Trade Show Perspectives: U.S. Booths in International Exhibitions
By Matt Johnson
Do I want go to Australia? Sure. Singapore? Why not? Prague, Helsinki, Tel Aviv, Oslo? Yes, yes, yes and yes. I love to travel and see new places and I have been lucky enough to be able to experience each one of these. How? The answer is simple - I work for a company that produces Branded Environments all over the world!
Now business travel is quite a bit different than recreational travel. I don’t get to fly into a new location and immediately go to the beach or a pub and start relaxing. I hit the ground running, immediately starting to execute the plan we’ve worked months on carefully developing.
At Hill & Partners, our purpose is to create spaces and places that are completely our clients’ brands. These can be spaces and places located anywhere in the world. We are experts at providing memorable experiences and keeping our clients happy, no matter the destination. We don’t let language, time zones or proximity stand in our way of producing impactful one-of-a-kind spaces for any company, in any industry, anywhere.
When an account manager or project manager from Hill & Partners travels for one of our international projects, the usual routine involves heading towards Boston in the late afternoon for a transatlantic flight, which typically means traveling overnight. If you are like me (tall), then sleeping on a plane is not an option. In the 15 years of frequent travel, I have yet to even so much as taken a quick nap on a plane. I therefore spend the duration of this 7-8 hour flight doing the best I can to get comfortable while confined in this limited space. Perhaps it’s time to look into the cost of my own private jet….
Arriving in a different country is always a unique experience. Lucky for us, since English is so widely spoken, language barriers are not usually an issue. Sometimes you find an occasional local who only speaks the native language, so it is certainly appreciated when you know a few key phrases. Thankfully, there are plenty of smartphone apps available now to quickly give you a German or Italian phrase on the fly.
Our events are almost always in a major city, so getting around is a fairly simple task. Major cities, while filled with rich history and grandeur, are starting to look all too familiar. When I recently arrived in Oslo, Norway, I stepped off of the shuttle in the central downtown station and was greeted by a Subway sandwich shop. As I left the station I passed a Burger King, and when I arrived at my quaint Norwegian hotel, a T.G.I. Friday’s welcomed me. Of course the beautiful city of Oslo was filled with its share of local restaurants, but there is something comforting about knowing you can grab a Whopper if you don’t like Røkt laks (smoked salmon) or fiskesuppe (fish soup).
Building exhibits oversees differs from building domestically. In the U.S., exhibits are built with the intention of reusing multiple times. Exhibits created for international shows typically have a single-use purpose, which is why this type of exhibit is often referred to as a ‘build and burn.’ While the fit and finish of a build and burn is comparable to that of a Custom Branded Environment, the lasting durability is less of a concern since it only needs to be used for one 3-4 day period. We often supplement the environments with custom elements fabricated in the U.S. if it is necessary. We ship these components and often our clients' products to locations all around the globe. We are experts in international shipping .
We have decades of experience designing and producing both styles of custom exhibits. The Custom Branded Environment that we just completed in Oslo was one of these build and burns. Looking at the completed product, it looked amazing. You would never guess it was only going to look that way once!
It is incredible that no matter how separated this place is from that place, whether measured in miles or hours, and regardless of how cultures or customs may differ across geographic locations, in the end, a Branded Environment is any space or place that is completely about that particular brand. The experience within that environment has no need for translation.
About Matt Johnson Matt began his career in the field of audio visual and lighting and joined the Hill & Partners team in 2005. His work in managing Branded Environments has brought him all over the world; including Australia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Singapore, Prague, and Norway. With nearly twenty years of industry experience, Matt now leads the Account Management department as the Vice President of Accounts at Hill & Partners. His role is to oversee account operations and to ensure client relationships are maintained and expectations are exceeded.