Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Customer Case Study: Armstrong World Industries

Armstrong's colorful and detailed ceiling system display.

"Our [Armstrong's] display was used for a number of regional ceiling and wall trade shows across the U.S. It was very effective and the sales reps liked how convenient it was to set-up.  They were also impressed with the print quality of the colors and photos."          ~Armstrong Ceiling Products

For over 150 years, Armstrong World Industries has been inspiring great spaces.

AWI is a global, multi-billion dollar corporation headquartered in Lancaster, PA.  They are a leader in the design and manufacturer of floors and ceilings for residential and commercial applications.

Making their deliveries with a wheelbarrow, Armstrong Industries began in a tiny, two-man, cork-cutting shop.  Early on, the company began to find new uses for cork.  Progressing logically, corkboard led to fiberboard, which led to ceiling board, which led eventually to linoleum boards.

The Armstrong formula for success became clear:  stick to your core business and your core values but adapt to the changing demands of your customers.

In 2016, Armstrong World Industries will separate into two industry-leading public corporations:  Armstrong Building Products and Armstrong Flooring.  Armstrong Building Products will continue providing suspended ceiling solutions for use in renovation and new construction.

University of Rhode Island Lecture Hall, Armstrong Ultima acoustical ceiling tile installment.

Intex Expo 2015
Long Beach Convention Center showcasing the Wyland Whaling Wall.

This past April, Armstrong Ceiling Systems exhibited at the Intex Expo at the Long Beach Convention Center.  Managed by the Association of the Wall & Ceiling Industry (AWCI) and co-sponsored by the Ceilings & Interior Systems Construction Association (CISCA), the Intex Expo is the premier interior/exterior commercial construction trade show. 

The objective of AWCI is to help its 2,000 members operate a successful business.  Their memberships include wall and ceiling contractors, product suppliers and manufacturers.

The expo allows attendees to 1) meet decision makers in the wall and ceiling industry, 2) take home the newest industry solutions created by the latest products and service offerings, and 3) provide professional development such as seminars in recruiting, teamwork and project management. 

For added brand name exposure on show floor signage, website and collateral materials, Armstrong elected to be a silver level sponsor.

Ultima Health Zone Ceilings
One of the many products that Armstrong chose to feature in its exhibition show season is its family of new acoustic ceiling products, the Ultima Health Zone Ceilings.  Powered by innovation, Armstrong was led to the development of acoustic ceiling products that can improve learning in schools and speed healing in hospitals.

These ceilings now offer enhanced sound absorption and sound blocking performance to address the growing concern over noise control and speech privacy in healthcare settings.

Armstrong installment of Ultima Acoustic Ceiling at St. Christopher's Hospital Lounge/Reception Area in Philadelphia, PA.

Armstrong Ceiling System Display:  10 Ft. Star Fabric
Armstrong's colorful and detailed ceiling system display.

Armstrong chose for their exhibit a 10 ft. Star Fabric Curved Display.  “The Star Fabric was a great choice for presenting a lot of product information along with bright colors, photographs and detailed text,” said Terry Neidermeyer, President of DisplayStar. 

“For starters, the Star Fabric’s tension fabric creates an ideal taunt surface for the graphics.  By hooking the fabric to the frame, when the frame is expanded, the tension fabric unfolds into a drum-tight, smooth surface.”

Top down view of the Curved Star Fabric Expansion System.

Furthermore, the graphic image was produced with DisplayStar’s signature dye-sublimation process which uses heat and pressure to permanently infuse graphics and fabric.  The HD 1080 resolution produces the most stunning, vibrant colors and the fine detail and complex tones of photographic images on soft touch fabric.  The result is a seamless merge of both color and texture that can be as large as 100 inches wide by 200 feet long.  “Perfect for Armstrong’s 10 ft. long display,” Neidermeyer continued.

The Star Fabric fits into medium travel case with wheels.
“We work with many large companies, such as Armstrong, who exhibit in their industry many times within a season.  The experience resembles that of a traveling road show.  Our lightweight, portable, easy-to-set-up displays are made to accommodate the demands of that situation and environment.  No tools are required, and at the end of the show, the Star Fabric easily collapses and fits into its own case."

“We are very pleased that we were able to accommodate Armstrong with the best product for their needs.”

