“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated” -Mark Twain
I’ve been thinking a lot about the notion of competition in the business marketplace lately. Generally speaking, competition is not something we like to talk about openly within our industries. We know who our competitors are and in most cases, we’re even cordial with and about them when its needed. It’s likely that we’ll talk within our companies, internally about who our competitors are…that’s an important strategic step in both benchmarking our own companies as well as keeping up with and surpassing our competitor’s goods & services.
But there tends to be the one or two real competitors that we despise. I mean really truly dislike due to a whole slew of reasons. I know it’s not popular for me to say this, but isn’t it easier to really loathe a competitor who we know we’ve lost some business or potential clients to? How about the ones who lure or steal away our best employees? How much do we hate them? And when we hear about how a competitive company uses undermining techniques to attract and land some of the same projects and clients we’re talking to, how often do we mutter curses under our breath about them?
You don’t have to answer that question out loud…I’m asking you these rhetorically, folks.
There’s a side-effect of all of that dislike and disdain, shedding light on a relatively new phenomenon for me that I learned had a word to describe it a few years ago; “Schadenfreude”. Borrowed from German into English and several other languages, schadenfreude is the feeling of pleasure derived from seeing or hearing about another person’s troubles or failures. In other words, it’s feeling joy at the misfortune of others.
As human beings, we have the ability to feel empathy when its needed and that is without a doubt a good thing. But what about this notion of “feeling pleasure in someone else’s pain”? It’s certainly not a human trait to be proud of. When we feel it raising up within us, we can recognize it, acknowledge it, and either suppress it or let it take over. I’m sure we all handle this differently.
But when it happens in business with our competitors, there somehow seems to be more of an acceptance. I’ve seen this come up with other business owners over the years and in the long run, it’s a bad thing. Identifying who your true competitors are is a smart move. Wishing them ill will or feeling pleasure when they lose out or fail hurts us all. Why? Because we’re the ones on the opposite side of this phenomenon for them. It works both ways.
Think about it. What do you want them thinking and saying about you and your company?
The fact is that there’s plenty of business to go around. Competition keeps us playing at the top of our game and keeps us from getting too complacent or lazy. Dedicate some time to get to know your competitors. Trade associations with working chapters (like the EDPA) are a very good way to do this. You may be surprised by what you find.
Keep it experiential.
With 2016 fresh behind us, it seems like a good time to look back and do a quick evaluation. Was it a good year for you personally? Did you move things forward, stay in-place or slip behind a bit? Did you experience both love and loss in 2016? Did you have any fun getting there?
Let’s switch over to our professional lives. What did you try out that was new and perhaps even risky this past year? What new experience did you help to build?
WESTPORT, Conn. November 17, 2016 – Eric Chester, a leading voice on employee engagement and workplace culture and the author of “On Fire at Work,” and Stephen Shapiro, innovation instigator and author of “Best Practices are Stupid,” will keynote the 62nd Annual Exhibit Designers and Producers Association (EDPA) ACCESS Conference. ACCESS, the only executive conference for designers, builders and suppliers of exhibits and experiences, will be held from November 30 to December 2, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Fl.
DALLAS, 20 October 2016 – The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) today released the final two reports of its series, 2016 Changing Environment of Exhibitions. This study consists of 10 fact sheets articulating the power of exhibitions from the perspective of exhibitors, including its most recent: Use of Exhibitions and Exhibitor Sales Channel and Exhibitor Profile – Overall Compared to Power Users.
CEP – Chicago Exhibit Productions, Inc. is pleased to have achieved the EDPA RFP Certification awarded to companies who meet the industry association’s stringent standards for business practices.
The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) released today two more reports from its newest series, 2016 Changing Environment of Exhibitions. This study consists of 10 fact sheets articulating the power of exhibitions from the perspective of exhibitors, including its most recent:Exhibitions Valued for Marketing to Hard-to-Reach Industry Sectors and Professionals and Factors that Drive the Decision to Exhibit.
EXHIBITOR magazine recently announced the following winners in its Third Annual Portable/Modular Awards, which honor design excellence in portable, modular, and system exhibits. The competition features 11 categories along with two special awards: the Zeigler Award, which is given to the project earning the highest score regardless of category, and the People's Choice Award, chosen by popular vote on www.ExhibitorOnline.com.
It has been stated that the meetings, events and trade show market in North America represents a $100 billion industry. The Meeting/Expo industry is ranked #22 in contribution to the US GNP, larger than auto industry, agriculture, and printing industries, yet very few have gone to school to prepare for entry into the business. Many of us have stumbled into the business by being in the right place at the right time. What formal education we did have always seemed to relate to our success in a strange way. In spite of this, our learning by trial and error, generated some of the most innovative and creative exhibit supplier employees who have each contributed to our collective success as exhibit designers and service suppliers.
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Around the year 2000 is when a trend to train new exhibit industry talent shifted into high gear. Certification programs were created to train and qualify exhibit managers, like the CTSM program (Certified Trade Show Marketer), sponsored by Exhibitor Media, as well as a few other skill groups who service the industry worldwide. Exhibit designer training was also being implemented at two US universities with great success. These two schools in particular offered an undergrad degree from Bemidji State University in Minnesota, and a master degree in exhibit design at FIT in NYC. Both of these college programs are supported by EDPA member companies, and are assisted by the EDPA University Affiliation Program that was started 10 years ago.
Entry to our industry is no longer an accident, or an opportunity made available through a friend of a friend. Formal training and accurate data are now available to hone our skills to provide valuable services to the many companies who exhibit and who invest in trade show marketing for added market share.
For the seventh year, a pre-show exhibit designer student tour of theExhibitorLive Show was conducted on the day before the show officially opened. Held in Las Vegas each year, ExhibitorLive is one of the worlds top trade shows for people who do trade shows. The show tour provided the exhibit design students a behind the scenes look at specific exhibits in the process of being set up, with chaos and anxiety included. The tour begins with Larry Kulchawik providing an overview of the industry as a whole, and then Randy Acker/Exhibitor Group, President/ COO, and Carol Fojtik/Hall-Erickson who provided an answer to the question-‘ how do you plan to organize a trade show?’. The knowledge and insight provided by Randy and Carol regarding the organization of a trade show event represents a combined 60 years of experience. This wasn’t their first time at the rodeo!
The tour then visited ten exhibitors (EDPA member companies) who each represent a different speciality as exhibit suppliers: Full service exhibit house, show contractor, fabric design, portable/modular design, lighting design, flooring design, international design, and AV design. Each stop was greeted by the owners or principles of their company who then shared three Things; What is your speciality? Who is your target market? What is the strategy behind your exhibit design? Each exhibitor stop provided a new tool to place in a designers tool box. This unique tour then ended at the EDPA University Affiliation Program exhibit where each designer was given a space to display their portfolio and a space to interview for an internship, or to hire, during the next three days of the show. The spirit and generosity of the many exhibit suppliers attending ExhibitorLive continues to be encouraging proof that our industry will charge forward and be aided by the enthusiastic support from the many exhibit suppliers who have succeeded with their companies. Exhibit supplier veterans were all willing to share their knowledge with the exhibit design students who will carry the flag forward into a new future.
If you wish to volunteer to take on a design student as an intern or become a mentor, please contact the EDPA Universities Committee co-chairs- Dana Esposito at email@example.com or Justin Dworak,firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan Cantor, CEO of Hamilton Exhibits, announced the formation of a Chicago marketing and design office for the company. Cantor said his leadership team had been looking at the growth potential the company could achieve by entering the vibrant Chicago market.