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Tradeshow Booth Design

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Art of Survival: The Mastery of Story Telling.


story of a trade show marketerIn the words of the historian philosopher, Thomas Berry: "We are not just passing into another historical period or another cultural modification.......But more specifically we are terminating the last 65 million years of life development." He says, it's all a question of story. "The old story, the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it is no longer effective. Yet we have not learned the new story."

The Darwinian story about being stronger, bigger and better is no longer the story of survival. Survival of the Fittest is an exercise in agility and adaptibility. The flawless adaptation to your changing conditions now makes you the master in the Art of Survival. This is the age of knowledge. We are increasingly being rewarded not for our emperical know how of delivering facts but for our ability to make meaning - whether that is telling story about our brand DNA or our balance sheet make up. Management consultant Tom Durel, emphasizes again and again, "everybody thinks it's the return on investment that you're selling...but it's really the story about ROI that an investor takes away."

As we trend towards Type 1 civilization, we are increasingly defining ourselves to be a more homogenous race. When it comes to making a planetary cultural statement, denim rules as the fabric of our lives. To survive in the new post modern value conscious era, Levis Struass is a great story in adaptibility. I think in 2003 Levis Strauss came out with the Signature line. Notice the power of story and make belief at play. What visual cues and emtional expression do you get when you read Signature? Check out their label. Very similar to the vintage iconic label isn't it? What a marvelous way to harness the intangible into tangible.

We humans have been story telling since 100,000 or more so years. We seek out experiences that fire our imaginations and enchants our spirit. Stories are the pathway in. Start at basic. Who are You? Defining who you are is the abiding question for marketers including trade show design architects. Weaving a story along this question alone is an opportunity to create a brand for your company so powerful that your logo or mission statement pales in comparison.

Brian Tarcy, a journalist and an author reveals 5 secrets to the Mastery of Story Telling.

1. Think chronologically. Start at the beginning. A good writer can make the beginning be almost anywhere, but an obvious place to think about is the day the company opened/was formed etc.
2. Use philosophy, but don't preach.
People want to learn who you are and what you stand for. Your story is more than just what happened in year 1, year 2 etc. There is something deeper in it. Bring that out. But be careful on your tone.
3. Tell stories. Remember the the events that created who you are.
Details are crucial. Use your five senses and make stories come alive.
4. Don't only use your own words.
Talk to your employees, board members, anyone invested in your story and see what they remember. Use these memories to paint a three-dimensional picture. Ask more than one person to remember the same event.
5. Make the sum bigger than the parts.
You are not just telling your story to tell your story, although it is a nice memento. You want readers to believe in you the same way you believe in you. It should add up into one powerful thing. "Once people make your story their story, you have tapped into the powerful force of faith."—Annette Simmons, Author, The Story Factor.

Your brand belongs to you. Your story belongs to you. The stage that you stand on in a trade show venue is yours. Shape your destiny, build your mountain. "But start at the base and tell everyone who are you and how you did it."

Sarmistha Tarafder
Co-creator of brands in 3D spaces.
In pursuit of essence and enchantment, mind and mystery, myth and matter!

Art of Thinking: The Critical | Creative Dichotomy


analytical and creative

Conventional wisdom reserves that right hemisphere of our brain is endowed with processing of visual, spatial and emotional manipulation. The left hemisphere is there to serve us for linear reasoning and language functions. However, the irony is there is no direct scientific evidence collaborating the idea that different thinking style lie within the domain specification of each hemisphere...."the neurophysiologists and neuropsychologists who specialize in the human cerebral cortex are starting to view the left-righters with something of the wariness which the astronomers reserve for astrology." - William H. Calvin.

The Art of Thinking is a dance between the critique and the creator within. The brain constantly combines, substitutes, adapts, modifies, magnifies, substracts, adds, re-arrange and reverses bits of information in order for thinking to happen. It is like a cerebral symphony where billions of neurons participate as master musicians. Perhaps, for this very reason there is little agreement amongst scholars about the definition of the two kinds of thinking. However, the thinking pattern of the geniuses reveal that they are skilled both in the Art of Science and the Science of Art. They can reduce the sun to a yellow spot and they can easily visualize a yellow spot as the life enforcing sun.

