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88 The PCB Magazine • November 2016 est smiles and impeccable manners. Each of these well-meaning lions wants to lure me into their lair and devour my intellectual carcass by painfully re- gurgitating features of their products. These lions eagerly anticipate that I will be swallowed up by their sheer genius of how they decode their graphic mess of messages that are most often being secured in the back of the booth, safe from competitors' shifty eyes. Others will only communicate the secret value of their special sauce in their secluded dens of knowledge (aka, booth conference room). Fast forward, three decades later. I attended another trade show for a com- pletely different industry and the same circus runs amok. My advice is the same now as it would have been to the pride if I could only have wiped that dastardly smirk off my face. "Make your message—and your investment— count. Unleash your lions! Collaborate with your guests and stop the graphic grief! Run free, my graphic child. You will not fall prey by clear- ly and concisely showcasing your knowledge in a compelling, relevant, concise and thought- provoking manner!" A Graphic is Not a Print Advertisement • Less is more. Keep your text concise and your overall graphic appeal impactful. A graphic is not a technical paper, but should be employed to elicit questions, discussions, and follow-up that could be technical, market- or sales-related. • Like a fine wine, let your graphics breathe! There is no sin in purposely allowing some white space to visually showcase relevant imag- ery and concise text. • Fonts are your friends when applied wise- ly. This includes staying true to established and essential corporate identity guidelines. These guidelines should specify the type and size ranges of the font to be used, as well as include an established color palette. The overall tone of the company's communications (both imagery and text) should also be considered as part of the corporate identity that should consistently translate to all media. • Save the in-depth technical content for your support literature or website. Furthermore, should detailed content be absolutely necessary at the booth, such information should be delin- eated within the support literature, app or web- site to help facilitate conversations with highly qualified leads. Stop the Chest Beating It amazes me the number of booths that have their key messages hidden amongst the chest beating themes of "leading supplier," "number one widget," "global coverage," and "innovative solutions," to name just a few of the vanilla clichés that get tossed about the main headline of graphics. Now don't get me wrong, a little commercial kudos to your company is all fine and good…and most often expected by the higher-ups. However, did you ever stop to consider: • Have my potential booth guests read the same thing time after time while grazing at pri- or cages? Well of course they have! • Does my chest-beating truly differentiate my product, service or company? Most times the answer is a big NO. • In the rare cases your self-congratulatory pat is a relevant differentiator, is it the most im- portant statement to be splashed as the main headline? Of course not! • How does this chest beating add value to your customer's need? It doesn't and in some cases the perceived vanity your graphic inad- vertently communicates is scoffed at or worse, opens a Pandora's box discussion as to when your company was considered "number one," in a manner you never intended. Don't let Customers Coast by Your Booth • Consider each of your graphics to be a bill- board on a congested highway filled with other billboards, traffic signs and various construc- tion detours along the way. At best, you have three seconds to gain the visitors' attention to read the headline. If they find your message to be intriguing, they may read the additional text and related images. • Don't go cheap. Have professionals design and produce your high quality graphics. It's your company's image hanging on that booth wall or LED screen. How you present your message is a di- rect reflection of your market leadership, knowl- edge and commitment to the industries served. MY GRAPHIC GRIEF: TRADE SHOWS AND EVENTS

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