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Trade Show Marketing


Technology Should Advance Brand Experiences

Technology is everywhere. But often, it lacks strategic integrations.

Strong technology solutions should foster three things for your business. It should educate, equip, and inspire your audience with the right content. It should lead your end user to start a conversation with an individual at your company. And it should have a strategic role within your sales program.

Educate, Equip, & Inspire

We all know technology is amazing. It’s a tool that our team integrates into almost every brand experience. Technology should educate, equip, and inspire your audience with the relevant information they need to move along in their customer journey. We’ve helped clients use dozens and dozens of technology integrations to communicate their message in a way that makes sense for the environment and the individual. Both the environment and end user are extremely important considerations to think through when choosing which technology to implement. Each solution is valuable but there’s always one that is better for the brand experience. Two great examples of educating, equipping, and inspiring are General Mill’s iPad Survey with Live Streaming Results and MegaFood’s Digital Product Kiosk.

Lead to Conversations

Technology should almost always lead the end user to begin or continue a conversation with a representative from your company. Whether we implement augmented reality, virtual reality, RFID, flip disk walls, gamification, or iPads and screens they should always be part of the program to facilitate conversations. Technology should never be siloed but it should be paired with human interactions. At the end of the day, business is about building relationships and helping people, and technology should be a tool to do both. Two examples of excellent technology that led to qualified conversations are Agosto’s Flip Disc Technology and Kobelco’s Gamification Matching Game.

Integrate with Sales

Sales, it’s what most companies want. Technology should funnel through to your company’s sales objectives as a tool and methodology to support growth. We help our clients integrate with our technology solutions to drive lead generation and sales enablement. We recently implemented our lead generation and sales enablement tool to help a client increase their qualified lead generation goal by 150%.

An example of a strong technology and sales integration is 3M’s Retail Pop-Up.

Technology helps brand experiences to be more educational, conversational, and integrated into larger business objectives. As you evaluate your technology integrations, be sure it advances your brand experiences.

For more technology inspiration, head to our YouTube channel to see a variety of integrations for brand experiences.



How to Win at Outdoor Retailer

The team at nParallel has been attending Outdoor Retailer both Summer and Winter for decades. The show features over 1,400 brands exhibiting across every floor of the Colorado Convention Center, in Denver — all showcasing the latest outdoor gear and trends. If you are anywhere close to being interested in the outdoors, this IS candyland. Over the show’s three days, the schedule is full of education sessions, industry events, happy hours, and many opportunities to network, learn, and if you’re an exhibitor sell your product to buyers in the masses.

We noticed three themes at OR that made brand experiences stand out: new industry technology, sustainability, and captivating engagements.

New Industry Technology

Products, brands, and trends of this year’s show seem to be focused around new and innovative technologies, rather than quirky / crazy product designs. Brands that showed the adaption of technology with construction and materials into the final apparel piece caught buyer’s attention. This was done through weaving in logos, thermal materials, and seamless construction to get buyers excited about more than the look of the product but the innovation behind them. This helped to communicate the “why” behind the “what” which is important in differentiating your brand experience.


Sustainability is a fad that will never go away, thank goodness! We loved seeing Patagonia showcase their pre-paid package service to send in old t-shirts. They use it with other recycle materials and produce a new shirt with 52% of old t-shirts and the rest with recycled materials from fishing nets, water bottles etc. They started this program one year ago and have collected up to 100,000 t-shirts so far. Great job, Patagonia showcasing real results and global impact!

Another company does something similar by collecting old wine corks turning into soles on shoes. What we love about sustainability is that any industry can implement a sustainability program and have it drive impact and customer affinity.

Captivating Engagements

“Keenfest” was across the street with cartwheel rides, live music, sustainability exhibits, custom screen-printed t-shirts, and food trucks that serve beyond fresh and fantastic street food was enough to keep you sustained and entertained between dashing around trying to make it to every exhibit. You could have sold tickets to the public to get in this place! Now that’s an excellent brand experience. Keenfest thought through the customer journey to draw people in, and make them want to stay engaged in the experience.

We met influencers on-site who were engaging with the public and meeting with their raving fans. Influencer marketing can be spendy, but it’s such a great way to build a following and communicate brand messages in an authentic way.

Tin Cup had a giveaway of a tin cup shot glass and a sample of whiskey. They crafted an awesome venue with the option to get a unique photo with a vintage 1800’s camera and developed it on-site for a takeaway sepia tone picture on your mug. Great job, Tin Cup!

Flexfit Hats nailed it with an ice cream parlor that was a visual pleasure and also great for the taste buds with real ice cream samples. Their set-up looked like a retro ice cream shop married an oasis of natural beauty. They did an excellent job drawing people in with intrigue and beauty.

Our team made new friends on-site and we’re already excited to book our tickets and begin designing exhibits for the next OR.