In his book, Cracking Creativity, Michael Michalko explores the art of holistic thinking exhibited by geniuses.

1. Know how to see, not just look at: “The invisibility of the obvious”. Great sales people are so good that you do not know when they are selling.
2. Make a thought visible: You interpret via the tangible. "Identify and secure elements needed to draw reasonable conclusions." Be a consummate sketcher.
3. Think fluently: "The holistic experience that people feel when they act with total involvement." It is being in the "flow" as embraced by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
4. Make novel combinations: Liquid Paper and Velcro owes their existence due to this novelty.
5. Connect the unconnected: The ever popular Reggae emerged due to the connectivity of traditional African jazz, American jazz, old-time rhythm and blues, ska and rocksteady. Eric Lewis is one such connector. He created a new musical identity: is rock, it is jazz, it is classical piano.
6. Look at the other side: Roger Martin calls this multi-dimensional “integrative thinking”. Martin interviewed more than 50 successful leaders, to find a distinct common characteristic: "the predisposition and capacity to hold two diametrically opposing ideas in their heads. And then, without panicking or simply settling for one alternative or the other, they're able to produce a synthesis that is superior to either opposing idea."
7. Look in other worlds: It so happens we have abundance of green plants here on Earth. However, that does make a plant green. When the scientists studied light absorbed and reflected by organisms on Earth (that which attributes to the greenery), determined that if astronomers were to look at the light given off by planets circling distant stars, they might predict that some planets have mostly non-green plants.
8. Find what you are not looking for: The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius who also happened to be a monumental philosopher found equanimity in the midst of conflict.
9. Awaken the collaborative spirit: 'Do Us a Flavour’ An open competition was enacted to design a new crisp flavor for Walkers. The best flavors were then voted on by the public.

It is said that the master polymath, Leonardo daVinci always looked at his finished painting from a far distance to get a different perspective. By distancing yourself from the pattern of how you are conceived, you change your perception of who you are, thereby allowing yourself to see something that you could not otherwise see.

Sarmistha Tarafder
Co-creator of brands in 3D spaces.
In pursuit of essence and enchantment, mind and mystery, myth and matter!

Polaroid Booth Design: Marketing Magnificence of Lady Gaga!


LADY GAGA AND TRADE SHOW DESIGNCommanding over 10 million Twitter followers and over 33 million Facebook fans, Lady Gaga, is also the creative tour-de-force and a key player of the Polaroid team. Her fame is sensational. She gracefully glides between the worlds of technology, music, artistry and marketing. She is the fearless, daring marketing scientist that we all applaud and strive for!
As [trade show] marketers, we are constantly working to leave behind a blazing trail in a crowded industry. Lady Gaga was trying to do the same thing in the over-crowded music industry. Gaga won where others lost.

Here are 3 "gaga" lessons that intrigues me.

Marketing is a Core Belief System: It is a Lifestyle: Gaga has made fame and marketing her lifestyle. Every performance or song release has marketing as a part of its DNA. It is the mindset of the "Gaga" brand. In her very own words: "I used to walk down the street like I was a f*&^ing star... I want people to walk around delusional about how great they can be - and then to fight so hard for it every day that the lie becomes the truth.”

Marketing needs to be in the DNA of your company. Employees in all departments should create content and aid in the company's goal of market domination. Integrate marketing into your business culture.

The Marketing Bedrock: Humility and Appreciation: Gaga has worked tirelessly on accumulating her fans. She drives loyalty by tweeting her fans directly (sometimes on an hourly basis). If you have watched any of her shows you will know how the pop diva keeps re-defining humility in a profound way!. [Watch the video below: you will get the drift] Treat them well and they will make you a superstar is her marketing mantra. Professional photographers are barred from her concerts but she allows her fans to record and distribute videos of her live performance on YouTube.

Appreciate customers and fans for their support. Conduct surveys to ask for input and demonstrate how that feedback is reflected in your business changes. Offer free training, education and surprise gifts for customers to show your appreciation for their business.

