Stress – “The Brain Drain”

A few weeks ago, we published an article titled, “Have you read your Exhibitor Services Manual?” where we talked about how the manual is so important to read and go over because it contains crucial information to assist you in your planning for your event.

The following week, we went all the way to the very beginning of the process of preparing for your next event, where we covered the stress that arises when looking for the right exhibit display supplier.

Basically, the message we are trying to convey to you is:

We know how extraordinarily stressful it is to plan for an exhibiting event…

…so let GraphiColor help!

Our goal at GraphiColor is not just to provide a product; our goal is to be your exhibiting solutions partner. We understand that the details in exhibit planning can get overwhelming, so let us help you with those details! We will work with you throughout the entire planning process, which will ensure that certain crucial elements in your planning don’t get overlooked or put on the back burner.

Our good friend, Travis Stanton, recently wrote an article for EXHIBITOR magazine titled, “The Brain Dran,” which dives further into the topic of stress. He discusses that because of budget restrictions in recent years, exhibiting managers have – unfortunately – had to cut back in big areas such as creativity, because they are just too overworked…too stressed.

Travis details this topic too well to only share bits and pieces, so we are sharing the entire article with you today.



I have a confession: I’m worried about the future of trade shows. No, I don’t think they’re going the way of the dinosaurs, but I’m concerned that exhausted and apathetic exhibit managers are slowly but surely contributing to the incremental dilution of the medium’s value. Each year, I cover dozens of trade shows and events, from Chicago to Shanghai, and recently I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. It’s as if after years of doing more with less, exhibit professionals’ creativity has been sapped, and many trade shows have, at least in part, been reduced to glorified flea markets.

In our Internet-saturated environment, attendees are exponentially more sophisticated than in years past. Few buyers come to trade shows with plans of aimlessly wandering the aisles. Today, they’re able to research your company, view photographs and videos of your products online, download spec sheets, and more. Sure, trade shows give them an opportunity to get hands-on with your wares, but that’s only a unique value add if your products are not readily available via other avenues such as retail stores, showrooms, etc.

Bottom line, it’s more important than ever to deliver unique experiences at trade shows. Because if all you’re offering attendees is a regurgitation of what they can readily obtain on your website, your strategy is woefully insufficient and, in my opinion, insulting to clients and prospects who have invested an inordinate amount of time and money to attend the event.

What is contributing to this dumbing down of our industry? I suspect it all comes down to bandwidth. For a solid five years or more, exhibit managers have struggled to contain costs and keep their programs afloat with fewer employees and far greater scrutiny. As such, they’ve pulled previously outsourced elements in-house, and personally taken on sundry other tasks previously completed by other team members who didn’t survive the layoffs. And contrary to popular belief, creative ideas aren’t free. They take time and energy to conceive and cultivate, and those are the two things most exhibitors are lacking – even more than dollars and cents.

Once our energy reserves are depleted, creativity is next to impossible. We become myopic, and anything perceived as even marginally superfluous falls far outside our peripheral vision. Brainstorming exercises are laborious and futile attempts when we fail to allocate a portion of our energy to the task at hand, and that’s when the aforementioned apathy sets in.

But there’s a silver lining. Standing out from your competitors on the show floor has never been easier. The bar has been lowered, and while the creative ideas to help you hurdle over it don’t grow on trees, they’re not unattainable either. The costs related to creative capital are soft, but the potential rewards are anything but, assuming you count booth traffic, brand awareness, enhanced interactions, and key-message retention among your objectives.

So how do we stop the brain drain? Start allocating energy to thinking outside the boring-booth box. Resolve to try something different, something unique. It’s easier said than done, I know. However, according to our 2014 Economic Outlook Survey, 28 percent of exhibit managers report that their trade show budgets have increased this year compared to last. Hopefully, instead of mindlessly investing in new booth uniforms, they’ll consider outsourcing some of the tasks currently eating up their energy reserves, or coughing up the cash to cover exhibit-house markups on the more time-consuming aspects of their jobs. And maybe, just maybe, those lucky exhibitors can buy themselves some time to sit down, get creative, and inspire the remaining 72 percent.

Friends, please don’t allow stress to call the shots in your exhibit planning!
Don’t let crucial details such as creativity slide because all your time is needed elsewhere!

Let GraphiColor be your Exhibit Planning Partner

Not only will we work with you on the basic details of your planning
(deadlines, display guidelines, booth services, etc.),
but our expert design team will never allow creativity to suffer.

Contact us today to begin your path to stress-free SUCCESS!


Happy exhibiting, friends!

“The Brain Drain” written by Travis Stanton
Originally published on EXHIBITOR online
and can be viewed by clicking here.

Our thanks to EXHIBITOR and Travis
for consistently providing
valuable information for all of us
in the trade show industry!


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