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4 Successful B2B Brand Activation Strategies

2020 saw the death of trade shows. Overnight, the main pipeline for B2B business prospecting dried up and left the entire industry wondering how to make up for lost time and profits.

Never fear. All is not lost.

If you think about it, why spend on a static display and wait for the prospects to come to you? Yes, of course, trade shows congregate all of the players in one place at one time, but if you know your prospects, why not bring the show to them?

As the adage goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat, and there are four great ways to mobilize your B2B marketing and sales strategy to create reusable assets that can still serve your company when trade shows return.

The key is--similarly to planning for your trade shows--plan your "wow factor" in advance so that you are prepared to get the show on the road.

1. Create a Mobile Showroom

Ignite all the senses...on wheels! What if your vision of a trade show booth lived in a mobile container and could give your customers access to all of the benefits of your products right where they are?

All the functionality is there in a hands on experience for your prospects to demo, use and learn about your products, and it just so happens that it's in a container or trailer like this one that we would create with one of our fabrication partners, like Craftsmen.

Best part...this could serve as a VIP opportunity at your next conference or trade show, or possibly live on the actual footprint when the trade show world is back on its feet.

2. Hotel Ballroom = Trade Show Booth

If the vehicle idea is more than you want to spend or more square footage than you need, your trade show can still mobilize, just as a static set up in a hotel ballroom or other gathering space in your target markets.

Consider a product display, interactive walls, digital elements and lead capture--even accept orders--with a traveling road show display. Whereas at your major industry events, you're jockeying for appointments, battling on-site comparison to competition and even exhausted after a week on your feet...a road show is limited exposure with maximum impact.

With a goal of client education, a physical presence of your products can mean the difference between prospect and customer. Work within the space to maximize the opportunity for conversion.

This idea board from another fabrication partners, CoastalCreative, is a great example of ways to make big impression in a small space that can also pack up and travel:

Creative Trade Show Ideas from CoastalCreative

Your clients and prospects are in their own local market and can experience all that you have to offer without the distraction of a huge convention center and in a format that impresses but doesn't overwhelm.

With the right strategic planning, you can hit multiple markets within a modest budget. It's a win-win (and no lanyards and badges to wear!).

3. Make It LinkedIn-Able

All the young kids say it, "If it's not on The Gram, it didn't happen." But in the B2B world, LinkedIn is king (and Twitter for some), so if you're going to make a statement, make it worth posting and sharing on the world's largest business social networking platform.

It can be an ad campaign, a sweepstakes, a gift, a PR doesn't really matter. What DOES matter is that it makes an emotional connection and provides value to those who experience it. This article from talks about how many B2B's are succeeding simply by acknowledging the emotional connection with the people behind the brands.

Yes, B2B is about businesses helping businesses, but people still run those businesses, and whether you're selling widgets, plane engine parts or uniforms, there's a way to reach someone to show that your ultimate goal is to bring value.

And value--particularly emotional value--always goes viral.

4. Go "Off-Brand" to be On Brand: Be Memorable

Controversy, humor, and opposition sell, or at least they gain attention, which in an otherwise conservative B2B landscape can certainly gain some traction.

Consider this: Tudder, a cow dating app, was a humorous activation that helped gain attention for the farming industry, faced with obstacles in trading livestock. It checks a lot of boxes, but most importantly, it was a humorous approach for an otherwise boring topic.

Maybe you're faced with regulatory issues that restrict your freedom to play around with your branding, but there's always a way to take what people would expect you to say and turn it on its head to turn some heads.

So, what's the takeaway?

  1. Be Mobile and go where your customers and prospects are in lieu of trade shows.

  2. Be Flexible and consider a unique option to recreate a trade show floor.

  3. Be Relevant and create an experience that will resonate with people within--and outside of--your professional community.

  4. Be Unique and not afraid to push the envelope, similar to how the B2C world activates brands. It will make a long lasting impression.

As a B2B company, you can activate your brand and bring it to life for your customers so they experience your products or services in a way they never thought possible; and they'll be asking for you by name--or by Twitter handle--for all of LinkedIn to see.

If you are looking for a partner, a brainstormer or just had a wild idea and you wanted an opinion, we'd be happy to discuss what your brand could do now to get noticed. Contact us at

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