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Branding Ideas from Marketing Guru

I recently attended The Women’s Breakfast for Champions, a networking program for Women Business Owners held by SCORE.

Branding and marketing expert Liz Goodgold of REDfire Branding spoke.  She provided a handful of actionable steps to increase personal branding for owners of service businesses, but anyone who networks could take advantage of her pointers.

She started with the premise that what we want is to create “flawless remembering” by those we meet, of who we are and what we offer.  We achieve that through what we do, in our word choices and behaviors. We create memorability through uniqueness, attitude, catch phrases or vocabulary, and providing an easy way to remember our name.  In her case, she introduces herself as Liz Goodgold, as in “as good as gold” – which has, quite literally, been how I have been able to easily recall her name.

Catch phrases and unique style or actions create an indelible memory. Who doesn’t associate “it’s a good thing” or “how’s that working for you?” with specific TV personalities?

In fact, all great brands must be unique – there is something about them that is like no other. If one brand reminds us of another, there is a dilution, when “mindshare” starts to leak into “marketshare”.

Three women helped make her case, by acting out celebrity branding – a Joan Rivers, an Adele and an Angelina Jolie were able to convey who they were easily through visual, auditory and attitude cues.

Liz’ comment that “if you cannot be imitated, you are not a brand” made a great deal of sense for individuals.  It is a bit of a puzzle, considering if this is equally true for B2B businesses and their marketers.

The morning ended with the tabletop exhibitors introducing themselves to the other breakfast attendees, with most attempting to find a new unique expression of their personal or business branding.

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5 Great Reasons To Step Up To a 20 Foot Tradeshow Exhibit

Are you considering exhibiting in a 10×20 or 20×20 foot booth space at an upcoming trade show?  Do you wonder how to make the best use of this size tradeshow exhibit space to garner more attention and better results, and not just spend more money?

Here’s why some of our clients chose to step up from a 10 foot booth to a larger space – and how they used it to their advantage. If you have similar goals in mind, you might find it a good moment to “step up” too.

Great Reasons To Step Up, and Great Uses for 20 Foot Booth Spaces

1) Your company has made a big step and wants to gain increased attention with a larger footprint.

After the purchase of a related company, Finetech USA took two 20 foot spaces across from one another at their largest industry event in order to announce the acquisition.  We worked with them on coordinated but individually designed booths to make a big splash and help their customers and prospects make the connection.

2)  You are entering a new market or expanding your product line and want to “show off” what is new as well as still include what your current clients and prospects already know.

Edge Electronics expanded from electronic components to include LCD solutions, but was not getting all the traction they were looking for from their existing customers and potential new prospects.  They decided to take advantage of top industry shows to call out the strength of their new offerings by having Imprinted Originals design an attention-grabbing extension of their original booth.

3) Your prospects and clients want a hands-on experience with your products.

The clients of Neutec Group are laboratory scientists who specifically want to learn about new equipment and new capabilities at their conferences.  Our design, which combines fabric backwalls and bannerstands in a flexible and cost effective way, attracts visitors into Neutec’s booth, rich with hands-on stations for demonstrating their product lines.

4) You want a themed environment that drives the flow of interaction between visitors and company representatives.

Network America wanted a dual-purpose booth, where half the space could be used to attract and talk with visitors, and the other half could be used for viewing demonstrations of their latest product release.

Our solution brought them a 50’s style “drive-in theater” for the presentations and a “diner” on the other side of the booth, complete with old fashioned tables and chairs, where they could talk with company representatives dressed in matching bowling shirts.  The result was that theirs was the most talked about booth at the show, garnering exactly the step up in attention they were looking for.

5) You anticipate a large show, a steady stream of prospects and an increased booth staff.  Or perhaps you’ve implemented a program for pre-planned at-show meetings and want an area of your booth available.

After all, the total number of leads you can take home from a show is a result of (the number of hours the exhibit hall is open) x (the number of staff available) x (the number of visitors/hour they will interact with) – factoring in the total visitor population and the % which is expected to match your target profile.

