Law #3

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The 3rd Law in the 22 Immutable Laws is the Law of Publicity. 

The focus of the original law in was to suggest that branding strategy should “develop first from a publicity point of view.”

Exhibitions are fundamentally a PR exercise.  Problems can arise however when they are viewed primarily as a selling platform.  In the B2B environment this can be putting the cart before the horse.  Nowadays less sales made on the stand with exhibitors relying more on the follow-up to generate the real ROI.   It can be difficult for exhibitors who are solely focused on the “sales made at the show” metric to see the long term benefits of exhibitions and to view them as publicity rather than sales focused.  This can result in a pushy sales approach rather than one focused on nurturing relationships and growing  brand equity.  It would be true to say that sales aren’t really made at the exhibition but opportunities to make sales are.

Unless you have geared your exhibition experience to revolve around pre-arranged meetings with existing or potential clients you will need to approach the event with your PR head on.  This would suggest that manning the stand with your best sales personnel is not necessarily your best option.  You are at the very top of the sales funnel at an exhibition and very often a smile and a warm handshake will serve you better than figures and facts. Also eager sales staff who have targets to meet can feel frustrated dealing with people who are so far away from being “actual prospects” and their skill set may not be best suited to the exhibition environment. Professional stand staff may seem like an unnecessary expense but relative to the overall cost of the exhibition they can prove to be worth their weight in gold! Their focus is more on engagement than sales and that is what you need.

For newer businesses, those whose name may be less familiar to the shows target demographic, exhibitions are an excellent way to start building relationships and forging that name for themselves.  Law #2 outlines how a clear focus can help strengthen the message by designing a “one thing” that can be remembered by visitors approach.  This is about publicity and your biggest challenge will be overcoming indifference.  By creating a clear understated message you will resonate with visitors far more than if you attempt to be the “funniest person at the party” and adorn your stand with gimmicks, games and give aways.

It also applies that the first impression you create, if not well managed, can be detrimental.  The classic mistakes made at EVERY show include staff sitting down, staff eating and drinking on the stand or staff constantly looking down at their phones and tablets.  Then there is the classic final day dishevelment that often pervades the trade show floor after the event drinks party that will also serve to send completely the wrong message.

You may be well known and well liked in the industry, you may even feel as though the show has gone well but what you will never know is the effect that a negative first impression has had on your success.

About The Author

Peter Wardell

Peter Wardell is an multi-award winning magician and speaker. He has helped companies from a wide variety of disciplines engage with their audience at trade show and exhibitions worldwide.

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