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2019 Art of the Show Competition Winners: Show Brand Design/Development

Congratulations to the 2019 Art of the Show competition winners in the Show Brand Design/Development category: mdg, Burch+Howard and IAAPA! Learn how their visual and messaging components revitalized their shows for continued growth and success.

Although the event landscape has changed significantly since these pieces were created, some things prove to be timeless. Specifically, the roles that creativity, innovation and a strategic approach to marketing play in driving results. IAEE’s Art of the Show Competition recognizes outstanding marketing activities directly related to successfully organizing and executing an exhibition and/or event. As such, it is the only marketing competition tailored specifically to our industry. Each year, event organizers submit the work they did to promote their show experience across 14 categories and an independent panel of marketing and graphic design experts selects the winners.

In today’s IAEE Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle, we highlight the winners of last year’s Show Brand Design/Development category, which evaluates visual and messaging components used to build a new show’s brand or rebrand a show that was already in existence. Judges take into consideration all the separate elements of the marketing campaign to determine how well they leave a lasting impression on the target audience, and if they are effective in creating a brand association with the show.

Judging criteria includes: originality, visual appeal and creativity of the show logo and/or “theme” material; how effectively the individual marketing elements connect with the overall show brand; ease with which the audience correlates the branding back to the show; how well the branding speaks to the experiential value attendees can expect from the show; and how well each branding effort meets its marketing objectives.

Under 75,000 nsf
mdg for NAFA Fleet Management Association
NAFA Institute & Expo (I&E) 2019

mdg for NAFA Fleet Management Association_1

The NAFA Fleet Management Association teamed with mdg for NAFA’s Institute & Expo (I&E) 2019, the world’s largest and most comprehensive fleet management event. An immersive, three-day experience, I&E is the best place to learn how to navigate the changing fleet management landscape, including first-class education and a full exhibit hall built around process automation, mobility, connectivity and other emerging technologies.

The creative concept chosen for I&E was colloquially called “FAST.” The concept was built around the idea that NAFA’s I&E is a future-forward show for an industry that is constantly in motion. As the event – and more specifically, the role of the fleet manager – is rapidly evolving and changing, this concept tapped into that vein with a design approach that implies movement, speed and forward motion. I&E never stops moving, and the show will bring you along for the ride. It will give you everything you need to keep propelling your fleet forward.

Visually, the design embodies speed. Every element of this concept, from the high- speed movement of vehicles (created by the blur in motion) to the italicized type treatment, speaks to the speed at which the industry is evolving and that NAFA’s I&E show has its finger on the pulse of the industry. Black and white photography creates a sophisticated visual aesthetic while allowing the dynamic, color typography, configured to interact with specific photo elements, to truly stand out. This “less is more” approach allows for elevation of the NAFA I&E brand and provides flexibility for a variety of mediums.

The goal for the show brand was to develop a foundational creative concept that could be refreshed and implemented for the next one to three years. With the simple and clean features, as well as the use of photography and graphic elements, this concept can be refreshed and reconfigured easily for additional show cycles due to its flexibility and elegant design. However, the core message remains the same and this concept reflects that NAFA is proactive and evolving ahead of the curve while driving home that this is the “big league” or premier show for the fleet management industry.

Between 75,001 and 200,000 nsf
Burch+Howard for Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association
HPBExpo 2019

Burch+Howard for Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Expo is North America’s largest indoor-outdoor living event. Comprised of both indoor and outdoor exhibition space, educations sessions, and special events occurring over the course of three days, the event attracts thousands of professional retailers, distributors, designers, architects, and builders from around the world. Hundreds of leading international manufacturers showcase their innovations in a dynamic setting that includes live flame, cooking demonstrations and a full-sensory presentation of the indoor-outdoor living experience.

By leveraging several key factors for 2019 – a brand new location in Dallas, Texas (where everything is already bigger), HPBExpo’s 40th anniversary milestone, and a massive DIY television personality as a keynote speaker – Burch+Howard developed and executed the “Go Big” concept. The campaign reinforced the fact that the show continues to be North America’s largest indoor-outdoor living event.

The surreal aspect of the attendee marketing campaign, with the larger-than-life products integrated into the convention center architecture, created an attention- grabbing visual that became critical in making the audience stop, think and consider this new venue and city. Custom typography made from an alphabet of products allowed messaging to be dynamically flexible while signaling targeted vertical markets in their own vernacular.

The year-long, integrated, multi-layered campaign included a redesigned and re-energized show website ( with improved UX; a creative campaign utilizing proprietary typography comprised of industry products, surreal architectural renderings of the convention center merged with giant products representing each of the event’s three main vertical markets, and a “BIG Stars” testimonial sub-campaign focused on industry thought leaders; microsites for GeoFencing efforts; video marketing; and a robust, integrated social media marketing campaign.

