whether or not you’ll need a bigger booth.

 

Going with the Standard – Inline 10’ x 10’ Booth

It’s ubiquitous, cost-effective, and still has the ability to make a statement. You can invest the money you save elsewhere, such as premium giveaways that are memorable, or staffing that attracts and follows through on potential leads. You can also invest more in impactful graphics and furniture, electrical outlets, or other perks. Plus, a standard-sized booth is a much more portable option for multiple shows.

The downside is that trade shows are designed for fitting as many standard-size booths together as possible, which leaves your booth squeezed in among everyone else. The result is less visibility and poor locations. Premium locations cost more and are typically reserved for larger booths. At smaller, secondary shows with fewer exhibitors and attendees, the standard size can still have a big impact. But, you may need to rethink your strategy when appearing at the larger shows.

 

Inline 10’ x 20’ – Increased Visibility

As with any real estate deal, location matters. Larger booths are typically in better locations. If this fits your goals, then a bigger booth will be perfect.

People tend to gather in the aisles, which becomes a problem for smaller booths. A larger booth, plus its location, will overcome a lack of access and visibility in congested areas.

With the premium location and added space, you’ll have improved visibility, more personal interactions and qualify more leads. There’s more space for furniture, digital signage, and other highly attractive and inviting features. With all of these, you’ll have a greater impact on your audience and a higher return on your investment.

A 10′ x 20′ is a midsized booth, and they aren’t always in the best locations. If the one you’re looking at is not in a better location; for example, if it’s at the end of a row and away from the traffic, then your booth becomes a billboard, not a destination. Even if this is being offered at a discounted price, you should avoid it.

 

The Peninsula and The Island

The peninsula is an exhibit area that is at least 20’ x 20’ or larger and is open to aisles on three sides. Located at the end of an aisle, the peninsula improves visibility and accessibility. These also provide room for custom features that will make you stand out from the competition. That’s the point with this size of a booth—to show your company as a leader. Plus, it offers the space needed to exhibit new products and several areas for real-time and digital demonstrations. The peninsula exhibit booth is probably the second most popular booth next to the island.

trade show booth island style booth

This island booth demonstrates the major impact a booth of this size has. It’s basically a temporary storefront for this business. Photo courtesy of ADM Two Exhibits & Displays.

 

The island is exposed to an aisle on all four sides and is almost always 20′ x 20′ or larger.  The island booths typically have the least amount of restrictions, so graphics can be extended to the ceiling. Typical island height maximum is sixteen feet, and hanging displays are often allowed within these areas. This is the booth most attendees will want to see, and it’s the most costly.

 

Let’s Review

Here’s a quick and dirty list of advantages for all of the booth sizes we’ve discussed.

  • Inline 10’ x 10’ – Budget-conscious, yet can still yield a good return if designed with a professional backdrop and other unique features. Portable and reliable design that translates well with smaller shows.
  • Inline 10’ x 20’ – Better location and visibility for congested aisles. More room for premium features that make you stand out from the competition. Modular designs make this more portable and functional in smaller shows.
  • The Peninsula – Premium location and greater visibility. More opportunities to interact with the attendees and space for premium features within your booth. This booth means that you want to have a lasting impact on your audience.
  • The Island – Premium location and most possible visibility. Fewer restrictions on displays and signage. This is the best way to show that you’re a leader in your industry.

 

Pinstripe has helped local and nationally-based businesses with their trade show needs. We specialize in discovering their traits—their corporate character—and putting them on display. Our creative team consists of listeners and discoverers that have an innate ability to help you achieve your vision. Contact us to tell us more about your company and the trade show booth you envision.

Quick Tip: Brand Guidelines Begin with Internal Rollout

brand style guide_featured

by Michael Premo, Content Strategist

Graphic designers and the marketing department aren’t the only ones that need to know how to steer your brand in the right direction. If you want to maintain your brand’s integrity, you need to start from within.

 

Maintaining Brand Identity

You already know that your brand is more than just your logo and tagline. It represents your entire organization, which is why we develop guidelines to keep it coherent. Any email, billboard or radio spot that steps outside your guidelines can have a negative effect on your brand identity.

  • Consistency – Because each impression counts, your brand needs to be memorable and easy to recall. Even minor changes to your brand can mislead your audience.
  • Authenticity – Any change to your brand may alter its meaning. When this happens, even as a joke or for a funny meme, it may get you into legal trouble.
  • Professionalism –When you don’t follow the guidelines, your presentations look like student projects. We call this the “Microsoft Paint Effect” because very few good things come from MS Paint.

