Three Tips for Exhibiting at International Tradeshows

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Exhibiting at an international trade show can be much different than exhibiting in your own country. It’s important to let go of your usual trade show expectations, be flexible, and allow yourself enough time to get everything shipped and through customs.

Exhibiting abroad involves more time, extra planning, and higher travel costs.

Read our helpful tips for attending a trade show abroad…


1. Create a timeline
Remember, when you exhibit abroad, you need to make sure you provide enough time to have everything shipped overseas, which will take longer than shipping something within the U.S. You will also need to remember to allow yourself enough time to obtain a passport and travel visa if you don’t already have one, plan how long your flight will take, and plan how long it will take to fill out any international paperwork.

And don’t forget about the time difference!!!

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2. Make exhibit arrangements with ATA Carnets
An ATA Carnet is an international customs and temporary export-import document that is used to clear customs without paying customs duties and import taxes. Most merchandise that is being shipped overseas for a trade show can be listed on a Carnet and carnets are accepts in 87 countries and territories. By listing the merchandise that will return to the U.S. on an ATA Carnet, you can greatly reduce the costs associated with exhibiting at a trade show and also eliminate the need to post a bond or cash with foreign customs, which may take 6-24 months to be returned.

Click here to see 87 countries and territories that accept carnets.

Or as an alternative, you can also find a local supplier or trade show house. Many international exhibit builders produce stands that will be used at nearby venues, and this could save you money on shipping things overseas. Make sure to research local trade show houses in the country where you’ll be exhibiting and compare pricing.

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3. Understand all other costs associated with exhibiting overseas
There are also other hidden costs that associated with exhibiting abroad. In order to avoid over-paying:

  • Contact the Intermediaries: Find out from the trade show organizer, shipping company or freight forwarder how foreign import duties and taxes are handled for each overseas event.
  • Determine the Correct Temporary Import Method for the Event: Review the itinerary, travel, and shipping requirements to determine the best temporary import option for each event.
  • Make Preparations: Contact the event freight forwarder and/or an ATA Carnet Specialist to finalize the temporary import documentation at least 2 weeks in advance of shipping a trade show exhibit and other equipment out of the U.S.

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Make sure to check out these costs before-hand to avoid a huge cost added on to the cost of your event!!!


We hope you found this post helpful. Feel free to contact Expand to see how we can help you with your international tradeshow needs.

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Expand Tips from the Experts – Offering a Modular Look at a Portable Price

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Hi, we’re Jeff and Bill from Expand! Many of our clients want a high-quality solution, but don’t have a huge budget. Well, what if we told you we can offer you a modular look for a portable price?

Read our tips below to find out how… 


How to offer a Modular Look at a Portable Price
When considering a modular look, always keep in mind price, ease-of-setup and shipping when comparing to an SEG display. The rectangular shape of the Expand GrandFabric frames gives you the crisp, clean edges and wrinkle-free look of SEG at a portable price!

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The 10’x8’ Expand GrandFabric tension fabric system can stand alone and accommodate a monitor with a weight of up to 44 lb. The labor is minimal, it requires no tools to set up, and it even fits into the Expand PodiumCase for easy shipping and transport!

Because of their shape, the straight frames are also cost-effective, in that you can print a double-sided graphic and use the same frame in multiple configurations. Here we’ve taken the same frame, flipped it around and added a return wall with shelves and a table:

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Additional accessories, such as brochure holders or even a roof can be added at any time!

Creative, adaptable, changeable, and extremely functional—the Expand GrandFabric can do it all at a fraction of SEG Modular price! (And drayage/labor costs are eliminated.) Here’s just one idea of something that will fit into a larger space, yet is still cost-effective and easy to set up:

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We hope that you enjoyed this post! Please feel free to contact us for a quote on our modular, portable modular solution at jeff.pfalz@expandmedia.com or bill.hetzel@expandmedia.com.

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Happy Thanksgiving from Expand!

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We would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving remind you that our U.S. offices will be closed on Thursday, November 23rd and Friday, November 24th in observance of the holiday.

For existing orders, UPS will deliver on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but they will not ship on Thanksgiving Day. View UPS Schedule.

Read below for a Thanksgiving note from our National Sales Manager…


A Thanksgiving note…

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David Nanamaker

Hi, I’m David Nanamaker, the National Sales Manager at Expand. I grew up in a small Connecticut town called Branford. It’s a tight-knit community of about 30,000. This past weekend they had a fundraiser for a guy who just had his leg amputated due to an issue with diabetes.