Objectives included:

  • Increasing Exhibitor Sales/Participation
  • Increasing Social Media Engagement
  • Increasing Awareness among Attendee Prospects

HPBExpo 2019 achieved a 28% increase in first-time exhibitors over the ever-popular location of Nashville. The marketing campaign drove a 17% increase in overall website users and an 18% increase in new website users over the same time period from the year prior.

The Social Media Campaign netted the following results:

  • 51% increase in Facebook followers
  • 226% increase in website traffic delivery via Facebook
  • 515% increase in website traffic delivery via Instagram

A core tenet of Burch+Howard’s philosophy for event marketing is the belief that it must reinvent an annual show year after year. Each event should have its own personality while simultaneously remaining true to the association’s brand. After the success of HPBExpo 2018 in Nashville (by far, the most popular city for this event), the team needed to reposition HPBExpo 2019 to ensure repeat participation and prevent “show fatigue” in both exhibitors and attendees.

Over 200,001 nsf
IAAPA – The Global Association for the Attractions Industry

IAAPA – The Global Association for the Attractions Industry

Each year, the IAAPA Expo draws more than 38,000 global attractions industry professionals from more than 100 countries interested in discovering the latest products and technologies on the trade show floor, learn from world-renowned industry experts, and build connections with industry colleagues. With an estimated $360 billion global economic impact, the attractions industry plays a vital role within local communities and the global economy. At the annual IAAPA Expo, representatives from amusement and theme parks, water parks, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, science centers, museums, and more, gather to see the latest innovations, learn from each other, network, and plan for the future.

During IAAPA Attractions Expo 2018, the organization unveiled a preview of IAAPA’s new brand that was intended to lead the association into its next century. This was a pivotal moment in time as it book-ended its centennial celebration and introduced the strategic plan for the next 100 years. The brand was officially rolled out on 1 January 2019.

The decision to update the IAAPA brand was made during a thoughtful, three-year strategic initiative. It was rooted in research as IAAPA conducted surveys, interviews, and focus groups to understand how members view IAAPA, and what services and resources they need and want from the association. The member input highlighted how much IAAPA members value diversity within the attractions industry, and view IAAPA as a source to help make connections and feel inspired.

IAAPA then developed a new brand story and logo to reflect the strength of the association and the attractions industry. While it was difficult to say goodbye to the previous logo with the historical carousel horse, it became evident that it had become outdated. The refreshed logo represents the energetic and diverse community and positions the association’s valued members hold for continued growth and success.

Important components of the re-brand were the changes made to the three conferences and trade shows produced around the world. They are each now part of a sub brand, IAAPA Expos, complete with updated names and a consistent look and feel. This includes the largest trade show (41,000 attendees), IAAPA Expo, which is held annually each November in Orlando, Florida.

In the past, IAAPA created a different campaign theme and look each year. The organization has now shifted to a more evergreen tagline of “The Global Attractions Industry’s Premier Event” that communicates the main pillars of buying, learning, and network offered more concisely.

After the new brand was announced onsite at IAAPA Attractions Expo, there were meter boards, promotional slides, and handouts at the IAAPA Central booth on the trade show floor. This initial messaging addressed the name change with “New Names. New Opportunities.” The campaign also reinforced the forward- thinking, innovative potential that comes with an updated look in the copy:

“Step into a world of fresh possibilities as you connect with your peers and discover innovative ways to improve operations, increase guest satisfaction, and grow revenue. The future of the attractions industry starts here. Join us.”

When it was time to open registration for the 2019 event, IAAPA had established a comprehensive core that could be applied in its pieces in the integrated marketing campaign. Efforts focused on reinforcing the name change to past and loyal attendees. For prospects new to IAAPA Expo, the campaign did not elaborate on the refreshed look as it was deemed unnecessary for anyone not familiar with the previous show name and look. The objective was to maintain the year-over-year growth experienced by the show over the past five years. The team wanted the branding to enhance the experience at IAAPA Expo rather than create market confusion.

The overall sentiment toward the new brand has been positive, especially from IAAPA Expo’s loyal attendees who have expressed appreciation for the clean, contemporary look and approach. IAAPA Expo 2019 broke all previous attendee records with 42,200 registered attendees and 27,900 buyers. 2019 marked seven straight years of significant year-over-year growth for IAAPA Expo. During this time, buyers increased by more than 75 percent and overall attendance by 60.7 percent. This brief video showcases the outstanding attendee experience at IAAPA Expo.

The 2020 IAEE Art of the Show Competition is now open! Take advantage of discounted entry fees by submitting your entries before the early bird deadline on 31 August! You can also check out all the winners from the 2019 competition here.


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