Although the event landscape has changed significantly since these pieces were created, some things prove to be timeless. Specifically, the roles that creativity, innovation and a strategic approach to marketing play in driving results. IAEE’s Art of the Show Competition recognizes outstanding marketing activities directly related to successfully organizing and executing an exhibition and/or event. As such, it is the only marketing competition tailored specifically to our industry. Each year, event organizers submit the work they did to promote their show experience across 14 categories and an independent panel of marketing and graphic design experts selects the winners.
In today’s IAEE Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle, we highlight the winners of last year’s Attendee/Booth Interaction category, which evaluates any entertainment/activity offered at a show booth to engage attendee interaction. Judging criteria includes: creativity and overall appeal of the activity; effectiveness in drawing attendee participation into the activity; and resulting lead generation from booth visits.
Under 75,000 nsf
COLLABORATE 19: Technology & Applications Forum for the Oracle Community
COLLABORATE: Technology and Applications Forum for the Oracle Community attracts 5000+ Oracle power users and IT decision makers who gain greater value from their Oracle investments through real-world education and networking. Created by and for users, COLLABORATE provides a personalized experience alongside functional and technical insight from other experienced professionals, Oracle product developers, and 200 trusted solution providers. COLLABORATE is jointly presented by the Oracle Applications & Technology Users Group (OATUG) and Quest Oracle Community (Quest).
At the 2019 conference, the COLLABORATE 19 membership booth, OATUG Central, served as the activation site for a new OATUG brand and website launched at the show. Featuring beautiful halo signage, sleek demo stations and a fun a 360° photo booth, OATUG Central encouraged visitors to discover the fresh website resources through a one-on-one demo, update their member profiles, and explore The Hub, a new online community forum. Booth visitors enjoyed group presentations while seated on branded OATUG cardboard cube seating. A long community table invited informal meet-ups while attendees recharged both their feet and their devices. Additionally, a corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity encouraged visitors to package personal care kits for Haven for Hope, a charitable organization serving local San Antonio citizens experiencing homelessness.
Activities at OATUG Central also completed the rollout of the new brand. Because the new brand was kept tightly under wraps before the conference, the old name and logo appeared on several essential show elements including attendee badges. Visitors who completed the in-booth demo were then themselves “rebranded” – receiving an OATUG logo sticker to place over the old logo, along with a new badge ribbon. Visitors also used their stickers as their ticket to experience the adjacent 360° photo booth.
The team expanded brand visibility by surprising early visitors with OATUG t-shirts; OATUG socks were given to key exhibitors and leaders; and new members received an OATUG power bank to help “power progress.” The rollout of bright OATUG gear increased community engagement in the new identity.
Though it was a “T” that was added to the acronym with the rebrand, the new brand really places the member – or user – center stage. The 360° photo booth, “Starring U” (for users) let attendees live out their dreams, from capturing their rock star personalities with air guitar jumps, to superhero flights of fancy. Beyond the fun experience, it also broadened awareness of the rebrand, incorporating OATUG-branded props and incorporating social media shares of the 360° photos and videos.
The program’s objectives included:
- Boldly activate the new brand and immerse existing members in a community experience.
- Build awareness of and engagement in key features of the new website.
- Convert organizations into paid corporate OATUG membership.
- Develop prospect relationships through free trial membership offers.
- Align with participants’ values by through the rewarding CSR activation.
OATUG Central yielded the following results:
- 323 OATUG Central visitors participated in the one-on-one demo.
- More than 2,400 unique individuals logged into the new website during or just after the event.
- Five companies purchased corporate memberships during COLLABORATE 19, compared to four the previous year.
- 31 multinational corporations activated six-month complimentary memberships, compared to 18 the previous year.
- 300 personal hygiene kits were assembled for Haven for Hope, spurring other exhibitors to donate their furnishings, including flat screen TVs and other booth décor. The total value of donations totaled more than $10,000.
Between 75,001 and 200,000 nsf
WVC’s Annual Conference provides high-quality continuing education, networking opportunities, and an innovative exhibit hall to everyone in the community of veterinary medicine. It offers hands-on labs, workshops, seminars, and entertainment. Professionals who attend Annual Conference include veterinarians, veterinary technicians and assistants, students, exhibitors, instructors, retirees, and practice managers.
At the 91st Annual Conference, WVC’s association booth featured an activity that helped participants engage in different aspects of the conference, successfully drew them to the booth, and encouraged them to play games and win prizes. In every conference program, participants received a stamp card (we also kept stamp cards on hand at the booth for convenience). Participants chose two of the three activities in each of the rows on the stamp card to play a certain game.
Activities on the stamp card included interacting on social media, completing a survey, taking a selfie in the ball pit, downloading the mobile app, and trying out the new “Rover” AI text bot. WVC chose interactions that would get the participants to try things they might not otherwise do to help enhance their experience. Completing these tasks qualified them to play the oversized dice game, the plinko game, or print a custom bag. Participants who played these games won branded swag and other prizes.