Monday, June 22, 2015

Meet Jennifer--A DisplayStar Customer Service Superstar!

Jennifer, Customer Service Manager
"The Reassuring Voice"

Only One Chance to Make Great First Impression
As every marketing professional knowstrade show success starts with a well thought-out plan and ends with flawless execution. There are no second chances in making that first impression.  No matter how frustrated you may feel with the endless preparation: Coordinating booth design and production, registration, events, labor—all the way down to making sure the booth gets its daily vacuum. You still only get one chance. 

At the Other End of Your Madness
Jennifer is the reassuring, and knowledgeable voice on the other end of your madness that will get your show up and running with flawless execution.  Many a repeat customer has come to expect that upbeat, confident voice that will walk them through the process from beginning to end. There is no shame in being a people-person.  Someone we need more of in our fast-paced, virtual world where all too often we feel overlooked and insignificant. 

Customers agree: 
“Jennifer, thank you so much for all your hard work to make our show happen. We need more people like you in this world—patient, gracious and thoughtful with a "can-do" attitude.”
“Jennifer, thank you! I have to say I was very impressed when I called in on Friday night expecting a machine and actually got a human being! Your company gets five stars in my book. . .”
“Jennifer, you walk on water!”

"Listen, listen, listen"
Jennifer's Mantra: Provide Solutions
Jennifer has 15 years of experience working closely with customers.  Her last four years have been with DisplayStar. Her mantra (which sounds so simple, yet so hard to achieve): “Patience, patience, patience. Listen, listen, listen—calmly help the callers through their problems and provide solutions that will work for them, work for their customers and work for DisplayStar.” 

Build Display to Fit Client's Needs
Some clients know exactly what they want and order by product number.  But many have limited trade show experience—and welcome the opportunity to learn.  They really want to make sure their booth commands maximum visibility.  And, most often, you are not just buying a display; you are building it to fit your needs.  There are a lot of interchangeable components—panels, canopies, banner stands, etc.—adding up to an infinite variety of options. 

Premium Retractable Banner Stand Wall with Vinyl Graphics

Questions Jennifer May Ask
"What are your priorities?"
"If it’s just you and you’re travelling to a lot of shows, you might consider a lightweight and portable display like a retractable banner stand."

8 ft. Pop-Up Table Top

"If you need something bigger, but still lightweight and easy to set-up—how about 8 foot Pop-Up?"

Igniter Freestanding Light Box

"If you really want to draw attention to your new line? Have you considered an Igniter Light Box? Our light boxes hold dye-sub printed graphics which are very high resolution with brilliant colors.”

Victory Case Counter

"Don't forget the accessories.  Table throws, counters and literature stands can really make a booth POP."

In conclusion, end your frustration.

Call DisplayStar to help you make your next trade show a huge success.

Check back soon to learn more about DisplayStar's Superstars that are ready to assist you.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

DisplayStar's Featured Customer of the Month: Ben & Jerry's

Ben & Jerry’s Leverages Brand Experience at International Franchise Expo
One picture of Ben & Jerry’s “The Tonight Dough”—caramel & chocolate ice creams with chocolate cookie swirls & gobs of chocolate chip cookie dough & peanut butter cookie dough—is enough to make your mouth water and take off to a Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop.

An Incredible Taste Sensation: Ben & Jerry's "The Tonight Dough"

Likewise, at the Ben & Jerry’s International Franchise Expo display, it only takes one glance at the loveable, iconic cow and the invitation to “change the world one scoop at a time” that will drive interested franchise owners to their booth.

Why?  Because people recognize the incredible taste sensations and the fun-loving, quirkiness that could only be Ben & Jerry’s.  Furthermore, at this year’s IFE show, Ben & Jerry’s will once again be on a mission to leverage their remarkable brand experience.

There are two types of people in the world, those who love Ben & Jerry’s and those who have yet to try it.

Ben & Jerry’s franchised scoop shops are designed to deliver the ultimate, immersive Ben & Jerry’s experience to fans and first-timers alike.  They’re whimsical, welcoming places where families and friends can enjoy their favorite treats and fans can deepen their connections with the Ben & Jerry’s brand.

A Whimsical Place: Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops
Since 1981, Ben & Jerry’s has offered scoop shop franchising opportunities.  Currently, they have 247 franchises in the US.  While very careful about branding and selective in adding new franchises, they are looking to open up franchised scoop shops in a limited number of high pedestrian-traffic metro and tourist locations nationwide. 