 

The Problem Is Internal

Employees in search of creativity should leave your brand alone. To exercise their creative muscles, they should be encouraged to join an art class or build their own brand to be showcased on their personal Wix site.

Perhaps they don’t understand why the colors and typography of your communications need to always be the same—always. It’s time you educate them, and here are some quick tips on how.

Brand Awareness Survey

This will bring your fellow employees into the process of maintaining your brand guidelines. Your survey should ask several things:

  • Brand awareness – You need to gauge what they know and don’t know.
  • Current Messaging – Are they aware of what the current messaging is?
  • Satisfaction – Does the brand work for their role in the company?
  • Workarounds – Do they ever create brand workarounds? Why?
  • Suggestions – How can our brand identity be improved?

Make It an Event

An event will get more people engaged, especially if it’s fun. You can discuss the results of your survey and have a Q & A session. Yes, this requires an investment, but think of it as an ounce of prevention. Fewer mistakes mean fewer problems and lost opportunities with clients.

Distribute the Guidelines

You can send frequent internal emails that focus on the most common mistakes people make regarding your brand. Each email should direct everyone to have a copy of the guidelines or a link with quick access to them. Brand-specific templates should also be available for anything from email signatures to PowerPoint presentations. For your initiative to be effective, it has to extend beyond the guidelines.

Departmental Brand Playbook

Because your guidelines can be a hundred pages or more, you can work with each department to have specific playbooks that are relevant to their workflow, but not specific to any individual position in the company. Only the designers need to use the technical specifications for your logo. Besides, quick reference guides take less time and energy to use, so in theory, more people will use them.

Be Available to Help

If it’s outside their playbook, you need to be available to help them. Create an FAQ section in your guidelines for quick references and have an open door policy. This will keep them from feeling like the guidelines are too strict and not allowing them to do their job.

 

Brand Integrity Can Be Fragile

Anyone that touches your brand, internally or externally, has the potential to misuse it. If you really think about it, this makes your brand fragile. So, if you want to protect it and your company’s brand identity, you need to start where it has the most touch.

“Consider the brand’s custodians by establishing the full picture for the brand in a detailed style guide that clearly states every type of media it will go on. Creating guidelines for the brand in case it gets passed on, will help protect the it from misuse by other designers and non-designers who get to work with it, keeping the brand consistent,” says Evie Larson, Pinstripe Marketing Creative Director.

Larson developed the following gorgeous visual brand style guide for MFM Legal that contains design guidance covering many elements such as logo, color, composition, photography and typography. This guide follows our recommendations for style guides.

 

Pinstripe understands how businesses manage their brand guidelines. We recently helped a multinational, multi-billion dollar business refresh their brand identity, as well as maintain their brand integrity. Contact us to learn how we can develop your brand guidelines to be more consistent—to look more professional.

Rebranding? Let’s Talk About Your Logo

by Michael Premo, Content Strategist

Every company, from Fortune 500 to a small family-owned business, goes through a period when their brand needs a new look—a brand refresh. It’s such a major undertaking that often gets delayed until it starts hurting the bottom line. That’s how powerful your logo is. People associate your products and services with it on both conscious and subconscious levels.

Your logo does a lot of heavy lifting. It appears on everything, from letterhead to sales decks to trade show booths. Think of it as the cornerstone of your brand. So, it should be eye-catching, memorable, and work well for large formats or small print.

 

Three Major Aspects of a Logo

To bring your logo to the next level, it needs to answer the following questions:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • How?
  • Why?

It should also reflect your company’s mission and vision for the future. This takes time and energy. It’s not something that can be done overnight, plus it will take several rounds of revisions to get it right.

 

To get you started with your brand refresh, start thinking about these three major qualities of your logo:

Color Does Matter

Researchers have spent a lot of time on how people are affected by color and color theory. You don’t need to spend a lot of time on this, just know that it exists and it matters (the Pinstripe creative team knows this stuff inside and out).

Colors that are analogous or complementary will create the most impact. How they do this is through the power of communication. The right colors provide contrasts to make an object stand out, which immediately grabs our attention. A great example of this is the FedEx logo: purple and orange on a white background (Did you know that between the “Ex” is an arrow?).

There’s also the psychology of color and its significance in our everyday lives. Let’s take purple as an example. Purple is a symbol of nobility and luxury. It signifies power and ambition. The “Fed” in FedEx is purple, showing the power of the federal government.

Another color, green, is about health, wealth, growth and safety. We are seeing greens being utilized in more banking and investment firms than ever.

As you can see, color goes beyond what you like or the latest trends. To make your logo timeless, brainstorm with your creative team to come up with color combinations that speak to your mission and vision.