WVC team members acted as brand liaisons to answer questions and create a vibrant, fun, and informative environment. The area also included lounge seating spaces throughout, music, and an information booth to assist participants with any questions. The space was active and full the entire time.
The overarching objective was to boost brand awareness and to increase usage of the other services at the conference. To achieve this objective, the goal for WVC Central was to create a fun, upbeat environment that encouraged participants to engage with the WVC team, learn more about the conference tools offered, and spread the word to friends and family on social media about the great time participants were having with WVC.
Usage of other conference services definitely saw an increase thanks to WVC Central. Participants were so eager to add a ribbon to their conference badges that the info booth, Tech Zone, and WVC Central ran out of ribbons to hand out. Rover the text bot received 11,243 messages with over 432 hours of real-time support and recorded 3,301 users. The hashtags #WVC2019 and #ItMattersWVC were used approximately 3,500-4,500 times during the conference. On Instagram, #WVC2019 received 3,163 likes and 105 comments. #ItMattersWVC received 5,760 likes and 158 comments. WVC Central recorded 440 people who qualified for the survey drawing, meaning that they completed the full conference survey and at least five session surveys. The WVC-Connect app resulted in 9,149 user accounts with 6,002 mobile users. These results, along with the increased interest and added contacts for WVC, clearly showcase WVC Central’s success.
Over 200,001 nsf
GES & National Restaurant Association
National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show
As the global restaurant and hospitality industry’s premier trade show, the National Restaurant Association Show brings together more restaurant and hospitality buyers, and equipment manufacturers than any other industry event. The 100th National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel- Motel Show® was held at Chicago’s McCormick Place on 18- 21 May 2019. For the fifth year in a row, the show had record exhibit space sales at 725,869 square feet and welcomed 42,557 restaurant operators, retail food service professionals, equipment dealers, food distributors, and many others – 3% more than 2018. Total registration, including exhibitors, exceeded the 2017 total at 65,526. The National Restaurant Association Show is owned and operated by Winsight LLC and sponsored by the National Restaurant Association.
The National Restaurant Association booth had a number of activities that were promoted. As the association celebrated its centennial show, it took the opportunity to engage attendees in new and unique ways to set the stage for its next 100 years. Within the show’s marketing collateral, attendees were invited to visit the booth to learn more about membership, watch cooking demos, engage in education sessions, and visit Show Central, an interactive digital wall. Show Central offered education sessions as well as information on the association, show and select sponsors.
GES designed the booth offer attendees several ways to engage, including:
- Welcome & Info Counters: The show and the association work closely together, and while the booth is focused on membership and programming, people still have questions. The Welcome & Info Counters provided a clear location for attendees to find answers, whether it was about the show or the association.
- Show Central: An interactive digital wall that offered education sessions in addition to information on the association, show, and select sponsors. Show Central was open to all attendees for interaction, and provided educational material, research reports, games, and program overviews.
- Chalkboard Wall: Attendees could create art, and share where they were from on the chalkboard wall.
- Demo and Education Area: The best way to show what the association does was to create an area dedicated to doing it. The demo and education area, located in the back of the booth, offered cooking demos and education sessions. The intimate area had seating for 12- 24 attendees (depending on the activity).
- Community Space: The community space (the tables and open space in the middle of the booth) was created with the association’s mission in mind, which is to create the space to bring the industry together. The Community Space did this by literally creating space on the show floor for it to happen. Opening the space gave the booth a more expansive feel, and it was consistently full of people. Whether using the tables for a scheduled meeting, or just stopping for a quick chat the booth always felt alive.
- Impact Wall: The Impact Wall had two specific goals – to offer attendees a photo-worthy moment and to identify the association booth.
- Question Kiosks: These kiosks served as fun engagement activities with a low barrier to entry. Two double-sided kiosks offered a different activity to engage in conversation on each side:
- “Cast your vote” featured a plinko voting wall with new daily questions.
- “What should we see?” allowed attendees to share what booths or areas they found interesting. Recommendations were captured on sticky notes and placed on a map of the show.
- “Let’s talk” consisted of an activation featuring “connect the dots” activities. Attendees could fill out a post card sharing the problem they were looking to solve, and post it on a showcase wall. An attached supply table included information on the association’s year- round meetings that could help them solve those challenges.
- “The future of the industry” asked attendees to share what they thought would influence the future of the industry. They answered by selecting placing a colored rubber band on the show’s centennial logo pegboard.
The goal for the association booth was to better communicate the depth and breadth of what the association does for the industry. With the show serving as many attendees’ first point of contact with the association, they often view the association as “the association that puts on the Restaurant Show” when, in reality, the show is just one facet of what the association does. GES’ and National Restaurant Association’s shared vision for the booth was to leverage the design and activities in the booth to connect the dots for attendees. The association wanted to show the benefits, not just talk about them. With that in mind, different engagement levels were offered so attendees had several ways to explore the booth and engage with staff.
The 2020 IAEE Art of the Show Competition is now open! Take advantage of discounted entry fees by submitting your entries before the early bird deadline on 15 September. You can also check out all the winners from the 2019 competition here.