I am a software developer and a marketer. These are two totally different sides of a mind to use. Thankfully I have multiple voices in my head that allow me to accomplish both successfully and break out of the norm. Being a software developer means I am a nerd, analytical, agile thinking, and an introvert. Being a marketer it means I need to think differently, look at everything, and agile thinking. Everything says "think out of the box." I say "what box?"
We recently had a Chamber Network Night with the Valparaiso, Portage, and Duneland (Chesterton) Chamber of Commerce at the Porter County Expo Center. For those out of Northwest Indiana, you won't know where this is. It's located an hour East of Chicago Illinois and one of the many locations in America that are growing. If you are in the area you need to put this on your calendar every year.
Looking at past years (being analytical here) we saw a decline in visitors and vendors. Talking with those that have been dropping their attendance it's been due to having a very busy life which we get. We always add a client or two at these networking events but we have seen this drop from an all-time high of adding eight clients one year. We needed to definitely take this information and come up with a new approach that no one, literally no one, has done before. I am sure someone may have done this but I have never known any business to do this.
We ditched our normal "stock booth" came up with a new design. The theme was Hollywood so we looked deep down into what I loved. I love Halloween and Jack Skellington. Yes, that is where we were headed but then thought "classical Halloween" would be better so changed it up to Dracula. Still the same Halloween vibe but even more open to a wider variety of exploration.
To start everything off I built a stockade, my first, to add a new dimension. This would be used for a photo opportunity and social media sharing experiment (it worked!).
Now the part that made it "different" than any other. We did not put our business name ANYWHERE. We left it totally unbranded. The objective was simple. Have a unique booth that made people ask "who are you". We had hundreds of people that did just that. They got a memorable picture that has no branding (but they tagged us) for the contest. This gave us the visibility we wanted and something they will use for years to come (think Facebook memories).
It was great that this experiment paid off. We went from a steady number of new clients to an increase. The event cost us less to do as well which produced a higher profit for us as well (bonus). By being agile, looking at the analytical data, and thinking out of that "proverbial box" we were able to make people around have fun, have a memorable experience, and most of all know more about who we are. Our brand recognition is now more today than it was yesterday.
I was once told that if you continue to do the same thing day-after-day, week-after-week, and month-after-month, you should always expect the same results. Only by pushing yourself to be different and "live" will you ever be able to grow. We did that and is something we will continue to do more of for ourselves and our clients.