This person dedicated countless volunteer hours coaching, teaching, and developing young children to become outstanding citizens. He’s the kind of person who when you see him, you admire him for what he gives back. I’m always blown away by how towns come together to support a person or family in times of need!!!

So my message for today is simple: When you sit down on Thursday for Thanksgiving, take an extra minute and look around at your family, friends, and loves ones. That is truly what we are all thankful for: happiness, good health, and strong bonds.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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Expand Tips from the Experts – Avoiding Pitfalls with the Production of your Booth

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Hi, we’re John and John! We’ve both been in the trade show industry for a long time and have experienced just about everything that can go wrong with booth production.

That’s why we teamed up to write this post about how to avoid pitfalls with the production of your booth and have it arrive on time…


Tips for Avoiding Pitfalls with the Production of your Booth

1. Time Management
The most important tip is time management. About 90% of all pitfalls we see are a result of not allowing enough time for event elements.  Sure, you can do a few retractable units a week in advance, but that 10’ x 20’ is going to take a little bit longer!

Also, remember that production time is different than shipping time. Be sure to plan enough time for production AND the delivery of your display. If production requires 5 days, it may take an additional 3 days to ship. Don’t get stuck with overnight shipping costs; they can be expensive and destroy your budget!

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2. Know your Exhibit Space
Make sure you know the size of your exhibit space. The exhibit venue will have specific rules; provide those rules to your production company. We have seen too many companies design a booth that won’t fit into their assigned space and add features such as lights and monitors for which there are no outlets available! This can cause major headaches when it comes time to set up. Your booth staff may need to eliminate certain items and rearrange the graphics.

At Expand, we have a solution: The Expand DisplayBuilder. Ask your sales rep for a 3-D rendering of how your display will fit into your assigned space. This is your “road map”. It will help you position your items on the floor and help you communicate with the event venue for needed outlets, furnishings, etc.

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3. Provide the Correct Artwork
Ask your production company for the appropriate graphic templates before submitting your artwork for print! Similarly, make sure that you know the what type of artwork specifics your printer needs to do the job. Not only do templates simplify the layout process, but they also speed the pre-flight and proofing process up dramatically. At Expand, we have templates readily available for all of our products right on our website along with artwork guidelines specifying what we like to see in a submitted art file.

Click here for Expand’s artwork templates:

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4. Do a Dry Run
Allow yourselves extra time to set up your booth prior to shipping it to your event. This might require an extra week, but this step is highly recommended so that your staff can become familiar with the hardware and graphics ordered. They can take their time setting each piece up and taking them down without the stress of watching the clock on the day the show begins.

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Do a dry run to make sure your booth staff knows how to set up the display BEFORE they get to the event.

5. Don’t go cheap!
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We get this one a lot. A trade show or other event is a considerable investment. Booth space, hotels, travel, etc., equal big bucks. That and your branding is front and center. We’re always mind-boggled when the most visible portion of all of those expenses becomes the one item where costs must be minimized.

If your displays look cheap, your company looks cheap!!!

And if your display is broken on the show floor, well… Don’t make this mistake!


We hope that you enjoyed this post! Please feel free to contact Expand to see how we can help you get your booth out on time. You can also contact one of us directly at john.kuhlman@expandmedia.com or john.blackburn@expandmedia.com.

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Making the World a Better Place: Expand at the 2017 Global Citizen Festival

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Expand was a proud sponsor of this year’s Global Citizen Festival, which took place on Saturday, September 23, 2017 in Central Park.

We were happy join Global Citizen again in the movement to fight inequality, protect our planet, and end extreme poverty by the year 2030. This movement combines actions and voices of millions of citizens, non-profits, and world leaders.

As a global company, we were happy to donate our professional-grade, HD dye-sub printed backwall, the Expand GrandFabric, to help promote the event.

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This year’s festival attracted a crowd of over 60,000 people, including many celebrities and global activists. Attendees included actor Kal Penn, Dr. Jane Goodall, UN Ambassador for Peace and Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and television personality from the ABC reality television series, Shark Tank.

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Mark Cuban, Jane Goodall & Kal Penn posing in front of the Expand GrandFabric backdrop at the Global Citizen Festival.

The event featured music from Stevie Wonder, Green Day and The Lumineers. Other performers included The Killers, The Chainsmokers, Pharrell Williams and Andra Day.

Watch live performances from the event: 

Senator Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s minority leader from New York, spoke about his commitment to protect funding for foreign assistance and Dr. Jane Goodall spoke about her action to save the planet and what is happening to it due to climate change.

View a live-stream from the event:

We enjoyed being part of  such a noble cause and can’t wait to see what Global Citizen has in store for next year!

