Brand Building

Skift Take

Building a brand by thinking like a marketer is the key to creating a successful trade show exhibit experience that achieves business goals.

Matt Kleinrock is CEO of Rockway Exhibits + Events, an organization dedicated to designing and building exhibition stands as well as strategically and logistically supporting exhibitors. Kleinrock has been working in the trade show industry for over 12 years, having grown a company from the ground up before merging with his business partner to create the current company. 

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From Exhibit House to Strategic Partner

The company was originally focused on just designing and fabricating trade show booths. Over the years this has shifted to being a strategic partner. Instead of clients simply picking booth designs from a catalog, Rockaway works with clients to make strategic decisions based on their goals and audience. From there, they design a booth that aligns with these goals. For some clients, offsite activations and pre-show marketing efforts, are also part of the overall campaign that is designed to drive results and provide measurable data. 

The Right Way of Doing Face-To-Face Activations

Organizations that value face-to-face activations are being intentional and strategic. They are getting in front of their audience because they want to, not because they feel like they have to. They treat these activations as the true marketing channel that they are. They consider the KPIs and ROI of spending on attending these events and tradeshows. However, their budget doesn’t dictate whether they are doing these activations correctly; their intentions do.

Think Like a Marketer

In order to achieve the business goals and overall exhibition success, you need to think like a marketer or fully engage your marketing team in the planning process of attending these events. Ultimately you have to think of these events as a marketing campaign, both in terms of creating the narrative and any potential off-site or additional events, but this also needs to cohesively tie in with the visual marketing that takes place.

Branding, Sales, and Content = Great Mix

There’s three elements of exhibiting at a tradeshow that can produce a great mix – branding, content, and sales. The branding is what differentiates you from others and attracts people to your booth. You also are surrounded by industry professionals. Therefore, it is a great time to both generate content and engage in sales conversations, but you can do both in an organic way. For example, Rockaway hosted a podcast at their booth, which allowed them to produce content. Still, it also allowed them to follow up with booth visitors that were on the podcast, giving them the opportunity to start a sales conversation with more of a relationship focus. 

Don’t Claim That You’re Better, Show How You’re Different

One of the challenges of branding is differentiating your brand. This is about showing how you are different rather than claiming you are better. It requires understanding your company, as well as having a message, narrative, and completing story to tell which resonates with your audience. This can be a difficult task and one that requires dedication and effort.

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