Trade Expos and Branding

These blogs are written as things develop or I become aware of them and I think there is a lesson or two for the reader. Here are some observations – good and bad – that just occurred at a business expo that I think you would enjoy reading about.

  • Some of the exhibitors had indecipherable logos. We all can easily recognize Coke, Nike and Under Armour. It helps that they spend a ton of cash advertising and promoting their brand; but smaller businesses should learn from them. Many of the big brands are simple, clear and easily recognizable. Some of the trademarks I saw were not comprehensible about what they were. Fancy overlapping initials, complicate pictures or intricate designs don’t work. An illustration is my firm. We went from WS+B to


  • For your logo look at the larger firms and see what they are doing. A small investment in a graphic designer can also pay big dividends.
  • One of the exhibitors had a real classy booth with their name and words like: “Your innovative partners.” “Your collaborators for the future.” I never heard of them and had no clue what they did. To find out I picked up a fancy expensive looking brochure. When I opened it I saw that they were a law firm. Would the image they presented result in leads? I have no clue but think not. I just thought of something: “If you have to ask what they do, then they are not for you.”
  • I picked up an article reprint from a marketing firm subtitled “Understanding the difference between Branding, Advertising and Marketing.” It was a good article but there was no contact info if I wanted to contact them. No phone #. No email. No address. I put the company name in my search engine and couldn’t find them on the first page, so gave up. I don’t see how they can help clients if they cannot be reached.
  • This is not a criticism but I picked up a brochure from an accounting firm that provided a “Firm Overview.” Nothing wrong with the info, but it is the same info every other brochure has. Why not have a brochure that says “Client Overview” instead and describe the types of clients they work best with?
  • The show booklet listed some very good sessions but there was no contact info for the half of the speakers that did not have an exhibit.
  • One thing I picked up that I liked a lot and think is a good idea is a Risk Avoidance magazine by an insurance broker. It was 32 pages with very good articles by well-known authors. Dispersed throughout the magazine were thoughtful ads for the type of insurance that most businesses overlook but should have.
  • One last comment; Someone was selling a book they wrote for $10 well directed at their targeted audience. The list price was $39.95 so I also thought I got a bargain. A book and the previously mentioned magazine is something that would be retained for some while keeping the company in mind for that period. There is a shelf life, but it is much longer than a brochure or other handout.

The purpose of exhibiting at trade shows are multifold, but the ultimate purpose should be to get leads that result in sales or clients. Maximize your investment by distributing thoughtful pertinent and well branded information that has a chance of being retained.

Takeaway: When you do something, understand its purpose and focus your energy toward that.

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