Another critical influence on the number of useful leads will be how well your booth design and layout attracts your target audience and filters out less appropriate visitors – and how good your people are at connecting with, qualifying, and identifying next steps for your visitors.

This reason is not as fanciful, but it contains the essential point of all the answers above.

As with the experience of our clients, it is time to take your trade show opportunities to the next level when you are ready to put the larger space to good use and achieve expanded tradeshow goals.

Some Booth Options

There are many routes, using a variety of booth and display models, that can help create a professional looking 20 foot both space.   Some of the examples above were based on doubling up or extended versions of our most popular light-weight Fabric Displays and traditional Popup Displays.

We also carry a wide range of other models.  Our current website does not have a section highlighting 20 foot booths (upgraded website coming) – but these are some of our other options: Custom Modular, Hybrid Modular (only a fraction of available styles shown), and Truss Kits.  We also represent the full line of Classic Displays.

Beyond the Booth

As you can see from the examples above, however, the physical booth style is only a part of what makes for an successful use of your tradeshow space.  Imprinted Originals offers “exhibit house expertise without the overhead”, if you are considering “stepping up”.

If you are not sure if you have a “great reason” to step up your exhibit space, we can help you look objectively at the plusses — and the minuses — of expanding your booth, to determine if it makes sense at this time for your tradeshow marketing success.

~

Deborah Elms is CEO and head of the Trade Show and Event Division of Imprinted Originals.  She is passionate about helping businesses grow by creating and retaining customers through the effective use of tradeshows & events; offering high impact, professionally designed display booths, promotional marketing and guidance on what works and what does not.

You can follow Deborah on Twitter at @D_Elms and Imprinted Originals at @TradeshowsMdEZ.

(c) 2011 Imprinted Originals LLC

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Marketing Pros Share Top Marketing, Tech & Business Sources

What do other marketing professionals read when they are looking for input, advice and inspiration?

This question occurred to me one day, while reading one of my own favorite industry magazines. On the one hand, I wanted to share the good read I was enjoying — and I also wondered if there were other great resources I didn’t about know myself.

So I decided to ask.  I posted a question in LinkedIn Answers and in various LinkedIn Groups I belonged to.

I received replies from these Answer categories: Branding, Business Development, Direct Marketing, Events Marketing, Graphic Design, Market Research and Definition.  The only LinkedIn Group with replies was Tech Marketing Best Practices.

That was months ago, I’m afraid – compiling and organizing the input was daunting as I was recuperating from wrist and hand injuries.  But finally, here are the lists.

Entries marked by * were the ones that stood out with more votes. Otherwise, I am sticking to alphabetical order for simplicity.

Let me know if you have other resources to add!

Business magazines

Business Week*: http://www.businessweek.com
The Economist: http://www.economist.com
Entrepreneur: http://www.entrepreneur.com
Fast Company*: http://www.fastcompany.com
Harvard Business Review*: http://hbr.org
Inc: http://www.inc.com
McKinsey Quarterly*: http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com
Wall Street Journal*: http://online.wsj.com

Design

Design Observer: http://www.designobserver.com
Smashing Magazine: http://www.smashingmagazine.com

Direct Marketing

Deliver Magazine*: http://delivermagazine.com
Direct Marketing IQ: http://www.directmarketingiq.com
Direct Marketing News*: http://www.dmnews.com
Target Marketing Magazine: http://www.targetonline.com

Exhibiting (Trade Shows) & Events

Engage365: http://engage365.org/
Event Solutions: http://www.event-solutions.com
Exhibitor Magaazine*: http://www.exhibitoronline.com
Exhibitors Daily: http://www.exhibitorsdaily.com
MeetingsNet: http://meetingsnet.com
Successful Meetings: http://www.successfulmeetings.com
Viktorix*: http://www.viktorix.com