Take a Marketing Stand. Drive Your Purpose. Be Fearless. We all target and segment our markets. We do so, because we simply cannot be everything to everybody. Lady Gaga takes it a step further. She does not mind annoying people that she knows she cannot please. It might not be politically correct but being a people-pleaser is just plain boring. Again in her own words, “If you don't have any shadows you're not in the light”

In your business, being controversial isn't about taking risks. It is about doing something unexpected and out of character for your industry. Take a different stand on a topic than most others in your industry would take. Imagine dialogues. Imagine talking with a role model to gain new perspective and insight. Or you can imagine how some role models would discuss your problem. Think about how things originate. Take an object and think about what elements are involved in its creation and how. This will open doors to thinking differently.

Above all, face fear. What Gautama Buddha preached more than 2500 years ago, Lady Gaga undertakes a contemporary evaluation of the same precept.
The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed........Gautama Buddha

“All that ever holds somebody back, I think, is fear. For a minute I had fear. [Then] I went into the [dressing] room and shot my fear in the face..........” Lady Gaga

Sarmistha Tarafder
Co-creator of brands in 3D spaces.
In pursuit of essence and enchantment, mind and mystery, myth and matter!

Encounter with the Unconscious: The Art of Surrealism


SURREALISMThe avant-garde movement in art and literature of the 20th-century that sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind, for example by the irrational juxtaposition of images is often termed as surrealism.

Science says that the human nervous system is bombarded with roughly 2 million bits of information. To maintain sanity, our conscious mind filters out most of the stimuli. In 1956 George A. Miller discovered that the number of objects an average human can hold in working memory is 7 ± 2. The rest, that 2 million - 7(± 2) bits are dealt by the unconscious. Such is the glory of our unconscious mind. The unconscious mind is the store house of immense creative potential. It is 90% of our total mind power as opposed to the 10% of the mind that we usually use in our normal waking state. Another way to look at it is 90% of our total mind power is not normally accessed while sleep. We spend 1/3 of our life asleep. It is the inscapable law of life. However, the subconscious mind never rests or sleeps. It is always active, controlling all our vital forces.

Dr. John Bigelow, a famous research authority on sleep, demonstrated that at night while asleep you receive impressions showing that the nerves of the eyes, ears, nose, and taste buds are active during sleep, meaning our brain is at work. He says that the main reason we sleep is because “the nobler part of the soul is united by abstraction to our higher nature and becomes a participant in the wisdom and foreknowledge of the gods.” Often, we have experienced the creative intelligence of our subconscious at work in our dreams. A consistent way to tap into your dreams is to sleep with a dream journal. When you are at the edge of half-sleep and half wakefulnes, write down the dream in one sentence. You will be amazed the doors that will be opened in that surreal state of mind. As Brad Holland so skillfully pits it: "Surrealism: An archaic term. Formerly an art movement. No longer distinguishable from everyday life."

Surrealism surfaced in the 1920s as a literary movement responding to the illogical mass killings and social turmoil after World War I. Surrealist writers, including former Dadaist Andre Breton, were motivated by Sigmund Freud’s work in exploring the unconscious and sought direct access to the deepest levels of the human mind, unfiltered by logic or reason. By the early 1920s, graphic design and visual art expressed dream-like imagery, ideas mined directly from the unconscious and Salvador Dali became the leader of the Surrealist Movement. The melting watches became the marquee surrealist works of all times.

Sarmistha Tarafder
Co-creator of brands in 3D spaces.
In pursuit of essence and enchantment, mind and mystery, myth and matter!

Exhibit Design: Opulent Orange


orange booth idea

Resting in magnificence, between passionate red and optimistic yellow, is the fun flamboyant orange. It evokes a contradiction in dualism. It is a "love me' or a "hate me" color. Orange is that color that has manifested in our reality as an envoy of safety as well as an agent of death. It is the requirement of OSHA that certain construction equipment and accessories be painted safety orange. Dioxin in Agent Orange is known to cause cancer, birth defects and dysfunction.