The Font

To be unique and clever, you’ll need to distinguish your brand from your competitors. Using a simple yet eye-catching font can achieve this. Some brands have custom made fonts, such as Coca-Cola, whereas Target uses Helvetica (a very common font). It’s all in the presentation of the name, so you’ll need to be flexible.

Like Coca-Cola, your logo can be the name of your business, also called logotype. There are strong fonts available that represent your brand personality and send the right signals to potential clients. You also want to find something that will last, while remaining open to simple changes to fit the times. Just remember that keeping it simple is the best option. Again, the creative team that works on your rebranding campaign will guide you in font selection.

Symbols, Meaning and Motion

A symbol or picture can be a representation of your brand—the who, what, how and why. This is where negative space is a big help. Negative or blank space keeps the logo clean and makes it clever. You can introduce shapes as another way to help your logo maintain a professional look. Two of the most common are squares and circles. Many law and accounting firms place their names within a rectangle to show honesty and stability.

A symbol can also provide motion, such as the Nike swoosh or the Amazon arrow that looks like a smile, too. These act as metaphors for what the brands do. Turning a circle into a sphere will give it motion. The teardrop in Cott Corporations’ logo also shows movement. All of these are important if you want to show your audience the meaning of your company.

 

A Logo That Establishes Relationships

As you can see, bringing all of these elements together into one logo is very important. And, it’s important to remember that it needs to be balanced and flexible enough to scale without any issues. The logo should have positive symmetry and appear balanced in any configuration. It should also be visible and readily identifiable in black and white.

“We can explain the “how” all day; how color, font, and form come together to create a powerful logo, but ultimately you need to leave it up to your creative professionals like Pinstripe Marketing to design and color your mark. You do not want to DIY something like this, it’s just too important and the design process is too specialized to have your niece do it for free or even have your in-house designer whip something up. Logo development is a very strategic process,” says Nikki Devereux, Director of Account Management at Pinstripe Marketing.

Pinstripe has helped local and nationally-based businesses with their logo. We specialize in discovering their traits—their corporate character—and putting them on display. Our creative team consists of listeners and discoverers that have an innate ability to help you achieve your vision. Contact us to tell us more about your company and the logo you envision.

Zodiac Marketer: Leo

Our next zodiac sign is Leo: birthdays between July 23 – August 22.

Leo is a fire sign with the strengths: generous, cheerful and humorous. They are also creative and passionate, but we’ve had quite a few zodiac signs with these traits, so we decided to go with some we haven’t done before. Leo’s weaknesses are arrogance and self-centeredness. We’ll explore some of the obvious, and not so obvious reasons, that you should embrace the positive and avoid those negative behaviors.

 

Generosity in Marketing

Generosity is definitely something to have in abundance for your business and marketing campaigns. In fact, some forms of generosity are great marketing tactics!

There are many ways to be generous from a business perspective. As a business owner, sometimes you have to be generous to your customers or clients. Generosity could be a free coffee giveaway or a plate of cookies waiting at the door. You could support a charity once a month by donating 10% of sales.

Have you considered offering a membership with perks or recurring visitor discount? This can mean giving them discounts, offering coupons or other promotions. After all, these are the people who support your business, so why not reward them with incentives.

Think about the generosity you receive from the businesses you frequent. What can you do that is similar to say “thank you” to your clientele?

 

Cheerfulness in Marketing

Being cheerful and positive is always putting your best foot forward. Do this naturally and try not to fake it. People want to be around cheerful people. They are uplifting, have a positive outlook on life, and thus a positive outlook on many things.

In one of our previous Zodiac Marketer articles, we talked about avoiding moodiness by leaving all your bad day blues at the door, particularly when meeting with clients. What better way to approach a potential client than with a genuine smile and greeting.

This applies to customer service as well. Would you rather buy something from a grumpy, negative person? Making people feel comfortable and cared for is a large part of the customer service recipe. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes and think about how would you want to be treated.

 

Humor in Marketing

Who doesn’t enjoy someone with a good sense of humor? As long as the theme is appropriate and not offensive, go ahead and toss out those quippy one-liners to get the board room roaring with laughter (or at least a good chuckle).

Don’t force it! Again, it’s important to be natural here. There is nothing more painful than a terrible or inappropriate joke that falls flat. If it’s a meeting with a prospect, you will not be getting a call back and you certainly won’t win the business.

In your marketing campaigns, humor is a welcome and wonderful thing, but be careful not to overdo it or make anyone uncomfortable. Your marketing and advertising team should be pros at this and have no problem discerning the good humorous copy and design from the bad.