Mixed Marketing, Advertising and PR

AdAge: http://adage.com
AdWeek: http://www.adweek.com
B to B Magazine*: http://www.btobonline.com
The CMO Site: http://www.thecmosite.com
Marketing Sherpa*: http://www.marketingsherpa.com
MarketingProfs*: http://www.marketingprofs.com

Miscellaneous

American Demographics: http://adage.com/americandemographics
Psychology Today*: http://www.psychologytoday.com
Response Magazine: http://www.responsemagazine.com
Urban Daddy: http://www.urbandaddy.com

Technology

CIO: http://www.cio.com
Computer World: http://www.computerworld.com
BusinessWeek Technology: http://www.businessweek.com/technology
InformationWeek: http://www.informationweek.com
TechCrunch*: http://techcrunch.com
Mashable*: http://www.mashable.com
Software Magazine: http://www.softwaremag.com
VentureBeat: http://venturebeat.com

Technology Marketing

Forrester Community for Technology Marketing Professionals:
http://community.forrester.com/community/tech_marketer
It Marketing World: http://itmarketingworld.com
TechnologyMarketers.com: http://technologymarketers.com/marketingAnswers
UBM Techweb: http://createyournextcustomer.techweb.com

Web Marketing / SEO / SEM

eMarketer*: http://www.emarketer.com/blog
Internet Retailer: http://www.internetretailer.com
Practical Ecommerce: http://www.practicalecommerce.com
SEO Mash (RSS feeds): http://seomash.com
Website Magazine: http://www.websitemagazine.com

Misc. Blogs

Bob Bly Copywriter: http://bly.com/blog
CopyBlogger: http://www.CopyBlogger.com
The Daily SEO Blog: http://www.seomoz.org/blog
Marketing Pilgrim: http://www.marketingpilgrim.com
Outspoken Media Blog: http://outspokenmedia.com/blog
Seth Godin’s Blog*: http://sethgodin.typepad.com
Six Pixels of Separation: http://www.twistimage.com/blog
Social Media Examiner*: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com
Startups: http://topblogs.onstartups.com

I’d like to thank contributors which include, to-date:

Aron Smith, Bhalchandra Pai, Bob McCarthy, Brian Bearden, Bruce D. Maki, Chad Barr, Chip Monroe, Christine Hueber, Corinne Speckert, David Schwartz, Dharmesh Shah, Dinesh Rãmkrishna, Filiberto Amati, John Groth, Ken Heun, Louis Camassa, Michael Bower, Michele Kastner, Mike Jones, Mike Klassen, Patrick J Mullen, Peter O’Neill, Peter T. Britton, Randy Zeitman, Sarah Nelson, Sherbrooke Balser, Susan Fantle, Unmana Datta

Note: while all ideas were checked out, a few were not included.

~

Deborah Elms is CEO and head of the Trade Show and Event Division of Imprinted Originals.  She is passionate about helping businesses create and retain customers through the effective use of trade shows & events.

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Do You Have Over-active Self-centered Social Media Spigot Disease?

I dropped my most verbose LinkedIn connection, a few months back now, and it’s been quite the relief. She started posting entries on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites using Twaitter.com.

The tool was not the problem, but how she used it.

Keeping Connected or Drowning Your Connections?

She automated her posts, most of them, using a repeating sequence of entries, in all of her social media streams.  They were timed to show up every 40 minutes. Monday is one set of messages, Tuesday another, etc.  I started to notice the repetitiveness, even the cheery sounding signoff wishing her connections a good evening.

To be fair, some messages pointed to helpful information on her blog.  But to find them was like a needle in a haystack full of old news and repetitive shilling.

In helping her solve an issue with the same post going into the LinkedIn stream twice at the same time (which meant fully 60% of my stream was her posts), we talked about her use of automation.   She said she received a lot of good new contacts this way.

Understand the Uses for Each Social Media Platform

Now – this could well be true in Twitter, where repetitive messages can help cut through the clutter, and being one in message in such a large stream ensures you will not seem so intrusive.

On LinkedIn, however, most of her contacts presumably know what she is offering – so all they need is an occasional reminder of who she is and how she can help.

