feature EXHIBITION NEWSEXHIBITIONNEWS.CO.UKMARCH 2011 15brands because once they have reached thislevel, the associated spin-offs can be huge."With brand association comes trust andwith trust comes longevity and financialreward. You don't get that merely with aproduct. I think all shows strive to becomebrands but only the strongest, mostadaptable succeed. They are the onesleading the way in the industry."For MD of market research company VividInterface, Geoffrey Dixon, the fundamentalissue for organisers to be aware of is that nomarket stands still."The one thing I say to organisers all the timeis right now there is someone, somewhereworking to get those advertising pounds in theirpark instead of yours," he said.By approaching an exhibition as one horsein a stable of many, you can extend the brandpermissions that define what buyers will trustyou to do for them. Your job effectivelybecomes that of a business facilitator, all yearround and in every aspect of business.According to Dixon, the exhibition at thecentre of a brand should be only one facet ofa market strategy. Add to that a couple of specialisedsubsidiary events, or maybe a one-off'tactical event' in a temporary growthmarket, coupled with a print magazine andthe total gamut of online products, and yourbrand will become an integral part of yourtarget market.Rolling stones gather no mossIdeally, you will never have to face theproblem of rejuvenating an ageing showbecause you will actively keep it fresh everyyear. Yet every year we see brands decline forlack of interest. With a retail product, the consumer can'timmediately gauge how popular it is but lackof interest at an exhibition is plain foranyone to see, despite what the PR teamsmay claim after the fact. We've all walkedempty isles past unmanned stands."For four days of the year, our shows are atourist attraction the same as, say, AltonTowers," Norman claimed. "Every year youneed a new ride or angle to tempt peopleback to your event."If you have something making a decentprofit each year, you're taking your eye offthe ball if you repeat everything you did theyear before."A good example of this is the Ideal HomeShow. In four years it went from a multi-million pound profit maker to a loss. Media10 has since proved that with a new andfresh approach you can reinvent the brand."It is a truism that complacency breedsstagnation, but it applies so aptly toexhibitions it's surprising anybody still sitson their laurels.Then again, another truismsays if it ain't broke, don't fix it."You are at your most vulnerable creativelywhen you have just had a great success,"Norman argued. "Everyone thinks you'regreat and you become complacent with yourthought and approach. "Compare this to when you have justhad a disaster, when you have innovate tokeep your brand alive. An old but truesaying is that you learn more from yourmistakes than your successes; I totallybelieve in this."In today's rapidly-changing commerciallandscape, keeping a brand fresh meanskeeping it relevant. This applies to bothtrade and consumer shows, and is anargument for an organiser having personalinterest in the content of a show. Fanning the flameIf one of your shows is starting to creak inthe wind, give it a boost by shaving away allthe fat: Get right down to what makes itunique and appealing to its targetdemographics. Focus on what people likeabout your brand.
EXHIBITION NEWSfeature16MARCH 2011EXHIBITIONNEWS.CO.UKSecuring and extending brandsJim Carroll is the UK chairman of Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) and an expert in brandmanagement and extension in advertising and marketing. He has worked on several top-tierbrands including Levi's, Audi, Barclays, KFC and Surf. Carroll shares his insights on whatbrands represent, and how organisers can employ these lessons in exhibitions. What is a brand?Brands are moving ideas, notjust things that exist on shelves.Brands tie into associations,social meaning, taste andbeliefs. Brand managementis not just about looking at aproduct, its price andpackaging, but also managingthe ideas and beliefs aroundthose products and helping peopleexperience them fully. The brandsthat struggle are the ones identifyingclosely with a specific product, rather than anidea that can evolve with new products andexperiences in time with popular taste. Any brand manager needs to be reallyconfident they understand the brand they aredealing with. You imagine you are master of thebrand because it's in your heads. The smart,modern brands know what they stand for inconcise terms, and what the idea is all about. What's the typical lifespan and canthis be extended?When you think about brand extension, you arereally thinking about how to manage an ideainto new categories and focusing on service.Sales are not always the best measure of whenit's time to move on. Often it's when the product is at the height of itssuccess that the seeds of downfall are sown. It'salso interesting to look at brand affinity and themarket's opinion leaders - however successfulyou are in terms of volume, areyou still aligned with peopleat the leaders' end of thecategory? Once you havemass acceptance, theopinion leaders areusually moving on to newbrands and ideas. If you've reached highvolumes but at a lowermargin, your underlyingconsumer affinity is diminishing.That's when I would look to bring inbrand extension strategies. Development however of the brand isconstant - you should always be adding small,incremental innovations. When things areactually declining, then it's time forfundamental changes.You start the brand extension exercise byspending time establishing exactly what thebrand is and all agreeing on it. Secondly, youlook at candidate territories for expanding. Youhave to say 'given the understanding of thebrand, what can we bring to this territory?' Products have shorter lifecycles than brands -if you have a relevant idea, then that idea canevolve and transform beyond any particularproducts. Because consumers change, itbecomes more and more difficult. The morechallenging the circumstances and marketconditions, the more radical your positioningneeds to be. Lucozade is an example: It was atonic for caring mothers; now it's an energy drinkwhich gave the brand a huge boost in relevanceand salience. With our client Lynx, we're innovating every yearon the core deodorant offering with newfragrances, and we rotate the less popularfragrances with cutting-edge ones. At the sametime, you can implement step changes withrepackaging. Functional changes for us would beintroducing new 24-hour, longer lasting benefits,or moving into new categories. We expandedLynx from deodorant to shower care because theidea at the heart of the Lynx brand - giving theedge in the mating game - applies as well.Why do you need to revitalise yourshow regularly?Look at how the world is changing around thebrand, and how users are adapting to that.The modern consumer is faster paced,looking for more participation, moreinteraction, and for time and attention to beearned, rather than hijacked. The traditional world of exhibitions is a bit likethe world of advertising. With traditionaladvertising, you would first ensure anaudience, interrupt them with relatively didacticselling messages, and engage with non-participation techniques. This was an effectivemodel for many years.The challenge we face as advertisers ispertinent to the exhibition category. Today,campaigns have to earn time and attention,reward with engaging content and give peoplean opportunity to participate. EN"Don't make assumptions," Normanadvised. "Hold focus groups, listen and learnfrom the people that pay money to go. Identifyyour weaknesses and remove them.Bring in new exciting features orbrands that complement the showand won't change the offeringbeyond recognition."However, changing the offeringbeyond recognition is far easierthan you might suspect."Sometimes you have tochange a load of things, butone thing you must neverdamage or confuse is thebrand," Norman said. "Different brands and shows havedifferent lifespans and markets." He added it's sometimes hard to knowwhen to fix something if you can't see whenit's broken.Last wordMaintaining a successful show is aconstant challenge, a never-endingprocess of trial and error. Learn quicklyfrom your mistakes and never make thesame mistake twice. Above all, if you are lucky enough for yourshow to be a sustained hit, avoidcomplacency and never lose touch withyour audience. ENBrandSocial MediaMagazineWebsiteE-newsletterEventsRSS, etcWirelessVivid: Thebigger picture