When exhibiting at trade shows, companies always present their best side. Exhibition stands are supposed to appear effortlessly inviting, professional and innovative. In the months leading up to AHR Expo in Orlando, Florida, I came to find out just how much strategic thought and hard work goes into actualizing a successful presentation.
Coming up with a concept
The 2016 AHR Show in Orlando had the target to relaunch our HVAC wheel series to the market. The decision was made early on that there was a need for a new marketing concept, especially for the American market.
In the end of November 2015, the punker LLC team had the first brain storm meeting to discuss new ideas for the show. Members of the team included Ryan Kilkelly (Managing Director), Michael Greene (Quality Management), Jessica Owens (Inside Sales) and myself, Frank Mueller.
An abundance of ideas were laid out on the table but only two made it out of the meeting. It was decided that we need one display stand to proudly announce that Hickory manufactures in the USA and another to showcase the R63D-HVAC wheel and include technical information.
The display stands we had used in the past weren’t useful for this goal. It was decided to redesign the booth and purchase new display stands.
The different ideas of the “Made in the USA” campaign ranged from an American flag made using backward curved and cross flow wheels to powder coated wheels in the traditional US colors; red, white and blue. Ultimately, it was decided that three R63D-HVAC wheels were to be coated in these colors, which also happen to be punker’s standard corporate colors.
The concept for the HVAC display was simple, the R63D-HVAC and the new D light wheel were positioned in the center of the display while side panels included technical information from our brochure.
The Sales team at punker LLC then began the search for a company to create our vision. We found a local company nearby and began the process.
In previous years, punker has rented all equipment for the booth. This year, the decision was made to purchase all of the items. This move is sure to save punker from costly rental fees in the future.
In addition to support from the entire punker LLC team, we also received a tremendous amount of support and assistance from Frederike Walter from the Marketing Department in Eckernforde. Ms. Walter assisted in everything from the space rental, booth design, literature, wheels – you name it and she helped with it.
Planning the idea to the booth consumed a minimum of three months. A lot of planning went into turning our vision into reality and finally seeing our material waiting at our booth. There were plenty of days leading up to the show that “show planning” turned into a full time job for Jessica.
The AHR Expo 2016
The Expo took place from January 25th – January 27th. It is the largest show for the HVAC industry in the US. Exhibitors included many of our competitors and also many customers, too. This was truly a great opportunity to meet with our customers and especially for me to be able to introduce myself as the “New Area Sales Manager” of the Americas.
In my opinion, out of 42,396 visitors and 17,978 exhibitors, it was clear that the following three topics stood out amongst the rest:
- Energy Efficiency
- American Made Products “Made in the USA”
- Plastic Wheels
To our surprise, many of our competitors presented plastic wheels and expect to see a great market for them in the future. However, this is not our opinion. We will watch this closely as only time will tell.
In general, the show was well attended from potential customers around the world. Not only did we have visits from many US customers, but other countries as well, such as: Israel, Egypt, Saudi-Arabia, India, Mexico, Brazil, Canada and China were also represented.
Many visitors to our booth were interested in our HVAC product line, focused on the potential for energy efficiency. Energy efficiency will begin to make a strong impact on the sale decision following the continued efforts of the DOE’s bill for efficiency.
To see more pictures from 2016 AHR Expo in Orlando, visit the SmugMug gallery.