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Can You Focus? Neither Can I.

Joe Greeley here, with Nimlok Minnesota

Here’s what’s on my mind – Can you focus? Nah…neither can I.

When’s the last time you were in a Kindergarten classroom? Think about it for a second. What were you there for? To see your kid? Niece – nephew – neighbor kid – grandkid… whatever it might be. Got that picture of that classroom though? Close your eyes – think about that classroom for a second.

Several years ago, I was invited to view the classroom of my two, beautiful, blonde hair blue-eyed little boys, a.k.a. the ricochet twins. I was invited personally by the principal – oh, what an honor!  Anyway, I go see the boys, and I peer into the classroom, and what do you think I see? Well, you guessed it.  I saw my two little boys bouncing off the walls – hence the ricochet twins. They had a hard time sitting still for a little while.

But upon further inspection, you know what else I noticed?  I noticed a classroom that was hard to focus in.  I saw things on the wall – letters, numbers, colors, shapes, figures.  I saw a blackboard that was full of things.  I saw maps from around the world.  Then, upon further inspection, I found things hanging from the ceiling – clouds, birds, airplanes, dinosaurs (not sure why dinosaurs are hanging from the ceiling, but here nor there), not to mention the big wide-open windows that look out into that big moving world. Think about it.  A garbage man, picking up trash, to a five-year-old boy is pretty darn exciting mid-day.

Now, I’m not suggesting that this is the reason that the two boys couldn’t sit still – far from it. But I found myself even having a hard time focusing in that type of environment.  Now, I want you to think about the last time you were at a trade show, whether you were there as an exhibitor or whether you were there as an attendee.  Close your eyes – think about it again. Do you see the similarity?  Do you see how closely associated these things are some days? There are people, product, things hanging from the ceiling, structures, colors, movement, and sound.  There are all different sorts of things going on, and everybody’s battling for your attention, which means lots of noise – real noise and visual noise – all this going on at once.

The goal today is, how do we cut through some of that noise? How do we become more focused so our prospects and our clients can identify with us easily? They can also stop at our exhibit and understand clearly what we do.  So, I’d like to share with you four things that you might find helpful.

The first might seem obvious, but it’s messaging hierarchy.  When I say hierarchy, I don’t care what kind of booth you’re in – if you’re in a small booth or you’re in a large booth. This is obvious – put your name and logo at the top. We get it – big, bold, it’s got to be simple.

But more importantly, or equally important, needs to be the positioning statement. What do you do, what do you solve? What is the impact that you make – how are you going to help these people? That statement needs to be short, quick, clean and clear. If they can’t identify with you very, very quickly they’re going to move on. Depending on the size of the exhibit, you have anywhere from 2-6 seconds typically to capture somebody’s attention, especially if they don’t know you.  If they know you, it’s a slightly different story.

Next I’m going to roll all three of these into one – images, product and lighting. Let’s start with images. Again, fairly obvious – big and bold, right? But there are a couple of other things – what type of images are you using?  Is it re-enforcing your story? Or is it just such stock photography that people just go “Meh, whatever…I don’t even know what that means.” Or, are you just taking a picture of your actual product that’s actually sitting there?  Again, you already have the product, and now you’re going to take a picture of it? Let’s think of something a little more creative that drives home how you’re helping, or how these people can identify with you on how you’re going to help.

Next is product. And again, very obvious at the start – clean, simple, organized – yes.  But also categorized and also well-lit.  Figure out the pieces that need to have more attention than the others. Are you doing something new? Are you doing something different?  Do you have one or two products that are more important than others? Do people know everything that you do?  So there’s a strategy around what you put – where you put it – what’s the flow and what’s the story.  So I want you to think through that.

And the last part is lighting.  What do we light? Well, we need to light it all, but we need to have a strategy around it. You probably want to put a little more focus on the bigger images, the ones that are more powerful, the ones that are going to tell a story. We’re going to want a little bit better, or different, lighting on a product that’s more powerful – something that we’re going to want to draw more attention to.

So these are just a couple of simple, basic ideas to help cut through and focus.

If you have any questions, or you want to talk further, please feel free to give us a shout. We’d love to talk to you.

That’s what was on my mind – let us know how we can help.

Thanks!