“Risky” Business Can Change Perspectives

Have you ever made a decision that your gut says is “right” at the same time that it’s turning and churning with hurricane-like force?

During planning for EXHIBITOR2012, I approved a concept that was either going to have the desired effect or, as one beloved person on my team said, make us look like clowns. The “Change Your Perspective” concept was anchored by an upside down booth (if you are brand sensitive like me, note that only our logo was right side up). I had no doubt that our stellar creative team would deliver and the booth would make an impression. The challenge was tying everything together from start to finish and delivering our intended message – GES can help you think of your program differently and change perspectives of those that matter most.

Several people have asked how we turned our “big idea” into a campaign. Here it is in a nutshell:

We started with an email and calling campaign and offered a free shuttle service that allowed recipients to avoid the ordinary taxi line and “opt for the extraordinary.” We also invited them to share their perspectives by “Liking” us on Facebook and writing what inspires them on our wall. We continued to promote our speaking sessions on Facebook, Twitter and through blog posts to increase awareness and attendance.

On the Sunday before the show, our shuttles rolled up to McCarran International Airport (see the above picture of the upside down riders. That’s my team, I love them and their enthusiasm!). We had great conversations with nearly 150 riders.

When the show opened on Monday, the looks of confusion poured in. We stopped people in the tracks which was exactly what we intended. And we got them talking – “Why an upside down booth?” “How did you do that?” – and engaging with our staff on how they too can change perspectives of their attendees.

Inside the booth we hosted additional activities to complement the design:

  1. iPad Interactive- “Who said it?” A game to guess the authors of inspiring quotes and win a free t-shirt.
  2. Perspective Sharing- Attendees wrote their perspectives and favorite quotes on our back wall. Quotes were also shared through social media.
  3. E-Literature Rack- Attendees browsed case studies, brochures, whitepapers and blog posts and emailed themselves exactly what they wanted.

We continued the conversation through Twitter and Facebook and followed with post-show communications.

One attendee paraphrased a great quote from Yoda and added it to our wall, “Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try.”

Our very hard working group opted for “do” and it paid off. I’m very proud to say that I’m part of this team and that EXHIBITOR recognized us with “Best of Show – Large Booth.” I’m also happy to report that we didn’t look like clowns and I would have only been a Bozo had I been afraid to take the risk.

Thank you to every person who stopped by - we sincerely enjoyed our time with you. If you’d like more details about this campaign or anything else, please reach out to me at GMcDuffie@ges.com.

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