The psychological effect of orange is instantaneous. It screams attention and haste. It gives strength and energy to your visuals, delivering an instant impression that is most often universally understood. Orange work wonders in chaotic market places like trade shows. It exudes energy and confidence and stimulates activity. It is often called the "silent salesperson" for it encourages people to gather and socialize. It also inspires physical confidence and individualistic independence.

Orange is a high-arousal color. It relates to the primal gut instincts. It is the color of the Sacral Chakra. It is the seat of our inherent creativity. The energy associated with orange brings about increased feeling of motivation, well-being, positive thinking and inner joy. Perhaps, that is the reason the color choice is saffron for the sages and seers, since the beginning of time.

Use orange to stimulate your appetite and your performance.

range Australia exhibit design

Orange is always on the move. Orange brings out the extrovert in you and releases you of your inhibitions, often encouraging you to express your inner calling. It is the color of adventure. Use it as your guide. It will not fail you.

Find yourself. Be the blazing trendsetter that you are!

Sarmistha Tarafder
Co-creator of brands in 3D spaces.
In pursuit of essence and enchantment, mind and mystery, myth and matter!

Negotiating the Neurons of Neuromarketing


Before moving forward, take a look at the above illustration.
Take your time. What do you think it is?

Now check out here what it really is?


The fine orange sticky dust that settles onto our fingers when mindlessly snacking on the guilty pleasures, is perhaps not the first thing that comes to our mind when we start exploring neuroscience, that which has given rise to not so new wave of marketing called neuromarketing.

After scanning the brains of a carefully chosen group of consumers, in 2008 it was discovered that the "icky coating triggers an unusually powerful response in the brain: a sense of giddy subversion that consumers enjoy over the messiness of the product." Frito-Lay leveraged that information into its advertising campaign for Cheetos, which has made the most out of the brains' response to the mess. NeuroFocus, the company behind the research earned a Grand Ogilvy award for advertising research for "demonstrating the most successful use of research in the creation of superior advertising that achieves a critical business objective."

The capturing of the synaptic brain waves seems to be the ultimate promise of neuromarketing. It takes about half a second for the sub-conscious to react to a stimulus received by the brain. During this vital time frame, the sub-conscious mind is free from memories and cultural convictions. It is in a state of primal potency: not polluted social norms and cultural beliefs. It is in this state that the cheese flavored orange dust of Cheetos seems pretty adventurous. However, once this action moves to the conscious level, the artificially flavored and colored MSG dust is, kind of repulsive.

"I bet you, long ago if you looked at cave paintings, there were a bunch of Cro-Magnon men and women sitting around a fire in focus groups wondering whether to go hunt mastodon that night," says A. K. Pradeep, founder and CEO of NeuroFocus. "Today, our focus groups are no different." Being under the constant pressure of political correctness, we have denied ourselves the inner truth. Pradeep believes he can get at the truth.

Read more about the players of neuromarketing who are spending millions to find out what you like and why like it. Explore how you can use the research to further your trade show marketing efforts.

Sarmistha Tarafder
Co-creator of brands in 3D spaces.
In pursuit of essence and enchantment, mind and mystery, myth and matter!

Chimera of Creativity: Inspiration or Enterprise?


chimera of creativity

The mind is a creativity. So also is a thought.

The mind says to a thought, "I have you."

The thought says to the mind, "You I am."

The heart is a creativity. So also is love.

The heart says to love, "I have you.
Love says to the heart, "You I am."

The soul is a creativity. So also is life.

The soul says to life, "I have you.
Life says to the soul, "You I am."

The learning of the mind is a creativity, an expanding creativity.

The feeling of the heart is a creativity, a deepening creativity.

The becoming of life is a creativity, a manifesting creativity.

The universal truth finds expression in the poetic grace and beauty of Sri Chinmoy.