Ben & Jerry’s operates on a three-part mission that aims to create linked prosperity for everyone that’s connected to their business:  suppliers, employees, farmers, franchisees, customers, and neighbors alike.

DisplayStar Creates 10 Foot Wave Tube Display
For the second year in a row, DisplayStar has had the pleasure of working with Ben & Jerry’s in the creation of their display—a 10 foot Wave Tube display.

Home of DisplayStar, Beaverton, Oregon
“The Wave Tube is a great choice because it perfectly supports a large, frameless image with dye-sublimation fabric graphics,” said Terry Niedermeyer, President of DisplayStar.  There is no better way to capture the taste and texture of ice cream then through the use of dye-sub printing with its HD 1080 which gives the highest resolution and yields the most vibrant colors and sharp contrasts.

The two scoops of ice cream in the five foot cone speak loudly:  The dye-sub color captures the deep chocolate and creamy vanilla; and, the sharp contrast captures the chunks of chocolate and the crispness of the cone.

10' Curved Wave Tube Display with Graphic

People Only Need to See Ben & Jerry’s to Believe It
"The fact that Ben & Jerry’s is such a recognized brand changes everything," said Paula Glasmann, Ben & Jerry’s Franchise Development Coordinator.  "We are not trying to introduce ourselves and our products for the first time at the Expo—so we don't have to provide product samples to draw attention and traffic."

No ice cream samples?  Why would they not use the drawing power of “Peanut Buttah” and “Karamel Sutra” to attract people to their booth. 

"Sampling ice cream at this Expo is a logistical challenge and it can be a distraction that takes times and attention of the staff away from interested prospects who are there to get franchising information.”

“Serious franchise prospects already know Ben & Jerry’s.  They have tried the product and are there to explore franchise opportunities.  We are there so they know Ben & Jerry’s has a franchise offering.”

International Franchise Expo:  The Ideal Audience and Environment
At Javits Center in New York City, the International Franchise Expo is the largest franchise expo in the country with more than 760,000 square feet of exhibit space.  In 2014, the Expo had more than 19,000 attendees and more than 400 exhibitors.

The IFE offers an ideal environment for prospective business owners and entrepreneurs to meet face-to-face with representatives from well-established franchises to learn about franchise brands domestically and internationally.

International Franchise Expo in New York City at the Javits Center from June 18-20, 2015
More than 30 percent of attendees said they planned to invest between $100,000 and $499,999.  Expo visitors—whether single-unit, area developers or multi-unit buyers—are well-educated about franchising, engaged and serious about taking the next step in becoming franchise owners. 

Knowledgeable and Experienced Booth Personnel

After brand recognition, the most important strategy Ben & Jerry’s will deploy is the use of booth personnel with in-depth knowledge of the franchise opportunities and of the selection process.  Nothing can replace truly knowledgeable and experienced booth personnel who are as passionate about franchising as they are passionate about Ben & Jerry's ice cream.  In addition to Glasmann, in attendance will be the Franchise Development Manager and the Senior Logistics & Development Manager.

With an effective, but relatively small team at the show, it was important to choose a booth that was portable and easy to set up.  The Wave Tube was a great choice because of its lightweight frame and graphics which pack into a very sturdy nylon suitcase with wheels for easy transport.

To assemble, simply put together the frame, then slip the graphic over the frame.  At the bottom of the frame, zip the graphic together (like zipping up a giant pillowcase). 

Other show strategies will include an email blast to go out to all IFE attendees who have pre-registered for the show.  In addition, Ben & Jerry’s will have a big 3 foot x 6 foot sign in the aisle to direct traffic to their booth.  Brochures and free cone coupons will be given to serious prospects.  Lastly, Ben & Jerry’s will track their leads through the use of an electronic lead retrieval scanner system.

One Scoop at a Time = Trade Show Success!
Much like their plan to change the world one scoop at a time, Ben & Jerry’s will consider the Expo a successful investment if they land only a handful of franchise opportunities.

Interested in Franchising a Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop?
Glasmann may have a hard time deciding on her favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor because she’s tried so many and they are all so good—but, she does know Ben & Jerry's franchise opportunities and is the best person to first contact.

