Production processes in the exhibit industry require a high level of communication and creativity to ensure projects move fast, on track, and are delivered as promised. But, in an industry where constant hurdles and hiccups are the norm, can this type of service be guaranteed? “Absolutely,” says K2 Production Manager Mark Miller.
“Interfacing with the entire project team from creation to completion is crucial to ensure our clients’ stories are told exactly as envisioned – on time and on budget,” says Mark. “It also takes a commitment to excellence that never falters, fails or forgets our clients’ ultimate project goals.”
Overseeing multiple projects at any given time, Mark is the lead production communicator responsible for planning, coordinating and directing the delicate details specific to each custom fabrication project.
“It’s a collective experience based on bringing a client’s branding message to fruition through efficient quality control operations,” says Mark. “I direct the short- and long-term project logistics to guarantee building capacity is maximized at all times, while adhering to schedules designed to meet even the tightest of deadlines.”
On a daily basis, Mark oversees all K2 team members by delivering immediate problem-solving skills, ensuring all necessary supply chain resources are ordered and available, and creating an achievable schedule that keeps projects moving to avoid backups. And, he never lets a finished product leave the facility unless it meets all of K2’s high-quality standards.
Mark’s ability to focus on each project’s successful outcome stems from 28 years’ experience in the trade show and theater set building industries. From setting up exhibits to managing labor and constructing visual structures, Mark is well versed in the intricacies of industry processes and accompanying branding strategies.
A Strong Team
At K2, Mark is highly respected for inventing creative solutions to assist the team in overcoming unexpected challenges, as well as for his in-depth knowledge and unlimited access to essential resources. He is also known for his commitment to constant communication to effectively optimize and streamline outlined project duties. Moreover, Mark’s follow-through abilities? Impeccable.
“I’m so grateful to work with such an excellent team of builders, project managers, designers, engineers, and account executives,” says Mark. “They rely on my services, and I relay and theirs. We function like a family by supporting each other in efforts to always deliver the highest quality products possible. I can honestly say that our clients are continually happy and so are we.”
When not overseeing K2’s projects, Mark can be found dirt bike riding, metal detecting, and spending family time with his wife and two daughters. He’s also having fun modernizing the family’s newly purchased home.
For more than 15 years, K2 Design and Fabrication has been a trusted partner of James Hardie. As the world leader in fiber cement siding and backerboard, James Hardie participates in over 200 shows and events annually. There are times when James Hardie will have fifteen events in a given weekend, explains David King, CEO of K2 Design and Fabrication. In-depth knowledge of the client properties and marketing strategy is key to optimizing the program.
The partnership began in the early days of K2 and has grown and developed as both the organizations’ have grown. Both K2 and Laurie Gizer, Associate Marketing Manager for James Hardie, agree a long-term strategic partnership provides exceptional value.
Familiarity with the program, allows all team members to stay ahead of the game.
“I honestly can’t live without them (K2),” admits Gizer. “Their expectations are superior, they think outside the box, manage issues before I even hear about them. They 100 percent know our installation requirements and are knowledgeable about our products.”
Gizer manages 150+ plant tours a year in addition to the 200+ trade shows and industry expos, so she credits K2 Design and Fabrication with helping her manage an extremely busy workload as a “partner, not a vendor.”
Keeping inspiration alive.
At James Hardie, innovation is vital to maintaining their pre-eminent position in the fiber-cement industry. Jay Tinen, Marketing Manager, provides on-going direction to showcase the continuous stream of new products. The interaction between product design and exhibit fabrication at K2 remains a key element to showcasing these products in new and innovative ways.
K2 Design and Fabrication maintains a project team that is closely familiar with the client products, their market development strategy and show program schedule. A continuous feedback cycle means that the team at K2 is already working on improvements for the upcoming season as the current show circuit winds down.
In the spring all the custom booths and modular properties will come back “home” to K2 headquarters in Corona, CA for the team to refurbish and upgrade. Some of the booths on the shows circuit for James Hardie have been in use for years—a true testament to the K2 commitment to quality.
Open and consistent communication.