This stands as a warning that what works in one medium does not work in another.

Our LinkedIn connections should be treated differently than Twitter followers, Facebook “friends”, Quora followers or Google+ connections.  Each platform has a different timing, feel and etiquette.

Conversation or Monologue?

Social networking is like any networking. If all you have to talk about is yourself, people will get bored quickly and stop listening to what you say.

My advice? Tell us what makes you special and what we should remember about your offerings – but only about 20% of the time.  The rest of the time, share your opinions on the events of the day, drop in where you’re going and what you’re up to, post interesting news items from other people that you we might care about.  Otherwise, we will stop paying attention or, better yet, turn off the spigot with relief.

If your social media “networking” feels like a conversation, we’ll be happy to hear from you.   If you’re the only one in the conversation, it’s a monologue.

Sorry to be blunt, but if you want to engage me in a monologue — I want out.

Disconnecting with Ms Auto-message felt like a breeze picking up on a hot summer day.

~

Deborah Elms is CEO and head of the Trade Show and Event Division of Imprinted Originals.  She is passionate about helping new and growing businesses, non-profit organizations and associations create and retain customers through the effective use of tradeshows & events.

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New Graphic Design Panels for Xpressions Snap Trade Show Display Systems

There are exciting new graphic design options for the Xpresssions Snap tension fabric tradeshow booth and event display systems from Imprinted Originals!

In addition to full color tension fabric panels in Square, Rectangular, and Diamond shapes, we now offer:

  • Sheer fabric panels
  • 3 new shapes: Star, Triangle and Hexagon

Any shape can be printed on either original or sheer material.

Your tradeshow graphics design can now get even more creative, adding sheer and/or shape panels as a front layer to create additional dimensionality, drama, and intrigue.

sheer1x3a-249x213 shape-1X3-N-190 shape-4X3US-Q-190

As always, these Xpression Snaps are ultra-light weight and feature the fastest setup of any display, and offer a wide range of standard and custom configurations for floor and tabletop displays – with different widths, heights and even shapes (pyramids and Xs as well as tall/skinny and typical backwalls).

Pricing for Sheer and Shape fabric graphic panels is the same as for  regular fabric panels.

Call or email us for design suggestions, artwork requirements and templates – and see the difference an Xpresssions Snap display can make.

Click on a sample display picture for more info.

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PlannerTech NYC June 9, 2011

Truth be told, I’m kind of a geek. I worked in tech on software design for years. For the last 8 or so years, my business has been about helping others make a big, effective splash in tradeshows and events.  So with opportunitiles to combine face-to-face event marketing with tech stuff – I geek out.  So you know I was excited to hear about PlannerTech NYC 2011 — an evening specifically geared to showcasing event technology.

EZ Engage Interactive Fabric DisplayEven better , I get to present the EZ Engage Interactive Fabric Display Wall, a total geek-out tradeshow/event product that provides user-driven interactivity within a beautiful self-contained display.  Both files and tension fabric panels are easily updated.  And users make their choices by waving their hands in front of a proximity-driven sensor.  EZ!

I’m very inspired to be in the lineup with other great organizations showcasing a wide range of products to help people organize and run events — or meet, connect, engage, and interact – before, during and after those events.

To learn more about PlannerTech, and the products and services being showcased, click PlannerTech.

Since the face-to-face event is sold out, the good news is it will be livestreamed, and you can catch the latest chatter on twitter (hashtag: #PlanTech) as well.

2 easy choices for participating “live” from a distance:  either the PlannerTech Social27 expo site or a secondary site at Liz King Events.

And if you miss it entirely? There’s still plenty of media to check out online … and catch me at an upcoming tradeshow, and we just might catch me showcasing the EZ Engage Interactive Fabric Display Wall again.  It would be the geeky thing to do!

Thanks to the organizers:  Liz King of Liz King Events, Liz Massei of Pogby, and Christine Upton of CMGals, the sponsors, other showcasers, and the whole #eventprofs community for making this possible!

