ALL-STAR MANAGER AWARD NOMINATION
Over the past five years at SEG Systems, we have grown from manufacturing standard SEG frames in a small shop to being able to produce crazy, off-the-wall, custom projects in a 50,000 square foot facility. As fun and interesting as that makes our jobs, it doesn’t have the greatest impact when we’re trying to sell our products. Yes, we can do the crazy stuff, but how do you explain that to potential clients?
In the past, GlobalShop has been the perfect opportunity for to spotlight all the stuff that blows our customers’ minds. Passersby were wowed by our booths and excited to learn about the magic that made it all happen. The problem? It blew their minds because it was hard to see the simplicity behind the complex display, but it also blew our budget and we left with nothing much to show from it except thousands of dollars spent and hundreds of leads that would never pan out. As a result, we knew that we needed to change how our customers perceive us.
This year, Chris Willetts, Marketing Director at SEG Systems, realized the challenge was communicating a clear message of what SEG Systems offers: simple fabric frames, in-house manufacturing capabilities, and outstanding service to top it all off. He decided to take it back to our roots and feature our pride and joy: fabric frames and lightboxes. Willetts designed the booth in a way that would highlight our raw products but still grab customers’ attention. To really help people understand, we named our latest catalog the “Frames & Displays Catalog” and he correlated the name of the booth by shouting “Frames & Displays Store” across the archway enclosing our space at GlobalShop, leaving no room for confusion. (clever, right?)
Along with changing the look of our booth, Willetts knew we needed to change our mindset. Again, the crazy stuff is awesome, but you know what’s even more awesome? Sales. We prepared our Sales team with information leading up to the event so that they were fully knowledgeable of everything inside the booth and knew what questions to ask in order to better understand potential customers’ needs.
To stand out from the crowd without doing something wild, Willetts knew we had to capture our visitors’ attention from afar. Go big or go home, right? Well, we had already flown to Chicago and were ready to conquer GlobalShop 2019, so going home empty-handed wasn’t an option.
With “going big” in mind, Willetts designed the walls of the booth to include SEG’s aluminum frames that had been scattered around, mounted at all angles, and glorified on end caps that were lit with 4.0” perimeter lighting covered with white SEG fabric. This really helped show off the technology that SEG Systems handles on a day-to-day basis. What makes these end caps even better is the disco party in the middle: lit, suspended, spinning cubes. They say motion is the key to attention, and these cubes got just that.
Between the end caps was a wall spanning 40’ x 16’ boasting a montage of our beloved Queen City: Charlotte, North Carolina. This wall was not just any wall, but instead, an interactive wall showcasing SEG’s current lighting technologies: Standard and Narrow Perimeter, AC LED, Optix, LGP, Mesh, and RGBW. We created a control panel that let visitors come in and push our buttons. Well, buttons to light up certain lightboxes on the wall, as well as sliders and dials to animate the wall and compare lighting solutions. The options were aplenty, ranging from turning boxes off and on, to dimming lights, and even being able to change the temperature of lighting. This control panel gave visitors a quick lesson on how important the right type of lighting is for their next display purchase.
Once visitors were gathered around, we were able to meet with them at a custom-built table, making sure to finish it with fingerprint resistant laminate to ensure a clean look over the course of the three-day show. The centerpiece of the table acted as both a calming and teaching moment: SEG’s take on a zen garden filled with aluminum extrusions and plastic pellets, illuminated by hidden front-firing LEDs. This space allowed the SEG team to interact with customers and talk through solutions derived from our fabric frame technology. Each method of highlighting our extrusions had multiple purposes, as they demonstrated how you could take an SEG frame from simple to another level, as seen in the combination of end caps, the interactive back wall, the engineering, millwork and metal fabrication.
In the past, it seemed that customers weren’t sure what we meant when we were showing them something spectacular and explaining that it was just made from a simple frame. So this year, we flipped the plan and showed off the simple frames inside the booth. Willetts designed the booth with a black and white theme, only leaving room for color in the silicone edge graphics within each powder coated white frame. The interior of the booth was split down the middle with the right side housing standard frames that can be accessorized with shelving , faux neon lighting, and TVs, and the left side showcasing SEG’s specialty frames that take things a step further (but not too custom, we learned our lesson)! To help reduce confusion and keep everyone speaking the same language, each frame throughout the booth was tagged with a call-out card. With this addition, customers sounded like pros instantly, being able to identify and name each display they laid eyes on in an instant. This helped the conversation over the course of the three days in Chicago, but we know it also helps visitors take their findings back to their teams and clearly communicate the treasures they found at GlobalShop.
Keeping in mind the amount of people who would be in and out of the booth, Willetts made sure to include a cabinet at the base of the center tower that allowed to quick access to excess collateral and personal items on show days. While the integrated cabinet was visible from inside the booth, passersby would never know that Willetts made sure to prepare the team for breakdown by designing the booth with hidden storage that housed ladders and tools to expedite the time it takes to load up and ship out. This extra step allowed a team of ten to tear down this huge booth in just one evening, compared to previous years where this process took up to two days. This saved the company over $4,000 in salary as well as hotel stays for an extra night.
This combination of visuals, storytelling, and communicative mindset allowed every visitor to quickly understand who we are and what we could do from them. Willetts ultimately solved the problem of visitors greeting us with the repetitive and tedious question: “so what do you guys do, this looks cool?!” At Globalshop 2018, we came home with an overwhelming number of leads that ended up fading away with no action, yet this year when things were simplified, we were able to bring back a quality list of a similar size home – 348 to be exact – and have genuine conversations during follow-ups because there were no questions left unanswered when they left the booth.
With the simplicity of this year’s booth, Willetts was able to save the company $62,000 from last year by adjusting the design to be more relatable and understandable to all who visited.
WE NEED TO TALK.