Identifying key issues through open and consistent communication enables the program to grow and flourish. K2 is currently implementing an online ordering system for James Hardie regional events. This will empower the James Hardie Representatives across the country to order complete display solutions throughout the year. For Gizer, this streamlining enables her to work more strategically in managing the multiple responsibilities she has at James Hardie. Additionally, the online ordering system provides more effective use of resources resulting in optimized program management.
“They always find a way to think outside the box,” Gizer explains. ‘They have my back as much as I have theirs!”
Integrity isn’t something one can mimic according to Nancy Risher, Accounting Manager and Controller for K2 Design and Fabrication.
“Integrity has to be part of who you are, it goes back to your convictions about your values and what’s important,” explains Nancy. “It’s more than making sure that the money is handled correctly, it’s when you say you are going to do something, you do it.”
Simply put,“Your word is your word.”
Nancy has more than 25 years of experience in various aspects of accounting. She has worked for K2 Design and Fabrication for five years. Her trust in her faith assures her that she has become a part of the K2 family for a reason.
“God has a purpose for everyone and I definitely feel being at K2 is part of his purpose for me,” she admits.
The journey for Nancy has been full of ups and downs. K2, like others, suffered due to the Great Recession of 2008. She worked diligently to ensure that its vendors understood payment terms and lengths. Five years later despite the tough time, K2 maintained great vendor relationships.
When not working, Nancy leads a bible study at her church and spends times being a surrogate parent to her 11-year-old grand nephew.
Her outlook on her personal life mirrors her professional as she describes the past as a period of “stretching, growth and learning”
A new year is a new opportunity to reflect and plan for what’s next. Articles abound with hot new trends for the year. There are trends that come into the market every year, but are they really new? Or these so-called “trends”, tried and true standards of excellence that have stood the test of time for being highly impactful?
Stay on Brand.
Don’t get distracted from your core messaging. Consistency in brand is paramount.
Consistency of messaging from all market outreach programs isn’t optional; it’s required. In 2018, your customers will encounter you company multiple times through many channels; make sure the message they receive is consistent. When strategizing for your next trade show, industry event or activation, don’t be tempted to go off brand for a location, anniversary year, milestone or as a reaction or counteraction to a competitors’ marketing mix. It’s ok to play with a theme for an event but the branding needs to stay consistent across all channels not just for this year but also for the sustainability of your brand experience efforts.
Easy Set-up, and easy to transport.
It can be easy to get wrapped up in designs that aren’t sustainable for the long haul or practical for implementation. The rendering may look amazing, but is it sustainable, are the life cycle costs in line with your budget? Good design ensures efficiency in transportation, optimization of labor costs for set-up and dismantle and the durability of materials. Adhering to these logistical rules is also a way to effectively manage reoccurring costs that the exhibit will warrant.
In 10 seconds or less you need to connect with your target audience.
The fact of the matter is, if you have about 10 seconds to grab someone’s attention and they approach your exhibit space. Make sure your messaging and graphics create an immediate emotional connection to your brand. The response should be something that engages, excites or creates a sense of wonder.
Lighting is a worthy investment.
Multiple layers for general space (ambient), task and decorative lighting.
Lighting attracts, a well-lit exhibit space attracts attention. Too often in design, lighting takes a back seat to structure. A well-lit space will make you stand out from the sea of exhibits around you. Just like your messaging, lighting needs to be a multi-layered approach – task lighting, ambient, product displays and decorative. The lighting needs to be appropriate to the space. Take into consideration what you are drawing attention to, make sure that product displays have good clear light that doesn’t wash out or alter your brand colors, use caution around AV equipment to much or misdirected light makes it difficult to view AV displays.
The old adage – The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.
A clean, quality, good-looking exhibit is part of your brand message and the perception of the quality is the responsibility of the exhibiting company. Quality is everything. Quality will ensure the longevity of your exhibit or elements of it you plan to use year after year. Good quality counts beyond any trend that can come into the market and it will stand the test of moving logistics and set ups/tear downs, changing consumption habits of the variety of individuals who will visit your activation. And since everything is branding associated with your company, client or product quality control will also help you stay on brand.
Stay on Brand – Understand Logistics – Ensure Clear Messaging – Lighting is Key – Quality Prevails
“Deliver on what you promise. Be honest, honesty will always prevail. If you aren’t honest with a client it will come and get you.”