Read more about Expand at Global Citizen >>


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Expand Tips from the Experts – Tips for Fast Response Times

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It’s great when a client gives you a lot of time to prepare an order, but we’ve all been in situations where rush orders come in and you need to get something out very quickly.

Expand Experts Joe Dunn and Chris Bonney, Expand Account Executives from our Stratford, CT location understand the process of getting orders out on time.

Below, Joe and Chris share tips on how to provide a faster response time… 


Providing a Fast Response Time for your Clients – Joe Dunn 

Joe-201x201Hi, I’m Joe! At Expand, we strive to get our resellers the information that they need to provide their clients in a fast, effective way. A great way to do this is with pre-made email templates. Often times clients don’t know exactly what display they need and providing them with options makes the process a lot smoother. An email with pictures, pricing, product information and production times gives your clients all the information they need without the unnecessary back-and-forth.

A common request I receive from resellers is, “My client needs a 33” x 78” roll up banner. What are the prices?”. Instead of going back and forth between myself and the reseller, and then the reseller and their client, providing a template like the one below shows the client a “Good, Better, Best” selection that they can choose from:

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Now the client has all the information they need without having to send a million emails trying to figure out the one product that best suits their needs!

Click here to read my previous post about helping customers visualize before they buy.


Providing a Fast Response Time for your Clients – Chris Bonney  

chris-sigHi, I’m Christopher Bonney – Chris for short! As Joe explained above, it’s important to get information to your resellers in a timely manner, so that they can also get it to their clients in time. One of the ways Expand makes sure that happens is by having strong communication between our different departments. (Click here to read my previous post about how we have many different departments that work together to ensure that your project gets out on time.)

Just recently, we had a situation where an order from one of my clients came in on a Friday and the due date was that following Monday. Knowing that we needed to get it done quickly, our graphics and production team got right on it! The artwork was proofed within 30 minutes, and after the client approved the artwork proof our California warehouse printed and shipped it to make sure it got to their location on time. The banners made it to the show in time and looked amazing! 

We will always try to meet your delivery needs. – Our normal production times are published on our website.

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We hope that you enjoyed this post and found it helpful! If you have additional questions, you can contact Joe at joe.dunn@expandmedia.com or Chris at christopher.bonney@expandmedia.com.

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5 Tips for Incorporating Technology into your Booth

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Integrating technology is one of the easiest and most effective ways to enhance your booth setup. Technology can be used to engage booth visitors and help you stand out against the competition at an event.

Read our 5 tips for incorporating technology into your booth…


1. Create a Technology “Wow” Factor
People at trade shows are very busy and may easily pass over your booth. You want to create a booth that stands out at the event. Technology can be used to grab the attention of passer-by’s and make them want to stop and visit your booth.

For example, using digital displays or moving images on video monitors is a great way to showcase your products and get people to stop and watch. This is also a great way to consistently update your message without having to keep printing new graphics. Click here to view the Expand MonitorStand XL.

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Lighting is another way to get your booth to booth stand out. A well-lit display is likely to grab attention in a dark venue. LED lighting can be strategically used to highlight products, make a statement, or set the mood for the booth. Click here to view Expand’s backlit displays.

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2. Create an Interactive Booth Experience
Most people who exhibit at an event have a traditional booth setup. You can stand out and draw more people to your booth by creating a fun, interactive “event experience.” An interactive experience makes your brand more memorable and allows you to interact directly with your consumers. Some examples of how to create this kind of experience include virtual reality goggles, food or beverage tastings, and touch screen displays.

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Incorporating touch screen monitors, tablets, or iPads allows you to be much more interactive with show attendees. You can upload all your literature, case studies, etc. and have everything right at your fingertips when talking to potential prospects.

3. Provide a Charging Station
These days, everyone carries their cellphone with them and many people at trade shows also bring a laptop, kindle, etc. Surprisingly, many trade shows don’t have charging stations widely available. A charging station will bring people to your booth because it offers a convenient location to charge their devices, without having to worry about them getting stolen. And w
hile they are waiting for their phone or tablet to charge, it’s a great time to strike up a conversation about the products or services you can offer them!

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4. Provide Digital Product Information
People receive a lot of brochures, catalogs and one-page handouts when attending a trade show or event. These often end up in a pile and eventually get thrown away. Why spend money on having your company catalogs shipped or drive yourself crazy making room for them in your luggage, if people aren’t even going to keep them?  Instead, provide a QR code that visitors can scan to access your website or have a thumb drive with all of your company catalogs and brochures on it as a booth giveaway.  (The iOS 11 that Apple just released has a QR scanner built right into the camera app!)