Paula Glasmann
Franchise Development Coordinator
Ben & Jerry's Franchising, Inc.
30 Community Drive
South Burlington, VT 05403
Phone:  802-923-2413

Visit Ben & Jerry’s at

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

What are the Benefits of Dye-Sublimation Printing?

As one of the first and largest producers of dye-sublimation fabric graphics in the Northwest region, DisplayStar is proud to be able to offer this latest, and fastest growing, technology to our customers.  However, if you are not familiar with dye-sub printing, we would like to take this opportunity to answer. . .

What are the Benefits of Dye-Sublimation Printing?

Dye-Sub Defined.  Using state-of-the-art, Mamaki dye-sub printers, our signature printing process applies heat and pressure to permanently infuse graphics and fabric.  The result is a seamless merge of both vibrant color and detailed texture that can be as large as 100 inches wide by 200 feet long (even larger with a seam).

High Resolution, Photographic Quality.  In addition to the sharp contrast produced by high resolution 1080 dpi, dye-sublimation printing yields the most accurate skin tones.  This high resolution is your best resource for reproducing the fine detail and complex tones of any photographic image.

Infinite Applications.  Tradeshow display graphic panels, event graphics, retail graphics, silicon edge graphics, light boxes, flags & banners, table throws.

Easy to Change-Out.  Along with near limitless sizes available, the wrinkle-free fabric stretches easily over display hardware making it easy to interchange and add additional graphics.  Optional silicon edging seats into frames and makes for a drum-tight fit.

Easy to Ship & Store.  Fabric graphics are super lightweight making it ideal for transporting in hand or shipping.  Simply roll or fold.  No more expensive shipping of flat, heavy crates.  Even better, it stores in a fraction of the space so you’re more likely to keep it around and use it again.

High Quality Fabric You Can Wash Again and Again.  In addition to being competitively price, all of our fabrics are highly durable, machine washable and weatherproof.  We partner with renowned textile mills to develop and produce the latest in fabrics such as:  Soft Knit, Flag Fabric, Super Stretch, Tri-Fab and Heavy Bannerstand.  We also offer a multitude of finishing options such as hemming, Velcro, SEG (silicon edge graphics) and pole pockets.

Friendly to the Environment.  Dye-sublimation printing is one of the most eco-friendly printing processes today.  The process does not require the use of any solvents or toxins and the fabric itself is comprised mainly of recycled, post-consumer materials.

Made in Beaverton, Oregon.  All dye-sub graphics are printed and sewn in-house in our production facility.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Putting the “rad” in trade show

Lately I have read a good amount about what to do and not do at trade shows in order to get people interested in your product or service, in the expectation that it will translate into sales.  Most of these blogs and write-ups have focused on things like “good preparation” and “strong communication”.  

Well, unless you have no experience in the trades show industry or really just sales in general, these bullet points should be pretty obvious.  However, if you break down those important factors into several more detail-oriented objectives, it will surely help you get the most out of your trade show presence, while ultimately giving you a much better chance at reaching whatever contact and sales goals you have set for yourself and your business.

1)      Don’t Go It Alone – Bring in the Cavalry

I believe this may be the most important decision someone can make when they decide to present at a show.  I don’t know how many times I have been at a trade show and noticed that the booths that had multiple representatives just had more buzz and energy, versus the booths that had just one rep there.  In fact, I recently went to a home & garden show, and this stood out to me probably more than anything else while I was there.  I don’t care how big or small your business is, get someone to commit to coming along.  Not just anybody either, but someone who is comfortable having a conversation without being too “salesy” but also someone who knows the business and isn’t afraid to try to close a sale.

As a potential customer, knowing that there are a few people to talk to at a booth makes it a much more relaxed environment (at least for me, some may disagree), which gives the impression of a “comfortable chat” instead of a one on one, which sometimes makes me think I could get into an awkward sales pitch type of scenario.  Plus, it’s obviously nice to have multiple people there to help out if it gets busy.

If you are a customer, answer me this – Would you be more willing to walk up to a booth that has 2-3 representatives talking, smiling and looking like they are enjoying their time there, or a booth that has one person manning the area, maybe standing there looking disinterested or sporting a courtesy smile, hoping to talk to someone and get a sale?  If I am the attendee, ill go to the booth that has multiple representatives every time.