With more than 30 years of experience in the industry, Guy serves as a Senior Account Executive at K2 Design and Fabrication. Responsible for new business development and client relations, Guy regularly works with large, multi-billion dollar organizations ensuring that their market development programs are optimized for highest return on investment and exceeding client objectives.
Guy began his career “in the shop” where he built exhibits for 15 years, then moving to Project Management before his current role. This background is a key component to the success that he brings forth today. “my build experience gives me the skillset to take client requirements and translate into a cost effective, user friendly solution for the client.’
His goals? Make the client happy and help the client look good in front of their boss. Ensure that as a team, K2 exceeds the client’s expectations and that the program we deliver drives forward their business objectives.
Armed with the advantage of a good historical perspective of changes within the industry, Guy brings expert insights to the table for his clients. “The Industry has morphed, from really large heavy components to lighter components and now it’s a hybrid. Everything has come back around in style. The looks from past two decades are coming back in some ways. Everyone is trying to reinvent the wheel but at K2 we are trying to make the wheel a unique one that no one else has!”
Guy stresses he cherishes the integrity and family values at K2 that he is empowered to pass along to his clients. “At the end of the day, it’s still concrete to concrete when you get to a show and are waiting with your crate to load in and set up. You get there before the client and you leave after the client. If clients are happy, I’m happy. If they aren’t happy I’m pissed!”
After working elsewhere he admits, “I wanted to come back to a company like K2 because at other exhibit houses all you are is a number and all they care about is numbers.”
While his commitment to his clients keeps him busy year round, Guy, who recently bought a home in a resort community in Arizona, enjoys off-road adventures, spending time on his boat on the Colorado River, taking in the desert scenery, and traveling to the wine country.
Every three years the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Annual Meeting, Expo is held for the fast-growing public transportation industry. With three years between each expo, and major industry players always shining with large-scale exhibits, Transitvue worked with K2 Design and Fabrication in Southern California to execute its exhibit with an experiential marketing strategy.
Maria Rivera, Director of Marketing at Transitvue
The communications systems manufacturer and integrator based in Chino, CA started working with Carol Bjorn, Account Executive, at K2, armed with many ideas but a limited budget. “K2 took our ideas and allowed them to materialized and advised how to put in displays and make things flow better. It was wonderful,” exclaimed Maria Rivera, Director of Marketing at Transitvue.
Transitvue needed to think about the audience that is unfamiliar with their name or their capabilities. Unlike some competitors at the show, Transitvue and K2 strategized to do this without bringing in actual transportation industry equipment, such as buses and railway cars, which would significantly increase the budget. The vision was to have booth visitors experience the full scope of Transitvue’s offerings in 300 square feet or a 10’x30’ tradeshow booth.
A Walk Through the Transit Experience
Transitvue’s primary goal was to show that they offer not just one product, but several advanced integrated communications systems for the public transportation industry. Whereas some public transportation company manufacturers only offer products, Transitvue provides systems integration of the Passenger Information Systems, Intrusion Detection and Pedestrian Alert Notification; and the Security Systems and Operations Consoles.
Working with K2, the Transitvue team envisioned and executed an experiential marketing strategy that successfully showed the scope of the company as a systems integrator responsible for the safe operations of public transportation networks. The exhibit made it immediately obvious to the prospect in the aisle the areas that Transitvue provided expertise. A logical flow from digital signage in a cutaway of a train module, life-like backdrop of a station including custom flooring with fully operational digital signage, security cameras, and sensor mat activation; and finally a cutaway of an operations center where live cameras capture station activity.
Engagements and Conversions Provide Positive ROI
“Everything flowed perfectly,” Rivera said. The Transitvue team was able to walk prospects through the space from start to finish in only a few minutes, answer questions and allow people to directly engage with products and services. The expo is full of industry experts, consultants, and transportation company buyers and engineers. By activating and managing a highly interactive space, Transitvue showed it is not a small, single-service operation; but, instead a comprehensive company able to fulfill large multi-faceted contracts.
Further, the team at Transitvue felt the company stood out in a sense of that they didn’t just show a bunch of products, but told a story. “People stayed longer and we could show one system and could pull them into another topic,” explains Rivera. “Our elevator pitch was very easy to do within the space!”