Often times, our empirical minds only sees the outcome of creativity as an enterprise. Our utilitarian intellect fails to comprehend the muse that inspires us to manifest creativity. The veil of ignorance prompts us to separate creativity from enterprise in such a fashion that debates are being raised if creativity can be taught. More often comparisons are drawn between Nicola Tesla and Thomas Edison prompting the former to be endowed with a visceral gift and the latter to be a tenacious sprinter in perseverance and experimentation.

"I became aware, to my surprise, that every thought I conceived was suggested by an external impression. Not only this but all my actions were prompted in a similar way. In the course of time it became perfectly evident to me that I was merely an automation endowed with power of movement responding to the stimuli of the sense organs and thinking and acting accordingly. The practical result of this was the art of tele automatics which has been so far carried out only in an imperfect manner. Its latent possibilities will, however be eventually shown. I have been since years planning self-controlled automata and believe that mechanisms can be produced which will act as if possessed of reason, to a limited degree, and will create a revolution in many commercial and industrial departments." My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nicola Tesla

"I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent it." Thomas Elva Edison. Compared to the intuitive clarity of Tesla, Edison might seem like a savvy business man yet Tesla's genius inadvertently affirms Edison's legacy. The first commercially viable bulb was produced by Edison. Without electricity delivered widely, safely and efficiently the light bulb was of little value. Tesla's perfection of AC was the tool that made the light bulb so beneficial. Without the expanding creativity of Tesla and the manifesting creativity of Edison, life as we know today wouldn't have existed.

Chimera of Creation is the manifestation of thoughts and ideas that transforms, merges and mutates to produce history's biggest breakthroughs. It is the learning of the mind, the feeling of the heart and the becoming of life spanning across several life spans. It is Infinitely Gracious.

Sarmistha Tarafder
Co-creator of brands in 3D spaces.
In pursuit of essence and enchantment, mind and mystery, myth and matter!

The Battle for Innovation: How do you win it?


Create like Van Gogh, live like Michelangelo.


Corning is one such company that has a track record of over 150 years of innovation. It goes way back to the days of Thomas Edison: from manufacturing of light bulbs to color tubes, to LCD screens to the Pyrex glass technology and much more. No other house of glass affects our daily living as does Corning. The Reason: Innovation

How does a company keeps winning the battle for innovation for 150 years?
Frans Johansson, author of Medici Effect, asked this question to Lina Echeverria, who heads the glass research group at Corning. "I want the researchers [at Corning] to have the creativity of Van Gogh but lead the life of Michelangelo." She tells them to follow their hearts. This is where passion comes from and passion is the house for creativity. Believe it or not, there is a "creativity room" at Corning where researchers can talk about whatever is on their mind to encourage cross fertilization of ideas. This is the field of INTERSECTION. Innovation happens here. Ideas that were always seen as completely apart, merges to form this extraordinary new phenomena. Eric Lewis is one such innovator who lives and breathes at the INTERSECTION. He created a new musical identity: is rock, it is jazz, it is classical piano.
Experience innovation as it happens.

Now, that you have watched innovation in real time what does it mean to have the creativity of Van Gogh but lead the life of Michelangelo.

Vincent Van Gogh was a starving painter of his times. He sold only one painting in 1890, the year he took his life. Yet he laid the foundations of modern art. He did not paint what he saw as reality. He created his own reality. It is an inter-dimensional concept.
When Vincent van Gogh was asked, "Your trees always go beyond the stars...?" he said, "Yes, because I understand trees. I have felt always that trees are the ambition of the earth to reach the stars. Otherwise why? To touch the stars, to feel the stars, to go beyond the stars – this is the desire of the earth. The earth tries hard, but cannot fulfill the desire. I can do it. The earth will understand my paintings, and I don't care about you, whether you understand or not."
"The emotions are sometimes so strong that I work without knowing it. The strokes come like speech." This is what it means to create from the seat of passion. It is the rythm of the heart.

Michelangelo breathed life into stone. He was the master magician. Yet, he was painting for the church. His famous painting is God creating the world, very much in sync with the signs of the time. Michelangelo, was skilled, disciplined and had good business acumen. Michelangelo was the man living in the world, creating and helping others. Van Gogh was not of the world – he created for the sake of creation. "I can very well do without God both in my life and in my painting, but I cannot, suffering as I am, do without something which is greater than I, which is my life - the power to create." Vincent Van Gogh

Whatever you do to live in this world, live it but always DREAM. Dreams are the paintings of your passion. You will know it. It is not of this world. Give life to that which is out of the world, innovation is bound to follow.

