I was reading a great post the other day that spawned the idea for this article. The HBR blog post suggest that the age of snarkiness is behind us and now we are in the era of sweet love. The post successfully points out as to what is wrong with the Sonic commercial and dubs it as ineffective since it hinges on sarcasm not sweetness.
Sweetness is back. Sweetness is big. Sweetness, against all odds, and quite against character, is having a celebrity moment. Brands gain huge currency when leading with sweetness. This trend in exhibiting sweet love is evident in the amount of space that are devoted to lounges and the so called hang out areas. Grant McCracken, writer and anthropologist, in his book Culturematic, talks about brand that makes headway are the brands that fosters co-creation. He says we want brands that are works in progress, engagements in and of the world. Brands need to be about becoming, not about being. The carefully designed hang out areas in your space can be a Culturematic cluster– a bundle of experiences, "investigating the world in a variety of ways, defined with enough intellectual generosity that several outcomes—some of them quite different–are possible". And if you are exhibiting at trade shows with horizontal target audience 'Cuturematic' might just be the way to go. After all, "culturematic is a little experiment that in a playful counter-intuitive way, broaches a kind of what if." It is a great way to keep the engagement going both at the show floor and after the show.
If one half of your exhibit design is an ideal setting for Culturematic cluster devote the other half for customized demonstration. Demos at trade shows are essentially futile unless it is designed to solve specific problems that customers encounter. To help better cater to your clients and prospects, do your research and find out what are the attendees trying to accomplish by coming to a specific event. What are their pain points. Heck, send out tweets asking them about it. Find out what solutions are being adopted in other industries or other countries to solve similar problems. Armed with answers you then design few presentations that talks about solving targeted problems.
Trade shows and are fertile grounds to ignite new brand culture. Wouldn't it be great if you knew the kind of content that is being shared by the attendees of these events. You can then gauge the commonly held beliefs and behaviors of your clients and prospects. Very soon you will find out if there is a contradiction of some sort. Once you detect it, your brand will gain transformational traction on a evolutionary scale. Of course, you will highlight the preference to build recognition. But what is really enticing is tapping into the collective anxiety and achieving a status that transcends functional benefit. One great example that comes to mind is Google. In the age of digital clutter, Google offers empowerment “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Question to ponder: How do I humanize my next trade show exhibit?