~

Deborah Elms is CEO and head of the Trade Show and Event Division of Imprinted Originals.  She is passionate about helping new and growing businesses, non-profit organizations and associations create and retain customers through the effective use of tradeshows & events.

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7 Keys to Regaining Control of Conversations At Tradeshows

How Can You Handle Talkative Tom’s and Chatty Cathy’s?

When you are at a tradeshow, convention or other event, your most valuable assets are time and focus.  You need to invest them well to succeed, either as exhibitor or as attendee.

Having tactics to help you disengage from conversations, at the right moment, is as important as preparing how to start a conversation.

Here are 7 keys to help you regain control of the conversation – first from the point of view of you as exhibitor, dealing with someone overstaying their visit, and then when you, as attendee, cannot get free from an overzealous booth staffer.

1: Show appreciation and solidify the connection

Once you have asked/heard enough to qualify (or disqualify) your visitor, say “I’d like to be able to give you my fullest attention.”

2: Set up the next step

Then lead them to the next step, which should be a followup call or appointment.  Right then and there, you can gauge their interest by asking how soon and in what fashion they’d like to continue.

Say: “I’d really like to talk about this more.  Shall we pick this up the next time we talk?  Would phone or email be best to followup with you? Mornings or afternoons?”

Or if they are raising questions which are better dealt with in a longer conversation or by connecting them with someone else, say “I have to research this when I get back to the office.  I will …. ” (and then note what you commit to).

3: Fast-track the next step at the show

What if you don’t want to diminish your effectiveness in the booth, but they seem like a really good lead and you don’t want them to lose them to a competitor with more time on their hands?

Your best bet is to set up a specific time at that show to continue the conversation.  If you’ve been able to staff appropriately, you can take them to a quiet area then, or you will have specific times set up for appointments at the show, and have available slots to offer. If you need to improvise, set up a meeting at a meal or break.

4: Treat everyone well even if they don’t seem to be a good match

If you suspect they’re just lonely and figure you for an easy audience, look them in the face and say, “I wish I had time to talk to everyone as long as I’d like, but I’m afraid I cannot.”   It’s true and it’s not offensive.

If you start asking about next steps and they suddenly get vague, then you’ve clarified it’s not a match.

On the other hand, when you get down to specifics — they might actually ‘fess up to having an RFP they’re working on that’s about to go out.

5: Are you the attendee and it’s the exhibitor who’s latched onto you?

Even as an attendee, you can simply say “I don’t want to keep you from meeting up with other attendees” or “I wish we could talk more but I’m afraid I don’t have enough time.”

This poor exhibitor is either so insecure that they’ve latched onto you, or so poorly trained that they think they should be “selling” you on the spot. In either case, they are well on their way to “proving” to themselves or their boss that “tradeshows don’t work”!

6: There’s power in the truth

Fib or tell the truth? Some suggest it’s easiest to say you need to go to the bathroom or fake a phone call.  I would not make something up.

There’s power in speaking the truth, and I’d always suggest wording it with a sense of etiquette.

Talky Tom or Chatty Cathy could – handled appropriately – become a great client, vendor or resource.

7:  Your time is limited, you must keep your focus on your objectives

You need to be able to control your time and your focus when you are at tradeshows and other events, either as exhibitor or visitor.

Take these steps to disengage when it’s time and keep focusing on your objectives, and you will be one of the ones who knows that “tradeshows do work when we work them effectively”.

Comments?  I’d love to hear if any of these ideas resonate with you.

~

Deborah Elms is CEO and head of the Trade Show and Event Division of Imprinted Originals.  She is passionate about helping businesses grow by creating and retaining customers through the effective use of tradeshows & events, including high impact, professionally designed display booths, promotional marketing and guidance on what works and what does not.

You can follow Deborah on Twitter at @D_Elms and Imprinted Originals at @TradeshowsMdEZ.

(c) 2011 Imprinted Originals LLC

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