Standing out from the crowd is the ultimate goal of all trade show exhibitors. But one of the best ways to differentiate yourself is to take your message off the floor. Targeting show attendees when the show is not in session as they enjoy the host city and socialize with colleagues can give your brand additional exposure in a less cluttered space. And the creative ways you can get yourself out there will show you to be the forward-thinking company you truly are. EM talked to the experts at EMC Outdoor (emcoutdoor .com) to get the skinny on the newest coolest ways to get the word out off the trade show floor. Here are some tips on where to go and how to engage.
Waterfront Media. In cities with waterfront areas that attract tourists branding sailboats and yachts is a great way to keep your brand front of mind when attendees leave the confines of the convention center. Some of the sails you can brand are as high as 11 stories. “Even when show attendees are away from the floor their radar is always up ” says Jerry Buckley director-marketing communications at EMC. “So keeping your brand front and center in such a spectacular way is a real strategic advantage.” Since waterfronts often play host to sponsored parties it’s a great place to zero in on attendees out on the town.
Mobile Projection. It’s a truck that has a high-resolution projector on it. Your street team drives down the street and projects a brand message onto any building. It positions your brand as a cutting-edge company and you can either drive to different locations throughout the evening or park at strategic locations—like a hotel that’s hosting a show-related awards dinner—and project on a particular building all night long. “What’s great about this is it allows you to plan on the fly ” says Buckley. “A lot of times we’ll make arrangements with the event hotel or with certain strategic locations around the event.” But he adds it’s still a guerrilla strategy so official arrangements are optional and the technique is ultra flexible.
Scooter Caravans. It’s not that trucks aren’t a great option but brand ambassadors riding through town on Vespas towing backlit panels gives an added layer of flexibility. “What you’ll do is have say four scooters so it creates a wall of advertising ” says Buckley. The best part is scooters can get closer to the convention center so your brand can be seen in very close proximity to the show floor but in a much less dense environment. The scooters can park out front then the drivers can get off and start interacting with the attendees outside the convention center.
Segway Teams. Even though Segways have been around for a while they’re not an everyday sight for most people so they still attract attention especially when they’re branded head-to-toe. You can wrap the whole shell and brand the hubcaps. When well-trained brand ambassadors are riding them they allow you a lot of interaction. “And it’s a great way to get around as well ” says Buckley. “We just did a program in Chicago and we had them all over the convention center area. Then they were able to ride right over to the Magnificent Mile and start working there.”
City-centric Programs. Whatever outdoor media you’re using Buckley advises that you always tailor it differently each year depending on what city you’re in. What works in San Diego won’t work in Atlanta. And what works in Chicago in July won’t work in Chicago in December. “It will be more successful if it’s a strategic think not just an add-on ” he says. “You want to look for the hidden gems that each market has and leverage them to your advantage. For instance there might be a particular travel flow between the conference center and the downtown in a particular market. You can use that to get at the largest number of attendees in the most natural way possible if you really strategize.”