Sarmistha Tarafder
Co-creator of brands in 3D spaces.
In pursuit of essence and enchantment, mind and mystery, myth and matter!

Art of Presenting: Influencing the Influencers


As designers for trade shows or any other medium, we are often required to present our ideas across, in a group environment. Our sub-conscious tend to focus on the body language of the decision maker. However, another approach might be to seek out the influencers in the group. The film below attempts to understand the basic ingredients of what makes a person influential in an esoteric way without any metric analysis. It explores the concept of the role that influencers play.

INFLUENCERS FULL VERSION from R+I creative on Vimeo.

John Maxwell, the leadership guru, says, when you are talking to the group and you make a statement, observe what the members of the group typically do. More often, they look for the non-verbal queues from the influencer. For example, if the influencer is nodding his head or made an eye-contact with you, many members in the group will agree with what was presented and if the influencer is shaking his head, many members in the group will disagree with what is being stated.

To get into the habit of knowing the traits of influencers, observe people in a group setting and scrtinize how they interact with each other, whether it be a family gathering, in a shopping mall, in a cafe or in a playground. You will learn a lot simply by observing.

Happy Influencing!

Sarmistha Tarafder
Co-creator of brands in 3D spaces.
In pursuit of essence and enchantment, mind and mystery, myth and matter!

Trade Show Technology: The Gift of the Grand Master



"The most important thing in art is the frame. For paint, literally.
For other arts, figuratively-because, without this humble appliance you cannot know where the art stops and the real world begins."

A carrier spanning over 30 years, Frank Zappa was a prolific writer and an audacious artist, gaining global kudos and criticism. His fame includes writings in rock, jazz, electronic, orchestral, and musique concrète works. In the quote above he is saying that framing, itself is an art. I would agree with him in almost all cases except when it comes to the Pyramids. Pyramids does not want to confined within boundaries, both literally and figuratively. This is specially true when it comes to the Great Pyramid of Giza. Of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, the Great Pyramid is the only planetary structure that have mastered the natural planetary forces. Perhaps the secret lies in the meaning of Pyramid. "Pyr" in Greek means fire, which is raw energy. "Amid" means center or nucleus. Hence, "Pyramid, is that part of a life-form, which does not undergo change, but it brings about change in others in its environment, due to interactions."

Positioned in the center of gravity of the continents and in the geographical center of the earths' land mass, The Great Pyramid has always been shrouded in perpetual mystery and colossal controversy. It has inspired mathematicians, architects, statesmen, philosophers since the dawn of time. Some 2400 years ago the Greek philosopher Strabo romanced the Pyramids and said "It seemed like a building let down from heaven, untouched by human hands." A gold medalist of the Royal Institute of British Architects, James Fergusson was struck with astonishment at the austere perfection of The Great Pyramid. "Nothing more perfect, mechanically, has ever been erected since that time; and we ask ourselves in vain, how long it must have been taken before men acquired such experience and such skill, or were so perfectly organized, as to contemplate and complete such undertakings."

However, all the evangelists and skeptics are unified in one verdict: the Great Pyramid of Giza is the Grand Master of Geometry, the oldest mathematical science. With it's base angles at 51 degrees 51 minutes, if you divide the face of this triangle into two triangles, then the ratio of the hypotenuse equals phi (1.618...) and the perpendicular side equals square root of phi. Perhaps, it is this study in perfection that attracts us toward the Pyramid time and time again. It is so deep-rooted in our 3 levels of consciousness that the Skyline exhibit design for the Exhibitor 2011 Show only validates the profound significance of the gift that has been handed down to us since antiquity.

Sarmistha Tarafder
Co-creator of brands in 3D spaces.
In pursuit of essence and enchantment, mind and mystery, myth and matter!

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