From the expo, Transitvue was able to establish key contacts, receive invitations for proposals and meet with key industry influencers. Since the sales cycle for the industry is one to three years, establishing these relationships is critical as is continual reinforcement during the time leading up the expo and at the expo itself. “K2 made it happen,” concluded Rivera.
K2 Design & Fabrication is thrilled to announce that Collette Sutton has joined the team as an Account Executive. Collette has more than two decades of trade show industry experience. A respected leader, she brings a strong commitment to building lasting client relationships and a clear ability to work with clients with the utmost professionalism. Collette will be a key to the continued success of the company.
Having spent 15 years at Skyline Exhibits Los Angeles, Collette successfully partnered with a broad variety of exhibitors, vendors and custom houses to produce creative and strategic solutions and experiential marketing activations. Now, as an Account Executive for K2, Collette is poised to deliver fruitful event activations to K2 clients from start to finish.
In our industry you hear the term Experiential Marketing or Event Marketing. We use it ourselves. But what is “Experiential Marketing” exactly? And why does it matter for your brand?
According to Berd Schmitt in the Journal of Marketing, Experiential Marketing , sometimes also referred to as “Event Marketing” or “Engagement Marketing” differs from traditional marketing in how consumers engage. Schmitt states that, “Traditional marketing views consumers as rational decision-makers who care about functional features and benefits. In contrast, experiential marketers view consumers as rational and emotional human beings who are concerned with achieving pleasurable experiences.”
Within this model, Schmitt defines five different experiences that marketers can create for customers:
Sensory experiences (SENSE)
Affective experiences (FEEL)
Creative cognitive experiences (THINK)
Physical experiences, behaviors and lifestyles (ACT)
Social-identity experiences that result from relating to a reference group or culture (RELATE)
Tapping into these experiences can directly correlate to various goals within your marketing mix. Who you can convert into a lead or client, will be determined by how parts of your display create emotional reactions. For example, do your consumers primarily utilize smart devices to read their emails, news, social media and other content? Are they busy professionals with limited free time? Having a place within your activation that allows them to charge their phones while viewing a live demo within the space or video, will translate better than vertical banners and wall wraps with information.
Considering occurrences that shape event marketing displays is one area our Account Executives will address during a consultation.
To incorporate experiential marketing elements into your next custom tradeshow booth, display, exhibit or any other activation, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 951-808-9092.
You’re gearing up for annual trade shows or industry events you exhibit at every year. You know the drill, who’s who, what you need to accomplish, how to optimize your time talking about your brand. You are a pro at this however you’ve noticed every year more brands are popping up and diverting attention. You’re well known, respected and have longevity, however you fear you are losing your existing customers to new exciting ventures.
Does this sound familiar? Most every brand deals with having to find new ways to engage existing customers.
Here are the three top ways to generate a reaction and promote engagement with existing costumers utilizing custom displays at trade shows or industry events.
Revisit the Feedback Cycle or Start One
Accessing past surveys, emails, testimonials and reviews is a great way to take the temperature of an existing customers. What did he or she like? Was the general consensus favorable or negative? How did they view your brand after the event or trade show. This is valuable information that needs to be collected. If you haven’t collected this type of information, now is a great time to build it into the workflow.
Gather a small test group made up of your target audience members to engage with your custom display before its debut. Solicit users for this test group via social media. An added benefit on your channels is the engagement it will generate. Ask for what you want and create an incentive if for participation. For example, you can post that you are seeking automotive industry fans and employees, who are available on a specific date and live within 10 miles of your location for user testing.
Showcase What’s New
Showing off what new product or service your company offers is a promising way to engage existing customers. Create exclusivity and intrigue by inviting past customers to a preview event. Intermix customer favorites for brand recognition and value while previewing what’s new and exciting to further engagement with past customers.
These past customers can be a wonderful asset to your brand at an event as they serve not only as users but also can be ambassadors talking up your product or service to others. Further, they may have a vested interest in your success and will provide valuable feedback for improving your experiential marketing for the next major show or event.
K2 can work with you to gauge past feedback and build new displays or renovate previously used displays to keep up in a highly saturated market space. Our longevity with many clients also serves as a tool for our account executives to customize new recommendations based on historical experiences, purchases and comments.