After a decade of use in national and regional trade shows, the Halpern Enterprises exhibit needed an update.
- The dark hardwood booth and over-sized black leather furniture looked stuffy and dated, making Halpern look like a wood-paneled basement to their industry peers and prospective customers.
- The hardwood construction and overstuffed lounge chairs meant the booth was heavy and bulky, therefore expensive to ship and store.
- The booth was closed-off, its many walls making show attendees feel they needed an invitation or appointment to enter and view Halpern’s shopping center projects.
- There wasn’t enough meeting space, either. Only two meetings could be held at a time, forcing executives and leasing directors to hold business meetings elsewhere. The meeting spaces were also completely public, preventing discretion for sensitive business deals.
- Finally, the exhibit’s display graphics relied primarily on heavy, custom-constructed materials that added production time and were expensive to update.
First, I interviewed the booth’s primary users (C-suite executives and leasing directors) about their needs. What about the existing booth worked well for them? What did not work well?
With their needs accounted for, I created a checklist of “must-have” and “would be nice to have” categories. Armed with the checklist and a 6-figure budget for the new booth, I interviewed three exhibit production companies and, after reviewing their proposals, selected the Chicago-based firm Echelon Design.
Echelon and I worked to translate the users’ needs into a preliminary structural design, and we negotiated certain design aspects so they would fit the budget.
My goal for the booth’s art direction was to influence potential customers to view Halpern not as just another developer but as a company that brings communities to life.
Halpern’s new booth made a splash to both existing and prospective customers and industry peers at its debut at ICSC RECon (the world’s largest retail real estate convention with more than 37,000 attendees).
- The dark hardwood was replaced with lightweight exterior walls and fabric towers that featured vibrant lifestyle photos of customers shopping and dining. The fabric towers can easily and inexpensively be reprinted to update the booth’s look.
- The hardwood frame and walls and bulky leather chairs were replaced with a lightweight aluminum frame and modern furniture. The lighter frame and furniture made the new booth 33% less expensive to ship.
- The new booth is bright and open, having replaced the front two walls by an archway, a design nod to Halpern’s business of building of shopping centers. As a bonus, the light-colored frame and furniture made the booth look more spacious than the old booth, although they took up the same floor area.
- The two meeting spaces expanded to five, including a new semi-private room in the back corner of the booth.
- Echelon and I introduced on-demand technology to showcase Halpern’s entire set of available properties, replacing the eight (8) custom-produced graphic displays. Three of the exhibit’s towers served as workstations with 32″ LED screens and iPads that allow attendees to peruse Halpern’s complete property database and also serve as meeting space.
Show attendees ooh’d and aah’d over the new booth, and Halpern looked the part of an industry leader.