November 9, 2017
Repurposing by Design: The Benefits of Systematic Design in Trade Show Planning
Although grand-scale trade shows and events have become the norm, they’ve also put the onus on brands and agencies to deliver the wow factor while still remaining in budget. The good news is that our team found a key way to control costs is by anticipating how unexpected line items can wreak havoc on budgets.
What I’m proposing here is to take a broader view: Instead of focusing on the build cost, focus on the total cost of ownership over the life of an environment — from “cradle to grave.” In other words, be sure to identify recurring budget items and address them earlier for future projects.
One tactic we’ve seen used in an attempt to avoid unexpected costs is to use a rental; however, it’s very difficult to personalize a rental environment to your client’s brand. Instead, you end up personalizing the client’s brand to the rental capabilities. For bigger, more extravagant environments, it’s rarely possible to meet the needs of your client with a rental booth.
Plus if you provide a mediocre experience at a trade show or event, your client will probably look elsewhere next time. However, if you create an environment that can be repurposed for alternative uses (such as retail or other experiences), you’ve just added value to the assets purchased.
Make the most of your budget by using these Top 3 secrets from veteran trade show planners:
1. Reuse: Having key information during the design process can reduce what needs to be purchased for new projects. For example, let’s say that your brand has a 30’ x 20’ frame with a Silicone Edge Graphic (SEG). This frame could be reused over and over, saving you time and money. This shrewd collaboration of an existing frame and new graphics will elevate your brand and better position you for future work.
2. Embrace on-site services: Especially for complex assets, be sure to book on-site services with the partner who did the build. That partner will know the project inside and out and will be in the best position to improvise if/when unexpected elements present themselves on-site. As tempting as it can be to hire a third party, this is one of those times where planning on the front end can save the project during I&D. Also, the sooner you schedule on-site services, the better. Big shows fill up early.
3. The early bird gets the worm: Plan early for shipping, not only to get the best freight rates but also to lighten the load. Know where your finished parts are shipping from. Know how much the extrusions weigh, and select lightweight fabric options.
Big projects can be a big success when done right. Cutting corners can — and often does — bite you in the keister. But if you plan for the total cost of ownership from the get-go, you can bet that the finished product will meet your clients’ long-term needs for a true win-win. This will show your clients that you are there to work with them for the long haul—which usually results in steady future revenue.
What hidden costs have you encountered with trade show builds?
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