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Give booth visitors a QR code that they can scan with their phones to get to your website. 

5. Be social
A social media post mentioning your booth number or location makes attendees more likely to take time to visit your booth. If you’re exhibiting at a big show or an event that only lasts a few hours, not everyone will have time to see every booth, so you want to make sure that they see coming by your booth as a priority!

Tag the event location and/or company that is hosting the event and use hashtags (including the show hashtag if there is one) to reach a larger audience and draw more visitors. Below is a Tweet that Expand posted during a trade show we exhibited at in May:

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After the event…

  • A few days after the show, send an email or mobile push notification thanking people for coming by your booth. Direct them to more information.
  • Send them a brochure. Although most attendees receive too many print materials at the event, they’re more likely to have time to look at them after the event.
  • Follow up with your leads via email or phone and ask them if they would like additional materials. 

Click here for More Expand Tips for Exhibitors >> 

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Expand Tips from the Experts – Displays for Promoting Sporting Events

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With the value of teams and leagues being at all-time highs, sports marketing has become more popular over the years – and Expand has been involved as well! We’ve worked with numerous agencies promoting sporting events through athletes, events and teams, including NASCAR, the NBA Draft and the World Series.

Wherever there is a sporting event, our types of displays are needed. Expand Experts Brad Gende, Account Executive from Chicago, who is a huge Cubs fan and Luke del Campo, Account Executive for New England and New York, who is a huge Boston Red Sox fan (Hey, nobody’s perfect!) know that understanding what questions to ask before offering our services is crucial!

Below, Brad and Luke share some advice that we hope you find helpful… 


Helping Your Client Promote Sporting Events – Brad Gende

The first step in helping your client is to find out exactly what kind of event they are promoting and where it will be. For example, many events that revolve around football take place in the parking lot where everyone gathers before a game, which makes it an ideal area to set up a promotion. The foot traffic and need for something high above the crowd makes the Flag Stand XL the perfect choice for parking lot and tailgating events! This extra tall giant of a flag is 47 inches wide and has a telescopic pole, which allows you to vary the height up to 18 feet (181 inches) high.

Another product that is great for sporting events is the Expand PodiumCase. The reason for that is because it can be used inside or outside, takes less than 5 minutes to set up and can be used to present trophies or give speeches. It’s also versatile in the sense that there are two versions: open or closed. The open style is popular for giving speeches or presenting an award, while the closed would be used to display trophies.

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A closed Expand PodiumCase was used to display the Chicago Cubs’ trophy when they won the World Series. 


Helping Your Client Promote Sporting Events – Luke del Campo

As Brad mentioned above, it’s important to ask exactly what kind of sports event the display will be used for. The first thing I do is ask my client essential questions such as when, where, and how this product will be used.

For example, one my clients needed an outdoor display for a promotional event sponsored by Ford at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore. I knew that sandbagging one of our indoor solutions outdoors would not suffice for this kind of promotion: It had to be the Expand GrandFabric Outdoor. With confidence, I committed to my solution and shared images, set-up videos, templates, etc. The client loved it!

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The Expand GrandFabric Outdoor stood out and drew a crowd at the “Drive in a Dream” promotion, sponsored by Ford.

Having only sold a couple of these units as a team, it was pretty inspiring to see this system in action! Naturally, I also wanted to find out what other signage elements they needed. When a promotional desk with iPads was mentioned, I suggested using one of our podiums. It turns out the Expand PodiumCase XL was a perfect fit and an add on to an already lucrative project!

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The Expand PodiumCase XL and Expand GrandFabric Outdoor at the “Drive in a Dream” promotion. 

Afterwards, I always make sure to follow up. Always find out how it went and see if you can share pictures from the event. Sometimes you are only allowed to share them internally – Make sure to communicate that with your client!


Remember, not all sporting events are the same and not every client will want the same thing. Feel free to reach out to us if you need guidance regarding which display will work best for your client’s specific needs. Expand is here to help you!

Contact us to let us help you meet your customer’s needs >>

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Expand Tips from the Experts – How to Make Product Training Fun & Interactive

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Are you finding selling display products to be hard work? If your prospects don’t seem interested in what you’re selling, then it’s time to change your attitude! Put a smile on your face and figure out how to go in a new direction to make them excited.

Customers are more likely to respond if you provide interactive training that they can participate in. Expand Account Executives Don Johnson and Andre Sao get clients excited about what they’re selling by making product training fun and interactive!

