“Customers walked up, looked into our exhibit, saw the dog park, and their jaws dropped! That was how we knew we had them,” said Jennifer Klein, v.p. of marketing at Antech. What Klein is referring to is the tremendously positive response received by Antech’s brand launch and new exhibit at Veterinary Meeting & Expo (VMX).

It didn’t hurt that the exhibit featured a digital dog park.

Antech is an innovator in the animal health industry, whose divisions include imaging equipment, veterinary reference laboratories, and telemedicine consulting services. But at the heart of everything Antech does lies something much warmer and more personal. “The challenge was to communicate, while we’re a high-tech, scientifically data driven company, our love for pets is what comes first,” Klein said.

While many would argue that being warm hearted and having love for pets is at odds with cutting edge technology, Antech masterfully wove the two messages together. Here are Antech’s suggestions for other trade show marketers who have complex messages to articulate.

Collaborate. “We ensured our success by making sure all of the key stakeholders were in the room together. That way everyone was able to give their input early on in the process,” said Klein. This included people from each of Antech’s divisions, the team from Antech’s brand agency (Gershoni), and the team from 3D Exhibits.

The team met multiple times, sharing their needs and thoughts at each stage of the exhibit program’s development. The end result was that all stakeholder needs were met. “Having both the brand agency and exhibit company in the room together ensured that every solution delivered was on-brand,” Klein said. “Having the diverse teams problem solving and brainstorming led to creative solutions that exceeded our expectations.”

Bold Exhibit Design. Antech’s new brand called for a dramatic change in its exhibit look and feel. The new brand has significantly updated positioning and the new exhibit had to represent that.

The solution was a tall, purple mesh header that served dual purposes: it broadcast Antech’s new brand across the show floor and functioned as the threshold to the Antech experience within the exhibit.

“It was quite a statement. People just walked up and said, ‘Wow, it’s so big and open.’ We could also be seen from all angles and entrances on the exhibit hall floor,” Klein said.

Communicate On an Emotional Level. Once attendees crossed the threshold, they experienced a surprise—they found themselves standing in the middle of a panoramic LED dog park. Designed to make attendees feel they were outdoors, the experience included sunny skies, happy pet owners playing with their dogs, and tall, gently waving trees.

“We wanted to convey what really matters—enjoying your pet,” said Gil Gershoni, co-founder of Gershoni. And while that message could have been stated verbally, that wouldn’t have been as effective as coming up with an experience that intuitively conveyed the message and resonated with Antech customers.

“In our customers’ lives, dog parks are familiar, calming, and fun. By creating the feeling of being outdoors and in an environment they love, we made people feel comfortable and they wanted to stay a bit longer,” said Klein.

Another emotional touch was the digital graphics that rotated on a pair of large kiosks. Each photo in the series conveyed an intimate moment between pet and owner.

Unify the Story. Of course, there was still business to conduct. To facilitate product and service discussions, Antech combined its various divisions’ content, collateral, spec sheets, and video assets into a unified drill-down program—all united under the Antech brand. “This was the first time we had everything together. People cross-sold without having to move the customer to a station on the opposite side of the exhibit,” Klein said. The streamlined and digital approach also reinforced that Antech is a technology leader.

Klein says that Antech received really positive feedback. “Our clients told us they’d never seen anything like it,” she said. Antech even caught sight of a few competitors taking surreptitious walks by the exhibit.

How do you weave your company’s complex messages into experiences? If you’re ready to try something new, our creative team would love to help. Contact Stephanie Coupland (scoupland (at) 3DExhibits (dot) com), to set up a free consultation.

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