Brand Consistency At Trade Shows
How to make your company message memorable.
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Corporations often need to exhibit at simultaneous trade shows in
different locales and for different reasons. They often have two trade
show exhibits in the same city at the same time. Going one step further,
a company may even have two separate trade show exhibits at the same
Oracle is an example of a company exhibiting at two trade shows at the
same time in the same city. Why does this happen?
Quite simply, each trade show appearance had a different objective. One
trade show exhibit concentrated on new lead generation, while the other
trade show display’s focus was on new product launches. Even though
these trade shows differed, Oracle’s message needed to be consistent in
presenting their corporate brand. Trade show visitors may have a
different agenda for attending each trade show, but the corporate message
must remain consistent and easily identified with the corporate DNA.
Every aspect of trade show exhibit presence also must match up with
company promotional materials, advertising, public relations, online
marketing, website and direct mail. Companies lose identity when they
dilute their image with mixed messages. Marketing pros say the golden
rule is to stay true to your corporate message, reinforce the brand, and
let everything else follow suit.
Event Marketer Magazine advises corporate marketers to be wary of
delegating trade show activities to their product development staff.
Product teams understandably tend to focus on products rather than the
corporate message. This can seriously undermine the corporate image
So, in order to avoid mixed messages, pre show briefings with all the
trade show staff team are essential. Then be sure to keep communication
channels open and ongoing. Be on guard for any off the wall, wacky
surprises that could distort your presentation. Also, have company
monitors drop in at the trade show booths on the trade show exhibit hall
to assure that the discipline of your corporate exhibiting goals is
As an example, Event Marketer Magazine sites the experience of
DaimlerChrysler. With some 60 national auto shows, DaimlerChrysler works
with its eight business units to develop trade show programs for these
multi-market trade shows. They then send staffers from zone offices to
check on the execution at the trade show. “Although we all have the
objective of moving the metal, we also have to maintain the brand
consistency,” says director of global event marketing Don Schmid. “That
doesn’t always fit into what the dealers want to do.”
The DaimlerChrysler zone staffers leave a show after a few days, and
dealers are often tempted to add additional makes and models to the
exhibit space. “They might try and move in 15 percent more vehicles,
which makes the space look like a parking lot,” says Schmid. “We have to
be ready at all times to play sheriff.”
When exhibiting at a trade show, here are a few things to remember about
corporate image reinforcement and brand consistency:
Understand the basic objectives of the design your corporate look.
Adhere to the parameters of the corporate image guidebook. All visuals
must meet specific guidelines. Be aware not only of the physical
specifications of visuals but also how to incorporate them for trade
shows with multiple audiences and products. Stay true to your corporate
colors and fonts and be conscious of how the name of the company is used.
Be consistent in your brand “mindset” –whether it be upscale,
sophisticated, young or old. Not only with the way your trade show
exhibit looks, but also with the dress style and comportment of your
trade show booth staff.
Be sure everyone who represents your company is knowledgeable about all
communication aspects of the company. Be able to articulate the brand in
trade show booth graphics, sales pitches, promotional hand outs, email
and web messages, even on business cards.
Many brands such as Yahoo! in Sunnyvale, Apple Computer Inc. in
Cupertino, eBay in San Jose, Google in Mountain View, Hewlett-Packard in
Palo Alto, Oracle in Redwood City, and Sun Microsystems of Santa Clara
have distinctive logos and have a certain “personality” and feel about
Although they are all in the high tech industry, each of the brands is
noted for their individual character. All have colorful and consistent
images. Their brands are distinctive and successful, and their
representatives have learned to speak with one voice.
Your company’s brand image will have a much great return on investment if
you enforce these