The world is suffering from a severe dose of Pottermania. Even if you don’t
have kids, it’s impossible not to have heard about Harry Potter. In a
relatively short time, he has cast his magical spell and become a veritable
household name. His creator, J.K. Rowling has managed to pull off a feat
that hasn’t been seen in decades — motivating kids to read because they want
to and not because they have to.
In the wonderful world of exhibiting don’t you yearn for that magic wand to
give a quick magical fix to your tradeshow trials and tribulations. Wouldn’t
it be nice to have attendees motivated to flock to our booths because they
wanted to and not because they had to? So what lessons can exhibitors learn
from Harry Potter and his creator’s miraculous success? I’ve come up with
the following thirteen (auspicious for some) for starters:
Use boundless imagination
Without a shadow of a doubt, imagination and creativity need to permeate
from every pore of your exhibit marketing program. How can you tap into the
creativity and imagination that exists in your organization to cast
prizewinning spells to enhance your exhibiting program?
Stop being an adult - be childlike
At the core of every attendee is a little child yearning to escape. What can
you do to help them do that? What can you do that incorporates what we all
loved as children — fairy tales, story-telling and make-believe games?
Disney managed it very successfully, and now, so did J.K. Rowling. What
would a five-year old do to add some magical power to your exhibit marketing
Break and bend the rules
To get what you want, you often have to break and bend the rules, especially
when it suits your purpose. Most advances in science, medicine, music, art
and design came as a result of someone being prepared to challenge the norm
and try a different approach. What scary rules could you secretly break?
Do what you know
Take something you know and do well and add a little something else to it,
and then add something else. Very soon you will take on the mark of a wizard
and transform what you have into something new. What creative things can you
do with what you know, and what resources and solutions are right in front
Think outside the box
It’s easy to only look at exhibiting from one perspective especially when
you exhibit within one particular industry. Often, the best ideas come from
cutting across different boundaries, for example, how could you integrate
weird and wonderful potions, charms, giants, dragons, cauldrons, crystal
balls and the like into a scientific or machine tool setting? Make a point
of looking outside your particular situation for enchanting ideas.
Plot out what you want to do before you begin
What’s your exhibiting objective, what are you trying to achieve, and what
planning do you need to do? Draw a picture and make a map of where you need
to go and the things you need to do. Using pictures instead of words can add
bewitching power and put a very different perspective on your planning
process. It also helps make it fun!
Expect the unexpected
Many of history’s greatest discoverers and inventers happened across their
major discovery quite unexpectedly. Often, they were looking for something
else. Remember Christopher Columbus set out looking for India, and lo and
behold, look what he found! What are the two most unexpected things that
might mysteriously happen during your next exhibiting experience?
Put magic into your thinking
When you ask yourself "what if" questions you stretch your thinking and
plant the seeds for creative new ideas. What if ghosts and goblins were to
roam the show floor? What if exhibit booths could fly around the show hall
positioning themselves right in front of your major prospects? What if
people wearing special glasses were the only attendees able to see your
exhibit display? What if you tried this exercise?
Slay a dragon
Dragons elicit fears and fears often stand in the way of you doing new and
creative things. So many exhibitors fear uncharted territory. You fear the
unknown and you fear failure. Take time to look at those fiendish creatures
that hold you back from being and doing all you can before, during and after
the show. What dragons can you slay?
Learn from others
There are countless people and situations you can learn from. The key is
being open and receptive, and in essence, being prepared to be a lifelong
learner. Look to the past and learn from historical figures, borrow ideas
from innovators, learn from others’ mistakes, use ideas from the patterns
and cycles in nature. Where can you look for some magical theory?
Transport people to another place
J.K. Rowling performed incredible magic transporting people around the world
to the enchanted magical world of wizards, spells and mythical beasts. In
fact there is a wealth of folklore, mythology and history that shimmers
beneath the surface of her stories.
How can magic you dream up transport your exhibiting program to another
Go where others fear to tread
When you exercise the courage to do something different, you take a risk.
You have a risk muscle that you keep in shape through regular exercise. It
takes courage, a pioneering spirit and a sense of adventure to overcome the
scary stuff and seek out unknown opportunities. How can you exercise your
Believe in your success
Thomas Edison once said, "The value of an idea lies in the using of it."
Believe that the creative ideas you conjure up will bring you untold
successes. Now all you need do is wave your magic wand to put them into
action. Which ideas will you start with?
The moral of the article is to never get caught without your wand, as
you never know when you might need it!