IBM owns the non-broadcast assets of The Weather Channel. Climate and weather data feed Watson, IBM’s multicloud platform designed to automate the business use of artificial intelligence. Many years ago, when I first bought stock in IBM, they were known for main-frame computers. Now, I know the company’s name, but would have a hard time telling you what they do these days. Familiarity can be misleading!
I was walking around a local home remodeling expo and saw a bathroom remodeling company’s booth. For the last twenty years, that company has been using a local weather forecaster as their spokesman. Their booth at the show was basically the same old cardboard cut-out of the weathercaster. If I’m looking for a new bathroom, I’m hoping to work with someone whose designs and ideas are more modern than that. Familiarity can be doubt provoking!
While I’m writing this post, I’m wearing a Nike shirt. The iconic emblem is featured, I’m comfortable, not too hot, cold nor sticky. The Dri-fit textiles in this shirt are far different than anything Nike used 20 years ago. The linkage between the brand and its promise of performance has evolved with their product innovations. Familiarity can attract your customer to find out what is new!
So often in our work with exhibiting companies I’ll hear something to the effect of “Everyone knows us.” Those same people making the “everyone knows us claim” are likely to also struggle with shifting contacts at their customers, questions over how to market to ‘this whole new generation’ and frustrations when mergers and consolidations erode their client base. So, in fact, not everyone knows you.
About 40% of attendees at the average trade show are first timers. People may have heard about you, but they don’t know you. They may know what you were known for 10 years ago, but not about the products and services where you are excelling - now and in the near future.
If you have a brand that is widely recognized, you’re in great position to build on it. But, even if you are a household name, you still have the opportunity to introduce yourselves to a large group of new prospects. Use your trade show display to capture their attention to something new.
Seeing something new is the #1 reason attendees come to the exhibit floor. They seek new solutions, new providers, new efficiencies and new ideas. If you rely only on brand familiarity, you are losing out on great opportunities. Promoting reasons for someone to visit you and learn more is one of the key benefits offered at a trade show.