 

Avoid: Arrogance in Marketing

There is the obvious arrogant behavior that no one likes to be around. Also, be aware of some more subtle behavior that could be misconstrued as arrogance (particularly in marketing campaigns).

Let’s assume that we are all striving to be the best at what we do and make. You truly believe your product or service is better than anyone else’s and you want to shout it out to the world. Be wary of stating it in a way that can come off as arrogant, such as bashing your competition, dismissing negative feedback from customers (we wrote an entire article on negative feedback!), flipping the bird to naysayers, and all manner of similar bad behavior that is rude and offensive.

This goes for your employees too! They are brand ambassadors and should conduct themselves as responsible stewards of the brand at all times.

 

Avoid: Being Self-Centered in Marketing

Being self-centered as an individual is already bad enough. Being self-centered as a business can be downright fatal to your brand. Think about it this way. We live in a diverse world with people from a mosaic of backgrounds, preferences, and needs. It is possible that your target audience is quite specific, therefore you are trying to appeal to a certain demographic of people. Don’t let this be the catalyst for a narrow vision in your marketing campaigns.

In other words, think outside of yourself and your target audience, by always putting yourself in the shoes of other potential audiences who may not be your particular target. Are you alienating or offending them? Are your campaigns inclusive enough to perhaps draw in a new client base? If you can step outside your own bubble and take a bird’s eye view of your marketing campaign, you may find that a self-centered approach that was born inside a vacuum is actually harming your efforts.

Being more inclusive and thoughtful can create a richer business environment with more prospects for you, and at the very least, you will be in harmony with the diverse community in which we live.

Have you ever experienced any of the above traits in your marketing campaigns or business? We’d love to hear your stories!

Zodiac Marketer: Gemini

zodiac marketer gemini_featured

Our next zodiac sign is Gemini: birthdays between May 21 – June 20.

Gemini is an air sign with the following strengths: gentle, affectionate, curious, adaptable, quick learner, loves to exchange ideas. Some of these are traits that creatives, especially in the marketing world, possess in plenty. On the other hand, Gemini’s weaknesses of being nervous, inconsistent, and indecisive—things many of us face occasionally. We’ll tell you how and why to avoid these in your professional and maybe even personal life.

Curiosity in Marketing

Curiosity is a natural part of creativity. Some might say that it is the very foundation of creative endeavors. Artists and designers explore their medium, their world, and their own minds in order to create their work. Experimentation is curiosity. Artists use experimentation to create new techniques, new colors, and new themes every day. This curiosity that drives innovation in both process and outcome are essential to marketing. Without curiosity, marketing and advertising campaigns would be limp and lifeless, and designs would fail to attract, define and guide.

Adaptability in Marketing

Adaptability is a powerful trait in every aspect of life. In fact, it’s what helps species survive. Animals and plants adapt over time to environmental conditions, and humans have created such a technical world that we have to adapt to new technologies seemingly on a daily basis. One signature of adaptability is

Free Flow/Exchange of Ideas in Marketing

How many marketing campaigns have started with a brain storming session? SO MANY. This is part of what makes marketing enjoyable, creative, and innovative. A brainstorming session may have one goal, like renaming a company, but sometimes these sessions, if everyone feels comfortable with letting their ideas flow freely, can yield answers to so many other questions, or ideas for other projects! Free flow of ideas is a cornerstone of marketing and advertising.

Avoid Inconsistency in Marketing

Inconsistency may be one of the most fatal acts for any brand. In fact, part of the definition of the word brand from a marketing perspective is CONSISTENCY. This is what we strive for when we create brand style guides, some of them so extensive and specific that they read more like design books than guides. Designers put countless hours into creating these guides to avoid inconsistency as if it were the devil! And we all should, in all areas of marketing. In fact, a well-rounded marketing strategy will carry a consistent message across all channels and activities, from PR to sales calls to social media posting. We are always telling the brand’s complete story.

Avoid Indecision in Marketing

Indecision can kill any project, particularly creative projects. This happens when you can’t choose between one logo design and the other. Or you are so torn that you make tweaks, trying to combine designs, again and again. You simply continue to suffer the inability to decide what you want. If this happens, you will end up extending your timeline and paying way more than you originally bargained.

If you need a logo, make sure that you give examples of what you want and lots of detail about your company, your mission, and a whole slew of other information about your company that a design firm should be using to sketch a series of initial designs. A good agency will take this time up front to get a solid sense of your company, rather than spend the time on the backend trying to tweak a design that did not hit the mark.

At Pinstripe Marketing, we sit down with our clients and complete a creative brief, plus we listen to your stories and review samples to start building your design story.

We love you Gemini! You have so many special traits that make our marketing lives interesting.