2)      Have A Strategy, Not Just A Plan

Now that you hopefully are bringing someone with you to help, you need to have a strategy.  A strategy is much different than a plan. In my experience, a plan is “hey lets meet there an hour early, setup the booth, go get coffee, pass out cards, take lunch around 1pm, blah blah blah”. 

To me, a strategy is more like this - “Let’s start to engage interested customers by building rapport, which hopefully should take some pressure off the conversation, followed by asking some relevant questions and finding out what exactly it is they are wanting.  At that point, whomever has the better rapport with the customer can continue the chat, while the other prepares the literature, etc.….and this way if another party walks up, then you help out the new person(s) while I continue to help the first customer and we can both prepare the literature ….”  

You simply just never know when you will get slammed and have 5 people at your booth, and 3 of them are prime customer candidates.  In order to effectively reach these qualified customers, a strong, detailed and practiced marketing strategy is a must. 

3)      Role-Playing

We all hate doing it. Yet, for anyone that has any kind of sales background, they know how important this is.

Sit down with the person(s) that will be attending the event with you.  Start role-playing a minimum of one week before the tradeshow.  I would recommend spending at least 30 minutes every day doing it so it stays fresh in your memory.  Also, make sure you rotate who plays the customer and who plays the representative.  Ask open ended questions (not questions that are answered with a simple “yes” or “no”). 

Role-playing makes the entire process of engaging a customer second nature, and I guarantee that it will make the conversation flow much easier since it will feel like you are two steps ahead of wherever the chat goes….

4)      Positive Body Language / Dress The Part

I was going to call this one “Be Positively Energized”, but let’s face it – having noticeable positive energy for 8+ hours is incredibly difficult.  I think the more important thing to focus on is making sure you have great body language.

Smile.  Laugh.  Look like you are having a good time.

When you aren’t talking to anyone, look busy.  Even if you are just shuffling brochures, organizing product, or cleaning your area, it tells people walking by that you are someone that respects his area, and cares about his work and his product.  If you do these things with a smile on your face, people will be much more willing to engage you.

Speaking of “respect”, this is also where dress comes in to play.  

It’s much more likely that someone will want to do business with someone that is dressed “for business”.  I would think that this is another obvious one, but I’m surprised at how many representatives for companies show up at trade shows wearing t-shirts and shorts or jeans.  Unsurprisingly, they usually don’t look very busy.

5)      Offer Incentives

Offering rewards to customers (or even potential customers) has never been more important or effective. 

We live in a time where so many of us want want and want some more, while hoping that we don’t have to give much of anything.   People are now more than ever willing to engage in social media and other marketing channels to obtain discounts, perks, or a chance of winning a prize.  The financial cost to a company that runs an incentive program is typically very minimal, while the potential sales gained over time by accruing Facebook likes, Twitter follows, Google +1’s and even standard testimonials, could and should be enormous.

The best thing about this is that there is no better way to let people know about an incentive program than doing it in person.  It’s important that you prominently display this incentive program somewhere in your booth area so people can easily see it from a distance, which should attract more people.

6)      Choose The Display That Is Right For You & Your Message

With so many trade show display options these days, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one.  Even for the seasoned trade show professional, this can be a frustrating process.

What material is right?  Is it easy to setup and transport?  What dimensions would be best for my area?
The first things that should factor in to this decision are a) dimensional space and location of the area you have reserved, b) an idea of what kind of display you want, and how you want to set it up c) your budget.

Once you have an idea of the design you want to use, the budget to work with, and the total space you want to use for your display, you need to figure out where to order it from.  I don’t know about you, but when I am shopping for pretty much anything, I always first and foremost look for a place that appears trustworthy, with easily accessible and legitimate testimonials and reviews

Some display companies only offer a few different types of print material or hardware.  Others look like newly formed web-stores that are difficult to navigate and even more difficult to trust.  Finally, there are some places that upcharge for items and prints that would come standard at others.

A proven trade show display company like DisplayStar is a great place to start.  They give the end user a large variety of affordable yet impactful trade show displays.  Displaystar has experienced and helpful customer service, and can be easily contacted via phone, email and live chat.  Last but not least, they have many helpful customer testimonials on their webpage. 

These factors should all be taken into account when deciding on where to purchase a display that will make a positive and lasting impression at a trade show.