The First Law


The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al & Laura Ries is a classic text;

“..distilling the complex theories and principles behind this key marketing term into twenty-two easy-to-read vignettes…”.

At Brandmagic our intention has always been to provide a service that strengthened a client’s brand rather than diluting it and so we love this book!

But first let’s start where the book starts, by briefly asking what is a brand?

A brand “is the sum of the functional and emotional characteristics that a consumer attributes to a product or service.”  In short a  brand is what “it” does and how it makes you feel.  Of course it’s much more complicated than that and the internet has undermined a great deal of what a brand used to be, fragmenting and narrowing channels to market.  The fundamentals though remain – “what it does and how it makes you feel”.

Your brand differentiates you from your competition.   At a live marketing event where you have volunteered to stand shoulder to shoulder with your competitors, (competitors who quite possibly offer the very same product or service you do) ,  your brand becomes a key tool in creating successful outcomes.

I want to look at the first law from the book:

Law #1 – The Law of Expansion: The power of a brand is inversely proportional to it’s scope.

At live marketing events you have a short window of opportunity to engage with visitors.  Too many options and overly complicated messaging will simply serve to dissuade people from visiting your stand. What is the most important thing that you need to convey? What is the most important idea, product or service that you are offering? One thing is all you need to focus on.  Not your entire catalogue or product range, unless the one thing IS the catalogue.  The one thing could be an emotional response rather than something tangible,. Surprise, joy, or even shock!   It may be that your brand is already very recognisable.  Your brand name may be synonymous with the industry sector.  They know what you do and a live event provides the opportunity to build on how you make them feel.

Too many exhibitors suffer from too much low grade information.  If you try to say too much you will end up saying nothing and your brand will suffer. “Have a tee shirt, have a mug, have a pen and while you’re here we’re running a competition so would you mind putting your business card in the fishbowl…by the way we’re a law firm..would you like a tin of mints?”

If you can create a simple “one thing” that visitors remember you by then you have a greater chance of gaining “brand equity” in their mind.  If you spread your brand too thinly then you may confuse and diffuse.  Corporate gifts are useful if they re-enforce the brand but they can cheapen or undermine the brand if they are not used wisely. The quality of the gift will also reflect on the quality of the brand emblazoned on the side of it. If the pen doesn’t work…

If you use a live presenter or entertainer to attract attention then the way they represent the brand is crucial.  The methods employed by freelancers may be successful in terms of attracting attention but is it the right kind of attention?  For example would a loud, brash “infotainer” help or hurt your brand?  Are they relevant? People will stop if they think there is something free, or something to be won,  but their mind is not on your brand and that is not always helpful.   A speciality stand attraction can and should be framed so that it conveys the right brand values as well as achieving greater lead generation.

So in short it is all about focus.  Staying true to what your brand stands for. This may seem simplistic but it actually very difficult to achieve at a live event and there may be compromise.  Use your brand as your guide and it will help you steer clear of all the “bright shiny objects” that the world of trade shows and exhibitions offer up.

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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