Below Don and Andre share some ideas that we hope you will find useful as you plan your next sales meeting…


How I Make Product Training Fun & Interactive – Don Johnson 

It all started when the president of my company said “Don, you don’t entertain enough”. I explained that I was trying to cram two face-to-face meetings during the morning and another two or three in the afternoon. There just wasn’t time to take someone out at lunch.

That’s when he said:

“How about bringing lunch to them?” It was an “Aha Moment” for me. The impetus for my first “Lunch and Learn”. If I tell someone I’m bringing lunch, I get anywhere from six people to sixteen. I even got thirty people for a “hot dog party” once!

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So food draws them in. Then what? First, do some homework to see what kind of projects they’re working on. You need to think which of your products, especially new ones, might give them a solution. Sometimes, they just won’t tell you so…

I send an email asking attendees to bring their business cards so we can have drawings for prizes. Ask them to write a few notes on the back of their card about their project. Now you can explore which of your products might best work for them!

As I go through my presentation, I can focus on actual products that solve these needs we just talked about. When it’s time to set up demos, I like forming teams and giving my audience some “hands on” experience setting up displays. I have found that they really get into it and ask good questions.

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Happy Hour at MKTG in Atlanta with food, a drawing, and an Expand GrandFabric setup race! 


How I Make Product Training Fun & Interactive – Andre Sao 

Training all too often brings to mind a stream of completely forgettable facts. We’re in an industry of turning ideas into a reality, and with such a variety of products available, it’s essential to host training sessions.

Here are my tips for making these sessions more fun and interactive:

Do your research and know your audience: The best way to engage your audience is making sure the subject matter is relevant. Training is successful when everyone in the room walks away with knowledge that they didn’t have before.

Some easy ways to research your audience are by viewing LinkedIn profiles to understand some of their professional interests (posts, likes, and shares) and by searching job listings for that company to get an idea of the company culture. Or you can ask qualifying questions before starting. Just be prepared to pivot in any direction!

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Training should be a discussion, not a speech: We’ve all had the dry classroom lectures, but can you remember what your favorite teacher did differently? Often a bit of humor and context, but definitely no death by PowerPoint! While PowerPoint slides can be a wonderful communication aid, I find that showing products leaves a deeper impression. I like to bring products that people can touch and pass around the room, or get up to inspect or assemble themselves.

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Do you have trouble getting your attendees up and out of their seats? Then move the seats to the corners of the room and encourage everyone to gather around. Groups of people standing tend to form circles, which encourages conversation, and moves us further away from the classroom style presentations.


And Now our most important point of all: 

Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up! You may think training is over when the session ends, but the session should be only the beginning! You have their name. You know what accounts many of them are working on. Now you need to reach out to keep your name in front of them.

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Remember the questions your attendees asked during the presentation. If it’s important enough for them to mention, it’s probably something you should write down and follow up on. Send an email with a summary and answer any unanswered questions. Direct suggestions to their specific project, prepare quotes and share projects you’ve done for others within their company.

Hopefully they will become an ongoing client. And all because you had fun entertaining!

Contact us to learn how Expand can help you meet your customer’s needs >>

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Expand Partners with Matthew 25: Ministries to Help People in Need

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At Expand, we feel very strongly about our commitment to the environment. We have an Environmental Policy, in which we strive to minimize the use of non-recyclable  resources and we have recently developed a recycling partnership with Matthew 25:  Ministries, a not-for-profit humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization.

Read on to learn more about Expand’s partnership with Matthew 25 Ministries…


Expand offers a full suite of environmentally friendly event displays.

We strive to: 

  • Use natural resources conservatively by recycling and reusing where feasible.
  • Minimize the use of non-recyclable natural resources. Environmental-friendly-icon_png
  • Follow all applicable environmental laws and regulations.
  • Develop and market products that are safe in their intended use, energy efficient, and protective of the environment.
  • Store, handle and dispose of all potentially hazardous substances and wastes in a safe and proper manner.
  • Encourage reduction, reuse and recycling in all of our activities.
  • Encourage responsible use of resources throughout our business, including conserving energy and water use and improving energy efficiency.
  • Use water-based inks, which are better for the environment.

Click here to learn more about Expand’s environmental policy >>

Matthew_25_logoThrough our new partnership, we donate our extra scrap and returned fabric to Matthew 25: Ministries, and they donate it to help people in developing countries.

Matthew 25’s mission is to provide food, clean water, clothing, medical care and humanitarian supplies to those in need. The fabric and materials donated from Expand and other organizations is used to teach people in developing countries learn marketable skills, such as how to sew or sell fabric.

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Matthew 25 accepts product and financial donations and has many volunteer opportunities for individuals and organizations. Click here to find out ways that you can contribute.

Read more on the Expand website >>


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