Brand Licensing Europe 2017, a B2B trade exposition for licensing professionals, recently achieved impressive delegate numbers of over seven thousand, five hundred visitors; an increase in four percent in comparison to 2016, and an eleven percent surge in online retail sales!
The success of the event, which included brands from the entertainment, lifestyle and art and design industries, highlights the power in which brands have in attracting and subsequently engaging with their "followers". So much so, that the organisers (coordinated by UBM), shall be returning next year (2018) with a vastly increased brand demographic; requiring an expansion of the exhibition space into the National Hall. Thus, allowing exhibitors to be situated together on one floor.
“This year’s objectives were to attract more visitors and exhibitors from Europe, expand our European content, bring in more online retailers to meet exhibitors and celebrate (slash) shine a light on two of the untapped areas of licensing – lifestyle and gaming,” said Anna Knight, BLE brand director. It is going to be a bloodbath for competing brands (!) but will be terribly interesting for market researchers like myself. ಊ(╰◣▂ ◢╯)
I have been a fly-on-the-wall to many industry events in 2017, and what I would like to look into with this article (and subsequent analyses) is the trends in brand visuals which companies are exhibiting at industry events - to catch the eye of prospective customers. It will be a journey into creating storylines, experiences and projecting a company's vision in a mere word or phrase positioned above their stall. Interested? Then read on.
What distinguishes an average display from a highly engaging display? What are the elements which catch a visitor's attention, encourage them to stop on the spot and watch your advertisement in awe or read your poster for the second time among hundreds or thousands of others? I would love to say it is a single thing, but I think that would put advertisers out of a job - plus it is far from a single quick-fix and represents the constant state of flux in which society finds itself in when it comes to trends.
Visuals hold several functions: informing the viewer of the vision or mission of the company, or highlighting the advantages of a specific product/service on offer. Often, they represent an immense business card that identifies YOU and plays the role of a silent-ambassador for public relations purposes.
To realize your goals when it comes to visual creation, it is imperative to identify certain design elements, including the appropriate colour scheme, logo, and other visual cues which convey your message.
How To Use Visuals To Strengthen Your Brand Image
The brand is one of the most important and yet least understood assets of a company. Being an intangible good, most people have trouble grasping what counts when creating a brand. Building a reliable and valid name is one of the foundations of a successful company.
A brand can be defined as a synthesis of all the factors that contribute to the image of a company. The brand communicates the personality of the company. Look, for example, Ben & Jerry ice cream. Their counterculture has helped them develop a unique position in the frozen food segment.
The key to creating an effective brand is consistency. It is vital that the entire communication of the company, up to your display, reinforces the image and the identity of society that you want to convey at any time.
The easiest way to do this in an exhibition space is to revisit the path you have travelled. Review the other branding messages your customer target has already encountered. These branded messages include all types of advertising, related materials, website visuals and product packaging. You will find a wealth of images and messages that can be used and adapted for visual design in the event context.
There are two ways to do this: literally and figuratively
Taking existing visuals and adapting them for use with your display; including a change in size and format. This is one of the advantages of this option: it is more straightforward and takes less time than making customised visuals because there is no need to reinvent everything. It also allows the display to capitalise on existing visuals that are in tune with the audience. Dunkin Donuts' Time to Make Donuts campaign years ago is an example.
The other option is to use the existing visuals figuratively. In this case, designers create new visuals by making very free use of existing brand elements. For example, colour schemes (graphic design), font processing, copying or other design elements that can be "transferred" into the new visual. For example, MacDonald's famous golden arcades have appeared over the years in countless advertising campaigns as an immutable element in a context of constant evolution to adapt to trends and trends.
Whether you choose to use your existing visuals literally or figuratively, your goal is to make sure your visuals accurately reflect your brand. Consistency is the key to success. All your marketing and communication actions must feel like belonging to a big happy family and proud of their success.
Brands in Review: Agility and Plotting A Clear Course of Action
On the 10th of January, The London Boat Show 2018 dropped anchor at ExceL’s South Hall under an evolved format. Created in 1955 and known internationally as THE marine-leisure trade exposition, this pure "boating fair" launched this year with a five-day set-up rather than its original ten; and now supporting a brand-new Boating & Watersports Holiday Show.
Murray Ellis, The British Marine boss, explained in a recent interview with Event News that market research prompted the reasons for the changes. The aim was to develop a connection between symbiotic brands. Those that would work together and translate into future purchases of more expensive products/services ~ notably in less affluent Millennials who will, in the future, become the target customer base.
The original London Boat Show format was too broad to be able to do that efficiently, and British marine wanted to guarantee that the right visitors identified with as many of the companies represented as possible. “Consumer exhibitions in other markets are dealing with this by creating events within events,” Ellis said.
“Watersports and boating holidays, however, are growth sectors and critical ones given what we are learning about the next generations. Stand Up Paddleboarding, for example, is currently the fastest growing area concerning getting people out onto the water. January is the busiest time for people booking holidays, making it the perfect time to promote sea charter, flotilla, inland hire and boating activity breaks.
"The boardwalk concept that has proven to be popular with many boat exhibitors has continued to be offered, providing a lower cost means of exhibiting compared to a completely bespoke stand. The bottom line is that the world is changing around us and we should expect that our shows must be agile and keep evolving to meet demands and expectations,” Ellis explained.
“When you look at our boatbuilders and dealers we see how a continual stream of new models is essential to drive sales. I think a similar approach is needed for our events as well. We must maintain focus on the current generation of boat-owners but also tick boxes for millennials who want to come along, have a great time together and book an experience or buy some personal watersports equipment for example."
To maximise the results of your participation in an event, trade show or convention, it is essential to capture your audience's attention, interact with them on multiple levels and reinforce your brand.
First, compelling visuals attract the attention of the public. To capture the visual attention of your audience, carefully designed colours and design elements are needed to spark curiosity for a new company or serve as a signpost for your traditional customers.
Because good visuals inform not only the nature of your company but also the way you work and the products and services you offer, they attract more qualified prospects to your booth.
Thank you for reading this first article on brand analysis, in the second section (currently saved as a draft in my notepad), I hope to explore how visuals quickly attract attention, creating a message hierarchy and the power to challenge your target customers.