Are you wanting to make a bigger splash at OR? Reach out to me (, I’d love to chat with you!


Digital Transformation


Digital Transformation

The world of dimensional brand experience is moving from static images, displays, graphics, to an all-around digital experience to better engage audiences. What used to be an image is now a video. What used to be an exchange of business cards is now smart lead capture. What used to be a pamphlet is now an interactive touch-screen education center.

We are seeing a massive move to digital in the industry across trade shows, retail showrooms, pop-up shops, corporate lobbies, and road shows – it’s expanding in new ways at every event. The popularity of digital merits space within brand experiences because of its ability to connect in a more impactful way, drive engagement, build community, and grow organizations.

As we move into 2019, here are six ways brands are winning through digital integrations.

1.       Increasing smart technology programs across their organization

It not only better serves your organization but more importantly, it better serves your clients.

2.       Reassessing lead captures at trade shows

Leverage technology and data to work with your brand experience for ease, convenience, and to promote efficiencies on the show floor.

3.       Creating digital cohesion

Weave digital technology through all brand experiences from beginning to end. It will better engage your customers and reach them through the means that matter most to them.

4.       Adding more content displays

Increase digital content display screens to better showcase tailored content and provide real-time insight to help customers further understand your products and services.

5.       Integrating marketing automation

Implement technology for marketing automation to offer clients the information they need and when they need it.  

6.       Offering intriguing experiences

Create brand experiences that grab attention from across the room with technology that draws people in. 

We all know that digital has features that foster longer dwell-times within brand marketing, and digital helps to move the needle when it comes to customers engaging with brands, and that’s what we want.

If we can recommend anything as it relates to this transformation, think through your brand presence and challenge your company to increase engagement through digital solutions. Digital can tremendously increase conversations and business results and 2019 might just be the year to make a digital transformation.


Success & ROI


Success & ROI

Success can only be found when success is defined. Trade shows and brand activations are instrumental business activities that can move the needle. At nParallel, we believe each show should have ROI and success metrics broken out into three supporting phases.

As part of our strategic approach, we help our clients create programs that deliver on business objectives. The three phases we recommend developing marketing programs and metrics around are the pre-show (or pre-event), show, and post-show. We’ll use the term “show” for simplicity, but we recommend this approach for all brand activations whether it’s a trade show, event, retail pop-up, etc. Unfortunately, some companies only focus on the middle activity, the show or the event. We find that all three components of the brand activation are crucial for success and ROI.

Event attendance should be evaluated based on business goals and how each show or event moves the company closer to achieving their goals. Once a show is defined, it’s important to set metrics and begin planning all three phases, again, not just the middle phase. If a company can build a holistic marketing plan that includes pre-show, show, and post-show elements, their business impact will be stronger than simply focusing on the show alone.


Each event should have a pre-show marketing campaign to support their business goals. The pre-show campaign should help to build awareness of the event and engage the company’s target audience. An example of a pre-show metric would be identifying and connecting with a specific number of qualified show attendees in advance of the event to increase engagement and follow-ups in all phases. The metric for this example should be based upon a realistic and measurable number that can be qualified and monitored. It’s instrumental in this phase to begin capturing leads or prospects to move through the sales funnel, that is, if that’s the business goal.


It’s important to identify metrics to be measured during the show as well. We recommend establishing on-site show goals and review them before and after each day of the brand activation. Those who focus on their goals are much more likely to achieve them because they are the focus of their attention, conversations, and engagements.

Often, there are additional on-site initiatives that the show hosts offer that can help to build upon the brand activation. Opportunities like speaking engagements, dinners, advertising, etc. can help to support the business goals of the brand activation. Again, all opportunities should have goals and should be measured for impact.


Having a post-show plan is vital. Companies are investing time and budget to showcase their brand in front of the right target market and continuing the conversation after the event helps to close deals, increase brand awareness, and bring the brand closer to their business goals.

Success and ROI as it relates to the post-show should be supported with measurables. For example, metrics should be very clear on how to bring leads through the sales funnel and what type of marketing campaigns should be applied to each scenario.

Like we said earlier, success can only be found when success is defined. Each post-show should have a post-mortem to analyze the brand activation’s goals and how the pre-show, show, and post-show campaigns delivered upon the established metrics. If you aren’t hosting post-mortems, we recommend implementing them to optimize brand activations further.


Natural Products Expo West


Natural Products Expo West

Last week we sent our natural and organic foodie clients off to Natural Products Expo West – a show with more than 80,000 attendees all focused on healthy products and innovation. They arrived on-site with more than four nParallel semi-trucks and exhibited 3,200-square-feet. These powerhouse companies showcased their products with innovative recyclable material and greenery like moss and live plants.

Our clients drove foot traffic and sales for their brands and were thrilled with the creative execution that our team delivered upon to make their exhibits stand out on the show floor.

We’re proud to work with these trend-setting and pioneering companies!